Butterfly Wallet | Urban Ultralight

Butterfly Wallet

Many of you know that I’m always trying to pack lighter and slim my every day carry (EDC) gear in exactly the same way as I do for my backpacking trips. Once you embrace an ultralight mindset it pervades your life and before you know if you’re scrutinizing ever piece of gear you carry, whether you’re in the back country or an urban environment.

Last year I wrote a blog post entitled ‘Ultralight as a Lifestyle?‘ about the minimalist Maxpedition Micro wallet I carry for everyday use. I dislike carrying things in my pockets, so having to carry a wallet at all is a nuisance for me. For that reason I have always tried to carry the thinnest wallet that I can get away with. I’ve tried lots of different wallet with vary degrees of success and learned to narrow down the amount of cards I need to carry. For the most part I’ve been happy with the Micro for several months now.

Butterfly Wallet (right)

A Real Ultralight Wallet
Recently I was contacted by Mark Winstein, designer of the Butterfly Wallet, to see if I would be interested in trying one and comparing it to my MaxP Micro. I wasn’t unhappy with my current wallet, but I’m always looking for better alternatives – and there were some things I would change about the Maxpedition Micro if I had the chance – so I agreed to take a look at one, I chose black.

Butterfly Wallet

When it arrived and I opened it up I knew it would be replacing my Maxpedition wallet! It immediately oozed of quality construction, was smaller in form factor than the Maxpedition, and a quarter of the weight. The real differentiator though was that the Butterfly Wallet was a real tri-fold with a compartment for cash bills, the Maxpedition has no way to hold bills unless there folded into thirds – making it fat in a hurry.

Butterfly Wallet

Well Designed
The Butterfly Wallet has three compartments for credit cards that each comfortably hold three cards, I choose to only have two in each for a total six cards – more than enough. Furthermore the credit card pockets are the right size, I’ll let that sink in. The Butterfly Wallet was made to fit perfectly to the size of a credit card. You might be thinking “aren’t all wallets? Well no as it happens. 

Butterfly Wallet (left)

The Maxpedition Micro, despite being minimal, is actually quite a lot bigger than a standard credit card, almost annoyingly so. The credit cards and my driver’s license slide around in the pockets, seems odd. That’s not the case with the Butterfly Wallet as you can see.

Butterfly Wallet

The quality of the construction on the Butterfly Wallet is extremely good also. All of the stitching, inside and out, is taught and even and there were no loose threads that I could find. When the Butterfly Wallet is empty it seems very flimsy and has no structure of its own. This is because it is designed to use the credit cards placed into it to provide the rigidity and structure, allowing the wallet itself to be made with very thin but strong materials.

Butterfly Wallet

If you’re looking for an ultralight alternative to your current wallet that can easily hold nine credit cards and several cash bills, that weighs 0.2 ounces (less than a quarter) and is only 3mm thin, then you need to take a look at the Butterfly Wallet. About the only thing I would change about this is to change the white stitching to black, but I see that Mark is already offering an “all black” color option – another sign that he’s on the ball and listening to customer feedback :)

Do you have an ultralight wallet that you love?

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  • http://www.outsideways.com/ Damien @ Outsideways

    My beef with the butterfly design is that the credit cards could more easily slide out even when the wallet is closed. I had that happen to me once with a wallet of similar design.

    My current wallet of choice is the Chums Marsupial: http://www.chums.com/category/keychains/product/marsupial

    A zipper pouch and a keyring… All I need for everyday use.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I’ve been using the Butterfly Wallet as my EDC wallet for three months now and have never had an issue with credit cards sliding out. I’m quite OCD so every time I pick it up or take it in and out of my pocket I make sure I have the card opening side up!

      I can see where you’re coming from but it’s never been an issue for me. Gonna have to check out the Marsupial though :)

      • JayDub

        Also a rubber band around longitudinally would solve this, as would a binder clip. And both of those could be indispensable daily!

      • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

        How about the X-shaped rubber bands?

  • http://www.outsideways.com/ Damien @ Outsideways

    My beef with the butterfly design is that the credit cards could more easily slide out even when the wallet is closed. I had that happen to me once with a wallet of similar design.

