The Xband Minimalist Wallet

The XBand Wallet

I’ve written several times about my fascination with minimal wallets and my compulsion to slim down the items that I carry in my wallet. So it should come as no surprise that I am back at it again, this time with a truly unconventional looking wallet.

The XBand Wallet

Weighing in at only 4.7g (0.16 oz) the Xband wallet is probably the lightest wallet I’ve ever used. That’s probably due to the fact that there is almost nothing to it. Calling this minimal is an understatement, heck I have a hard time even calling it a wallet. For clarity, here’s what Wikipedia has to say about wallets:

“A wallet, or billfold, is a small, flat case that is used to carry personal items such as cash, credit cards, identification documents. Wallets are generally made of leather or fabrics, and they are usually pocket-sized and foldable.”

…”Wallet band – a type of wallet that uses a continuous elastic band, made of fabric or rubber, to secure cards and/or cash. Wallet bands have become increasingly more popular as a way to reduce the bulk of a traditional wallet.”

The Xband is definitely the latter of the two definitions. Here are some comparison photos of the Xband alongside my Butterfly Wallet. Both wallets are holding the exact same amount of credit cards (six) and cash.

The XBand Wallet

As you can see from these two photos, the size reduction is immediately obvious. A minimal wallet is not only about reducing size though, if it were I’d use a single rubber band (or Ranger band) and be done!

The XBand Wallet

Just Different
I’ve been using the Xband 100% of the time for a few weeks now and will admit that initially there were times when I was frustrated with it, such as when I needed to take out a particular credit card to pay for something while at a register. A simple task with a traditional wallet, wasn’t quite as easy with the way the cards were stacked tightly together with the Xband.

The XBand Wallet

The same seemed to be true for getting to my cash money. Having to fold up my dollar bills into a wad to stick under the band seemed to make pulling out an individual dollar bill much harder than it needed to be. Or so I thought.

The XBand Wallet

The more I kept using the Xband the more I realized that it wasn’t harder to use than a traditional folding wallet, it was just a different way of doing it. I had gotten used to a traditional tri-fold wallet and how it functions, I needed to get used to the way the Xband worked.

The XBand Wallet

For example, picking a specific credit card out from the stack can easily be achieved by simply unsnapping one end of the Xband and fanning out the cards. The other end is more than strong enough to securely hold all of the cards, but with the other end free I can see all of the cards I am carrying making it easy to pick the one I need.

Conclusion
I’m actually surprised that I’ve gotten so used to using the Xband wallet so quickly. I was a skeptic. I didn’t know quite what to make of it and the very first day I started using it found it to be frustrating as I mentioned above. After adjusting my expectations a little and learning a new way of using the wallet I found that I can get along perfectly with a few credit cards, some cash and the Xband. In fact I’m not sure if I’ll switch back to a traditional wallet any time soon.

I am curious to see if the exposed corners of the credits cards cause my pockets to become excessively worn by the hard, sharp edges rubbing against my clothing – that might be a long term concern. I’m also watching carefully to see if using the Xband results in accelerated wear and tear on my credit cards, like their magnetic strips failing. I haven’t experienced either yet, but I’m watching carefully.

Have you ever used a wallet band instead of a traditional wallet? If so, what did you think about it?

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Disclosure: Xband noticed my unhealthy obsession with minimalist wallets and provided me with a complementary wallet band to test.

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  • http://www.lostswissmiss.com/ Sarah

    It’s a cool product but I’m not sure it would work for me. I have to many coins in my wallet. I don’t think that it’s possible here in Europe…
    How do you deal with not using coins?

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

      Who carries coins? I don’t.

      • Eugene Wright

        If your in Europe, just about every time you use a 5 or 10 euro bill, you are going to get all coins back. 1 euro and 2 euro are coins.

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

          Eugene – I’m originally from England, so I feel your pain and know it well. It’s probably not a great solution for currencies that have a lot of coins as most European one now do. But if you keep your coins in a separate small coin pouch, it might still work.

          • Kim

            Canadians use $1 and $2 coins as well, though we did just eliminate our penny. Still, coin storage is an important issue. I use a separate coin purse.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000127363649 Jordan Hipple

    have ya tried making a wallet out of a tyvek envelope, they work great it just takes some time to make and some packing tape

  • Ryan Grayson

    I have made a pocket-sized journal with an added pocket for ID and credit cards, but honestly my wallet is usually a Ziploc bag on the trails.

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

      yeah, on the trail I really carry just my ID and single $20 bill. This is more of an everyday wallet. The ultralight mindset spilling over into everyday life I guess :)

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

    Now that is interesting, although, like you started out, at this point, I feel like I would be a skeptic too. At first glance, it looks like it is going for that “different” kind of feel, rather than functional…but it sounds like with some use that could change.

    Does it feel like you are sitting on a bundle? It looks like it wouldn’t smooth things out as a regular wallet does due to the way the bands are positioned. Maybe I am wrong?

    That is nice that you mention how tight the single band will hold when you flip it open, but I would still be worried that I would loose something out of it when sliding cards or cash in and out.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing. Always fun to see something new! :)

    ~Stick~

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

      Stick, my long term concern is that the lack of covering and protection on the credit cards will: a) lead to them getting excessively worn; b) cause my clothing to be worn out by the corners of the cards causing hard points against pockets – as you say not a problem with a traditional wallet that covers them.

      Time will tell I guess. For the record I don’t ever carry a wallet in my pant’s back pocket, so I can’t say about sitting on it.

  • fjoro

    I enjoy the blog, but this is insane.

    This isn’t a wallet. It’s a velcro band. If you’re going minimalist, a rubber band (especially the wide kind that bundles asparagus) will do. Don’t spend money on a velcro strap. It’s heavier than a rubber band.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m insane in similar ways.

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

      Fjoro – I was a skeptic too, and if you want to go this minimal and save money go use a rubber band. Or cut a chunk of tire inner tube into a “ranger band” and use that. You won’t hurt my feelings I assure you.

      I’ll add that using a rubber band adds an enormous amount of traction to the wallet (or let’s call it a bundle), resulting in it not easily going into or coming out of a pocket because of the rubber band. Catch-22

  • http://twitter.com/skoraRunning SKORA Running

    I love my iPhone case + wallet. Not quite as minimalist as that, but it did combine two things into one. And I actually get a lot of comments on it! http://store.apple.com/us/product/HA840ZM/A/twelve-south-bookbook-case-for-iphone-5?afid=p219%7CGOUS&cid=AOS-US-KWG-PLA

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

      This is the exact same wallet/case someone was showing me last weekend. It’s pretty cool but expensive at $60. You don’t find it too bulky?

      • WhiteLotus

        You can buy these on Ebay for less than $20

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

          Oh really?

  • Um_H

    With this wallet I mentioned we would not face the problem of the coins coz the pocket solves it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jshannonmd John Shannon

    Smallest binder clip necessary to fit a few cards/bills in.