The year’s coming to an end, and like every year, I like to go through all my gear to see what I’ve changed and what’s stayed the same.
Most of it has stayed the same, with some new stuff added on.
I love checking out everyone’s gear since that’s how I get word of awesome things to buy that I know will be worth the money and actually have some use to me.
Not all of the stuff I listed out below is what I carry around with me all the time when I’m traveling, but if it’s here, it’s something I have used and is Digital Nomad Approved.
Description: Being a digital nomad you sometimes have to deal with stuff in real life, and this 8-in-1 credit card sized tool kit really helps when you need to take care of things like opening boxes, bottles, or tweezing something.
Why carry it: Will save you when you least expect it but most need it, and fits into your wallet, no matter what size it is, since it’s the size of a credit card. Includes a 2 inch knife, tweezers, bottle opener, magnifying glass, and compass. The compass kinda sucks but the knife, tweezers, and magnifying glass have come in handy for me, without having to carry around a huge pocket knife. I get to “stay strapped”, too, with the 2 inch blade without having to actually carry one, so when I’m in the hood I can feel protected (just kidding).
Caveats: Blade gets dull over time and bottle opener doesn’t work consistently, but for the number of times it’s saved me when I needed scissors or something sharp, I can’t complain.
Description: This stuff turns sour stuff sweet and sweet stuff anything but sweet, when you dissolve it on your tongue. Changes the taste of pretty much everything. Doesn’t really have any practical use, but great for fun once in a while.
Why carry it: Great for parties and get-togethers where you just wanna do something different and fun. Awesome icebreaker. It could be practical if you want – buy cheap food on the daily that normally tastes bad, but dissolve some miracle fruit on your tongue and suddenly it can be the best tasting and cheapest food you can have everyday. Possible gourmet-tasting dining on a budget, if you find a good mix.
Caveats: Need to have actual food on hand to see its effect and have fun with it.
Description: If you grew up in the 80s and 90s, SNES was probably a huge part of your life and happiness. Play all the games you grew up playing and relive the good childhood moments in your breaks away from work.
Why carry it: Have some fun and let loose. Productivity is always MUCH better when you have clean and clear distinctions between your work and break time. Nothing better than getting immersed in something totally different from your work, and coming back fresher after letting your mind take a break from the stress of your work.
Caveats: If you don’t have old SNES cartridges around, you’ll have to buy some new ones off places like eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, or wherever you can find them.
Description: In a digital world you need your digital stuff to be charged for it to work. I’ve kept this on hand for emergencies just in case my iPhone runs out of juice and I can’t get in a spot to charge but I really need to make a call, text, or email.
Why carry it: Sometimes you’ll be stuck in situations where you can’t charge your phone up but you really need to make a call or a text message, like when trying to get in touch with your couchsurfing host if you’re traveling. At those times, a quick call or text message could mean the difference between staying at their place or having to go to an expensive hotel, hostel, or even sleeping in your car or a subway station. Also great for power outages too.
Caveats: Takes a lot of cranks to charge it to the point where you have a good amount of battery to actually use the phone, which is a pain in the ass. But desperate times call for desperate measures and this can really save you despite the hard work. Keep expectations in check and you’ll have a great tool in your travel arsenal.
Description: Being a digital nomad and spending a lot of time sitting down in front of the computer, muscles tend to tense up over prolonged periods of working, especially if you don’t regularly stretch and get massages.
Why carry it: If you don’t wanna pay for a massage, or just don’t have time to fit one in, this will really do the job. Foam rolling is an awesome complement and maybe even an alternative to getting deep tissue massages from professionals. Muscles that haven’t been loosened up that are tense and contracted have less optimal tissue perfusion, which means less blood flow to the tissue, and ultimately less optimal body function. The PVC core of this foam roller holds its form much better than regular foam rollers made just of foam. It’s a smaller version of the Revolutionary EVA Foam Roller that carries well while traveling which means you can foam roll anywhere you go so your body stays functional.
Caveats: Smaller size means less surface area so you can’t really roll your entire spine out in one go, or both your legs at the same time, but hey that means you get more mindful self-massaging time doing one side at a time.
Description: Foam rolling relieves and loosens the bigger muscles but leaves the smaller muscles still tense and contracted. Lacrosse balls are great for getting those missed spots that the foam roller neglects (“trigger points”).
