Choosing the right luggage for you as a digital nomad and a remote worker is so important. It’s basically your life tucked into one bag that needs to be easy to manoeuvre, capable of protecting your valuable tech, and also has enough compartments that you can organize yourself well.
It needs to be easy to access so you aren’t dealing with things tumbling out every time you need something and it also needs to be lightweight and durable. That’s a lot to ask for from something that, typically, has simply been something to chuck your favourite clothes in and head on holiday.
As someone who has dealt with long-term travel, using some truly unfit for purpose luggage over the years, I’ve gotten much savvier in terms of what constitutes great luggage for digital nomads. Here I’m going to pass on some recommendations for luggage that will get you working and travelling safely and in style.
Should you Use a Suitcase or a Backpack?
First things first — the big question. That’s very much personal taste and there is a lot of discourse in the travel community about which is better.
Personally, I migrated from being a backpack user to a suitcase user as I find it less cumbersome, easier on the back, and quicker to repack. However, this evolved with the fact I was spending longer in destinations (around three months or more) so having a suitcase and a day-pack made more sense.
I would say if you’re travelling frequently or need quick access to your things on the go then a backpack will be more suited to you. If having your hands free while travelling is important then a backpack is going to be more convenient and if you’re travelling by train a lot and want to keep your luggage close to you in case of theft then a backpack is also going to be more suited to this.
Should I Get Soft or Hard Shell Luggage?
Again, this is a matter of personal taste. Hardshell luggage generally weighs more and can’t be squished into smaller spaces but also offers some extra protection for your valuables. They are also generally more aesthetic and will come in a wider range of colours and patterns.
Softshell cases are made of durable and waterproof fabrics so it’s not without protection and will also be inevitably lighter, soft shell cases also typically have more easily accessible pockets and straps to keep everything tightly packed in there.
If weight is going to be a big issue for you then softshell is the way forward. Conversely, make sure you get the lightest hardshell possible.
Whichever one you go for, I’d recommend something with wheels for when you get tired and make sure those wheels are of great quality.
Best Luggage for Digital Nomads and Remote Workers
Whether you prefer a suitcase, a carry-on or a backpack, there’s something here for you. Take a look at the most highly recommended luggage for people who live out of their suitcases.
Quick Luggage Overview
- Best Budget Option: CoolLife Luggage Expandable Suitcase
- Best Ethical Option: Settra Duffel Backpack
- Best Cabin Bag: Horizn Studio M5 Cabin Luggage
- Best for Organization: Genius Pack Hardside
- Best Backpack: Tortuga Outbreaker
- Best Convertible: Hynes Convertiable Backpack
Best Suitcases for Digital Nomads
This soft-shell suitcase on wheels with integrated lock and side straps is great for keeping you organized and your items safe and secure. With a surprising volume of internal space, it includes two internal pockets with zippers and a smaller front pocket for your need-to-access items. it comes in a wide range of colours which is unusual for this style of case.
Dimensions: 31″ x 15″ x 12″
Weight: 7.99 Ibs
A favourite luggage option among digital nomads, Genius Pack suitcases (and cabin bags) really know how to utilize space and manage to do that while being one of the lightest cases on the market. Half the suitcase is standard packing with compression straps while the other half has a collection of labelled packing cubes and bags to keep yourself organized.
It also includes a sewn-on checklist that lives up to the genius name. 360-degree high-quality wheels make it effortless to move and the five-tear warranty shows the quality of this suitcase which is truly built to last.
Dimensions: 21.5″ x 9″ x 14″
Weight: 6.2 Ibs
In a selection of vibrant colours, this is one budget-priced suitcase you won’t miss on the conveyor belt. Available in cabin and large sizes, the medium size is ideal for convenient long-term travel. With an in-built TSA lock, and high-quality 360-degree wheels, this is a solid, lightweight and easy to manoeuvre case that comes with a two-year guarantee.
Dimensions: 15.4″ x 8.7″ x 22.4″
Weight: 10.0 Ibs
Best Carry-on Luggage for Digital Nomads
Marketed as a carry-on for women, this attractive and extremely light soft nylon suitcase comes in fashionable colours and has extra handles for getting it into the overhead lockers with ease. With the 360-degree wheels, it glides effortlessly and the handle for the suitcase slides in and out like butter.
It comes with a matching luggage tag and convenient pockets to access your items quickly. A fashionable and practical bag for business travellers and digital nomads.
Dimensions: 21.8″ x 13.8″ x 8.3″
Weight: 4.8 Ibs
For people who love their luggage to be of the highest quality, ethical, and customizable — the Rolls Royce of luggage, Horizn Studio bags almost need no introduction at this point in the remote work travel community.
