Choosing your digital nomad luggage carefully is essential for easy full-time travel. Whether you’re a digital nomad, remote worker or frequent traveler – you’re going to need the best luggage that suits your needs and travel style.
But it doesn’t matter which digital nomad luggage you choose…right?
There’s a huge difference between packing for a holiday and packing for the digital nomad lifestyle.
If you’re on a holiday for a weekend or week, almost any bag will do because it’s such a short amount of time and you just need to chuck your clothes in.
But if you’re a digital nomad? Your whole life has to fit into that luggage! You are going to need the best digital nomad luggage to be lightweight, functional, durable enough to go through multiple flights a year and ultimately protect all your valuables.
As full-time digital nomads since 2018, we sold all of our stuff and our whole lives fit into our 50 lbs digital nomad luggage. While we didn’t give it much thought when we started the digital nomad lifestyle, we quickly saw the need to get better luggage. I mean…our whole lives were in it – there was no way we were going to get just ANY luggage. And it’s been a worthwhile investment.
After traveling full-time for a couple of years now, we have been able to personally test and see what factors make the best luggage for digital nomads. Here are our recommendations.
What Will You Use Your Digital Nomad Luggage For?
The most important question you need to ask yourself. There are really only 2 answers to this question:
- Will I use my digital nomad luggage for check-in luggage?
- Will I use my digital nomad luggage for carry-on luggage?
Both are valid ways to travel – it all depends on how you want to travel and manage all of your stuff. We know digital nomads who have decided to cut everything down to carry-on luggage (around 10kg). We have found most digital nomads are like us who have 1 checked bag whether that’s a roller suitcase or a bigger travel backpack.
For Matt and I, we have 1 suitcase each and 1 backpack each. After our 2nd year being digital nomads, we decided we could definitely cull more of our stuff and so we did and we’ve found this combo works well for us!
Read This Next: 10 Best Digital Nomad Backpacks For Everyday Use
How Long Are You Looking To Travel As A Digital Nomad?
- 6 months?
- 1 year?
- 2+ years?
This is a hard question for any digital nomad to answer – mostly because we never plan that far ahead. Matt and I never really said we were going to be digital nomads for X amount of years. However, we did know we wanted to pursue this for at least a year – and that’s what we packed for.
We believe that if you are a full-time digital nomad traveling for 6+ months, you are likely going to have 1 piece of check-in luggage and 1 piece of carry-on luggage.
Should My Digital Nomad Luggage Be A Suitcase Or A Backpack?
The most important and defining question – should you have a suitcase or a backpack?
This debate has swept through the digital nomad communities and it’s honestly probably never going to come out as one is better than the other. It’s all up to your personal taste – you are the one traveling with your digital nomad luggage so just choose what you feel is best for YOU.
Personally, we have always been team suitcase! We have our own digital nomad packing list and found that it’s much easier to organize and repack our things with a suitcase. Plus we wanted to be easier on our backs.
But before you can answer that question, take the time to imagine what kind of digital nomad travel you’d like to do. There’s plenty of different kinds and you can be more than 1 of them.
- Are you an adventurous digital nomad?
- Are you a chill digital nomad?
- Are you a foodie digital nomad?
- Are you an off-the-beaten-path digital nomad?
- Are you looking to do every little thing in a new country?
- Are you trying to focus on work or building your business?
What does this have to do with choosing your digital nomad luggage? LOTS!
Depending on your travel style, some digital nomad luggage might suit you better than others. For example, if you’re an off-the-beaten-path digital nomad – you might prefer a big travel backpack because you will be walking around (maybe even dirt paths) with your luggage more often. While if you’re a work-from-home, chill digital nomad – you might prefer a suitcase that you can easily roll from the airport to your Airbnb without any fuss.
Figuring this out will help you choose the best luggage for digital nomad travel.
Should You Get Soft or Hard Shell Luggage As A Digital Nomad?
There are good and bad sides to both of these types of digital nomad luggage. Ultimately, you can decide what’s more comfortable for you and suit your travel style.
