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February 9, 2013 Comments (0) Grab Bag, Reviews

Flowfold Wallet Review

It never fails, just when I think I have all my outdoor gear needs covered Mother Nature comes along and proves me wrong.My leather wallet was soaked. It was the last day of my oldest son’s Webelo Scout Campout and it had been raining hard since two in the morning. Adding to the fun, the other Scout leader had forgotten to wake me when the gear trailer came by our campsite.

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It took a total of four trips in the rain to get all our gear loaded into my truck. I looked like I’d been swimming with my clothes on. On the drive home I tried placing my wallet on the heater vent in my truck to help dry it out. It ended up taking about two days to get my leather wallet dried out.

And with that misadventure in mind, I began my search for a suitable wallet for the outdoors. I was looking for something more resistant to the elements, and not as bulky as my leather wallet. Initially all I could find were various nylon and cordura wallets. While I am sure they are good wallets, they reminded me too much of the first wallet I got as a kid. Then I found the Flowfold website.

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In 2005 Charles Friedman was working sewing sailboat sails. When his Grandfathers needed a new wallet he just sewed him up a new one out of sailcloth scraps. This act of creation went on to become Flowfold.  Flowfold brand products include: wallets, iPad sleeves, laptop cases, and totes. All Flowfold products are crafted from reclaimed sailcloth. This accounts for the changing patterns offered as it depends on the material they receive. Per their website, the reclaimed sailcloth is composed of Carbon Fiber, Kevlar, Pentex or Polyester matrixes sandwiched between Mylar films with a high tensile strength to weight ratio.

Looking over my options, I decided to go with a bi-fold wallet in the “Black Pearl” pattern.  When it arrived my first thought was “This looks funky”. When I took it out of the package my next thought was “Holy crap this weighs nothing”. That same thought had me worried if I’d be able to fit everything into my new Flowfold wallet.076 800x600f

Transitioning from a tri-fold wallet to a bi-fold wallet I fully expected I’d have to cut back on what I could carry. So I proceeded to load up my Flowfold wallet with what I definitely needed, then added what I could. Currently in my Flowfold wallet:

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Auto insurance card.

Military ID.

Health insurance card.

Debit card.

Credit card.

Gas card.

Concealed Carry Permit.

Fishing license.

Three membership cards (REI, Barnes & Noble, Blockbuster.)

Credit slip at a used book store.

Money (optional.)

The only things I had to leave out were some business cards & photographs. Everything else fit just fine. What I find outstanding is that my Flowfold wallet full is still thinner than my old leather wallet empty.

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Now I’ll admit I still prefer the look of a traditional leather wallet. That said, the looks of my Flowfold wallet has grown on me. The sailcloth material on mine is clear with lines of black material in a cross-hatched pattern. The clear section does allow you to vaguely see what is in the large cash pocket from the outside.

After years of leather wallets, the thin profile & light weight of the Flowfold wallet was shocking. The first few weeks of carrying my Flowfold wallet I kept checking my back pocket thinking I’d forgotten my wallet. Per the company’s website, the Flowfold wallet only weighs sixteen grams and is only 2 credit cards thick. I sure don’t miss that thick leather lump in my back pocket.

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Per Flowfold, the sailcloth material used in their wallets is impervious to water. Shortly after getting mine, I accidentally put that claim to the test. We had taken our son’s Cub Scout Pack on a weekend campout so they could go tubing. Our campsite was right on the creek. While they headed up to the top of the creek, I elected to stay behind to help them out as they came down. Unofficially I stayed behind to enjoy the quiet & catch up on some reading. Since it was hot out I just put my chair in the creek to wait. About an hour later the first of the Cub Scouts started floating by. As I got up out of the chair I realized I’d forgotten to take my Flowfold wallet out of my back pocket. Examining my Flowfold wallet later, the only things that were wet were the paper items in my wallet. In fact, after wiping it off with a towel, you wouldn’t know my Flowfold wallet had been underwater for over an hour.

Another cool feature of Flowfold wallets – they float! And not just empty, but with all my stuff inside. Even though I’d seen the video on their website, I was still a bit skeptical. So I decided to test it out myself. I placed my Flowfold wallet on top of the water at the edge of the creek. My Flowfold wallet floated no problem. Emboldened by my success, I then tossed it into the creek a few feet upstream from me. My Flowfold wallet splashed under the water, bobbed back up, then floated back down to me. I was curious how long my Flowfold wallet could float, but had to wait till we got home to test it out. Once home I emptied out my Flowfold wallet, then left it floating in a bowl of water overnight. Waking up the next morning the Flowfold wallet was still floating. I would think this would be a great feature for those Woods Monkeys who like to go canoeing or kayaking.

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Several months, and multiple outdoor trips later, and my Flowfold wallet is still going strong. The only wear I can find is scuff marks on the inner Mylar material caused by sliding stuff in the card pockets. Other than that, there are no tears, holes, or loose stitching. I’d originally intended for my Flowfold wallet to be my dedicated outdoor wallet. It has since become my everyday carry wallet. The thin profile of my Flowfold wallet just makes it so much more comfortable to carry. The durable, weather resistant sailcloth material has me no longer worried about Mother Nature. About the only negative thing I can think of is it’s unconventional appearance. For me, function trumps form, and that is more important than looks. Your best bet in getting a Flowfold wallet is through their website or Amazon. Cost for a standard billfold is $22, though they do offer some for $18. If you are looking for a wallet that can handle the outdoors and is comfortable to carry, I highly recommend Flowfold wallets.

www.flowfold.com

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