Digital Nomad Packing List + Checklist | MFS

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Digital Nomad Packing List + Checklist

digital nomad traveling after following checklist

^There's packing heavy, then there's traveling with your girlfriend. The green bag and camera are hers. I was just there as the pack mule.

This is what I brought with me on a 5 month remote work trip through Asia (if you prefer a fillable checklist, check out the digital nomad packing checklist here - no email or login needed). 

A Full Digital Nomad Packing Checklist;

Tech Gear
  • Laptop
  • Travel adaptor
  • Power bank
  • Tilt or other ergonomic setup
  • Noise-cancelling headphones
  • Backup laptop charging adaptor + cord
  • Laptop dongle (if necessary)
  • USB-C to USB-C cord
  • USB-C to USB 2.0 adaptor
  • USB-C to micro-USB adaptor
  • Wifi extender
  • Ethernet cord
Clothing Upper Body
  • Smart casual long-sleeve button-up (1)
  • Smart casual short-sleeve (1 - 2)
  • Sweatshirt (1 - 2) *depends on time of year you’re visiting
  • Rain jacket (1)
  • Casual t-shirts/tank tops (3 - 5)
Lower Body
  • Lounge/smart casual pants (1 - 2 pair)
  • Smart casual shorts (1 - 2 pair)
  • Casual/workout shorts
  • Boardshorts (2 - 3 pair)
  • Quick dry underwear (7 - 10 pair)
  • Socks (3 pair if you plan to mostly wear sandals)
  • Footwear
  • Strapped sandals that can double as lounge sandals
  • Multipurpose trail shoes
  • Optional: Hiking boots
  • Essentials
    • Toiletry bag w/ toiletries
    • Packing cubes
    • Mesh laundry bag
    • Earplugs
    • Sunglasses
    • Water bottle
    • Large quick-dry towel that doubles as beach towel
    • Cord organizer bag
    • Workout bands
    • Eyemask
    • Deck of cards
    • Hats
    • Kindle
    • Inflatable lumbar-support pillow
    • Inflatable neck pillow
    • Electric razor/razor kit
    • 1 50 - 70L Backpack
    • 1 Daypack Carry-on


    My 5 Month Asia Digital Nomad Packing List

    Digital nomad gear from packing list laid out on ground before trip


    I traveled with one 70L backpack and a daypack for valuables (electronics, cash, etc). Above is my actual, not-so-Instagram-friendly photo of what I took on a 5-month remote work stint through Southeast Asia.

    • Pictured you’ll see my jiu jitsu gi and boxing gloves. Classic example of overpacking. You can buy gently boxing gloves in Thailand and for jiu jitsu, just stick to nogi.
    • I have another part-time job where I work events, so I packed business casual clothing for any events I picked up on the trip.

    **Any products linked below are not affiliate marketing - they’re products I’ve either used or have seen used extensively while working remotely.**


    Tech Gear


    Not a lot to say about this one, huh? It’s how you make your money and power your lifestyle.

    Noise-Canceling Headphones

    Image of Sony WF-1000XM4 headphones for digital nomads

    ^Photo of Sony WF-1000XM4 wireless headphones by onurbinay on Unsplash

    Not all noise-canceling headphones are created equal. My favorite? The Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds.

    It’s hard to overstate the importance adding noise-canceling headphones to your digital nomad packing list, especially when you’re working remotely in places that have a higher level of noise tolerance.

    Oh, you were hoping for a quiet space to work in your short-term rental? That’s cute, because there’s yet another luxury apartment complex going up next to you, and let me tell you. They love jackhammers and angle grinders. Work starts at 7am SHARP.

    Travel Adapter

    You’ll need a universal travel adapter, as the world simply refuses to agree on which style of holes in the wall look the best.

    Travel adaptor that digital nomads need

    Travel Adaptor Vs. Power Converter

    A travel adapter is an intermediary piece that allows you to plug into an outlet from a different country, that has different outlet designs. But - it doesn’t change power input or output.

    You’ll see “power converters” out there - and you probably don’t need these. Modern laptops and most electronics are able to regulate power intake, so you should be all set with a simple travel adapter.