    My current wallet of choice is the Chums Marsupial: http://www.chums.com/category/keychains/product/marsupial

    A zipper pouch and a keyring… All I need for everyday use.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    I’ve been using the Butterfly Wallet as my EDC wallet for three months now and have never had an issue with credit cards sliding out. I’m quite OCD so every time I pick it up or take it in and out of my pocket I make sure I have the card opening side up!

    I can see where you’re coming from but it’s never been an issue for me. Gonna have to check out the Marsupial though :)

  • http://www.beuteltiere.org/ Basti Beuteltiere

    There are two wallets I use depending on where I go. The first is a Tyvek wallet by MightyWallet. It’s a tad larger as My ID-card and my student card (which doubles as a train ticket) is larger than a normal credit card.
    The other wallet I use is made by All-Ett. It comes in handy when I don’t need my student and ID card. E.g. when hiking or going by bike.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I actually have one of the Gossamer Gear All-Ett wallets but it’s really a business card holder, not a wallet. Great product too. I’ve never liked the design of the Might Wallet because I’m not a double fold wallet guy. I did make my own Tyvek minimal wallet once and it rocked until I lost it.

  • http://www.beuteltiere.org/ Basti Beuteltiere

    There are two wallets I use depending on where I go. The first is a Tyvek wallet by MightyWallet. It’s a tad larger as My ID-card and my student card (which doubles as a train ticket) is larger than a normal credit card.
    The other wallet I use is made by All-Ett. It comes in handy when I don’t need my student and ID card. E.g. when hiking or going by bike.

  • http://www.cheaptents.com/blog Andy – Cheap Tents

    Superb write up, I’ve been looking for a really light weight alternative for a while now, I’ve gone through most of the “sport” types and for a long time just stuck them loose in my bag and cash in a plastic cash bag (type you get at banks)… it works well sometimes but more often than not is clumsy and i’d loose a card to my bag and i wouldnt want to unpack it again having just packed everything in there to go camping and hiking… this seems like a great option and worth a try! thanks for the tip!

  • IJ

    Good find — nice to see another company embracing the minimalist ethic. It’s similar to my 0.6g (0.02 oz) spinnaker nylon All-Ett card case, which is just beginning to wear a bit in its third year of use as my daily wallet: http://www.all-ett.com/card-case/ No need for OCD handling, thankfully.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      What’s wrong with OCD handling? What’s wrong with OCD handling? What’s wrong with OCD handling..? :)

      • IJ

        Ha! Absolutely nothing (*edges back a step*) :)

        • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

          21 ft. Rule!

          • IJ

            Or is that the 42 or 63 ft. rule in this case? :)

  • IJ

    Good find — nice to see another company embracing the minimalist ethic. It’s similar to my 0.6g (0.02 oz) spinnaker nylon All-Ett card case, which is just beginning to wear a bit in its third year of use as my daily wallet: http://www.all-ett.com/card-case/ No need for OCD handling, thankfully.

  • JayDub

    Also a rubber band around longitudinally would solve this, as would a binder clip. And both of those could be indispensable daily!

  • JayDub

    I have used Wally Wallets by Kavu for years. I have worn out at least 2 of them, but still keep going back. I just love them. It has a zipper pouch and a keyring, much like the Chums Marsupial mentioned by Damien. But it’s much more robust, and also bigger.

    I have also used the MightWallet by Tyvek that was mentioned (Basti). Once my fat stacks of cash ( rolleyes ) stretched it out, it was truly useless. I loved the idea, but tyvek has great uses, one of which does not include wallets.

    Also, this looks to be a pretty simple design – any chance we could see a pattern?

  • JayDub

    I have used Wally Wallets by Kavu for years. I have worn out at least 2 of them, but still keep going back. I just love them. It has a zipper pouch and a keyring, much like the Chums Marsupial mentioned by Damien. But it’s much more robust, and also bigger.

    I have also used the MightWallet by Tyvek that was mentioned (Basti). Once my fat stacks of cash ( rolleyes ) stretched it out, it was truly useless. I loved the idea, but tyvek has great uses, one of which does not include wallets.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    I actually have one of the Gossamer Gear All-Ett wallets but it’s really a business card holder, not a wallet. Great product too. I’ve never liked the design of the Might Wallet because I’m not a double fold wallet guy. I did make my own Tyvek minimal wallet once and it rocked until I lost it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jim.henegar Jim Henegar

