In Search of the World’s Thinnest Wallet

I don’t like thick wallets. Never did. About a decade ago, some friends gave me a wallet from Project Shop. It was made from some sort of micro-fibre like material that was thin, smooth, and nice to touch. Although it was not designed specifically to be ultra-thin, it was overall a pretty compact wallet. I liked the wallet very much. Alas, it had become worn out, and the colour had faded. I had to find a new wallet. Project Shop didn’t sell this type of wallet anymore.

For my next wallet, I ended up using what is really meant to be a cardholder. It’s genuine leather and reasonably compact too. It’s not thin because it was designed to be thin, but reasonably so simply because, well, cardholders are simple. How thick can it be even if it was made out of the usual wallet materials? The problem was that this wallet wasn’t quite big enough. Bigger currency notes like the S$50 denomination had to be folded because they could not fit into the money compartment, while the smaller denominations barely fit. I lived with the wallet for a while. I kept thinking there had to be a better solution.

Then, I chanced upon the Tyvek Mighty Wallets at a shop. Nice, paper thin. It’s made of paper. Well, actually, it’s High Density Polyethylene, the sort of material that express mail envelopes are made from. It’s promised to be lasting. But it still looks filmsy, and I didn’t like the designs. Then, a colleague bought the wallet, and after seeing its condition after a week or two, I decided that’s not what I want.

But the Tyvek wallets got me started again on my search for the perfect wallet. So to cut a long story short, I eventually zoomed in on Big Skinny. Big Skinny lays claim to the world’s thinnest wallets. At least that’s what I think they are saying, although they stop short of very explicitly declaring so. Perhaps for legal reasons. They are, after all, in the land where everyone can sue anyone for the most inane reasons.

The point is, however, Big Skinny’s wallets are really thin. Check out their website for the videos showing you how ultra-thin their wallets are. They are saying that, empty the contents of your current normally-fat wallet, put them all into the Big Skinny wallet, and see how it probably still isn’t thicker than your now empty original wallet. Wow!

Hey, I actually gotta to do a comparison of my own too! I took everything out of my existing wallet, 8 cards (or you could count as 9, because one of them is extra thick), plus some currency notes, and put them all into the new Big Skinny wallet. I know, that’s not plenty of things, but remember, I didn’t want my wallet to be thick. Look below, the new versus old wallet.

Is that impressive or what? Remember my old wallet isn’t very thick to begin with, since it is really meant to be a cardholder. I don’t know for sure if this is the thinnest wallet in the world, but it definitely the thinnest wallet I’ve ever owned!

The Big Skinny wallet you see above is the Tri-Fold wallet. A tri-fold, to begin with, is already disadvantaged in terms of thickness when compared with a bi-fold. But it still does a pretty good job keeping slim.

I had originally ordered the Compact Sports Wallet. The item arrived with a small pin-sized hole on the inside pocket. I also realized that Singapore currency notes do not fit very well inside the Compact Sports Wallet. The $50 denomination protrudes out the top. So when I returned the wallet for an exchange, I took the opportunity to upgrade to the Tri-Fold Wallet. No trouble at all with the exchange/upgrade.

I chose the black colour, not just because black was an “okay” colour, but more importantly because the black colour version does not have the Big Skinny rubber logo stitched on the front. Sorry, Big Skinny, I’m not a fan of your logo. I saw the logo stitched on the Compact Sports Wallet and I really didn’t like it. In this version of the Tri-Fold Wallet, the Big Skinny label is tucked away inconspicuously in the currency compartment.

As you can also see in the above photo, the S$50 denomination notes fit with ample room to spare. The currency compartment also has a divider so you can separate out the notes and/or receipts. It’s convenient, and the divider is so thin it doesn’t add any thickness to the wallet.

This wallet is made from nylon micro-fibre fabric. It is almost just like what I had on my old Project Shop wallet. It’s thin, soft, smooth, and nice to touch. It looks and feels different from the typical leather or synthetic leather wallets. This is nice if you’re looking for a wallet that is unique and different.

I do have a little issue with the stitching of the seams, particularly on the parts of the pockets that fold over the top edges. They don’t seem very neat and tidy (see bottom left pic in the grid of 9 photos above). Fortunately they are inside-facing and won’t be noticeable. Most importantly, of course, I hope they won’t tear. Only time will tell.

I’m really happy with this Tri-Fold Wallet. If you are looking for an ultra-thin wallet, you really must take a look at Big Skinny’s wallets (! They have quite a number of “form factors”, designs for both men and women, so you should be able to find something that works for you.

2 Responses to In Search of the World’s Thinnest Wallet

  1. Hey zitSeng, thanks for this insightful post. I’ll also order one!

  2. I’m using an All-Ett original leather billfold myself, after a couple of unsuccessful attempts at making my own duct-tape wallet. I realise the problem with proper ultra-thinning wallets is that most wallet designs require you to stack your cards like a mini-staircase, creating a larger middle and effectively not solving the problem of thinning up the wallet body. The All-Ett contains 4 pockets arranged in a tight grid that still maintains the length and width of conventional wallets, but does away with the stacking trend.

    I think the reason Big Skinny is stopping short of calling itself the skinnyest wallet in the world is because of the All-Ett.

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