    Make sure to pick up a travel adapter of these up before you leave. You can get lucky and find one that’s relatively inexpensive (thanks Indonesia), but there are places that power adapters are outrageously marked up (here’s looking at you, Hong Kong and Singapore), and there’s not much you can do about it, because you need that juice.

    Laptop Case

    I was surprised at how many remote workers don't include this in their packing list. You need a way to protect the tool that powers your lifestyle - and a laptop case will do just the trick.

    If you like laptop stands, and you want to minimize the amount you’re carrying (which - for sure recommended) - Tilt is the way to go.

    You can also opt for a more robust setup, that includes a separate case, stand, bluetooth keyboard and mouse/mousepad. If this is the route you opt for, the Roost stand may be your go-to stand.

    Power Bank

    Depending on where you’re working remotely in the world, power outages can be very common. And when that power goes out, time to power up your hotspot so you don’t miss a beat with meetings or work.

    Whether you're keeping your US number abroad or getting data with a local esim, being able to hotspot from your phone is mission-critical for remote workers. And when your phone juice runs out, you’re going to need that power bank as a backup source of charging power.

    Wifi Extender

    Wifi extender digital nomads use to improve their wifi range

    A wifi extender is an easy thing to add to the packing list that takes up very little space and provides a ton of value. It's a portable device you can easily plug into any outlet and extend the strength of the wifi signal. It’s one of the easier ways to hack internet speed in your accommodations.

    The TP-Link AX1750 is a good budget pickup for this.

    Macbook Dongle

    If you’re a MacBook user like me - congrats! You too have experienced the thrill of dangling your dongle off a table in a cafe or coworking space.

    Nevertheless - it’s better to pick one up before leaving than to grab one while you’re on the go abroad. Try to grab one with an ethernet input too, so you’re able to get wired connections when possible.

    Cords & Adaptors

    • A USB 2.0 > USB 2.0
    • USB-C > USB 2.0 adaptor (2)

    USB-C to USB 2.0 adapters

    ^USB-C to USB 2.0 adapters like this significantly cut down on the number of cords you have to carry


    • A USB 2.0 > micro-USB adaptor (1)
    • An ethernet cord
      • Many places have a wifi router you can plug directly into. This can be huge when it comes to video calls.
    • An extra laptop charging cord
      • This is something I started doing when my primary charging cord got wet, and I was SOL. Having a backup is especially critical for somewhere remote like, say, Siargao. Having a single point of failure (like a laptop charging cord) in places like this is very difficult and stressful to remedy quickly.


    Upper body

    • Smart casual long-sleeve button-up (1)
    • Smart casual short-sleeve (2)
    • Sweatshirt (1 - 2)
    • Puffy jacket (1)
      • This will really depend on where you go and the time of year. But even SE Asia can be chilly in the evenings.
    • Rain jacket (1)
    • Casual t-shirts/tank tops (3 - 5)

    Some readers will want more than what’s above - some less. But whatever you're adding or omitting from your digital nomad packing list just remember - materials matter. Black polyester t shirts don’t mesh well with 100 degree heat and 80% humidity.

    Lower Body

    • Lounge/smart casual pants (1 - 2 pair)
      • You want lightweight, comfortable pants that can double as smart casual if you’re out on a date or heading to a nice restaurant, or to spend a day hungover with electrolytes in hand. Uniqlo Ultra Stretch DRY-EX Tapered Pants are excellent for this.
    Digital nomad wearing Uniqlo Ultra Stretch DRY-EX Tapered Pants from their packing list
    ^Uniqlo Ultra Stretch DRY-EX Tapered Pants


    • Smart casual shorts (1 - 2 pair)
      • Mainly for nice restaurants/dates in hotter climates
    • Casual/workout shorts (1 - 2 pair)
      • Your everyday drivers.
    • Boardshorts (2 - 3 pair)
      • Boardshorts are the versatile piece of clothing I own. If you get pretty nondescript pairs that aren’t clearly made for water, you can wear them anywhere you wear casual shorts.
    • Quick dry underwear (7 - 10 pair)
    • Socks (3 pair if you plan to mostly wear sandals)


