If you’re seeking the ultimate in minimalist wallets, check out the Bandit.  Made with a stretchable poly/nylon material with several strands of  rubber woven into it longitudinally, it’s the simplest replacement for a conventional wallet I’ve discovered.

If your immediate reaction is that this is merely an oversized rubber band, it’s not.  It’s far more durable & sophisticated than that, and of course is much wider as well.  It’ll accommodate up to 2″ of cash and cards, but frankly, if you’re carrying around that much stuff in your wallet, you probably aren’t a candidate for the Bandit.

I’ve been using one for a few days, and like it quite a bit.

Possible downsides:  if you have to save a small receipt, you’ll need to fold it to fit into your “Bandit bundle,” and it likely will be easier to lose than with a conventional wallet or the “magic wallet” I’ve posted about in the past.

Also, if you need to get a particular card that’s near the center of the stack, the best approach I’ve found is to roll the Bandit off, turning it inside out in the process, so it’s resting on my fingers; this photo should help:

I’m then able to find the card I want,  and can flip the Bandit back around the remaining cards quite easily.  This shot also provides a good view of the rubberized backside of the Bandit.

The Bandit site says “Inside grips” and “Outside slips;” the latter part worried me a bit before I received it, as I was concerned that the outside surface would be so slippery that it might easily slip out of my pocket.  It’s not, and this is perhaps a case of careless copywriting.  In actual practice, I’d always place such a wallet in a front pocket, and if traveling in an area noted for pickpockets, would put it in a zippered pants security pocket or zippered breast pocket.

If you’re interested in going the ultra minimalist wallet route, check it out:  Bandit wallet Made in the U.S., $7.99 + nominal USPS shipping charge.  One last, important note:  $1 from each Bandit purchase goes to charity, so your purchase does some good in the world!

The Fine Print:  I have no connection with Bandit, and purchased my review sample.

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7 Comments on Quick Take: Minimalism defined – the Bandit wallet

  1. Till says:

    I really like the idea and the charity concept. Even the realization of the idea seems to have been done with much thought.

    But unwrapping my entire bundle every time I want a certain card and risking that everything falls down while I fumble to find the right card. is a total deal breaker for me. I use different cards depending on what I pay. Fast food will be paid with a debit, special expenses with one card and groceries and gas with another. Then I need the IDs for various things.

    And I also like to keep some fortune cookie notes and the cartridge of a pen as well as a single Claritin. All of this would be hard to fit.

    And you even need to unwrap the bundle to get at your money because you need to see whether you pull out a twenty or a five which you can’t conveniently do because the parts where the nominal amount is given all cover each other up. Of course, it’s a stupid idea to have all bills in the same size and (nearly) color in the first place. :)

    I use this Hartmann Belting leather model. It’s super practical and comes in at 0.5-0.75″ depending on how many bills I carry.

    I have also used the super ingenious Deeppocket wallet for years with great results. Just couldn’t find the nice croco version anymore and thus needed something else, so I got first a Tumi and then the Hartmann. Here is the deeppocket:

    The Tumi is a total design error and I didn’t recognize it. The Shame!

    The clip is really hard to open. You need both hands. So you need to hold the case, open the clip and try and slide your bills into it. After two months I had enough and got the Hartmann. Also on the TUmi the bill clip is not in an ideal position so that bills do hand over or need to be folded more than necessary.

    It looks really good, though. :)

    Luckily I got both on sale.

    For use in Europe I have a super full featured fine leather wallet from Neff in Germany. Fantastic design but big.

    I also have a couple of very slim bill fold wallets that are surprisingly good in their simplicity. One is a stingray version and the other a calf Dunhill I inherited.


  2. Larry says:

    I use Rick Steve’s Lambskin Travel Wallet. It’s about a dollar more but has two zippered compartments, for cash and coins or cash and cards or any way you want it.


  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Scott Elias . Scott Elias  said: Weird timing. This crept up in my RSS feeds today right after I received my Slimmy wallet. Interesting concept! http://j.mp/bFG4bw […]

  4. Jay says:

    I think the Bandit is a great compliment to any slim wallet mentioned above or can be used alone. I have two friends that swear by “no wallet” way of life, so this would be great for them. I might try it with the Slimmy as a wrap around and a backup way of storing extras when traveling.


    Kevin Reply:

    Agree. To clarify, I don’t keep paper bills in my wallet. I’ll put $20-$50 worth of bills (folded in half) in a front pants pocket, and if I’m carrying more, I’ll store it in a zippered pocket somewhere, or – egads! – in a money belt.

    If you carry a bunch of stuff in your wallet, this one’s not for you. If you tend toward the minimalist route, it’s perfectly fine.

    As for digging through to get the specific card you’re interested in, I put my driver’s license on one end of the “pack,” and my card of choice on the opposing side. It’s not difficult or time consuming to slide either out.

    Thanks for the comment!


  5. K-eM says:

    Tip for Reducing the Number of Cards You Carry:

    Don’t carry “club” cards that the cashier can look up for you when you check out. Examples would be those cards that grocery stores use to give you a discount on member items, office supply store rewards cards…

    Of course, you’re March 4th posting which included the CardStar app is also useful for decreasing the number of cards.


  6. Marcia says:

    As a woman in NYC who mostly rides the subway or walks, I’ve gotten away from carrying a purse or wallet. I buy pants with front pockets and carry ID, a few credit cards, car insurance info, health insurance info and a few other things wrapped up with a rubber band. My metro card is exposed on one side and the credit card I use the most is exposed on the other side. Most items besides the metro card don’t get used daily. In my other pocket is my money clip, a large paper clip, which has worked well for about 20 years. A little low rent, but it does keep the money in my pocket, not the retailer’s.


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