Hard Shell Luggage Pros:
- Offers extra protection for valuables
- More aesthetically pleasing
- Easier to repack your things
- More colors and designs are available
Hard Shell Luggage Cons:
- Tends to be heavier
- Harder to fit into tight, cramped spaces
- Scratches much easier
Soft Shell Luggage Pros:
- Tends to be lightweight
- Durable material
- Fits into tight spaces easier
Soft Shell Luggage Cons:
- Fabric can be cut open
- Easier to breakthrough
- Might not be waterproof
- Susceptible to stains and smells
We chose hard shell suitcases because we find it easier to pack and repack, roll around everywhere and gives us peace of mind with the extra protection. We’ve gotten our digital nomad luggage weight down to a fine art and so it’s okay for us if the hard shell is a little heavier.
Whichever one you choose, we highly recommend getting one with high-quality wheels. You will be traveling to lots of different digital nomad destinations with a variety of terrain. If your back starts acting up and you’re feeling tired at least you’ll be able to roll it along instead.
Quick Overview of the Best Luggage For Digital Nomads
Remember this honestly comes down to personal taste. But because we’ve digital nomads
- Best Softshell Luggage: Osprey Ozone Wheeled Luggage
- Best Hardshell Luggage: July Medium Suitcase
- Budget-Friendly Luggage: Coolife Expendable 28″ Suitcase
- Best Overall Digital Nomad Luggage: Away Travel Medium Suitcase
Digital Nomad Luggage: 3x Best Hard Shell Suitcases
Hardshell suitcases are a wonderful digital nomad option. You get extra protection for your valuables, it’s all nice and tucked in (you won’t have anything fall out) and it’s so easy to organize everything you own.
1. Away Travel: Medium Suitcase
Away is a travel company that produces some of the most beautiful and aesthetically pleasing luggage collections. Through their sleek design, lifetime warranty and thoughtful marketing, Away has soared since their launch in 2015 taking over and leading the travel luggage industry.
The minimally designed hard shell suitcases have become popular in recent years. There are 4 sizes available for purchase: Carry-On, Bigger Carry-on, Medium and Large. If you want to keep your weight below 50lbs (23 kgs), I’d say the Away Medium Checked is a perfect size. Anything more than that and it’s probably best to order a Large.
The hard shell is made out of polycarbonate which keeps it durable through any flight and their 360 high-quality wheels make it easy to roll through any kind of floor. The TSA-approved combination lock keeps your belongings safe and secure. While the Away suitcase is a little heavy (9.9lbs or 4.4 kgs), you can tell this digital nomad luggage was built to last.
Now, I might be a little bit biased here but Away suitcases are my literal dream! I haven’t had the chance to snag one myself because my old Delsey just won’t die. Until then…I’ll just have to keep dreaming of owning Away luggage.
Prices start at $295 for a Medium; 100-day trial; Free shipping; Limited lifetime warranty Dimensions (includes wheels): Exterior 26” x 18.5” x 11”, Interior 24” x 17.5”; Weight: 9.9 lbs (4.5 kg).
2. Coolife Luggage Expandable: 28″ Large Suitcase
This is a budget-friendly option that still gives you great value for money. The Coolife Luggage Expandable has ABS + PC hardshell material which keeps it durable and strong even though some of the rigors of baggage handlers. The 4 wheels move easily through 360 degrees of motion and this digital nomad luggage comes in 4 different colors.
With 2 years of warranty and an in-built TSA lock, this is a great, lightweight and budget-priced suitcase that will help you have peace of mind during your digital nomad travels.
For long-term travel as digital nomads, we recommend getting the Large (28″) suitcase. It’s important to note that only the Large size is expandable giving you extra space.
Prices start at $139.99 for a Large; 2 Year Warranty; Free shipping; Dimensions: (20.5 x 11x 29); Weight 7.65 lbs (3.46 kg).
3. July: Medium Suitcase
Born in Melbourne, Australia, this luggage company has recently launched in The United States. July is known for having an elegant, simplistic design while having the highest protection for your valuables. This digital nomad luggage comes in 9 different colors (the most we’ve seen be offered) and you can also add personalization to your suitcase for an extra $50.
