I have struggled for many years to manage the size of my rear pocket wallet. Sitting on a small leather brick is just not that comfortable, nor healthy for your spine. If you are a back pocket wallet person, you can realize how your body has compensated over time by switching your wallet to your other back pocket. It feels terrible and helps draw attention to the awkward condition that your spine endures to accommodate sitting on an uneven surface. Throughout my wallet carrying history, I have tried to solve the problem by trying different wallet styles or managing the number of items that I carry in my wallet. These solutions have only minimized the problem and not actually eliminated it. A real solution to the problem is to carry your items in your front pocket and the Ridge Wallet is specifically designed for this purpose and my first experiment with a front pocket wallet.
My favorite TV show of all time has to be Seinfeld. The show’s genius is that most of the episodes are about the mundane things in life – conversations, situations, relationships, etc. and the humor that can be found in them. Of course the eccentric characters on the show help provide the comedy. One of the main characters is George Costanza and one episode centers on his overstuffed wallet. In fact his wallet is so large that it interferes with his ability to sit straight resulting in back pain. The wallet is so large because of the many things George stuffs in his wallet that it eventually exceeds maximum density and explodes on the street in a shower of cash and receipts.
As noted above, I too have struggled for many years with the balance between the need to carry certain items with me and the resultant size of my wallet. I am really not sure why it has taken me so long to make an attempt at transitioning to a front pocket wallet. Perhaps it is because a man’s wallet lasts for so many years that it becomes difficult to part with. Like a close friend, your wallet goes with you wherever you go and holds and protects all of your personal valuables from pictures, receipts, contacts, money, etc. Or perhaps it is just because I don’t like change.
Due to my reluctance to change and more than 25 years of experience with rear pocket wallets, the front pocket wallet will be tough sell. Let’s see how the Ridge Wallet scores.
Per the Ridge Wallet website the specifications for the Ridge Wallet are as follows:
- Capacity: 1-15 cards
- RFID Blocking (Wireless Identify theft)
- Dimensions: 8.5 cm (l) x 5.5 cm (w) x 0.55 cm (t)
- Weight: 9 oz (aluminum version without money clip)
- Price: $65 (aluminum), $115 (titanium), $140 (carbon fiber), and $45 (polycarbonate)
- Warranty: 1 year on the elastic, screws, and money clip
- Material options: aluminum (black, gunmetal, and gunmetal), titanium (black, and gunmetal), carbon fiber, and polycarbonate (blue, green, pink, and white)
- Design options: money clip (integrated hinge and internal spring) or cash strap (thin elastic)
The Ridge Wallet ships in a very nice box. Upon removing the lid, I was initially impressed with the look of The Ridge. My version is the black aluminum body held together with flush mount metal screws. To be honest, it really doesn’t look like a wallet at all. The screws require a very small Torx bit, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that a tool was provided. Finding a Torx bit tool this size would have been very difficult. The tool is shipped in 2-pieces to allow for a small package yet provide a tool that is still easy to hold when assembled. Finally, a credit card sized instruction card is also provided.
Instructions for use of the wallet:
To Insert a Card: Gently slide the card into the top groove.
- If you push on the half circle indentation slightly exposing the cards already in the wallet it may be easier to insert the additional card into the top tapered groove.
To access a card:
- Press on the half-circle indentation so the cards are sticking slightly out of the top
To access one of the middle cards:
- Press on the half-circle indentation so the cards are sticking slightly out of the top
- Pull all of the cards from the top so they are about half way out
- Pinch the bottom of the wallet so the cards separate and fan out
- Select the card you want
The Ridge Wallet started as a Kickstarter project and received over 5,300 backers and raised almost $400K in two different campaigns. The company was started by a father/son team looking to bridge the generation gap and create a durable front-pocket wallet that didn’t add bulk.
