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A twitter discussion the other day sprang up when I started asking folk about wallets.  Specifically, I didn’t like how every wallet I’ve ever owned has stacked ALL of my cards and other personal effects on top of one another.  My current wallet — which contains a credit card, a Costco card, a transit card, my license, my safe technician ID, my medical insurance card, and some other small effects — had become uncomfortable and it was time for a change.

I took out my little aprox-o-meters and actually measured it.  It comes to just over 28mm (over 1″) in thickness.  That’s a lot of displacement for one ass cheek.

Hence the discussion online, wherein I asked, “why isn’t there a wallet out there which will arrange card slots in a 2×2 formation when it’s open, so that ultimately when you close it and have it in your pocket, it’s considerably thinner!?

I wanted to find a wallet something like this, which I quickly photoshopped to make my point…

 

Well, lo and behold, the good lord internet doth provide.  A number of people suggested some offerings (and once I started my amazon searches, other similar products began appearing as suggested results, as well.)  I ordered basically all of them, with an eye to checking them out, seeing what I liked, and returning all the others.

Here are the results…

 

The Big Skinny Leather Hipster Wallet

Despite having the word “hipster” in the name, I gave this one a shot.  I like that the card configuration is just as I was expecting.  It also features a divided back pouch (the bill area) so that I can continue to organize multiple currencies like I usually do.  (I’m OCONUS so often and it really helps to keep my USD separated from whatever local currency I’m carrying.)  In addition to the four visible pockets (which are just four pockets… no extra slots or organizing dividers there) there is a little more room beneath the “right” side card pockets which I can use for photos or other items slightly larger than a credit card.

This wallet is 4.5mm thick when empty.

 

The SlimFold Softshell Wallet

This one isn’t leather, but I was willing to check it out.  It also has a rather unique “long” layout of the cards in a 4×1 pattern when the wallet is open. That can help accommodate some larger pieces of paper like airline and train boarding passes.  Ultimately, while I did think the material was cool (and awesomely breathable!) this wallet shot itself in the foot VERY badly by including thick, solid, clear plastic inside of its construction.  Not just for the “viewing window” but throughout the ENTIRE back of the wallet.  I suppose this was to give it some kind of structure and rigidity… but you know what ELSE does that for a wallet?  All of the stuff you put into it.  I can’t imagine someone honestly thought, “hey, without a big hunk of plastic running through this whole thing, the entire wallet might just crumple up and blow away like dried leaves!” The double-slot organizers were nice, but ultimately because of the ridiculously unnecessary plastic in the back, the wallet was effectively no thinner than the Big Skinny.

This wallet is 4.49mm thick when empty.

 

The Slim Original by Allet

This wallet also has construction using modern synthetic fabrics, but it has a leather exterior.  By using two materials, you’d think it would have the best of both worlds… but somehow this model manages to be thicker than the ones preceding.  I do like the construction very much, but its features were a little bit lacking to me.  The internal pockets felt very “slippery” and I could imagine losing cards or photos easily when flipping this open.  No pocket has a viewing window… not a deal breaking feature for me (I don’t keep my license visible anyway.  I use the viewing style windows for a photo of Tarah and I) but it might matter to some folk.  This wallet does have the divided bill area (part of what makes it thicker up top) but it lacks the large “extra” pocket in the main area that the Big Skinny has.  For all those reasons, it comes up a little short for me.

This wallet was, surprisingly, 7.32mm thick when empty.

 

The Marhsal Large Hipster Bifold Credit Card ID Men’s Wallet

Phew.  The only thing larger than this monster’s name is the thickness of the wallet itself.  I am not entirely sure why I added this one to my order beyond the fact that Amazon Prime has free returns on basically anything under the sun.  This wallet is a beast.  I shouldn’t really bag on it too much, honestly.  If you really like displaying many cards in a way that they are all individually visible, then the Marhsal maybe for you.  It has all of the other features I wanted, like a divided bill area and an extra “more versatile” pocket on the right side when it’s open.  The construction is nice enough (frankly, the leather and construction quality on ALL of the wallets here were rather nice… but the Big Skinny and the Allet really were a cut above) and it featured a built-in viewing pocket for a photo.  Still, at just a blond hair shy of 13½mm, this wasn’t what I was seeking.

This wallet was 13.48mm thick when empty.

 

In the end, I opted to try out the Big Skinny.  I took all my cards, IDs, cash, and utilities (I have a small custom insert that houses a spare key, a tiny USB drive, some locks tools, a Husky Head, and more) and put them in.  Everything found its place.  Even the tiny pocket floss packets and small set of Forever Stamps which are always with me could tuck in.  Some cut but unfolded padlock shims were added.  The photo of Tarah and I on our first real date was affixed on the inside with adhesive (no pocket needed).

After all that, the Big Skinny wallet was only 12.52mm thick.

That’s a reduction to under half of my original wallet’s size.  Hell, this wallet while fully loaded is even thinner than at least one of the others I was considering while that one was emtpy.  I still have one candidate on the way from amazon, as it turns out.  The Ultra Slim Original Wallet is due to arrive tomorrow, but I think I will likely just send it back.  The Big Skinny appears at first glance to be a real winner.

While I still can’t quite stomach owning a product with the word “hipster” in the name, the results appear to be satisfying enough that I’ll learn to live with it.  But I’m not going to start eating avocado toast.

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