While a wallet might not be the first thing that comes to mind when talking backpacking and thru-hiking gear, it’s actually exceptionally important. Hard cash or plastic money is your ticket to that pizza buffet when passing through town (not to mention motel rooms, shuttles and tips for trail angels)! With so much passive responsibility, we wanted to test some lightweight hiker wallets to help you choose the option that best fits your adventure style.
Hawbuck — Best Overall Ultralight Wallet
Weight: 4 grams
Price: ≈ $30
The Hawbuck Lean Wallet is exceptionally lightweight while embodying the style and function of a classic bifold wallet. It has a cardholder on both sides to quickly slide in an ID or credit card. Also, each card sleeve has an oval cut out, making it easy to slide a card out with your thumb as well as taking the guesswork out of where each card lives.
The wallet is made out of a Dyneema Composite Fabric Hybrid that provides an excellent durability-to-weight ratio. Hawbuck wallets are offered in several unique patterns and color options.
We found that it held five cards and six bills well and still felt slim. This wallet makes a near-perfect crossover of a daily driver in an ultralight shell.
Since this wallet is so light, which we love, its thin makeup could wear out faster than others on the list. The only other thing we can find to point out is that when the wallet is brand new and rather empty, the cards tend to slide toward the middle when opening. They never fell out completely but had noticeable play that caught our attention; but after extended use, this is no longer an issue.
WEBO and Chicken Tramper UL Gear — Most Secure Wallets
Weight: WEBO 10grams | Chicken Tramper 12grams
Price: ≈ $10
With the WEBO and CTUG wallets, you’ll have no fear of a card or cash slipping out and getting lost in the void of your pack. They both feature a water-resistant zipper that will keep your items protected from the elements. The body of the wallets is made with VX21 fabric, which makes them very durable.
Our favorite aspect of these wallet styles is that they can also hold those extra little items that are often misplaced while on the go, like chapstick or your designated blister safety pin. Both feature loops on the outside that can secure the wallet if the road or water gets rough.
The main difference between the WEBO and CTUG wallets is size. The WEBO is slightly smaller, which saves a couple of grams, but the extra height of the Chicken Tramper makes it a bit easier to store important papers such as a permit.
In other words, if you prefer to carry mostly just cards and cash, then choose the WEBO. If you would like a little more space for those smaller items along with your money and IDs, then give the Chicken Tramper a go. Neither will disappoint!
Pond's Edge DCF Bag Wallet — Best for Minimalists
Weight: 2 grams
Price: ≈ $11
For the truly minimalist adventurers among us, you can now leave the sandwich bags at home. This platinum version of the traditional “hiker wallet” (i.e. a plastic bag) will last much longer while keeping your items more secure.
The Pondsedge wallet is made out of Dyneema, keeping it strong while clocking in at an incredible 2 grams. It is dimensioned perfectly to fit your cards and some cash when folded into fourths. The opaque composition of the fabric makes it easy to see what card or bill is on the edge of the wallet.
This wallet is as straightforward as it sounds. It is a bag that features a drawstring closure. While it may seem underwhelming at first, we appreciate the simplicity and think many of y’all will too. Plus, it may even save a few plastic bags from landfills in the process. I’m looking at you thru-hikers.
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Minimalist Wallet — Best for an Active Lifestyle
Weight: 21 grams
Price: ≈ $40
If you are on the go in your day-to-day life, the Hyperlite wallet has your back. Unlike leather, it won’t get gross if exposed to sweat or dirt while remaining as functional as the traditional wallet you’ve grown up with. It features four card holders, two hidden pockets, and a roomy bifold that can store your cash.
Tired of just grabbing a card and your ID for the daily adventure in fear of ruining your expensive wallet, then why not get one wallet that can handle it all? From meetings to mountain biking, this is an everyday carry machine.
While this wallet is a good option for daily use and the occasional long weekend, it is a good bit bulkier than the wallets above. It may not weigh much in and of itself, but its carrying capacity has the potential to add more weight than one may want on a long adventure.
Ragged Edge Classic Bifold — Most Durable Option
Weight: 35 grams
Price: ≈ $65
Tired of replacing technical wallets year after year? Then this is the bifold for you. Ragged Edge uses sailcloth laminates and triple step zig-zag stitching to ensure that this is the last wallet you might ever buy. It features four card-holding pockets, one quick-access pocket, a clear ID sleeve, a hidden pocket, and a place for cash, meaning ultimate organization. It is a very sturdy wallet that gives a similar feel and function to a classic leather wallet in an adventure-ready package.
Due to the focus on durability for this wallet, it feels a bit bulky, especially compared to the ultralight wallets covered in this review. While this wallet may not be best for fastpacking expeditions or trips where space is in question, it would make a great daily driver for anyone who enjoys the storage and organization of a traditional wallet but is tired of worrying about the material it is made of.
Whether you are planning an epic thru-hike or simply need to buy a drink after a long day hike, we think there is a model that can suit you. In a lot of ways, it’s the golden age for hiker wallets.
We tested each model head to head in the hope that it will make your hard wallet buying decision a little easier. No matter your choice, feel good that you are supporting a small cottage business. Most of these brands hand sew each wallet and work hard to provide you with the best piece of gear they can. Now go out and take your new wallet to see some beautiful views.