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Another minimalist wallet option

The recent thread about RS packing conveniences (here: https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/packing/valuable-purchases-due-to-rs-or-forum-recommendations) included several positive mentions of his small lambskin wallet.

This impressed me enough to do a little digging/online shopping, and I found another wallet that has the same dimensions and same price (or even less) as the RS wallet made by Chums, the sunglasses strap people. It's made in the USA (well, Utah) of ripstop nylon and aimed at surfers and fishers, comes in many colors and patterns, and is called the Surfshorts Wallet:

https://chums.com/collections/wallets

It weighs very little, and it has a clear window on one side and a tuck-away keyring on the other.
In one zippered compartment I can just fit in US notes folded in half; have not tried Euros or other currencies yet.
In the other zippered compartment I can fit an ID card plus three other cards -- perhaps a room keycard, a credit card, and an ATM card? There is a divider so the iD can stay put in the window as you take the other cards in or out.

Whereas the RS lambskin wallet contains a joke card for pickpockets, the Surfshorts wallet has a joke Utah driver license. Chums seems to claim that this card can be used as an RFID blocker if left inside, but it doesn't seem to be anything more than a card to my eye.

I will give a review once i have used it for a while.

Question for the lambskin wallet fans: Where do you carry it? Pants pocket? Jacket pocket? Cheek pocket? (last question for squirrels only)

Posted by
2084 posts

I put the lamb skin deep inside a zippered compartment deep in my purse. That might be difficult for you to do, Avi!😉

Posted by
330 posts

If your minimalist wallet does not have RFID that will be fine. You are not exposing yourself to any more risk than you would with the wallet with RFID. Because that’s not really going to be where your credit card is compromised.


Posted by
4179 posts

Looking forward to the review. I'm in need of a new one and can't find one that just right. The Bandit Zip design might fit my needs.

Posted by
2810 posts

Agree with Diane. The RS lamb skin wallet fits in a zip pocket in my Extra small purse. It easily holds my Daily Cash and credit card. Although the lamb skin wallet holds change, I keep change in a tiny pill size ziplock bag in an easier to access purse pocket if I need to pay to pee. The Chums look to be a bit larger and not as flexible.

Because I like organization, I use black for €. Brown is for US$, house key and drivers license when in transit. I have a darker brown one (different dye lot) that I use for other currency like £. Currency wallets not in use go into a pouch in the bottom of my suitcase.

Of course I use a money belt (Stashbandz) for storing extra cash, debit card, backup credit cards and passport. I just ordered a new lace Stashbanz, so will report after I receive it.

Posted by
26 posts

I have used a Chums Surfshorts for 10 years, as my one and only wallet (53 yo female.) No purse, just that. Here and overseas. I just finally replaced my original a couple months ago, the zipper was starting to wear. I love it!

Posted by
98 posts

For a really minimalist design check out Thread wallets. No zippered compartment. Room for ID on one side with a couple of folded euro notes, CC on the other, and anything paper like transport cards in the middle. (They have an even smaller all elastic version that I think would be a problem with the paper cards). My husband only carries a couple of coins loose in his pocket, giving the rest to me. And it has a D ring if you want to attach it to something for security.

Posted by
1419 posts

My every day carry at home is a tiny ikat Guatemala bag. One credit card, drivers license, and a folded 20 dollar bill. The worst of the covid era forever changed my relationship with cash, I get rid of coins thru various donation banks.

Posted by
4574 posts

I do like a wallet with one or two zips, so that Chums would work for my travel wallet.
Now, it may divert the thread a bit, but for all of you that use the same as an EDC, where do you put your loyalty cards....or are they all on phone apps? (I'm an oldie trying to catch up to minimalism).

Posted by
2810 posts

Maria, I only use the lamb skin wallet when traveling or going out to dinner carrying a small purse. Otherwise, my “at home” wallet is big, as is my purse, and holds way more than daily necessities.

Posted by
1419 posts

Maria. If I'm only going to my office and maybe one stop afterwards, my list above is all I need, tho I do also carry my grocery loyalty card which accumulates gas points. My default credit card gets united points. If I'm leaving town or making more stops, i may bring my purse which might rival horsewoofie. Some other loyalty cards are on my phone, others get ignored. My personal theory is that if I was trying to use a dozen loyalty accounts, I'd not get traction on any. Focusing on two or three programs makes points accumulates faster
MARIA, would keeping loyalty cards in an old wallet in yr cars glove compartment be an option? Grab the whole thing if headed into a place where you have a card?