Don’t let the beauty fool you because this bag is made out of a tough German polycarbonate shell to give you peace of mind for your valuables in transit. The unique design feature by July is the aluminum corner bumpers which also add the extra layer of protection from being thrown around by baggage handlers. The interior is water-resistant and lined with stain-proof nylon material. The July Checked is the best size for long-term travel.
You can tell this July has thought of almost everything. They have even trademarked their propriety SilentMove wheels that can glide across any surface without making a sound. Now that’s cool. When you purchase this digital nomad luggage, it also comes with an odor-proof laundry bag and y-shaped compression straps.
While it is a little heavier than the bags on the list here making you have some extra weight, you can totally understand it’s because of how strong, durable and secure it is. The ‘Checked Luggage’ is the perfect size for long-term traveling digital nomads.
Prices start at $275; 100 Day Trial, Ships Next Business Day; Lifetime Warranty; Dimensions (26″ H x 18″ W x 11.5″); Weight: 8.3 lbs (3.8kg).
The Hard Shell Suitcases We Use As Digital Nomads
I can’t really put our suitcases on this list because ours aren’t the best. Matthew has the Samsonite Freeform suitcase and I’ve got a Delsey Red suitcase. Both of our suitcases broke during baggage handling and we were both able to get replacements!
Qantas Airlines broke mine and they gave me my Red Delsey 28″ one which is ok, but I probably wouldn’t have paid for it. Matthew’s seemed to be a manufacturing problem and he was able to get a replacement with the Samsonite Freedom which he is really happy with!
If I was to buy new digital nomad luggage, I’d go with Away or July because it’s a great long-term investment that should last a couple of years! Honestly, any of these two are probably the best luggage for digital nomads who travel full-time.
Matthew is a big fan of Samsonite and said he would stick with his Samsonite Freeform!
Digital Nomad Luggage: 3x Best Soft Shell Suitcases
Soft shell suitcases are a great option for long-term travelers because of their flexibility and lightweight material. If you have an inkling weight that could be a problem for you, soft shell suitcases might be the way to go. These digital nomad suitcases are slightly bigger and therefore will need to be check-in luggage and not suitable for carry-on luggage.
While most soft-shell suitcases come without wheels, we recommend always getting digital nomad luggage with wheels so if you ever get tired or your back hurts – that option is still available to you. In this list, all soft shell suitcases have wheels included.
1. Eastpak CNNCT Wheeled Luggage
Traveling through the cobbled streets of Antigua, Guatemala? Or simply a busy gravel road?
This Eastpak Tranverz M Luggage is perfect for busy and bumpy streets with its smooth two-wheeled system and telescopic handle.
The coating material is unique to Eastpak and offers extra protection from stains and includes durable water-resistant fabric. While it’s not the most elegant or intricate design, it comes in few different colors.
Always running out of space?
This is where the Tranverz M really shines! It has tons of room and lots of compartments to make organising your digital nomad luggage. It’s also super lightweight which is a huge bonus.
As digital nomads, we are always on the move. The ability to pack up quickly is a huge advantage. The Tranverz M lays flat which makes packing so much easier for you!
Prices start at $180; 30 Years Limited Warranty; 30 Day Free Returns; Free Shipping; Dimensions: 26.38″, Width: 13.98″, Depth: 11.82″; Weight: 6.86 lbs (3.12 kgs)
2. REI Rolling Duffel
REI has backpacks for any kind of traveling. The REI Rolling Duffel comes with 2 wheels that easily glide over any gravel or cobblestone street making it easy for you to go literally anywhere! The Rolling Duffel bag is made of recycled nylon to give it a tougher exterior, protecting your things from most damage.
For a soft shell suitcase, this digital nomad luggage has plenty of handles on the side, front and end to make the ease of access really simple to simply pick up and go if you’re in any rush. This suitcase is eco-friendly through the use of recycled material and bluesign approved materials.
