If you’re working remotely as a digital nomad, either as a freelancer or as an employee of a company, you need great digital nomad gear. You need the tools that make all the hard work you do seem just a little bit easier, just a little bit quicker, and your work-day slightly more comfortable. Either it’s a comfortable headset with great sound, a mouse, a keyboard that doesn’t mess up your wrists and shoulders, or a bag that fits your travel needs.
I’ve spent 5+ years as a freelancer, and in that time, tested various headsets, backpacks, travel pillows, mouses and more. During that time, I’ve learned that having the right gear gives me that extra % of productivity and satisfaction while working. Even though a few extra $’s flies out of my bank account. Below is a list of select items that I’ve chosen as my standard digital nomad gear setup.
Current list of digital nomad gear I use in 2021:
1. A Flexible Travel Medical Insurance
The first item on the list is a must for all digital nomads: travel insurance. As a digital nomad, we are always traveling to new places. If we have a reliable and flexible travel insurance, we can focus on what really matters: our work and travel experiences. There is a sea of travel insurance companies out there, but one company that stands out now that we've entered 2020 is SafetyWing. It's a relatively new company, and despite launching in March 2018, they already have 15.000+ paying customers. Their policy is administered by Tokio Marine, which is one of the largest insurance companies in the world.
Why I recommend SafetyWing for digital nomads:
- You can buy this travel medical insurance while already traveling
- This is a subscription-based travel insurance, which makes it very flexible. Pick your start date, pay monthly, and cancel at any time
- It's very affordable. Only $37 for 4 weeks, and $68 if you add the US. This is 1/3 of the price of similar travel insurance companies
- It's available in 180 countries
- You can add 1 child to the travel insurance without added cost (from 14 days to 10 years old. 1 per parent, maximum 2 per family)
- It covers you worldwide and even has limited home country coverage
- They offer 24/7 customer service
Sign up for SafetyWing travel medical insurance for nomads using this form:
2. A Travel and Work-friendly Laptop
The second item on the list is pretty obvious. As a digital nomad, you’ll need a travel and work-friendly laptop. There’s been a never-ending debate on what kind of laptop one should get for remote work, but in the end, it depends on your needs and preferences. “Do I choose a Mac or a PC,” you may ask yourself. I started out with PC back when I was an avid Counter-Strike and World of Warcraft gamer. However, when I entered adulthood and work life, I was somewhat accidentally thrown into the Mac-world. Since then, I’ve personally considered the MacBook Pro to be the best travel and work-friendly laptop, while a PC is better for gaming. That’s why I’ll recommend the MacBook Pro in this article.
Here are some key features about the MacBook Pro:
- Choose between 13” and 15” models
- Lots of memory, fast and up to 10 hours battery life
- Great display and graphics
- Smooth touchpad
- 13-inch model: Weight only 1.37 kg (3.02 pounds)
- 15-inch model: Weight only 1.83 kg (4.02 pounds)
3. A Noise-Canceling Headset
Ever been on the airplane watching a movie and you need to blast the sound to the max? I sure remember those times. Not anymore, though. This Sony headset has excellent sound and noise-canceling, which make my flights 10x better. I get a lot of work done during flights, and the noise-canceling really helps to make me more focused. The same goes for the office or co-working space I’m at. This headset is a must, and I highly recommend you get yourself one. As of writing, the best headset I’ve tested and used myself.
Key features of this headset:
- Great noise canceling
- Voice assistant, that can interact with for example Alexa
- Ability to cover up the right ear cup to turn down sound for conversation
- Adjusts the ambient sound to your activity
- Easily control sound by tapping the right ear cup
- 30 hours of battery life on a single charge
- HiRes audio for premium sound quality
- Comfortable to wear
4. A Great Travel Bag
Nomatic is in my opinion a great backpack company. There is an array of good backpacks out there, but there is one that I’ve found to have everything I need. The Nomatic 30L Travel Bag. I purchased this travel bag back in 2017, and it’s still a winner for me. I travel a lot, and I like to organize my work equipment neatly, but also fit a good chunk of clothes. This backpack’s got all you need for a trip for 2-4 days (or longer, depending on your needs and access to a washing machine or laundry service).
The Nomatic 30L travel bag comes with:
- An innovate strap system
- A ventilated shoe compartment
- A bottle pocket
- A cord pass through
- A sock/underwear compartment
- A laptop/tablet compartment
- An RFID safe pocket & cord management
- A roller bag pass through
Other features include:
- A large opening for easy packing
- Carry-on size
- Durable waterproof materials
- Notebook pocket
- Fleece lined valuables pocket
- Reflective ink
- Adjustable sternum strap
The backpack also comes with two additional bundles, for an extra fee. The bundles include waist straps, shirt organizer, toiletry bag, compressions cube, and a vacuum bag.
5. A Robust and Portable Laptop Stand
One underestimated and often forgotten negative fact about working on a laptop over a long period, is how the neck is put in an unnatural position. Laptop-work can be a significant cause for neck, chest, back, and shoulder problems, because everything is connected. If the neck is in an unnatural position, it may impact other parts of the body. I’ve experienced this myself. and it really showed me what neck, chest, back, and shoulder pain was really about.
One solution to remedy such pains is to elevate the laptop. For example: with a Roost Laptop Stand, which is an adjustable and portable laptop stand. It helps to keep your body in a more natural position.
Here are some key features about the Roost Laptop Stand:
- Universal fit and can hold nearly any PC or Mac
- Adjustable from 6-12 inches, to give you an eye-level view of your screen
- Fully collapsible and lightweight which makes it easy to fit in your laptop bag or backpack
6. A Portable Wireless Keyboard
Since I’m a Mac user, I’ll recommend a portable wireless keyboard for Mac. This one is pretty obvious, as the wireless keyboards that Apple offers are great and works seamlessly with any Mac.
- Pairs automatically with your Mac
- Remarkably comfortable and precise typing experience
- Sleek design and rechargeable battery
- Long lasting battery life
7. A Comfortable Vertical Mouse
Anyone that has worked on a laptop without a mouse has experienced this problem. Wrist discomfort and pain. If you don’t use a mouse and you’re working on a laptop over long periods, you’ll most likely have your hands in the same unnatural position as I do right now (I forgot my Evoluent mouse at home). The Evoluent mouse gives you a more natural hand position.
Here are some key features about the Evoluent Vertical Mouse:
- Prevents wrist discomfort and provide improved comfort
- Configure the buttons on the mouse to your needs with the Evoluent Mouse Manager
- Easily adjust mouse-speed from low to high with the optical sensor controls on the side of the mouse
- USB-wired which makes it compatible with nearly any operating system on PC or Mac
If you don’t have a USB input on your laptop, and you prefer wireless mouses, I still suggest you get a vertical mouse. There are plenty of wireless options out there.
Ready to become a Digital Nomad?
To become a digital nomad, you either have to have a job you can do remotely or work online. If your dream is to live your life without the confines of an office, I suggest you find yourself a job that allows you to be wherever you want, whenever you want. Some of the gear in the list above may fit your needs for your location independent lifestyle.
Just like anything in life, being a digital nomad comes with a lot of trial and errors. However, it never hurts to be prepared. Feel free to use this list above to prepare for a location independent lifestyle.