Sunday, January 26, 2014

Band-it Wallet Impressions

I was very excited when I saw the Band-it extra small minimal wallet on Kickstarter. It was such a novel idea and I liked the sheer simplicity of design. I ordered one of the non-leather versions as a change of pace and to experiment with other wallet materials.

Where the Band-it suffers is in the details of it's construction. The vinyl used for my Band-it was very thick and detracts from the ultra minimalist concept that should define this wallet. I was frankly hoping a synthetic material would thinner, not thicker, than the leather shown in the Kickstarter video.  This thickness is compounded by the method used to sew the opening which leaves a large gap between the front and rear cards.  The video noted this gap as a feature that could be used to store cash but I found that space impractical and it detracts from the Band-it's use as a tiny card holder.

The Band-it is a great conversation piece and a wonderful experiment in design.  Many Kickstarter wallet campaigns have returned with a second design and I very much hope to see a new and improved Band-it 2.0 in the future.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Ainste Multiple Wallet Review

I've been using an Ainste Multiple Wallet for the past two weeks and I have to say it's a excellent minimalist front pocket wallet. Surprisingly, I haven't had to compromise much to fit my needs into such a small package but I did remove a ton of useless material from my old wallet during the switch, mainly receipts and a seldom used stack of business cards.  On a normal day, I'm carrying eight cards and a six bills in an amazingly small package; the center bill holder squeezing the cash so tightly that it almost disappears.

I'm a guy who likes to use cash so I have been supplementing the wallet's cash holder with a money clip.  This arrangement has worked extremely well and is far more practical than it sounds.  How often do you reach for your credit cards and your cash?  I keep the bulk (literally) of my cash in one front pocket and my Multiple in the other with my credit cards and backup cash. This is a huge departure from the massive lump that was my back pocket without the moving that weight to the front.

If the Multiple has a downside, it's the tightness of the card pockets.  These pockets start so tight that the wallet is rendered nearly unusable and it's not until you spend a couple days working to break in the leather that you can extract a card without a struggle ... or pliers!  I wish the folks at Ainste would fix this but maybe this in required to keep the pockets tight for the life of the wallet. Think of it like breaking in a baseball glove and you'll be very happy.

So thumbs up to the people at Ainste for a wonderfully minimalist wallet that remains practical and is a joy to own.  I recommend this wallet highly but I wouldn't give this wallet as a gift until Ainste addresses the overly tight card pockets, or unless the person your giving the gift to understands that some work is required before the wallet is truly useful.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Minimalist Wallets

Lately, I've become somewhat obsessed with finding the perfect front pocket wallet. Like many of you out there, I have been guilty of approaching near George Costanza levels of wallet bloat and having a large wallet in my back pocket wasn't attractive let alone good for my back.

Once I emptied my current wallet I discovered two things: 1) my empty leather wallet was still pretty large and 2) I really don't need most of its contents. Those realizations were the start of my search for a practical front wallet solution and what a search it has become! What’s more, I find people everywhere I go on web on similar quests.

Since wallets are a very personal reflection of their owners and their owner’s lifestyle, there seems to be an endless number of wallet designs and even some radical solutions to this simplest of life’s choices. No place is the obsession with wallets more evident than the Kickstarter crowd funding site. There are dozens of wallet designs that have been funded or proposed over the last couple years with some raising fairly large sums but none highly successful. It’s an itch that people just can’t seem to scratch with a big build up and a seemly all too familiar let down in the project comment section in the months that follow. The most notable failure was the Crabby Wallet which raised over 308K but has been plagued by quality and durability problems. If your new wallet only lasts a month, you're going to be unhappy.

Thanks to some great minimalist wallet review sites, I have ordered a couple of new wallets and I'll write more as I live with them awhile. A wallet can seem perfect in photos or on video but  if that wallet isn't functional, it will quickly be banished to the dresser or desk drawer. Should be fun, stay tuned.