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Gifts for digital nomads (that we’ll actually use)

Buying gifts for digital nomads can be tricky because many of us have an allergic to baggage. In addition to that, for the sake of our beautiful world, it’s important that we consume less stuff. The stuff we do get needs to last for a long time and be very useful. With that in mind, I’ve included several gift ideas below that a digital nomad can use frequently and easily move around the world. These are all items I’ve used extensively and the page does include affiliate links because I’d happily purchase any of these again.

Drinkable water anywhere from LifeStraw

The LifeStraw water filtration system has been a well-used addition to my pack. If you’re worried about the tap water when you’re traveling, and you end up using a lot of plastic bottled water, and creating tons of plastic waste you wouldn’t at home, the LifeStraw is an option to consider. I also do a lot of camping and hiking while slowmading, so it’s a great drinkable-water insurance policy.

LifeStraw claims to filter out “99.999999% of bacteria (including E.coli, Salmonella), 99.999% of parasites (including Giardia and Cryptosporidium), 99.999% of microplastics, silt, sand, and cloudiness.” That’s not everything that could be in your water, but it’s a lot of things. 

I’ve now had two of their systems. The LifeStraw Go Insulated Stainless Steel 24 oz Bottle went all over the Andes with me this year. It retails for around $45.

The LifeStraw Peak Series collapsible squeeze bottle is best for minimalist packers. It retails around $37 on Amazon.



Travel pants from Western Rise

The Western Rise Evolution Chino are the pants I wear through the train station so they don’t impact my luggage at all. And they’re also the pants I wear hiking and out to a nice restaurant. 

Stretchy, durable, with accessible hidden pockets inside pockets, they’re a piece of travel gear I’d immediately replace if anything happened to them. Check out a full review here.

Buy the Western Rise Evolution Chino ~$100 on Amazon.

Illustration of a digital nomad Christmas gift nightmare, with a room completely packed with gifts that will never fit in a carry-on bag
A pile of gifts could be your favorite digital nomad's biggest nightmare.

A TIMBUK2 backpack that does everything

Timbuk2’s Authority Laptop Backpack Deluxe counts as a “personal item” on flights while also making a fantastic day-pack for hiking the Andes. The interior is well-designed for carrying tech when I’m traveling in cities, and the compartments are great for organization on multi-day hikes.

Grab the TIMBUK2 Authority Laptop Backpack Deluxe (in Eco Black) for $160 on Amazon

Carry-on duffel from Marmot

Continuing on the theme of gifts that don’t take up space in your luggage because they are the luggage: a flexible bag that can carry lots without going over the carry-on size limit is so useful. When I was a business consultant, Marmot duffels were my go-to bag for traveling without checked baggage, and they still are. 

If your the type of traveler that likes a duffel bag as your carry-on, the Marmot Long-Hauler (medium) is a reliable adventure companion. Retails for around $140 on Amazon.

Wondering why I’d show the Marmot Long-Hauler with blocks of wood in it: those aren’t just any blocks of wood. They’re the IKUKO travel meditation bench by Bluecony. If your looking for gifts for a digital nomad that meditates, and they have some extra space in their luggage, then click here to checkout a full-review of the IKUKO meditation bench.

Internet anywhere with GlocalMe

Since it’s the festive holiday season, I don’t want to scare anybody or talk about terrifying disasters, but digital nomads need to prepare for the possibility they could lose their internet connection.

The GlocalMe DuoTurbo portable WIFI hotspot has come in handy for me this year in multiple situations, in many different countries. If you’re buying gifts for one of your digital nomad kids and you want to make sure they never have an excuse not to call or email, then get them one of these.

The DuoTurbo retails for around $180 on Amazon. You do need to purchase data packages separately. 


A personal trainer on your wrist: Garmin Vivoactive 4

Maintaining a physical (and mental) fitness practice on the road can be tricky. A Garmin watch, plus its data app, Garmin Connect, give me access to virtual workout programs, tell me when I’m going to slow or too fast, it has an excellent calorie tracker, and its been the most useful/accurate meditation tracker I’ve found. It tracks heart rate, which tends to be a more accurate measure of what you’re doing in your head than any of the gimmicky headband trackers.

I’ve got the Garmin Vivoactive 4, which retails around $180, but there is a range of options depending on your needs.

The GorillaPod from JOBY is an everyday, everywhere tripod

The GorillaPod from JOBY is a magical piece of gear I use for every client call, to record every YouTube video, and I always take it hiking to capture time-lapse videos. 

The GorillaPod is light, durable (I’ve had this one for over 5 years), and the flexible arms allow me to attach it to objects so I can get the effect of a much taller tripod (without needing to carry one). The ballhead also let’s you position in the camera or phone exactly where you need it.

The JOBY GorillaPod 3K kit retails for around $42 on Amazon

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