    Neat wallet, if you were to ever have problems with the cards sliding out, why couldn’t you just sew a piece of elastic across the top and sew it down both sides, so it has to be lifted to slide a card out. Shouldn’t add that much weight. Mite want to mention that to Mark, he may add that as a safe guard, just a thought.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Great suggestion. I saw a photo online where someone had hacked it themselves to add exactly what you are suggesting with one being velcro, to snap on and off! I’ve never had an issue with card falling out and prefer not to add more bits to mine. Thought I’d share…

  • http://www.facebook.com/jim.henegar Jim Henegar

    Neat wallet, if you were to ever have problems with the cards sliding out, why couldn’t you just sew a piece of elastic across the top and sew it down both sides, so it has to be lifted to slide a card out. Shouldn’t add that much weight. Mite want to mention that to Mark, he may add that as a safe guard, just a thought.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    How about the X-shaped rubber bands?

  • Heather Hohnholz

    I second the All-Ett billfolds. Super light, super thin, super durable, and they hold everything I need reliably.

  • Heather Hohnholz

    I second the All-Ett billfolds. Super light, super thin, super durable, and they hold everything I need reliably.

  • http://twitter.com/vortex33 Vortex33

    I bought an All-Ett after reading your ‘Ultralight as a Lifestyle?’ post and have been extremely pleased with it. I don’t like to carry a large purse but my last wallet was just too big to fit into small carrying bags. I have a Timbuk2 bag that is just large enough to carry my Kindle (I never leave home without it), my All-Ett wallet, keys and a tube of lip balm.

  • http://twitter.com/vortex33 Vortex33

    I bought an All-Ett after reading your ‘Ultralight as a Lifestyle?’ post and have been extremely pleased with it. I don’t like to carry a large purse but my last wallet was just too big to fit into small carrying bags. I have a Timbuk2 bag that is just large enough to carry my Kindle (I never leave home without it), my All-Ett wallet, keys and a tube of lip balm.

  • http://sietovanderheide.blogspot.com/ Sieto

    My mini review of the Butterfly Wallet, and some more pictures: http://sietovanderheide.blogspot.nl/2012/05/gear-review-butterfly-wallet.html

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Great suggestion. I saw a photo online where someone had hacked it themselves to add exactly what you are suggesting with one being velcro, to snap on and off! I’ve never had an issue with card falling out and prefer not to add more bits to mine. Thought I’d share…

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    What’s wrong with OCD handling? What’s wrong with OCD handling? What’s wrong with OCD handling..? :)

  • IJ

    Ha! Absolutely nothing (*edges back a step*) :)

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    21 ft. Rule!

  • http://sticksblog.com/ Chad “Stick” Poindexter

    Nice wallet man. I replaced my wallet sometime last year over to the Wa-Ben cuben wallet and have been very happy with it. My older wallet was a bit thicker, and I always found myself pulling it out of my back pocket when hoping in the car. This one is much different, although I will admit, on long road trips, I still find myself pulling my wallet out of my pocket after a few hundred miles on the road. All in all though, I am very happy with it and look forward to getting many years of use out of it…

    http://sticksblog.com/clothing/wa-ben-cuben-fiber-wallet/

  • http://sticksblog.com/ Chad "Stick" Poindexter

    Nice wallet man. I replaced my wallet sometime last year over to the Wa-Ben cuben wallet and have been very happy with it. My older wallet was a bit thicker, and I always found myself pulling it out of my back pocket when hoping in the car. This one is much different, although I will admit, on long road trips, I still find myself pulling my wallet out of my pocket after a few hundred miles on the road. All in all though, I am very happy with it and look forward to getting many years of use out of it…

    http://sticksblog.com/clothing/wa-ben-cuben-fiber-wallet/

  • Catharine

    I have stopped carrying a purse and usually leave my computer in the car or at home. I do have an iphone however and I use the case for a wallet. It is very bulky however. How do other people deal with their phones? Maybe I should get a wallet and leave the phone in the car? I have two teenagers at home though…

  • Catharine

    I have stopped carrying a purse and usually leave my computer in the car or at home. I do have an iphone however and I use the case for a wallet. It is very bulky however. How do other people deal with their phones? Maybe I should get a wallet and leave the phone in the car? I have two teenagers at home though…

  • IJ

    Or is that the 42 or 63 ft. rule in this case? :)

  • Patrick Casebere

    I made one simmilar to this several years back, from an ol’ sail boat sail, and haven’t looked back.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Patrick, ain’t nothing wrong with making your own gear, I do it all the time. If you have a photo handy to share I’d love to see it – no pressure.