Posted by
4574 posts

Thanks doric8 and Horsewoofie. Maybe I just need another case to separate the high and low use cards....but defeats the minimalist concept. At present, though weeded down to the ones I use sometime in a month, I still feel like a magician fanning out the deck for a card trick.
I'm curious what the guys do as they are often limited to a pocket.

Posted by
4179 posts

where do you put your loyalty cards....or are they all on phone apps?

All of mine are now in Google Wallet.

Posted by
4574 posts

@Allan. Thanks. Sounds like a good plan.
I haven't moved over to the online wallet yet, but there seem to be more and more reasons to. I plan to get a new phone this week and then embrace the Wallet...so I can add those cards too...and doesn't Mardee put her flight tickets or other travel documents on it? I'll have to figure that out too.

Posted by
4179 posts

@Maria. I put my tickets to events when I can into the wallet, I've never added airline tickets before. I would if I could, the majority of my flights are with WestJet and it allows tickets to be loaded onto Apple Wallet but not Google. I'm flying Air Canada this Fall, not sure how it works with them.

Posted by
2510 posts

Just chiming in briefly to praise the quality of these comments - which one would expect seeing as how most of us in this thread already have badges :-)

Note again that the Surfshorts Wallet from Chums has many color and patterns available so no one else in the tour group will confuse yours with theirs.

Posted by
1336 posts

I purchased the Teskyer Slim Wallet from Amazon. It goes in an inside zipped jacket pocket. I use it in my everyday comings and going’s and is perfect for travel. Only one teeny tiny issue - it can be quite tight and sometimes difficult for my arthritic hands to pull a card out of some of the pockets.

Edit: I tried adding an Amazon link but the link showed my account name and since I am technically challenged, can’t figure out how to add a non-personal link

Edit #2: here you go
https://www.teskyer.com/products/teskyer-slim-wallet-for-men-minimalist-front-pocket-rfid-blocking-leather-wallet-credit-card-holder-for-men-women

Posted by
26 posts

I like the looks of the Chums wallet - so many great colors.

For years I’ve used this Vera Bradley wallet

It has a zipped coin pocket which I like. I put two credit cards in one slot, US bills in another, and foreign bills in the other slot.

If I ever need to replace it, I’m going to get one of these Chums wallets. Thanks for posting the info.

Posted by
1238 posts

Thanks. I like the Chums wallet too, and they have them at REI. Great!

Posted by
2510 posts

I've had a few days to live with the Chums Surfshorts wallet so here's my quick review:

Pros: Fits very comfortably in front pants pocket or sportcoat breast pocket, and the key pouch on the back makes for a tiny no-scratching bundle. You don't forget it's there like you do with the RS moneybelt but that's not what it is for anyway. The keyring can also be used to secure it to something else or to attach things other keys, see below.

Cons: I'm so drawn to that pouch on the back that I tried sliding a Swiss Army Knife into it, but then when you take the wallet out of your pocket to take out cash or a card, you have to be careful which way is up or the SAK falls out onto the checkout counter, oops.
You can attach the SAK to the keyring but then you have a bit of a tangle when it's time to open the door.
In travel situations I wouldn't have a SAK so this is a moot point.

The biggest pro compared to carrying around a George Costanza-sized wallet in a manly fanny pack is that you don't have to figure out what to do with the fanny pack when you go to use the facilities. BUT, and there's always a but, the fanny pack means that you could have tissue and/or other conveniences with you at all times.

In that same vein, there may be some freedom in having everything but the kitchen sink with you in a fanny pack, because whatever druthers pop into your head you can go and do, whereas with a minimal wallet you have to do some planning ahead of time -- no let's stop by the library on the way back if you don't have your library card, no let's save that car accident victim if you don't have your 5"X5" pad for sucking chest wounds on you, no treat everyone to sundaes if you don't have your DQ gift card tucked in.

I can't compare the Surfshorts to the RS lambskin wallet since I don't have one, but I'd say the difference is mostly aesthetic, plus the keyring and pouch on the back of the Surfshorts.