The goal of not adding bulk aligns with my most critical features for a front pocket wallet. Front pockets tend to be smaller than rear pockets so size is important for front pockets as well. If you have ever tried to sit down with something too large in your front pocket you likely experienced pain as that item stabbed you in the hip or thigh.
Bravo to the designers with respect to the overall design. The height and width of the wallet is exactly the size of a credit card. At first glance my impression was that the thickness seemed excessive; however, after closer study of the design concluded that this too was as thin as practical while still maintaining a durable product. With regard to the weight, my initial impression of the wallet was that it was heavy. Through use, I later determined that the weight wasn’t as bothersome as I initially would have thought. There are lighter options available in polycarbonate and carbon fiber, but I think the aluminum strikes the right balance between durability and cost.
The design uses elastic bands that can securely hold from 1 to 15 cards according to the specifications and confirmed in my testing. Obviously, the weight and thickness of the product varies with the number of cards that you use. For me, the maximum size that I could tolerate in my pockets was around 8 cards, but if you intend to carry this wallet in a bag or purse, or if you wear baggier pants than I do, then 15 cards would not be an issue.
The edges of the aluminum side plates are curved on the inside making it very easy to slide the first card into the wallet. The instructions say “If you push on the half circle indentation slightly exposing the cards already in the wallet it may be easier to insert the additional card into the top tapered groove.” I found that if cards are already in the wallet, you can easily slide in a new card as long as you are inserting it on the outside edge. The curved edge is sufficient to guide the card into the wallet.
One genius of the design is the fact that it can expand to hold 15 cards yet still securely hold a single card. I did not find that the function of the wallet was compromised in any way with few or many cards.
To remove a card, the provided instructions are accurate and the cards do fan out enough to identify the specific card needed. I did find that it took a little bit of practice to find out how to hold the wallet when pressing the half-circle, but once you develop a technique, it becomes quick and easy. As noted before, the process is the same regardless of the number of cards in your wallet. The pictures show the wallet holding 7 cards and 15 cards.
Often when I stand around I have my hands in my front pocket. Perhaps for this reason, or possibly due to the novelty of a front pocket wallet, I found myself playing with it all the time. While standing around waiting for someone or while in casual conversation, I would find myself with the Ridge Wallet in my hand repeatedly pressing the half-circle to eject the cards and then pressing them back in. I didn’t like this fact for security reasons, but I did find that I quickly became very proficient at accessing my cards when needed.
The Ridge design that I tested had the cash strap and not the integrated money clip. I suspect that I would prefer the cash strap version as the money clip would increase the thickness of the wallet. I found that to not interfere with the easy of loading and extracting cards the cash needed to be folded twice. Double folding stacks of bills makes them difficult to manage and I found that receiving cash after a purchase was awkward to stow under the wallet strap quickly. I would typically just shove it in my pocket and then reload the cash when cleared of the line or in the car. This was not a big deal for me as I only carry a small amount of emergency cash, but if you prefer to deal in cash then the money clip version may be better for you.
A benefit of The Ridge wallet is that it keeps the cards within it well protected. I didn’t really realize it, but my credit cards were significantly bent from being sat on in my rear pocket leather wallet. The firm aluminum plates of The Ridge virtually guarantee that the cards remain straight. The company also claims that the card also has RFID protection. While I cannot confirm the RFID protection, I can confirm that my work badge that contains a proximity scanner worked within my leather wallet, but needed to be ejected from the Ridge wallet to scan.
When converting to the front pocket Ridge wallet I had to decide what to do with the loyalty cards that I previously carried in my rear pocket leather wallet. I previously carried several small loyalty cards in my wallet because I keep a minimal keychain. These do not work well in the Ridge as loaded items need to be credit card size, but I found that transferring them to my phone was a better solution anyway.
In conclusion, I found that I liked the Ridge much more than I thought I ever would. If you find yourself wanting a front pocket wallet and you deal mostly with plastic, then I find it hard to imagine a better solution.
Source: The sample for this review was provided by The Wallet Shoppe. For more information visit their site.