I see wallet threads pop up every once in a while across a few different forums. Buying a new wallet is a decision I had to struggle with quite recently and it was a matter I didn't exactly take lightly. I scrutinized many different options and finally landed on Saddleback Leather.
Here are some quick impressions of a few of the different offerings from SBL:
Small Credit Card / Business Card wallet in Dark Coffee:
Overall I keep 6 credit cards in my wallet. I don't like to over stuff, I carry cash as infrequently as possible and I don't file receipts in my pocket. I thought I'd give their cheapest offering a fair shot for the sake of minimalism.
I figured I'd carry my six pieces of plastic and if I ever had a few bills, I'd tuck em underneath a credit card or just fold them into the wallet. That didn't exactly work out, the wallet was just too small for my liking.
Large Passport wallet in Dark Coffee:
On the other end of the spectrum I thought I might try the passport wallet. It's considerably larger than the Credit Card wallet, plenty of room for your passport and a number of different credit cards. Also has extra spots for papers inside and on the outer flap. It felt alright, but I wasn't entirely sold.
Medium Bi-Fold in Chestnut:
This one is just about the right size. It's just your standard bi-fold wallet that everyone and their father carries.
The Chestnut leather has a distinctly different texture than the Dark Coffee. I'm no leather expert so I can't really explain this.
I also have a confession to make. I sought out these Saddleback Leather wallets based on the high praise SBL receives for their quality leather and workmanship. Especially with regards to their leather briefcases. The three wallets I tried so far didn't live up to my expectations. Build quality seemed okay, I trust in the 100 year warranty these wallets carry, but the leather was really letting me down. It was thin and didn't have an appealing texture. I especially didn't care for the texture of the chestnut colored leather.
I tried to keep it in mind however, that the thick boot leather that SBL uses for their briefcases probably wouldn't lend itself too well to small, folded wallets.
Large Bi-Fold in Dark Coffee:
That leaves us with the final wallet in my original selection, the large bi-fold. This wallet is similar in size to the passport wallet, 1/2" shorter, less than 1/4" wider. It feels a bit smaller, but the difference in size isn't really great.
The difference that stands out in my mind is the leather. This is something different altogether from what I was experiencing from the other three wallets. The leather feels thicker, more durable and has a much more appealing texture. It's difficult to explain but it feels less "processed" than the other pieces. It feels very nice to the touch!
This isn't my ideal sized wallet but it sits fairly thin in my pocket. Less than 3/4" thick compared to my last wallet's 1/2" thickness. I can live with that.
This is definitely the nicest wallet of the bunch and the one I'm keeping for every day use, although I've resolved to keep the passport wallet around and use it as it was intended: to hold my passport / travel.
No Fear in Dark Brown:
Just for fun here's my original wallet. It's old, about 13 or so years old and falling apart. I couldn't stand the thought of tossing it just yet. It originally had a metal "No Fear" tag stuck on the front which had been long since torn away. The plastic photo holder was brittle and cracking, so it was ripped out some time ago, and the stitching was coming loose from the inside. Given the fact that it lasted well past the 10 year mark after many sweaty work days, dunks in the pool and accidental washings, it really did stand up to a lot of abuse. Saddleback Leather has some mighty big shoes to fill and at this point all I can say is; I'm glad SBL comes with a 100 year warranty.
Here it is in comparison to the Large Bi-Fold. (For further reference, the L x W of the No Fear wallet is about the same as the SBL credit card wallet):