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As a digital nomad, you’ll be living out of your backpack – making this item one of the most important purchase decisions! I’ve gone through my share of travel bags through my journey and have finally found my dream digital nomad backpack.

Whether you want a minimalist bag or something you can take on all your outdoor adventures, this post will help you find the perfect digital nomad backpack.

Features to Consider When Purchasing a Digital Nomad Backpack

  • Size and weight– You’ll be carrying everything you own with you around and having a large bag can become a burden. On my first year traveling, I took a 75l travel backpack and it became the bane of my existence – I could barely get the thing on! I downgraded to a 40l after that trip and haven’t looked back since. Every bag on this list of the best digital nomad bags can be used as a carry-on.
  • Laptop and electronics storage – As a digital nomad, you’ll likely have a fair amount of electronics with you – at the very least a laptop. One important feature you’ll want to look for in your travel backpack is a secure storage space for your laptop and other smaller electronics.
  • Security – If you are concerned about theft while traveling, you may want to look for a backpack with built-in anti-theft features like cut-resistant material and a way to secure the bag with a lock.
  • Waterproof – It’s a good idea to get a travel backpack that’s waterproof as your chances of getting caught in the rain while traveling are pretty high, and electronics don’t like getting wet!
  • Cost – While cost may be one of your primary deciding factors when choosing your digital nomad backpack, I highly recommend looking at your bag as an investment. It’s well worth spending money on something you can actually rely on to securely get your gear around.
digital nomad backpacks

Best Carry-on Sized Backpacks for Digital Nomads

Lora’s Top Choice: The Nomadic Travel Bag

I purchased this backpack in 2019, and it’s been my ride or die ever since. I’ve written a full review about why I love the Nomatic bag so much, but here are the cliff notes:

  • It’s carry-on sized (40L), meaning I often don’t have to pay for a checked bag.
  • It has secure laptop storage and a side compartment for storing cords and electronics.
  • It has a waterproof exterior so you don’t have to worry about being caught in the rain while traveling – which will happen.
  • It has a separate shoe compartment so I can store my dirty hiking shoes away from everything else!
  • It has removable waist straps so you can also use it as a duffle bag.
  • It comes with a mesh laundry bag, which is great for keeping your dirty clothes separated from your clean ones. An essential packing tip for long-term travel!
  • The Nomatic Brand has Amazing customer service – they have already replaced my bag once at no charge.

The Nomadic bag is an excellent backpack for digital nomads – it hits all the main features you want.

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Runner up: Minaal Carry On 2.0

I discovered the Minaal Carry On 2.0 bag through another digital nomad I met in Costa Rica and it’s a solid backpack, with similar features to the Nomatic Travel Bag.

It has a minimalist aesthetic, a shock-proof laptop compartment, and compliance with both US and European airline carry-on limits. The laptop compartment goes against your back, as opposed to the Nomatic bag which has the laptop sleeve on the opposite side.

It also has a seam-sealed rain cover to keep your gear dry and tuck away shoulder straps for a briefcase-style business mode. Overall, it’s a nice looking bag that hits the main features you’ll want in your digital nomad backpack.

Best Digital Nomad Backpacks for Minimalists: CabinZero

CabinZero is a UK based company that has created the ultimate hassle-free travel pack. The bags are made with a lightweight design that won’t weigh you down, yet it is still spacious to carry everything you need. It can be carried on your back but also comes with a comfortable top and side grab handles.

One really cool feature about the CabinZero bags is that they have lost and found tags built-in. This ensures your bag can be traced back to you in the event it is lost (or even stolen). The system is also linked directly into the Airline’s own baggage tracing system. You just need to register the tag online with Okoban.com as soon as you receive the bag. Your bag then has lifetime protection using this lost and found system!

Best Digital Nomad Travel Backpack for Safety: PacSafe VentureSafe

As a digital nomad, you’re going to be carrying around some high-value items with you which means you’ll want a backpack to keep it all safe. One of the safest backpacks for digital nomads is the Pacsafe venturesafe EXP45.

The PacSafe VentureSage bag is built with an anti-theft design, with securable and puncture-resistant zippers that can also be locked with a padlock. The fabric is cut-resistant, and the bag also comes with stainless steel cable to lock your bag to objects.

