Men's Digital Nomad Minimalist Packing List
First a bit about me…
Unlike other nomads, I didn’t just all of a sudden get rid of my stuff and downgrade to where I am now. Mine was a gradual progression. I went from living in a small room in a shared house in DC after college to living out of a tent, as a whitewater rafting guide. During this time, everything I owned fit inside of my Toyota 4runner. When I made the decision to move to Shanghai to get my MBA, I got rid of everything that wouldn’t fit into two large suitcases + carry-ons.
I downsized yet again when I moved to Vietnam and started my online business. At this point, I wanted to be as mobile as possible and decided on only the essentials. I’ve been living and traveling in this manner for 3 years now.
Minimalism has been my main philosophy with how I pack for travel.
My goal is to travel super lightweight, opting for carry-on only whenever possible. I travel with 2 bags–a backpack and a duffle bag. Each weigh about 10-15 lbs. My smaller backpack counts as my personal item and my duffle bag works as a carry-on. For trips when I need a bit more (like to South America), I put more in my duffel and check it.
I choose simple, classic, lightweight clothing
With clothes I try to keep it simple, with classic pants and neutral or cool-colored (blues and greens) tops. I make a conscious effort not to look like a backpacker on a gap year in Southeast Asia or Latin America.
Instead, I try to blend classic, prep (such as chinos), and Silicon Valley-esque simplicity, with the basic t-shirts and all-birds. I prefer technical clothing as well, such as merino wool and blended fabrics. This allows for more breathability and comfort.
For the last few years I’ve been using the North Face surge 32l Backpack as my computer/electronics carry-on bag/personal item.
Patagonia 60L Blackhole Duffle. I actually have the how discontinued 60L Arbor Duffle. I put all my electronics and heavier items in my North Face backpack, and put only clothes in my duffle, this keeps it lightweight so that it’s easier to carry. I like that this one is water resistant and tough. I typically do not fill it to capacity if I want to use it as a carry on.
Packable Osprey bag- This durable, packable daypack folds into the size of a lime. We use it for hikes, day trips or when exploring a new city.
EBags packing cubes x 4, 2 small and 2 medium size packing cubes. I love these because they keep everything organized
Muji Hanging Dopp/Toiletry kit - To keep toiletries like deodorant, toothpaste, shaving stuff
Other Great Choices:
Osprey Porter 40L: Lindsay uses this bag and loves it. Perfect size and comfortable to carry.
When it comes to clothes, I look for lightweight, comfortable, packable materials. My favorite brands are Patagonia and Prana because they are well-made, eco-friendly and tend to travel well, while also looking nice.
Prana Vaha Shorts - These are my lounge pants that I wear around the house or when working from “home”
Prana Brion hiking pants, These are khaki in color and double as my dress pants when I need to dress up a little
Prana Brion Shorts - My most worn pair of shorts, They’re great for everyday wear, and they’re made of a quick drying, breathable lightweight material.
Prana Merrit Shorts - The double as everyday shorts and swimsuits.
Patagonia Baggies (swimsuit) - can’t beat the classic
2x Prana short sleeve button downs.
1 Banana Republic short sleeve Linen shirt
1 x J.Crew Tropical Print shirt
5 random T-shirts that I picked up wherever. I end up wearing a t-shirt 70% of the time and honestly I just get bored wearing the same shirt to many times so I cycle through new ones pretty regularly. s.
2 x Icebreaker Tech-lite Merino wool T-Shirt - I like merino wool because its light, packs well, wicks, and is more odor resistant than other material
2 Uniqlo Airism shirts, I’ll occasionally wear these out but for the most part, these are my workout shirts. They are incredibly lightweight. Good for packing on weekend trips where I just bring my backpack. The ones I have held up for years despite the intense workouts. At just $15 you can’t beat the price.
After years of trying out over a dozen different shoes, I am finally at the point where I am happy with what I have. This is the ultimate 3 shoe combination that works for everything except for formal events.
Nike Free RN Flyknit - on my third pair of these. I really like them as they both look good and make a great running shoe.
All Birds runners - super comfortable but not the best for a long day of walking. They are my most often worn shoes and what I wear when I go out including semi formal events.
Bedrock Cairn Sandals - Maybe the perfect lightweight, multi-functional, minimalist everyday sports sandal.
