Meridian Shirt in Highland Grey Check; Charcoal Chinos
Imagine you’re a digital nomad — traveling the world while working online, you live the ultimate minimalist lifestyle, carrying everything you own on your back. People actually do this, and they don’t have to relegate travel to a two-week vacation here or there, because they work while on the road. Amazing.
“Digital nomad” is the common term for people who work remotely while traveling. They go between cities and countries, moving every few days, weeks, or months. And, thanks to technology, they have location independent jobs. Hostels, hotels, apartments, co-working spaces, planes, trains, cars, parks, and beyond — anywhere that has an internet connection is fair game for a temporary workspace.
Katherine, one of our team members, has been on the road full-time since 2014. She runs our strategic marketing and partnerships and has literally written the book on how to live this lifestyle (The Digital Nomad Survival Guide), so we collaborated on this post about what it means to be a digital nomad and how to pack for it.
How to pack for a travel capsule wardrobe?
“The primary benefit and opportunity of the digital nomad lifestyle is trying out a new life for a finite period of time anywhere on earth, and then doing it again (and again and again). The challenge (though it can be a fun one) is planning it all, especially if you’re doing it solo. It really takes a lot of personal awareness, strategy, and planning. Packing is based on knowing what you really need and then determining the best technology, resources, and products to fit your personal lifestyle.” - Katherine
When considering what makes the cut when packing, a digital nomad has a few important things to consider:
Climates and Seasons: Will you be staying mostly in one climate or bouncing between extremes? Hot weather gear is easy, while a cold weather kit can fill a whole backpack. An alternative is to buy specialized gear locally, have something mailed in, or borrow what you can.
- Activities: Similar to dressing for the seasons, carrying specialized gear can dramatically alter your load. I know schlepping outdoor equipment, snorkel gear, etc. kills my packing list all the time — it just overwhelms my carry-on. This is an area where renting goes a long way.
Working and Socializing: This when you’ll typically want to look good. We’re partial to apparel that can easily be dressed up or down, while used for other occasions. I wear my blazer as a sweater all the time, as it can go where I do. Add a tie, and the perfect minimalist wardrobe comes to life.
- Cultural Considerations: It’s important to plan for the cultural conventions of where you’ll be traveling. In some places, people expect you to be more covered up, which is where a pair of lightweight pants for hot weather come in handy. In lots of countries, shorts are a no-go.
The men's capsule wardrobe for work on the road
The remote work lifestyle is close to our design philosophy. Everything we make is designed to help you pack light and make the most of a few pieces. When I know I’m going to be living out of a bag for a few weeks at a time, I pack the following items as a typical, long-term, minimalist carry kit for men:
- 2 pairs of pants (1 pair of Bluffs, and 1 pair of jeans from us soon.)
- 2 pairs of shorts (1 workout, 1 swimsuit). I use my swimsuit to work out in.
- 3 t-shirts that double for workout and city. My approach is to first wear them for hanging out and then kill them with a workout.
- 1-2 nice shirts. Maybe a short sleeve button-down and a long sleeve.
- 1 blazer, plus possible sweater, and an insulated vest goes a long way for warmth.
- 1 raincoat.
- 1 cap and 1 warm hat for an early morning run.
- Underwear and socks.
- Cold weather additions: warmer coat, warmer socks, gloves.
Stop for a minute, and imagine… can you live with just these items for the long term? In reality, what you pack for two weeks should be just as possible as two years.
“When it comes to figuring out what to pack, I generally want items that are part of my daily work and life, can serve at least double duty, or are so important to me that I can’t imagine living without them." - Katherine
A women's digital nomad packing list could include much of the above, but switching out or adding a few dresses or lightweight skirts instead of the pants, and perhaps one more lightweight jacket to double for evening or professional events plus a bathing suit and possibly a scarf. You can check out our travel clothes for women, available to shop here.
The secret weapon to carrying less that everyone resists
My guess is that you like flexibility in travel, but here's the weapon: planning the exact time, date and location for where you plan to do laundry will create the ultimate freedom of being able to carry less.
Wednesday's your day. Just get it done.
When in doubt, just think "remixable wardrobe"
Meridian Shirt in Peak Blue Tattersall; Originals in Velvet Brown
If you go all the way back to our very first Kickstarter video, you’ll notice I never said the word “travel”. I was just designing pants that fit my no-boundaries lifestyle. And the concept of a working nomad was brand new to me.
As we heard from guys, we learned that the most transformational aspect of our apparel was the ability to travel broadly and still look great.
We strive to make clothes that work just as well for business as they do for an active life, whatever that means to you — whether you’re a dad with a toddler, a high flying executive, a digital nomad, or some amazing combination of all three — your wardrobe should adapt to your life, not the other way around.
This is the ethos we’ve always stuck by.