It’s that time of the year again. Whether you are buying presents for friends/family or upgrading your own gear, it’s shopping season. As someone who has spent the last seven years living the nomadic life, I can firmly say that having the right gear makes all the difference in the world. Whether you’re a digital nomad — or shopping for one — these are my top 10 tested-and-approved products for digital nomads and perpetual travelers.
For The Plane On (And Off) The Road Making Work Easier
I’m raffling off a brand new suitcase from the elegant Delsey of Paris to help make your 2017 travels smoother + a paid trip to the French Riviera for two. Giveaway ends at the end of 2016 so register now! All the details are at the bottom.
For The Plane
A truly comfortable plane ride comes at a first class price, but most of us cannot afford that. So to turn your economy flight into a first class experience, bring the right gear in your carry-on bag.
The Carry On Cocktail Kit
Each kit comes with all the necessary ingredients and utensils to make a proper cocktail.
They say drinking on a plane is not good for you but plenty of perpetual travelers do it on most every flight. (Guilty!) However even when flying on one of those amazing airlines that offers all the free booze you can drink (love you Emirates!) they still do not have a proper cocktail selection for the folks in economy. That’s why you bring your handy dandy Carry On Cocktail Kit — available in several varieties, including Gin and Tonic, Old Fashioned, and Bloody Mary (pictured below).
$16 CHECK THEM OUT
Best Earbuds EVER!
Screw noise cancelling headphones, go for noise isolation. What’s the difference? Noise cancelling uses electronic waves to cancel out the audible noises and thus require batteries. Noise isolation headphones have a better seal which prevents external noise from interrupting your music/movie — and do not require batteries. The Etymotic Research HF5 Earphones are the best I’ve ever used — and Etymotic loves to brag about how these have the “highest noise isolation of any earphones” so there’s always that.
$125 CHECK IT OUT
Smart + Secure Luggage
Over the years I’ve gone through more suitcases and backpacks than I can count. However the last few months I’ve been traveling with Delsey luggage and it has quickly definitely my favorite. Hardened exterior and perfectly organized interior. Smooth rolling wheels with a push button locking brake. Built-in TSA locks for flying in/out of the USA. Double-zipper system that is literally impossible to break into — the guy at the Delsey Hong Kong store gave me a demonstration and then let me try to break in to the bag but I couldn’t.
Now I even take my Delsey suitcase when I could get away with only a backpack because it can fit all the gear I need for a quick shoot (drone included) and I don’t have to carry it on my back. Win win. Speaking of winning, I’m giving away a FREE Delsey suitcase and a shot at winning a paid trip for two to the French Riviera.
$50-350 CHECK THEM OUT TAKE ME STRAIGHT TO THE GIVEAWAY
On (And Off) The Road
Land-based travel (especially slow travel or long-term travel) has its own set of difficulties. It is nowhere near as easy or glamorous as it appears. However the right gear makes it easier:
The World’s Best Camping Hammock
Kammok Roo Camping Hammocks are widely recognized as the world’s best camping hammock. Lightweight, durable and strong, these amazing hammocks are actually big enough for two people comfortably! Did I mention that they also come with a lifetime warranty? Now that’s quality.
$99 CHECK IT OUT
LifeStraw Go Water Bottle
Most countries in the world do not have drinkable tap water. Buying plastic water bottles is not only bad for the environment but expensive. A much better option is a high quality filtered water bottle that converts even the most questionable rain, steams and puddles into safe, drinkable H20. The LifeStraw is one of the most affordable quality filtered water bottles.
The replaceable filters are good for 1,000 litres each and are easy to order online given the popularity of LifeStraw.
$45 CHECK IT OUT
Music On The Go
Headphones work for planes or when editing videos but not when hiking or at the beach. There are no shortage of portable speakers out there, but one for a constant traveler should be lightweight, waterproof, sturdy enough to take some bumps, and have a long battery life. For those on a budget, the only item that fulfills all of these criteria is the weatherproof Creative Muvo Mini at only $45. However those who prefer a fancier speaker should go with the FUGOO. Sound quality like Bose with the ruggedness of a GoPro. Sandproof, snowproof and waterproof. 40 f’n hour battery! Yes, you need one.
$134 CHECK IT OUT
Gear That Makes Life Easier (And More Rewarding)
Being a successful digital nomad is one part skill and one part equipment. Unless you become an Instagram icon, your iPhone is not going to be enough to fund your travels. Of course proper gear is an investment, not an expense. For example drones. With all the new ones coming out, prices are dropping fast — and it is still easy to find aerial photo/video clients.
A Drone That Survives Multiple Crashes
Over the last year I’ve been doing a lot of droning during my travels and it’s been a blast. In all this time I’ve only crashed twice — once into a building and once into a mountain. After both crashes I was back in the air within minutes, although one crash did require me to swap out a broken blade real fast. (That is why you always travel with at least one spare set of blades at all times.)
