When I am out on a long distance hike the less I have to carry the better, and I quickly become tired of having my money, identification, and a credit card in a heavy wallet or thrown into a stuff sack with other gear where the chances of loosing things increases. Early last year I was expressing some frustration about this matter with a friend of mine who makes some of my custom made gear, and he was gracious enough to put together for me a custom made wallet made from 0.34 cuben fiber that holds three plastic cards and a maximum of around twelve pieces of paper currency.
The vast majority of the time I carry fifty dollars in currency with me while out hiking. Five one dollar bills that I might use in trail towns for small snacks, five five dollar bills that I use to slip folks who give me a ride or other trail angels, and one twenty for if I should need to buy something else that does not warrant me using a credit card. I also carry my drivers license/identification, a credit card, an insurance card, and typically a calling card with enough money on it to make a phone call if I happen to get into a situation where I need to call home and have no other means of calling than to use a calling card.
I have never been one of those guys who walks around with a wallet that causes my back pocket to look like I have a brick inside of it. I have just always preferred to have as little as possible on me, regardless of whether I am out hiking or not.
I use to keep all of this type of stuff just thrown into one of my smaller stuff sacks that I would carry along with me, but I got tired of walking around trail towns with a stupid stuff sack in my hands, worrying about where it was at when I sat down to eat, and so forth. So I went on the hunt for the smallest and lightest wallet that I could find. It was around this same time that Chad “Stick” posted an article talking about the Wa-Ben Cuben Fiber Wallet that he had gotten. To me, it was just too big, and even though nobody would probably ever see it, it had this little round red dot that just annoyed me.
So in yapping with my buddy, he was already working on something for me and told me he might have a little surprise for me in my next shipment. By the way, I am sorry, but the individual who made this for me has expressed that he has zero desire to make any more and would thus just desire to not be named, so I will respect him in this.
When my package showed up I was all excited to get the gear I had ordered from him. Also inside of the box was my extra surprise, a cuben fiber wallet with no frills, bells or whistles, just a pure wallet made from 0.34 cuben fiber made to fit pretty much exactly what it is that I carry while out hiking.
Long Term Usage:
Well so far I have only been using it for a little under a year. I use it while out hiking and often while not out hiking. It fits perfectly inside my shoulder pocket on my ZPacks Waterproof Cuben Fiber Rain Jacket, and as I almost always wear it when I leave my house, the wallet is almost always with me. So far it has not had any rips, tears, thread pulls, or any other noticeable damage. I have been using a 0.34 cuben fiber tarp (80.24 grams / 2.830 ounces) since middle of 2011 so I already had an understanding of just how far this material could be pushed, and how far it could not be pushed.
This is by no means one of those wallets that would have any purpose at all in the hands of somebody who is ruff on their gear… they would probably destroy it before they made it onto the trail, but thankfully I have a softer side of me.
As I mentioned above, the individual who made this for me does not wish to make any more – it was a gift he made for me.
However, if you have a fair amount of experience sewing cuben fiber, and have rather tiny hands or the right tools, this would be a fairly easy wallet to reproduce. The main chamber of the wall is all made from a single piece of 0.34 cuben fiber that is folded in half and sewn along the two edges. The sleeve for the plastic cards is just another small piece that was cut to size and sewn onto one side.
I am not sure where you can buy 0.34 cuben fiber at right now, ZPacks use to sell it but I just checked and it does not appear to be on their website anymore. Perhaps they will have it available in late April or early March.
Clearly this is one of those rare items that the rare few are going to want. For those that are always after the lightest of the lightest, I thought I would share this with you – and I hope it gives you some ideas of your own!
In accordance of Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR, Part 255: I hereby declare that the disseminated content within the review of this product(s) is free of endorsement(s) between myself and the manufacturer(s) of any product(s) disclosed herein and meets all FTC 16 CFR.255 compliance requirements.