Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. Ridge sent me this wallet, and as far as I know, I don’t have to send it back.
I don’t like anything in my pockets. I prefer to keep my jeans, chinos, or shorts as light as possible. If I have to put something in my pockets, I prefer it to be small and light. I clip a knife to my pocket, and I rarely carry my truck keys if I don’t have to. When most people come home and slip off their boots, I come home and empty my pockets.
When it comes to my “EDC” kit, I keep it light. I’ve been using a front-pocket wallet for years. I like them because they’re light and small, and they keep everything I need in one place. But when Ridge sent me the Ridge Wallet Carbon Fiber 3K and the Burnt Titanium, I wanted to see if these wallets would work for my lifestyle and my penchant for empty pockets.
The Ridge Burnt Titanium
What is the Ridge Wallet?
The Ridge company formed in 2013 and its wallets were a response to wireless theft and a lightweight, minimalist lifestyle. The Ridge wallets sit in your front pocket and benefit from RFID protection, making it more difficult to steal your credit card’s information.
These wallets consist of replaceable elastic straps and two hard shells that sandwich your credit card between them. They hold up to 12 cards, and you can outfit them with money clips or cash straps, depending on your style. They come in quite a few different materials, including aluminum, titanium, and carbon fiber. You can also get them in several colors, depending on the model you choose. There are even some fun patterns, like hula girls and tropical flowers, if that’s your thing.
The RFID protection is above my paygrade, and I wouldn’t want to insult Ridge by trying to explain their technology. But here’s what I can offer you: Apparently, thieves can steal your credit card information with portable, hand-held scanners. They can make small transactions instantly, like $50 or less. They can also steal your card info and keep it for a later day and buy a couch or a pair of Yeezys or whatever thieves spend other people’s money on.
These wallets block those scanners. Plus, the wallet’s front-pocket location makes it easier to notice when a stranger tries bumping a scanner into your thighs.
The Ridge Carbon 3K loaded with cards and a million dollars
My Initial Impression
I tend to be hard to impress. To be very honest with you, I don’t care for anything that looks tactical. I spent years in law enforcement, and I’ve had my fill of high-speed, low-drag tactical products. I’m not typically a fan of Kydex, Carbon Fiber, or anything mil-spec. They just don’t fit my style anymore.
These Ridge wallets had an uphill battle to fight before they even came out of their boxes.
The Packaging: Satisfyingly good
When I opened the Ridge boxes, I noticed the packaging was pretty impressive. Both boxes came tightly wrapped in plastic, and the telescoping cover was airtight. It felt more like unboxing an Apple product than a wallet. In fact, the packaging was so good that it was satisfying when I finally got the wallets out. I understand that this is a one time experience, but Ridge really nailed the packaging.
Inside the boxes, I found some stickers, some reading material, and each box had a really high-quality Torx screwdriver. It all seemed a bit much; I just wanted to load it up and shove it in my pocket.
The Styling: Pretty good
The carbon fiber wallet had a very low-profile cash strap. I decided that was the one I would carry, aside from its tactical-styling that really didn’t impress me. The Burnt Titanium looked awesome (like, really awesome), but it came with a money clip, and I thought it felt heavier, so it didn’t make the cut.
The cash strap and clip are changeable, which is great because I love modifying things, but for this review, the Carbon 3k with the cash strap felt right for my needs. I loaded it up and started carrying it.
The Quality: Spot on
I didn’t know how much Ridge wallets cost. I wanted to be as unbiased as possible when it came in. Although I was familiar with the brand, I’d never purchased anything from them.
They aren’t cheap, but to be honest, my initial impression of the quality was that it was awesome. The fit and finish of every Torx screw, the layers of the two shells, and the materials they used, all seemed to be top-notch.
When I finally saw the price, I wasn’t shocked. Maybe my eyes opened a bit wider at the number, but the price seemed fair. Plus, if this thing prevented one e-thief from jacking my credit card digits, it would pay for itself.
The Ridge Carbon 3K loaded with cards and cash vs my regular leather wallet with the contents
The Ridge Wallet: Cons
I’ve written a lot of product reviews, and they never start with the cons. I’m switching it up because Ridge had a demanding customer to please, and it’s best if you understand why before we get to the pros.
The Carbon 3K is a little too tactical
As I said, I’m not a fan of anything overly tactical, and by nature of The Carbon 3K, it’s pretty tactical. I thought I’d be a fan of the carbon fiber because I love cars, and I grew up in the era of carbon fiber hoods and trunks, but this wallet didn’t ring that bell. Maybe if it had a glossier finish, it would seem less tactical, but with the matte finish, it just doesn’t work with my style.
Both of these wallets are pretty thick. They’re almost twice as thick as the front pocket wallet I was using before. My old one was just a leather sleeve that tucked into my pocket without any issue. Not the case with the Ridge wallets; in a pair of chinos, jeans, or even shorts, they need a pocket to call home, and they don’t like sharing with anything else.
The Titanium is a bit heavy
I chose not to carry the Titanium because I felt it was heavier than the Carbon 3K, and the money clip wasn’t as streamlined as the cash strap. Ridge might’ve spoiled me and tainted my opinion by sending the Carbon 3K with the Titanium, but I based my decision on functionality alone: The Carbon 3K felt far more functional.
There’s a training period
Getting the right card out of either of these wallets was a chore at first. At one point, I had to find my insurance card and it required me to remove several cards before I could get to it. With time I was able to organize it to a more streamlined process, but there’s an initial training period that you’ll have to go through.