Why carry it: Keep those muscles loosened and healthy, especially your postural muscles that are a little smaller and less sexy. Works great on the upper back, entire shoulder (front, side, back), feet, and lots of other spots on the body. For the feet, just step on it with as much weight as you can handle and you’ll get an amazing foot massage, anytime you want. Easy to take on the road and also doubles as a fun tool for playing handball if you’re ever bored and have a wall in front of you.
Caveats: Easy to lose since they’re kinda small, and gets dirty if you use it on floors that have a lot of dust, hair, or other nasty stuff, so just stay clean and you should be good. Also, they come in threes off amazon, so you end up with two extra. You can make a “peanut” using two, and give one away to your friend, or you can just keep some extra on hand in case.
Description: Carrying around face wash, shampoo, shaving cream, body wash, toothpaste, and all these other hygiene and cleaning products can be a hassle. Dr. Bronner’s has worked for me in cutting down the liquid stuff I have to carry down to just one little concentrated bottle.
Why carry it: I use it for shampoo, washing my face, shaving, as a body wash, and washing fruit. They claim that it has 18 uses but these are what I’ve used it for so far, and I love it. Sometimes when I shower out and about the stalls won’t have any soap or shampoo so it’s nice to always have some on hand no matter where I go. Tiny bottle fits into my bag easily.
Caveats: If you have sensitive skin, it might irritate you. Hopefully it doesn’t though! Only way to know is to try it out and see. TONS of people use it without any problems, so there’s a good chance you’ll be fine.
Description: Stay hydrated and stay away from BPA at the same time. I carry this around with me whether I’m traveling or not to make sure I get in my 8+ glasses of water a day.
Why carry it: Folds up really well when traveling, even to the point of being able to fit into my pocket if I don’t have a bag with me. Keeps me hydrated with all the water I need so I can work and perform at my best as much as possible. Used to carry water bottles around but this just makes it so much easier because when I’m done drinking I can just fold it up and tuck it away instead of having to lug an empty bottle around.
Caveats: Hard to clean, so I only use it for water. Maybe that’s a good thing so I can avoid soft drinks and sugary stuff that I don’t wanna have anyway.
Description: Had this on my list last year and I had add it again. Dries super fast, and the towel is super compact fitting into a nice carrying case that comes with it.
Why carry it: When I’m traveling or at a gym that charges for towels this comes in hand. Barely takes up any room and dries me as quick as the sun.
Caveats: Make sure to dry it off completely or else it’ll stink. But that’s like any towel, because of the moisture allowing organisms to grow. Speed up the process with a blow dryer if there’s one around. Also, they’re a little small so make sure to get XL, it’s worth it.
Description: Digital nomads are digital for a reason, we do our work online. And to be online, you’re gonna need to have some power for your laptop and devices.
Why carry it: This bad boy works everywhere and anywhere in the world, at least everywhere I’ve been so far. Small, slim, light, and compact makes it easy to bring around. On top of that, it actually WORKS! A lot of others that I tried before were too loose, bulkier, and more expensive. For around $10 it’s definitely worth it if you’re working online.
Caveats: Easy to lose so keep your eye on it. Buy two if you need to, don’t wanna fall behind on work because of not being able to boot up your laptop.
Description: There’s nothing better than a good night of sleep. I feel like crap and don’t work at my best when I don’t get enough sleep, and I actually see a difference in my quality of life and work when I go too long without good night’s rest. Make sure you get enough shut-eye every night with this sleep mask.
Why carry it: Traveling around and changing time zones, sometimes you’ll either be too tired and need a nap while the sun is up, or need to sleep in to catch up on that sleep deprivation you’ve been having for the past few days (or weeks). This mask makes it easy to since it blocks off all light and is comfortable to actually sleep with. Both Leo and Tynan use it so I had to give it a shot, and love it too. Life is always better with sleep, so make sure you get some so you can actually enjoy your traveling and working on your business, avoiding the grumpy moods and apathy that comes with not getting enough sleep.
Caveats: Might not fit everyone the same so it’s a bit of a gamble at first but definitely worth it if it fits. Fits Tynan, Leo, and I so far, so I think you have a pretty good chance.
Description: Shit happens that you sometimes can’t predict, and you might get scratched up, bruised up, or a little cut up. This little first aid kit has come in hand too many times for me to not put on this list.
