Saddleback Leather Co. Small Wallet Review

It’s no surprise that the Saddleback Leather Company. is a Gadgeteer favorite to carry your oodles of shiny gizmos.  But what if you don’t carry much around at all?

Recently I’ve been trying to pare down what I carry with me to a bare minimum.  I’ve ditched the laptop for an iPad, and the computer backpack for the Tom Bihn Ristretto shoulder bag that I reviewed in April 2010, which has worked out wonderfully for me so far.

Once I realized I was carrying FAR too much junk in my wallet, I did some pocket soul searching and pared it down to just three cards, drivers license, and bills.  Now what could carry just that in a minimum of bulk?

Enter the Saddleback Leather Co. “Small Wallet”.  I purchased the chestnut colored one.

The specs from Saddleback’s web page:

  • Dimensions: 4 1/8″W x 2 7/8″H x 3/16″ D (10.4775cm x 7.3025cm x .4826cm)
  • Thick enough leather to last, but not too thick to be bulky
  • Sturdy continuous filament Polyester marine grade industrial thread
  • Hypoallergenic 2 oz. (1.2 mm) thick chrome tanned leather
  • Tough pigskin lining and backing. Pigskin is the second strongest hide in the world, second to kangaroo.

The first thing you notice is how free of glitz and glam this thing is.  No silken liner material, no metal logos… not even a plastic window over the license slot.  These are all things that over time, will fail.

Two credit card slots. Saddleback claims you can stuff up three cards in EACH if you had to

One window slot and one horizontal slot behind it. There is no plastic window. Just an opening.

Window slot, side view

Main bill compartment. Fits US currency perfectly, folded in half.

Card slot behind the license window.

Upper card slot.

Lower card slot.

Well, this was nice, but how would the Saddleback Small Wallet do when stuffed with cards and cash?

True, the Small Wallet does not come with a plastic window, but I was a little concerned about the buckets of sweat I normally produce (ew) and how it might affect a bare naked driver’s license.  I’m sure it would hold up well, but to be sure, I cut out a little piece of vinyl scrap as a “window”.  Done!

OK so I got a little crafty…

I think the results look pretty good!  The window doesn’t show all the information on a California driver license.  Be prepared to pull the whole thing out if if asked!  At least the main photo is unobstructed.

Note that the card slot BEHIND the driver’s license is deeper than the other two on the reverse side, so cards actually hide completely from view.

One card in each slot.

Top view. There are three folded bills in the currency slot.

Side view

I realize there is the possibility that I may have to carry more cards in this wallet, or more cash.  I grabbed a total of nine old cards and shoved three in each card slot to see what would happen.

i-Sobot says, “Wow, do you need this many cards?”

It’s a little hard to tell, but there are actually nine credit cards, one driver’s license, and three bills.   It fit OK but the cards were very difficult to remove!

So I went back to my rather sedate configuration of one credit card, one ATM card, one health insurance card, a driver’s license and some cash.  My Saddleback Small Wallet is happy.

Note: The links to Saddleback Leather Company on this page are affiliate links. If you use one of these links to make a purchase, we will earn a small percentage of the sale, so we appreciate it if you click through.

 

Product Information

Price:$29
Manufacturer:Saddleback Leather Co.
Pros:
  • Built to last. 100 year warranty.
Cons:
  • Not for those who carry LOTS of stuff in their wallets. (Saddleback has different wallets for that!) And, you may get strange glances as you lovingly sniff the leathery aroma from your wallet.
Posted in: Gear, Reviews, Wallets

6 comments… add one

  • Mau August 16, 2010, 3:39 pm

    Looks interesting.

    Check this out: http://www.colonellittleton.com/?p=products&f=prod&cat=5&id=w5.

    The design requires fewer layers of leather, and the leather Colonel Littleton uses appears to be thinner, which could be a good thing, or a bad thing. Depends on perspective.

    I’ve been using one for several years, and it shows no signs of giving up.

    1
  • brock August 17, 2010, 1:23 am

    i love saddleback products! i have the small wallet, the checkbook wallet, the passport wallet, a pouch, a satchel, and duffel bag. wonderful products!! you won’t find better stuff anywhere…

    2
  • Bob Deloyd August 17, 2010, 2:13 pm

    I used to have a leather wallet many years ago. It went through a lot of tough times with me and held up well. It would had lasted for ever except that I had lost it. The person who found it mailed me my license, credit cards, and money, but kept the wallet! Who knows where it is now and what journey it has taken!

    I may consider buying one of these:)

    3
  • limbot August 22, 2010, 10:43 pm

    I have just been through exactly the same process. I went from an All Ett Executive ( which of course I bought based on the review on The Gadgetteer ), to a Saddleback Large Bifold.

    Found it a bit big and heavy for my everyday use though.

    Pared back all the plastic I was carrying with a Saddleback small :)

    It’s great. In regards to the number of cards you can fit don’t forget you’ve got to wait for the leather to wear/stretch in. Put 3 cards in each of the slots overnight, and by the next day you’ll easily be able to get 2 cards per slot without the issue of them being too tight.

    I’m currently running 2 cards per slot and can easy now get a third in if I need to :)

    4
  • limbot August 23, 2010, 10:12 pm

    Oh , one caveat. If you carry a lot of cash I don’t think this wallet will suit. The cash slot can be a bit of a pain to insert and remove cash if you pack it too full of notes.

    5
  • BO April 24, 2012, 8:45 am

    I have this wallet in coffee brown, and I love it! The leather feels and smells fantastic, and it holds what I need to carry – two ID’s in the ID pocket, a plastic and paper metro card in the pocket behind that, some cash in the middle pocket, and 3 cards in each of the two card pockets on the other side. The pockets were tight at first, but the leather stretches with use and getting at what’s inside is easy!

    6

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