The price is a little steep if you ask me but this is a soft shell suitcase that was made to last. This digital nomad suitcase is also 2 inches bigger than what we usually recommend (28″) and it’s definitely something you can factor in. If weight might be an issue for you, this could be the perfect digital nomad suitcase that’s lightweight and can pack more in because of the extra 2 inches.
Prices start at $269; 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed; Free Shipping; Dimensions: 30 x 16 x 14.5; Weight: 9.7 lb (4.3 kgs)
3. Osprey Ozone Wheeled Luggage
If you’re looking for a no-fuss, high-quality and straightforward digital nomad suitcase, this could be the one for you! The Osprey Ozone Wheeled Luggage comes in a 26″ medium-sized digital nomad suitcase that suits any kind of traveler.
While there is only 1 color option, the digital nomad luggage fits everything very tight and compact for a sleek, minimalist look. The lockable zippers, rear panel pocket and compression straps should keep your belongings safe and secure. Osprey also offers their own branded packing cubes which is an essential item on our digital nomad packing list.
Prices start at $250; Free Shipping & Returns; Dimensions: 6H X 16.9W X 13.6D; Weight: 5.14 lb (2.3 kgs)
Digital Nomad Luggage: 2 Best Travel Backpacks (Check-in Luggage)
If you’re on the fence about buying a hard shell suitcase or a backpack with wheels, then a travel backpack could be the option for you. Travel backpacks are the easiest to carry around because they simply fit on your back and they can provide support through things like a hip belt, waist strap or chest straps.
Some definitely prefer a backpack if they were traveling the world for one year…but for being a full-time digital nomad? We think it could become too hard on your back and just uncomfortable to travel with overall. But again – it all depends on personal taste.
Here are the 2 best travel backpacks for digital nomads who travel full-time.
1. Osprey Renn 65 Women’s Backpack
Sleek. Compact. Functional. The Osprey Renn 65 Travel Backpack is a great size for long-term travel and its ventilation technology makes it very comfortable for any traveler. There are 3 colors available: grey, purple and blue.
The highly ventilated backpack and Airspeed back panel make it a great backpack for comfort allowing you to walk around and carry for longer periods. The travel backpack includes a compartment for a sleeping bag and an integrated rain cover to protect your bag from any water. The waist strap comes with dual mesh side pockets for quick access.
Prices start at $164; Free Shipping & Returns; Dimensions: 26.4 x 14.6 x 14.2; Weight: 3.44 lb (1.56kgs)
2. Thule Landmark Travel Backpack
If you’re looking for an all-in-one digital nomad luggage solution – the Thule Landmark Travel Backpack could be the perfect backpack for you! Why?
This check-in backpack also includes a 20l carry-on bag in the one price. That’s an awesome combo! They’ve also designed it so you can attach the carry-on luggage to your main backpack. You can choose from 3 different sizes available: 40L, 60L and 70L depending on your needs. Note: this includes the 20L carryon bag e.g. 70L bag is actually 50L for the main + the 20L carryon.
This digital nomad luggage includes anti-theft pockets to store cash, passport and other valuables. You’ve also got a safe-zone compartment for things like sunglasses, your phone or anything you want to protect. And if you’re worried about keeping your bag secure, Osprey has added innovative loop locks to help deter theft from unzipping your bag.
If you’re looking for a travel backpack without wheels, this is one of the best travel backpacks for digital nomads.
Prices start at $227; Free Shipping & Returns; Dimensions: 19.3 x 13 x 24.8; Weight: 4.56 lb (2.06kgs)
Which Is The Best Digital Nomad Luggage For Long-Term Travel?
The only thing you need to keep in mind is how much check-in luggage you want or not at all. Since 2018, we’ve been traveling full-time and we believe the best digital nomad luggage combination is 1 check-in bag and 1 carry-on backpack. Simple, uncomplicated and easy.
Matthew’s Answer: Samsonite Freeform Hard Shell Suitcase
Ashley’s Answer: Away Hard Shell Suitcase
The best luggage for digital nomads like yourself is totally up to you and what you will feel comfortable traveling with! You don’t need a huge 70L backpack to feel like a legit traveler. If a hard shell wheeled suitcase is easier for you to move around and pack with – then get that!