The Ridge Burnt Titanium loaded with cards and cash
The Ridge Wallet: Pros
If you think I’ve given these Ridge wallets a hard time, it’s because I have. But it’s been honest criticism. Keep reading to find out what I did like about the Ridge wallets. I think it will surprise you.
To be fair, I was already enjoying the benefits of a minimalist wallet, which may be why I didn’t swoon over the Ridge wallets at first sight. I already knew the benefits, and I didn’t have to cut down on the junk I bring with me. Most guys moving from a full-size billfold will probably go head over heels for the design, and they should. Minimalism is wonderful.
Also, although I didn’t carry the Titanium, a friend of mine did. He’s a nurse in a busy rehab facility, as well as an outdoorsman and avid shooter. I trust his opinion on EDC gear.
These things are damned tough
I’m not easy on anything I own, and I truly believe these things will hold up to whatever I use them during. I had the Carbon 3K in my pocket for several remodeling projects, and it’s got one tiny scratch on the cash strap. Other than that, this thing looks like it’s brand new. I would’ve had no concerns about carrying this wallet during a busy midnight shift on patrol.
The experience was the same with the Titanium. It’s just a tough wallet. It’s been through quite a bit already and shows no signs of wear, dents, or scratches. It’s unlikely that you’ll find another wallet this tough this compact in size.
The Titanium looks great
The Burnt Titanium finish looks really, really cool. There’s no denying that this thing has way more style than the carbon fiber wallet. Choosing one of these wallets based on style alone, I’d choose the Titanium.
The money clip is awesome
If you don’t carry cash often, don’t count out the money clip’s functionality. This clip can really come in handy. It’s tough and sturdy, but also easy to manipulate. Yes, it can hold your cash in place securely, but it can also hold your wallet in place.
Anyone who has ever worn scrubs knows that the pockets are a joke. They don’t hold anything, and during a busy shift on your feet, who knows where you’re dropping your stuff. The Ridge money clip slides over the waistband of a pair of scrubs easily and holds your wallet in place for your entire shift. If you absolutely need a money clip, you can purchase an extra clip from Ridge and install it on the other side.
This clip isn’t just for nurses or doctors. First responders and other professionals that carry a lot of gear in their pockets will enjoy the clip on the Ridge wallets. You can clip it to your duty bag, a pocket inside a cargo pocket, or even a breast pocket, and it’s going to stay put.
It can clip to a pair of gym shorts as well. Hell, we wish everything clippable used one of Ridge’s money clips.
A future licensing deal, maybe? Call me, Ridge.
The elastic straps are strong
I don’t have the ability or scientific intellect to test the RFID-blocker, but I can tell you this: Nothing is getting out of this wallet if you don’t want it to. It holds your cards securely in place, in any position, during any activity. Even if you twist the shells back and forth independently of one another, your cards aren’t going to slip out. This is thanks to the super-strong elastic straps.
Initially, I thought the elastic straps were cause for concern. But they’re as tough as elastic straps can be. If they do ever wear, they’re easy to replace. Ridge sells sets for a few dollars, and you can swap them out with the screwdriver that came with your Ridge.
It doesn’t heat up
As I mentioned, I don’t like keeping things in my pockets. I especially dislike stuff in my pockets when the weather’s hot. Knowing this, I purposely challenged myself to carry the Carbon 3K when the weather got particularly balmy.
This is by far my favorite thing about The Ridge Carbon 3K. While a leather wallet can retain body heat and get kind of nasty, the Carbon 3K doesn’t. It stays absolutely cool in your pocket. It doesn’t matter if you’re mowing the lawn on a 95-degree day or relaxing by the pool. This thing stays comfortable.
Plus, it doesn’t harbor bacteria or sweat the way a leather wallet does.
And that, my friends, is how the Carbon 3K won me over.
The Ridge Carbon 3K
When I would carry the Ridge wallet
There are a lot of scenarios where the Ridge wallet is the perfect choice for your cards and cash. First off, anytime the weather’s hot, this thing’s going in my pocket. It might seem like an overstatement, but the level of comfort that the Carbon 3K provides when it’s steamy out is absolutely insane.
I would also carry the Ridge during any outdoor pursuit. You can use it to hold your cards and cash, or your hunting, fishing, or boating license. You can keep it on you during the roughest mountain bike rides. It can take literally anything you can throw at it; work or play.
Also, it’s ideal for traveling. It’s lightweight, secure, and protects your precious digits.
With that said, I won’t be carrying it everywhere I go. If I’m heading to a nice dinner with my wife, I’d be sheepish about producing either of these Ridge wallets from my pocket. Maybe less so with the Titanium, but I’d much prefer the classier look of a leather wallet and a polished money clip.
I’m more likely to carry the Ridge when I’m wearing a G-Shock, Oakleys, and carrying my Kershaw Brawler. It might even work in a pair of chukkas, jeans, aviators, and a Seiko SKX. However, when it comes to a classier look, I’ll swap the Ridge out for my leather wallet.
My Overall Impression
I admit that I was extremely hard on these Ridge wallets. I thought they were thick, and the tactical styling didn’t thrill me. But when I took everything the Ridge wallets had to offer into consideration, I found that they’re a truly impressive option for EDC.
When it comes to a tough wallet for EDC, these Ridge wallets are an excellent choice, and I couldn’t recommend it enough. I have no concerns about the quality of the materials or the fit and finish; they’re all impeccable.
Do I think they’re worth the money? That’s the real question, right? Here’s your answer: I truly believe that you’ll get your money’s worth out of either of these Ridge wallets. You can certainly find a less expensive option to carry your cards, but none are as flexible, durable, and comfortable as the Ridge.