Offering a range of sizes, from this adorable cabin size to the fit-your-entire-life large suitcase to Pro suitcases made with other designers (and even NASA) which have resulted in some truly specific cases for alternative lifestyles like the DJ case. You can also create your own suitcase to suit your lifestyle or go completely plant-based with your case. Handheld luggage, laptop cases, totes, and duffle bags are also available.
All suitcases come with TSA approved lock, Aerospace-grade polycarbonate hard shell, 360-degree Japanese spinner wheels, and a waterproof front pocket that can fit your laptop. Customizable aspects include extra mesh dividers, removable phone chargers, a premium laundry bag and more.
Dimensions: 15″ x 21″ x 7.8″
Weight: 7.4 Ibs
Another company that creates luggage with digital nomads and remote workers in mind. They make their bags and cases out of light but extremely durable waterproof sailcloth which is designed to open flat so you can pack them like a suitcase.
With separate compartments for your laptop and tablet, zipper bags in the main compartment like suitcase, plus other useful organizational pockets at the front and sides, the Tortuga backpacks which come in a range of sizes such as 35L and 45L provide the ideal solution if you want to keep your hands free and your pack light.
They are also designed with comfort and support in mind with a padded back and straps, the Tortuga is truly a perfect blend of luggage and backpack. Tortuga also sells a range of packing cubes and other accessories.
Dimensions: 20.3″ x 12.9″ x 8.2” (35L)
Weight: 4.6 lbs
If you’re looking for a convertible suitcase, both suitcase and backpack then the Hynes is a solid, high-quality option that ticks all the boxes. The wheels tuck away into a subtle compartment when not in use and the backpack straps tuck away into the back, this is a well-designed case and a budget option coming in and $80
It also comes with a detachable laptop sleeve to easily access your work while you are on the go and fits comfortably in the overhead luggage and under the seat. Small compartments and zipper bags inside will also help keep you organized.
Dimensions: 21.3″ x 13.8″ x 9.0″
Weight: 4.6 Ibs
Read More: How to Find Accommodation As a Digital Nomad
Best Travel Backpacks
A classic backpack, this 55L bag is big enough to fit your life into it and comes with that Osprey level of quality.
The detachable day pack is incredibly handy for whipping off during those days when you just need the essentials to go do some work and features a scratch-proof lockable laptop and tablet sleeve meaning you won’t need any extra bags for your day to day life.
The lightweight wireframe and hip belts keep it lightweight with the load distributed evenly.
Dimensions: 24″ x 13″ x 13″
Weight: 3.9 Ibs
A firm favourite of ours as aside from being a fantastic piece of luggage for digital nomads, it’s also made from fifty recycled plastic bottles making it one of the most ethical options on this list.
Easily convertible between a duffle bag and a backpack with water-resistant fabric, this 40L pack is extremely organized and roomy. It also includes removable and adjustable waist and sternum straps. Interesting features include a removable shoe compartment and 17″ laptop sleeve and you add on optional extra organizational packs such as the camera cube and tech pack.
Monarch also offers free shipping, free delivery, and a lifetime guarantee.
Dimensions: 24″ x 11″ x 13″
Weight: 4.5 Ibs
Another firm favourite among long term digital nomads and remote workers, this convertible bag which switches between a duffel bag and backpack has handy pockets designed specifically for shoes, liquids, and tech.
Durable, long-lasting and waterproof, this is a highly resistant bag that will stay with you for a long time. A spacious bag, it has a 40L capacity but is comfortably cabin size.
Dimensions: 22″ x 14″ x 9″
Weight: 4.05 Ibs
Tip: If you’re looking for a smaller pack to carry day to day whether you’re exploring or carrying your things to a coworking space, then our backpacks for digital nomads article has you covered.
Best Luggage Accessories for Digital Nomads
Locks: A lot of luggage comes with a TSA-approved lock these days but if it doesn’t, or you need a few extras, then this two-pack of approved heavy-duty locks will keep your items safe and secure.
Luggage Tags: Make sure your prized possessions are easily returned to you if you lose them with this set of three luggage tags which come in a variety of colours. Get something to match your case or something bright so you can spot your luggage a mile off.
Weighing Scale: Super lightweight and small with a handy hook, a digital weighing scale will save you a lot of money and effort at the airport. It also comes in handy for weighing packages before taking them to the post office.
Packing Cubes: Eagle Creek Packing cubes tend to offer the best value for money as they’re high quality and durable. This packing cube starter pack will help keep you organized.