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Ridge Wallet Review

Bernard Capulong
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Ridge Wallet Review

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With more and more of us shopping online, and with the latest and greatest smartphones on the verge of replacing our EDC wallets with digital ones, it makes sense now more than ever to slim down to a minimalist wallet. Traditional wallets that you can pick up at any department store usually don’t align with many core EDC principles: they often don’t last very long, they’re needlessly bulky, and they’re missing modern features and technology.

The Ridge Wallet aims to redefine the wallet with a minimalist design that breaks away from the run-of-the-mill, cut-and-sewn leather and fabric wallets we’ve come to tolerate. It’s a distillation of minimalism and durability in wallet form, with a simple yet effective combination of premium materials and hardware designed to convert your bulky leather wallet into a streamlined carry solution.

But because of its strikingly different design, it begs the question — is it a good wallet for your EDC? Find out in this hands-on review of the Ridge Wallet.

Quick disclaimer: Ridge sent me a few sample wallets for editorial consideration for review, free of charge. They’ve also sponsored Everyday Carry in the past. With that said, this does not affect my honest opinion presented in this review.

Ridge Wallet Materials and Design

Card slots, billfold sections, ID windows — forget all that. The Ridge Wallet strips things down to a minimalist plate-and-band design. Two rigid plates bound together by elastic webbing sandwich your cards together into a neat and uniform deck. The plates that make up the chassis are sized and shaped to the same length and width of a standard credit card, down to the same curved corner radius, such that there’s no excess material hanging over the cards. It’s a perfect fit all around.

This design results in a thin and streamlined profile at the expense of robust internal organization for your cards. You only get one central compartment for all your cards, right in between the plates. Your cards sit snugly in place thanks to the tension applied by the replaceable elastic webbing on three sides of the wallet, with one side open to load and retrieve cards. The materials used in the Ridge Wallet offer RFID-blocking in this central compartment to protect you from skimmers. If you do need to tap your RFID-enabled cards, it’s best to carry them on the outside of the wallet using the optional money clip or cash strap.

Another benefit of the Ridge’s design is its modularity: by unscrewing the seven fasteners on either side of the wallet with the screwdriver included in the box, you can swap out faceplates to mix and match colors, replace elastic webbing that may have overstretched, install a money clip, a cash strap, or even both. 

The last significant feature in the Ridge’s design is a dedicated thumb slot at the bottom corner of the wallet. You use it to push cards out of the central cavity for quick and easy access. The slot itself is shaped and sized just right. Not only is it comfortable to push your thumb through, but it’s also sized big enough to easily locate by feel yet small enough to guide the tip of your thumb through when pushing the cards. This all comes together for a smooth, consistent action every time (once you’ve broken in the webbing).

Using the Ridge Wallet

Operating the Ridge Wallet is simple, but not without its quirks. Loading it up is as easy as prying the two plates open to overcome the tension in the band (which breaks in to be a bit easier over time, while still providing enough tension to keep your wallet closed and cards secured), then slotting in your stack of cards. To retrieve a card, you can push out the entire stack from the central cavity with your thumb thanks to a dedicated thumb slot that exposes one corner of the deck.

There is some learning curve to this: as you push out the deck of cards, the corner of your cards needs to overcome any tension in the band as it passes through it. If you push too much and overshoot, there’s a chance the opposite corner of the deck can be pushed out as well. Combined with the tension of the plates and band squeezing your cards together, your entire deck of cards can shoot out. At best, it’s an inconvenience and you have to somehow open the wallet and wrestle with its tension again, all while holding your cards somehow, to get them back in. Worst case scenario, your cards end up shooting to the ground while you’re in a rush to pay or to swipe through a turnstile to catch your train. With enough usage over time, as you get accustomed to the motion and as the elastic webbing breaks in to just the right tension, this isn’t much of an issue. 

Once you get it down, though, picking the card you need is a simple affair. You can fan out the cards a bit to let you identify which card is what by looking at the top corner, then pinch and pull out the card you need. 

There is another quirk I should mention when putting a card away. If you have cards with raised lettering (as opposed to completely flat cards like a gift card or some metal credit cards), they can potentially “block” the card you’re inserting back into the wallet. Because the plates tend to completely flatten the deck, there’s very little room for your card to slide over the raised lettering inside. 

To overcome this, just insert your card and apply some downward pressure so it slides in at an angle, then it’ll clear raised lettering. It’s probably best practice to do this every time, since you don’t have a good way of knowing if you’re about to slide a card on top of a card with raised lettering.

How Many Cards Does the Ridge Wallet Hold?

The Ridge Wallet is designed to hold 1-12 cards. While you technically can carry 12 cards in the Ridge Wallet, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should. If you’re coming from a larger bifold wallet, you might already be used to carrying that many cards. But when slimming down to a minimalist wallet such as the Ridge, be prepared to face a learning curve and potentially make some compromises.

In order to achieve such a small footprint, the Ridge Wallet foregoes any type of internal organization or separation of your cards. As a result, it makes navigating and picking the right card you need out of a stack of 12 cards a bit more difficult compared to knowing which dedicated pocket or slots it's in like you would on a traditional wallet.

On the flip side, having too few cards, such as in the 1-4 card range, might mean you won’t get the most value out of this minimalist wallet. At that point, even with how slim the Ridge Wallet is, it’s still going to add thickness and may be even more wallet than you need. For example, if the thinnest carry possible is your ultimate goal, you might be better served by a money clip or a phone case wallet. The Ridge Wallet can feel like it’s adding more bulk than it’s removing when you carry so few cards, but it ultimately still results in a very slim carry even with a smaller deck.