  • Patrick Casebere

    I made one simmilar to this several years back, from an ol’ sail boat sail, and haven’t looked back.

  • http://www.facebook.com/erik.claus Erik Claus

    Another “green” and ultralight version here. I have one of these and love it. Has lasted 2 years of daily use in the field. http://www.mightywallets.com/

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      The Mighty Wallet is just too big IMHO – I guess by “green” you mean because it uses a material (Tyvek) that is partly recycled? Tough as nails though! :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/erik.claus Erik Claus

    Another “green” and ultralight version here. I have one of these and love it. Has lasted 2 years of daily use in the field. http://www.mightywallets.com/

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Patrick, ain’t nothing wrong with making your own gear, I do it all the time. If you have a photo handy to share I’d love to see it – no pressure.

  • Knotty

    I have both the Butterfly and All-Ett. For me the All-Ett is the clear winner simply because it’s a bi-fold rather than a tri-fold. Everything else being equal a bi-fold will be thinner and that’s more important to me than frontal size. Still, the Butterfly is nice if you prefer a trifold.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Yeah I guess it’s a personal taste issue at this point between the two. As I said I prefer the tri-fold so for me the BW wins out, but I can respect your preference. Both great wallets for sure! :)

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Yeah I guess it’s a personal taste issue at this point between the two. As I said I prefer the tri-fold so for me the BW wins out, but I can respect your preference. Both great wallets for sure! :)

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    The Mighty Wallet is just too big IMHO – I guess by “green” you mean because it uses a material (Tyvek) that is partly recycled? Tough as nails though! :)

  • anonymous

    First time reader, but wow. After getting into backpacking and seeing
    about EDC, I realize that my leather wallet that keeps bulging out of my
    pockets is indeed too much. This is an amazing looking wallet, and I
    love the review. When I get back from my vacation, I’ll be picking one
    of these up and showing it to my friends back at church. A lot of them
    are into the ultra light stuff.

  • anonymous

    First time reader, but wow. After getting into backpacking and seeing
    about EDC, I realize that my leather wallet that keeps bulging out of my
    pockets is indeed too much. This is an amazing looking wallet, and I
    love the review. When I get back from my vacation, I’ll be picking one
    of these up and showing it to my friends back at church. A lot of them
    are into the ultra light stuff.

  • once

    Does this wallet have room to fit foreign currency that is larger than US Dollars?

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I have some UK pound notes here and they’re a bit too large/wide for the wallet and stick out. I don’t have any other foreign currency to test it with, I’d be happy to provide you with measurements or you can tell me how big your currency is and I’ll test it – it seems purposely made for US currency I would say.

  • once

    Does this wallet have room to fit foreign currency that is larger than US Dollars?

  • Disapointed

    I bought one of these on your suggestion. You failed to mention the fact that the middle card holder is way too big for normal cards. Anytime you turn the wallet over all the cards fall out. That renders it entirely worthless. There needs to be one more row of stitching on the middle card holder to prevent this. I suppose I wont take your advice on products again.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Disap(p)ointed – I’m sorry you feel so strongly that I misrepresented a $6 dollar product to the extend that it is totally worthless to you. Thank goodness you didn’t listen to my suggestion to buy a Gossamer Gear SpinnTwinn UL tarp, it might have been too noisy for you and would have been far more expensive.

      If you don’t like the wallet return it, or better yet quit whining about it and throw another row of stitching on there and fix the problem that YOU are having. It works fine for me and plenty of others. Don’t make out that you are a victim here, you made the choice to “risk” six dollars on a wallet and now it isn’t to your liking, that’s unfortunate but move on and stop blaming me.

      You know maybe, just maybe, if you had approached your comment to me a little more respectfully I might have been inclined to help you out – but that’s not likely to happen now is it? Something to think about before you go blaming others next time. ^BG

  • Disapointed

    I bought one of these on your suggestion. You failed to mention the fact that the middle card holder is way too big for normal cards. Anytime you turn the wallet over all the cards fall out. That renders it entirely worthless. There needs to be one more row of stitching on the middle card holder to prevent this. I suppose I wont take your advice on products again.

