December 14, 2013 Update: I’ve just posted a review of SlimFold Wallets
, a new Tyvek wallet that I’m kind of giddy about.
Your wallet itself—without contents—could be adding significantly to the bulk
in your pocket. As mentioned in a previous post this is something I care a lot
about. In this post I review some of the thinnest
All-Ett sells The World’s Thinnest Wallet
. If that claim isn’t 100% true it’s very very close. Their signature wallet
features two of the best approaches to slimming your wallet: thinner material
and a split deck.
All-Ett uses ripstop nylon, the same fabric power kites are
made of. Ripstop nylon is incredibly thin and light for its strength. Four
layers of the material (the entire bulk of the wallet) only add up to about
1mm. Seams and stitching make it add up a bit more here and there but your
cards and cash will add a good deal more. Two drawbacks to the material are
that it can make a slight crinkling noise when bent and can wear small holes
over time at the corners of your cards (though it won’t rip).
The arrangement of the cards means that already, just by splitting the deck,
your wallet is half as thick as it was. Cards are inserted horizontally so they
don’t fall out when the wallet is closed. The material is a bit slick so you
may need to be careful when opening your wallet.
Most of All-Ett’s products are also offered with a very thin, high quality
leather exterior adding less than 1.5mm total. They also come in a recycled
material which has a softer, less crinkly, less slippery feel but is about 3
times as thick as the ripstop. Still that’s only about 3mm, probably a lot
thinner than what you’re carrying now, and you can help save the planet.
I am a big fan of All-Ett. I keep my lesser used cards in their original wallet
in my organizer. I also own a card case which unfortunately is not large enough
for credit cards, it was designed with business cards in mind.
The thing that really struck me about Big Skinny is that their tri-fold
(normally the fattest wallet design possible) is nearly as thin (8mm) when
loaded with everything I normally carry (admittedly not much) as the leather
card case I used to carry when it was completely empty (7mm). And that
includes features, like a clear ID pocket and several overlapping pockets,
you’d normally expect in a standard tri-fold. If you’re looking to replace your
standard leather wallet with a better model but aren’t ready to radically
change the contents of your pockets Big Skinny is probably your best option.
These wallets still look great when loaded up with cash, receipts, and 30 or so
Big Skinny has clearly spent some time thinking about the problems a wallet is
supposed to solve. The nylon microfiber material they use is more flexible than
ripstop and has a softer feel. It’s water resistant and machine washable. Their
designs also make more sense. The Super Skinny, for example, also uses the
split deck approach but orients your cards so that the wallet will bend only on
the same axis as your cash. That’s a little hard to explain so compare the
photos of the All-Ett above and the Super Skinny below. With the All-Ett your
cash will get folded once and then bent along the other axis as the wallet
flexes in your pocket.
The orientation of your cards also means a higher chance some of them could
slip out but Big Skinny addresses this with a rubbery coating on the inside
that grips your cards for you. My younger brother has been carrying the one
pictured above for a while and tells me his cards still slip out sometimes. It
does have this super cool hidden pocket behind the ID pocket though.
I carry the multi-pocket bi-fold
because I like the dimensions and I can fit my wallet pen
in the space just above the clear ID pocket. Let me add emphasis here: This is
my every day carry wallet.
The one thing I don’t like about Big Skinny is the sewn-on rubber label they
put on the outside. They say it provides a place to grip the otherwise slippery
exterior but they could have accomplished the same with a printed label and it
just doesn’t jive with the “every millimeter counts” mantra (the label itself
is 1mm thick).
“As simple as possible, but not any simpler.” The Money-band is a wide rubber
band specially sized to go lengthwise around your cards (and cash if you don’t
mind folding) and hold them securely. It works as advertised and the minimalism
should appeal to many of you.
I confess I hoped it would be made of some higher quality material, silicone
maybe. My initial suspicion that this was a re-branded broccoli rubber band
from the produce section proved false, but if you want to give the concept a
try without shelling out $4 the broccoli-band will hold your cards width-wise
instead and give you that depression-era waste not want not satisfaction.
Disclaimer: Each of these manufacturers sent me samples of their products in
exchange for links to their sites. I have personally used each of the products
reviewed for at least a day, and in some cases weeks. Measurements were taken
with a cheap caliper from Harbor Freight (some rounding applied).
Please comment if you would like to suggest another wallet for me to