I tend to look for something super lightweight, ankle high and can be worn for almost anything. I am pretty happy with these:
7x Exofficio boxer briefs. Hands down best travel underwear, and maybe even best overall underwear. I love these underwear; super comfortable and they have wicking which is great for hot weather, hikes or long travel days. I wear this every day in every situation. I cannot recommend these enough. If you’re going to buy one thing from this list, this is what it should be.
ExOfficio Give-n-go Boxer Brief
Patagonia Hat: That same Patagonia hat that everyone has, I actually got it so I could do a cheesy photo of it in front of Torres del Paine, but then I found out the logo is actually Fitzroy in Argentina.
Foldable Ray-Ban Wayfarers -classic design in a travel size, good stuff.
Ankle brace; protects my bad ankle during hikes, runs and long walking days.
Flipbelt, A‘belt’ that goes around your stomach, under your shirt that you can fit your phone and other things. I use it mainly for my runs. It can also be used to hide your wallet and phone in sketchy situations.
Bucky Eye mask - these are easily the best eye masks that I have ever used. They fit perfectly around my face to create a complete blackout when I sleep. A must have in order to ensure quality sleep when on the road.
I only bring these clothes when we travel to colder places, such as last year when we visited Cusco, the Andes, and Patagonia. Though we generally try to chase summer, our trip to South America was the first time in a while we choose somewhere colder!
For cold regions, I normally follow the 3Ws–wicking, warmth and wind/wet.
Wicking: Icebreaker base layer; a base layer is crucial when traveling in colder regions and allows you to dress in layers based on the weather. Merino wool is an ideal material as its super warm considering how lightweight it is. It’s odor resistant and comfortable too.
Warmth: Patagonia packable down
Consider skipping packing a fleece or sweater and buy something in your destination. I bought a baby alpaca wool sweater in Peru and was surprised at how soft it was–almost as lux as cashmere. If you’re ever in Peru you should absolutely splurge and get plenty of Alpaca wool items.
North Face hiking boots - Honestly, I bought these because they were on sale, but they’ve been good so no complaints.
2016 13” MacBook Pro (Non-Touch Bar), these have been getting a ton of flack but I frankly love mine and it’s been perfect for me. I converted everything to USB-c and it’s been great.
Pixel XL, at the time it had the best smartphone camera on the market. I got this phone as a replacement from Google for my absolutely terrible Nexus 6P. I also have Google’s phone plan, Project Fi. I’ve had this for about 2 years now and it’s been great. It’s worked in every country I’ve been to except Belize. Highly recommend it as the best data plan for Digital Nomads if you’re thinking about getting the plan use this and get $20 off!
If you’re on a budget, Lindsay’s loves and uses the Moto G6 with Project Fi. It’s around $260 and a solid budget option
2 TB WD My passport - obviously it’s good for backup but I also store my media library and I run it as my media library using Plex Server.
20000 MAH Anker battery pack, heavy and annoying, but when you need it you’ll be so happy to have it.
Nexstand laptop stands - Folds into nothing and is stable enough to put my laptop in a more ergonomic position. If you work on a computer all day, do yourself (and your neck/back) a favor and get one of these. Game-changer.
Bose QC15 - heavy bulky and I don’t use them as much as I use to. Nonetheless, they are great for planes and long bus rides and make intercontinental flights significantly more enjoyable.
iPod Classic (160gb) I still love my iPod and headphones but I really only use it on long bus and plane journeys. We’ll see if I end up taking them with me on my next journey.
Apple Magic Mouse Especially helpful if your using a laptop stand.
For non-mac or a cheaper option; Lindsay uses this one.
Plantronics Backbeat FIT - Bluetooth headphones that originally bought these just for running, but I end up wearing these as my go-to headphones. Comfortable enough, waterproof.
Chromecast - it’s great! Almost every Airbnb has a tv that I can plug it in and watch Netflix and Plex.
Kindle Paperwhite - it’s easier than carrying around dozens of books.
Logitech Bluetooth Keyboard - Necessary if you have a type-heavy job and use a laptop stand.
Aeropress - The best coffee maker you can buy and it’s even portable enough that I can take it everywhere
And don’t forget your passport!
Am I missing anything!?
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