  • julie

    make one with duct tape…it can be made slimmer…into any size..and waterproof…and if u add velcro..it can be wrapped around an arm..wrist..or leg..or even to the inside of a boot top or the inside of a backpack..so it never falls out even when ur pack falls into water…<3

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Ha! Back in the day there was a boom of duct tape made wallets on sites like Instructables. I can remember making one and thinking “this is the last wallet I will ever need” – well not quite. Over time the adhesive from duct tape starts to seep out of the edges and gets dirty, grubby, sticky and basically nasty looking. It’s totally doable for sure – but I’m an adult and can afford to spend $6 – 10 on a wallet :) – [I loved that duct tape one I made tho!]

  • julie

    make one with duct tape…it can be made slimmer…into any size..and waterproof…and if u add velcro..it can be wrapped around an arm..wrist..or leg..or even to the inside of a boot top or the inside of a backpack..so it never falls out even when ur pack falls into water…<3

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Disap(p)ointed – I’m sorry you feel so strongly that I misrepresented a $6 dollar product to the extend that it is totally worthless to you. Thank goodness you didn’t listen to my suggestion to buy a Gossamer Gear SpinnTwinn UL tarp, it might have been too noisy for you and would have been far more expensive.

    If you don’t like the wallet return it, or better yet quite whining about it and throw another row of stitching on there and fix the problem that YOU are having. It works fine for me and plenty of others. Don’t make out that you are a victim here, you made the choice to “risk” six dollars on a wallet and now it isn’t to your liking, that’s unfortunate but move on and stop blaming me.

    You know maybe, just maybe, if you had approached your comment to me a little more respectfully I might have been inclined to help you out – but that’s not likely to happen now is it? Something to think about before you go blaming others next time. ^BG

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    I have some UK pound notes here and they’re a bit too large/wide for the wallet and stick out. I don’t have any other foreign currency to test it with, I’d be happy to provide you with measurements or you can tell me how big your currency is and I’ll test it – it seems purposely made for US currency I would say.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Ha! Back in the day there was a boom of duct tape made wallets on sites like Instructables. I can remember making one and thinking “this is the last wallet I will ever need” – well not quite. Over time the adhesive from duct tape starts to seep out of the edges and gets dirty, grubby, sticky and basically nasty looking. It’s totally doable for sure – but I’m an adult and can afford to spend $6 – 10 on a wallet :) – [I loved that duct tape one I made tho!]

  • Reggie in Midland, NC

    Bought it shortly after reading this. Thanks. Love it.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Good deal. Glad I was able to share.

  • Reggie in Midland, NC

    Bought it shortly after reading this. Thanks. Love it.

  • jayduff

    YO Brian, got one of these on your rec, love it!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Great to hear. I’m very happy with mine, but several people have voiced their dislike of it – hope it’s working out for you. ^BG

  • jayduff

    YO Brian, got one of these on your rec, love it!

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Great to hear. I’m very happy with mine, but several people have voiced their dislike of it – hope it’s working out for you. ^BG

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Good deal. Glad I was able to share.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pengngun Hong Peng Ngun

    Just placed an order online, this will be perfect for hiking and other outdoor activities where my leather wallet will be kept at home..

  • Swede Steve

    I have used the All-Ett for at least one year and after I´ve read this nice review I ordered 3 Butterfly Wallets for testing and also give away.
    I like the size and the Tri-fold BUT tonight I realized that I have lost one of my cards falling out. The problem with credit cards falling out have been mentioned before in this blog and that´s what I experienced!
    After this I´m back to All- Ett as there are no way any cards can fall out accidently. For the information I also can tell any interested, Swedish money are to wide for the Butterfly Wallet. All-Ett sell a european version wich is a little bit wider. This wide feature of a wallet are nothing of interest for US citizens unless youré a traveler going abroad.. Both wallets are actually nearly free so I cannot understand why anyone consider not buying this kind of lightweight wallet because of the price.. What I know a wallet is for putting your money in and if you have no money you probably will not need a wallet.. :-)

  • visitor

    Very interested in this. Any since you can post the link of the hack with Velcro and/or elastic? I am thinking of adding a keyring to it like the chums marsupial to clip to my bag when pockets aren’t available.

    • visitor

      I meant “Any CHANCE”, not “Any since”…

  • neko69

    I am sorry to bother You with question which is not related to wallet itself…
    How (with which tool/program) do You edit picture to have those “spots” with links and explanations ???