    • Sandals that can double as flipflops
      • Bedrocks are great for this. Chacos work too, it'll largely come down to personal preference.
    • Multipurpose trail shoes
      • A solid pair of low-key sturdy trail shoes can serve as hiking shoes, jogging shoes, workout shoes, and shoes that will pass as nice-ish to go out with. I’ll no doubt differ wildly from many readers in my tastes - I like On’s Cloudventure or Cloudultras.
    • Optional: Hiking boots
      • Hiking boots are great. But ask yourself - do you need those hiking boots? They take up a lot of precious luggage space. If you’re doing a 5-mile hike with a daypack, trail shoes should do the trick. I would really only add hiking boots to my packing list if I was planning a multi-day trek where I’m carrying weight, or bagging a challenging peak in the Himalayas, the Andes or the Rockies. Otherwise, sturdy trail shoes will probably do the trick.


    • Toiletry bag w/ toiletries
    • Packing cubes
      • Not only do they help you conserve space, but they help you organize your clothes. And when you’re living out of a backpack, that’s huge. 
    • Mesh laundry bag
      • This helps you avoid losing dirty clothes into your bag, only to really stink things up down the line.
    • Large quick-dry travel towel
      • You want something that doesn’t take up a lot of space, that you can use to dry off, and that you can spread out on the beach. Nomadix original towels generally fit the bill.
    • Earplugs
      • For me, adding earplugs to your digital nomad packing list is a non-negotiable. And not just any earplugs - you want Mack’s. I’ve tried them all - Mack’s are the only ones that will block out the sounds of that quinceanera next door and roosters at 3am, and they’re legitimately comfortable to wear all night long.
    • Sunglasses
      • Don’t bring the Gucci shades here. A pair of quality, price-balanced glasses will do the trick. Goodr is my go-to.
    • Waterbottle
      • Collapsable 1 liter bottles generally work really well for this. You generally want a bottle with a larger opening so it’s easier to pour into.


    • Cord organizer bag
      • If you’re bringing cords and adaptors and all the stuff that comes with that - you need a “I-don't-know-where-to-put-this-bucket”. Something you can just jam all that miscellaneous stuff into. Otherwise, they take over your backpack’s various pockets and get lost.
    • Resistance bands
      • I love getting a good workout in at home when I’m traveling. Augmenting that workout with resistance bands (I use Sportisimo) is awesome.
    • Eyemask
      • This is a near-weightless piece of gear that can have a significantly positive impact on your life by improving your sleep quality. I use the LitBear mask.
    • Inflatable lumbar-support pillow
      • Amazing how many “minimalist” apartments you’ll come across when digital nomading. Turns out - “minimalist” is a euphemism for, “we just wanted to spend less money on furnishing the place”. So you’re likely to find chairs with terrible lumbar and back support. An inflatable lumbar support pillow like this one helps out quite a bit.
    • Electric razor
      • Something you may not think about before heading out - but if you’re a guy, and you don’t mind a little stubble, this is huge. And it can be expensive and difficult to find an electric razor abroad. 
    • Inflatable airplane neck pillow
      • I personally don’t use this, but they can be helpful for long flights. I’d definitely pack the inflatable lumbar pillow before the neck pillow.
    • Deck of cards
    • Kindle
    • Hats 


    50 - 70L Backpack

    70 liter Osprey backpack digital nomads use
    ^The Osprey 70 liter backpack similar to the one I use

    You might travel with a suitcase, or multiple. Everyone does it a little differently. I personally carried a 70L Osprey backpack, and was able to fit everything just fine.

    20L Daypack Carry-On

    I opted for a smaller daypack to carry my valuables; laptop, my travel credit card, passport, travel debit cards, chargers. You actually need something like this for a carryon, as you can’t (and wouldn’t want to) check your laptop. Whenever I take a boat, bus or train, I store my larger pack. I put my most valuable items in my smaller pack and never check or store my valuables pack in an overhead, whether it's a bus, plane or train. I always keep that within arm’s reach.


    Packing is certainly part of it, but most of these things are just “stuff”. If you lose or forget something, you can pick it up in-country - just be don't be a dweeb and buy a bunch of stuff that's going to go straight to a landfill.

    And for other tips on how to become a digital nomad, check out our digital nomading guide hereAnd if you want to pack less and go further, check out our 2-in-1 laptop case that improves your posture.