My second crash was into the side of a cliff. Only by sheer luck did some bushes on a ledge catch it
The only drone that can put up with the abuse I put my gear through is DJI’s Phantom line. Now that the Phantom 4 has been released, the Phantom 3 Professional with 4k camera is selling for only $700. Still too expensive? The Phantom 3 2.7k is less than $500! Sell a few photos and its paid for itself.
$480 CHECK IT OUT
Stunning 4k Video + Photo Camera
4k is the next big thing and if you are buying a new camera now that does not shoot in 4k, you will regret it. I have always been a Nikon boy but the last two years I’ve been focusing more and more on video. Sadly, after months of research I said goodbye to Nikon and upgraded to the Sony a7Rii. This thing is a beast, I’ve never looked back. There is a reason everybody is raving about this camera. The a7Rii shoots pristine ultra HD photos and stunning 4k video. It may be a little expensive, but you can shoot TV quality video with this baby.
Click on the photo to view a larger 4000px version (still only half the size of the original photo)
The a7Rii is built like a beast despite its small size and light weight. I have a tendency to use and abuse my gear (my laptops rarely and phones last more than 6 months) but this camera has survived all its falls, drops, bangs and rainstorms yet still shoots just as great as the day I bought it.
Why the a7Rii and not the a7Sii? Short answer: they are essentially the same except the a7Sii is designed for low light situations. Since I shoot primarily outdoors during daylight, this functionality was of no concern to me.
$3200 CHECK IT OUT
The Strongest GoPro Mounts Ever Made
Tested and approved during the Rickshaw Run
Last year my buddy Ryan (Lost Boy Memoirs) and I did the Rickshaw Run, 3,000 crazy kilometres (2,000 miles) across India. We needed the best of the best GoPro mounts that could survive all the bumps and bangs on those chaotic roads. After extensive research we used two RAM Mount suction cup mounts (front windshield looking forward and another recording the interior) plus two clamp mounts to cover the right and left sides. Worked amazing! Ram Mounts are so sturdy since them I’ve strapped them to motorcycles, airplanes, buses, boats and all sorts of other moving objects.
$30-40 CHECK THEM OUT
Lenses For Your Phone Camera
image via Amazon
Most likely you have yourself a real camera, however smart phone cameras have gotten so sophisticated that often times it’s easier and more convenient to just snap a photo with your phone. Shame that digital zoom sucks. Wait! Just get a set of Mobi-Lens Clip On Lens for your phone. Wide. Macro. Fisheye. You’ll be shooting photos so amazing that people will not believe they were taken via phone.
$20 CHECK THEM OUT
I know, travelers are not always the easiest to shop for. It’s hard to tell what we need. But here’s a little secret: there’s a lot of little things that would make our travels easier and more comfortable. You just have to know where to look 😉 Here are some excellent gift ideas for travelers from ThatSweetGift.com.
It’s Giveaway Time!
Because I’m so happy with my Delsey luggage that I reached out to them and they’ve given me a brand new (and nice) suitcase to giveaway to one of my readers. Delsey is also giving away a paid trip to the French Riviera for two as part of a holiday contest. While that is only open to USA residents, any of you reading this are eligible to win The HoliDaze suitcase giveaway.
It is the first of many HoliDaze giveaways coming in 2017
Feel free to enter both 🙂
GIVE ME A SUITECASE! FLY ME TO FRANCE!
11 thoughts on “What Every Digital Nomad Needs + 2 Holiday Travel Giveaways”
Don’t forget jeans with hundreds of holes. Every traveler needs a pair of those 😉
Built in airconditioning
Derek Freal And a stapler for those jeans
What?! And ruin the coolest feature? Actually that pair of jeans finally disintegrated last year
Gimme both. We’re friends.
If only it was that easy.
Great post, Derek! There’s a lot of cool gift ideas here.
I especially like the Sony camera. That’s awesome that it shoots TV quality video. I would love that!
The rickshaw run looks like so much fun. I’d also love to do that!
Thanks Alex. Meant to publish it a bit earlier but time got away from me. Where has this year gone?
The a7 is AMAZING! There are a few other bloggers using it and we all love it. On the last couple of press trips by the end everyone is asking “hey Derek can you take a photo of me using your camera” 😉 Of course I’ll be honest the cost and the fact I was giving up Nikon made it a tough decision that I spent two months researching and debating. I am ridiculously satisfied though.
As far as the Rickshaw Run goes, DO IT! I cannot even tell you how many of our fellow bloggers have done it over the years. It’s almost like a right of passing among adventurous travel bloggers hahaha 😀 Of course The Adventurists run nearly a dozen crazy races around the world on land sea and air so look them up and maybe you’ll find something that interests you even more than the Rickshaw Run 😉
Oh and happy holidaze!
No points for good hair?
Funny you should mention that, saw your twin on HBO yesterday with mirror image haircut
Heh. It’s too mainstream now. I’ll have to think of something new.