Why carry it: Very compact and easy to carry around. A good option to hold you over until you can see a doctor, if you need to, or to do a little self care if that’s all that’s needed. When I learned that little scratches and cuts can sometimes turn into more serious infections that affect the entire body, I started taking little wounds more seriously. Clean them up and bandage them up right, if you don’t wanna lose a limb (really worst case scenario, but you never know).
Caveats: Might have to throw in your own supplies in there that it doesn’t have, like antibiotic ointments. And you gotta refill it with your own stuff after you’ve used it, since there’s only 2-3 of each supply in there, but it’s really only for emergency use anyway.
Description: In addition to having nice clothes, staying fresh in your outfit also means having clean clothes, and if you clean your clothes you gotta dry them too.
Why carry it: After washing your clothes, you gotta make sure they dry properly or else it’ll be a nice place for bacteria to grow. Plus, damp clothes just feel nasty to wear. This clothesline is cheap at about $6 and definitely worth it if you travel and wear clothes (who doesn’t? :P). Saves money at the laundry places that charge, and saves time too since you don’t have to sit around watching your stuff in case someone steals it (or your drying time, it happens). Wash your stuff a few hours before you go to bed and then hang overnight. Free, and no one’s around to steal.
Caveats: Can break or fall down if you stretch it out too far or put too much on the line, so just be reasonable with how much you load onto it.
Description: This was on my list last year, and they’re so good I had to put em on again. Onto my 9th pair this year, because I keep losing them.
Why carry it: Use em for audiobooks, music, videos, meditation, or white noise. Great bass and sound quality for the price, fits well, and are cheap at around $20. Love that I can stay low-key and not get robbed when I’m out and about traveling since they don’t look as expensive as my bulky Audio Technica headphones.
Caveats: Easy to lose, at least for me, so keep an eye on them or grab a second pair just in case. Maybe consider these as a second pair to have on hand, since they’re only $5 and have really great reviews.
Description: Kelly Starrett calls it “the ultimate guide to resolving pain, preventing injury, and optimizing athletic performance”. Couldn’t be more accurate of a description. Learn to move and use our bodies the way they were meant to. This is especially important for those of us who work on a computer all day.
Why carry it: If you’re already working out, staying active, and playing sports – GOOD. Staying healthy keeps you on your game in all aspects of life – business, relationships, just-for-fun stuff, and everything else. But just being active isn’t enough. It’s important to also care for our bodies to make sure we’re moving our muscles and bones in their full ranges of motion, keep our tissue flexible, and have good mobility. Beating your body up and pushing yourself to the max in the gym and on the field/court is great, but we gotta balance it out with caring for it, too. This book tells you exactly how.
Caveats: Huge book, 400 pages. Makes it hard to lug around. When you learn the exercises and drills though, you’ll have em in your head forever.
Description: Sitting with a neutral spine is hard to do when all your attention is focused on your work when you’re at the computer, and getting to a standing desk is hard to come by when you’re traveling. The Acuback makes it easy to sit in a way that lets your spine align the way it’s supposed to.
Why carry it: If you wanna work at your best and wanna look your best, good posture is required. There’s so much info out there about how body language and posture affect both physical and mental health. I use this all the time whenever I can’t work at a standing desk, and it helps me sit up straight with my shoulders back and my head held high looking forward. All you have to do is let it rest between the back of your chair and your low back, and you’re good to go. You can also roll it up and down your spine throughout the work day to massage the areas out, similar to with a foam roller. It warms up too, in the microwave or in a pot of water which helps with muscle pain that you might have anywhere on your body. Small size so it’s easy to fit into your bag.
Caveats: Little bit heavy, but that’s because it’s full of water that warms up so it can soothe muscle pain.
Description: I don’t like having too many pairs of shoes, which is why I love these. I can work out in them AND go out in them AND do business in them since they look good, and they’re made for people who love barefoot shoes like Vibrams.
Why carry it: Barefoot walking, running, and training feel better for me, and these shoes allow me to not look like a bum and still get the same effect. They go with almost anything I wear and they’re super comfortable, exactly what I want in any type of clothing/shoe.
Caveats: Depending on the color they can be a little pricy, but they last a long time and are worth it for the health benefits of barefoot walking/living.
All the gear here has served me well, and has been picked for long term use since I’m pretty minimalist and like stuff that is built to last.
I’d always rather make the bigger investment upfront into something good and long-lasting, than have to replace something not-so-good over and over again.
Let me know what you think of all my gear, what you’re gonna pick up, and what your favorite gear of 2013 was in the comments.