The sweet spot in terms of achieving a slim profile while still being fairly convenient and intuitive to use would be around 5-8 cards, in my experience. Any fewer and you may be better off with a money clip or cardholder type wallet, and any more cards will have you fumbling through a stacked deck, wishing you had some way to organize it all.

Carry Experience

An important but often overlooked consideration to make when picking an EDC wallet is its feel: how it feels in your hand when you use it, and how it feels in the pocket during carry. The Ridge Wallet is a hard, rigid object, which comes with its own set of pros and cons.

Compared to a soft leather wallet, the Ridge inspires confidence — it feels bombproof. Despite that, it’s surprisingly comfortable in the hand too, thanks to its smooth matte finish and chamfered edges. Nothing on the Ridge feels aggressive or painfully sharp despite all of its hard lines and right angles.

In the pocket, the Ridge certainly takes up less overall space than most wallets, but it can feel “dense." The flat rectangular shape makes inserting it and retrieving it from your pocket easy and consistent, with nothing to snag or catch on.

However, this rigidity still might feel uncomfortable for some who prefer a softer, more organic feel to their wallet. The Ridge won’t ever conform to your hand or thigh the way a broken-in leather wallet will. But if you mainly want a wallet that’s comfortable enough to sit on, the Ridge Wallet is not it. With that said, I don’t recommend sitting on your wallet in the first place (it’s not good for your back and it’s prone to falling out or getting pickpocketed). In that sense, the Ridge Wallet is a great way to slim things down enough to comfortably fit in a front pocket.

Pros and Cons

Most of the pros and cons of the Ridge Wallet are two sides of the same coin, with trade-offs here and there. I’m ranking these from an EDC perspective, but it really comes down to your preferences.

Pros:
Cons:
+ Durable
- No organization for cards
+ Pocket-friendly
- Slight learning curve
+ RFID-blocking technology
- Not the most comfortable
+ Modular and user-serviceable

+ Multiple color and material options

Who Is the Ridge Wallet For?

The Ridge Wallet is a good wallet for minimalists and EDCers who know how to pare things down to just the essentials. It works best with around 5-8 cards: any more can feel unorganized, and fewer might not get the most value out of the wallet’s “slimming” effect. It’s also great if you don’t necessarily make payments with your wallet often, and can rely on your phone or smart watch to do it, but still need to carry some essential cards on your person in a durable and reliable way.

The Ridge Wallet might not be the best pick for maximalists who carry a lot of cards, use their wallet to make payments often, and pay for specific transactions using specific cards. The Ridge’s minimalist design lacks the organization to make it easy to find the right card out of a larger deck, but you may be willing to make that compromise for how slim it can make your wallet overall.

It’s also a great introduction for people who are coming from a large, bulky, traditional wallet that’s overstuffed with cards and receipts they don’t really use or need, but continue to carry just because they have the space. The Ridge can train you to rethink about how and why you carry the cards you do and reign things into a more streamlined, essential set of cards. It’s also great for those wanting to make the switch to a front pocket wallet to break the habit of sitting on their wallet.

Which Ridge Wallet You Should Buy

You have a plethora of options when it comes to configuring a Ridge Wallet. First, you have your choice of materials: anodized aluminum, titanium, or carbon fiber. Next, you have your choice of money clip, cash strap, both, or none. Because the Ridge is modular, you can always add or remove the clip or strap as your carry needs change.

The best Ridge Wallet for most people is the aluminum version with money clip. After handling the three different materials and clip/strap configurations, I think the aluminum version offers the best balance of light weight and durability for the price. It also comes in the most colors, making it more likely for you to find one that suits your style. I prefer the money clip because it’s more rigid and fixed, making it more consistent to use and longer lasting compared to the elastic cash strap.

The titanium and carbon fiber options are nice, but come with the price tag to match. If you want to splurge and had to choose between the two, I like the carbon fiber variant as it feels impossibly light (1.6 ounces compared to aluminum’s 2 ounces) and comfortable in the hand. But I know many EDCers have a soft spot for titanium, and it’s a nice upgrade as well. For most people, they can get by with aluminum and save some cash.

Final Thoughts

It’s no wonder that the Ridge Wallet is as popular as it is among the EDC community. It has a rugged appeal, it frees up pocket space, and feels like a real piece of “gear” compared to most traditional wallets. If you’re making the switch to a minimalist wallet from your bulky leather wallet, it’s hard to go wrong with the Ridge Wallet. It does struggle with managing a large number of cards, since it lacks any organization from dedicated slots or pockets in order to achieve its minimalist, compact form factor. It also has a distinctly rigid feel when using and carrying the wallet, which may not be for everyone. But those are acceptable and necessary compromises to make to “redefine” the wallet the way Ridge envisioned.

With prices starting at $75 for the aluminum version of the Ridge, this is not a cheap wallet by any means. However, it’s reflected in the premium materials, RFID-blocking technology, modular design, and life time guarantee. For that price, especially when you consider that you can replace the elastic and aluminum, titanium, or carbon fiber plates aren’t going to break any time soon, it’s a worthy investment. 

You can check out all the material and color options of the Ridge Wallet at their website linked below.

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Discussion (3 total)

Elec ·
You can mount both as well. one for cash other for cards/receipts.
Emmanuel ·
thank you for the info, was thinking to do it and just ordered the extension ^^
will place my car key in the elastic side (Renault has credit card format car key)
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