This anti-theft backpack holds up to 45 liters and comes with a roomy main compartment (suitcase style) plus a smaller exterior one for fast access. Inside the pocket, you can fit a tablet, laptop, or travel binder. It also comes with a 5-year Pacsafe warranty!

Best Waterproof Digital Nomad Travel Bag: FE Active – 25 Litre Dry Bag

Suppose you’re an adventurous traveler who often finds themselves in situations where you may get wet, like on boats to go diving underwater or taking river cruises through the amazon rainforest. In that case, you’ll want a bag that’s guaranteed to protect your gear. The FE Active 25L Dry Bag is an excellent choice!

This dry bag is completely waterproof, made of thick marine-grade vinyl tarpaulin built to withstand extreme outdoor activities. It has built-in compartments to store essentials and accessories like a computer, notebook, and smaller items like a passport. Whatever you’re doing in the water, this bag is sure to protect your gear.

As this bag is only 25l, it may not be big enough to hold all of your belongings. Still, it could be an excellent daypack option to keep your electronics safe when you’re going on wet adventures.

Best Travel Backpack for Photographers: LowePro ProTactic 450 AWII

If you’re a digital nomad who is also a photographer, you’ll want a backpack that has secure storage space for all your cameras! The LowePro ProTactic 450 AW is a great choice.

Designed with professional photographers in mind, this bag can safely and securely fit 2 DSLR’s, up to 8 lenses, and a laptop. It also has flexible and adaptive dividers inside that allows multiple configurations of your cameras. And the protective padding all around the bag ensures your equipment inside is protected! This is a great secondary bag to keep all your camera gear safe and sound.

Best Hiking Digital Nomad Backpack: REI’s Rucksack 40

If you’re looking for a digital nomad backpack that’s also good for taking on outdoor adventures, then check out REI’s Rucksack 40. It’s marketed as both a hiking and travel bag, so you get the best of both worlds.

It’s an extremely comfortable bag to carry, with lightly padded shoulder straps and a ventilated mesh back panel that promotes breathability. This bag is great for long hikes, as the compression straps and load-lifters keep the pack’s weight close to your back for stability. 

The full-zip designs make packing and unpacking easy, and the easy-access side panel keeps your travel essentials convenient and well organized. The sleeve along the back panel can either hold a 3L hydration reservoir or a 15″ laptop! 

This bag is made with rugged, recycled ripstop nylon so it’s extremely durable and environmentally friendly! It also has a stowable rain cover in case you get caught in the rain.

Best Backpacking Bag: Osprey Farpoint

Osprey has long been a favorite choice of bag for backpackers for years, famous for its long-lasting, reliable goods. But the Osprey Farpoint could also be a good option for digital nomads!

All of the osprey backpacks are designed with comfort in mind. They are extremely lightweight and come with an adjustable harness, hip belt, and lockable zippers on the main bag – making it ideal for digital nomads.

The Osprey Farpoint bags also come in a range of sizes – from 40L carry on to larger 75l packs – so you can choose how much space you need. The 40L size is ideal as it can be taken as a carry-on and easily moved from place to place. It’s also got a padded internal laptop sleeve and stash pockets for extra cables and electronics.

Is the Nomatic backpack worth it?

Yes. While it might seem like an investment, buying the Nomatic backpack was some of the best money I’ve ever spent. It hits all the features you need in a digital nomad bag and is built to last. And if anything happens, Nomatic has an excellent warranty and customer service.

What should I pack as a digital nomad?

Although it may seem like you need to pack your entire life into your bag, you actually only need to pack about a week’s worth of clothes, toiletries, and your electronics. Check out this guide for tips on packing for long-term travel.

What are the best digital nomads job?

Wiith more and more jobs becoming remote, there are so many options for digital nomad jobs. Some of the common ones are online English teacher, web developer, travel blogger/writer, and graphic designer. Find more inspiration for digital nomad jobs here.

There you have it – the best backpacks for digital nomads in 2021! I’ve been very happy with my Nomatic Travel Bag since buying it in 2019, but there are certainly some other impressive bags on the market. Do you have a favorite travel bag?

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About Author

Lora Pope is a solo female adventure travel blogger living nomadically around the world. Raised on a rock in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, she has a deep love for nature and wildlife. Lora has traveled to over 58 countries and is on a quest to visit them all, seeking out a deeper connection with the nature and wildlife on this planet.

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