Review: Nik’s Minimalist Wallet by Tom Bihn 

I’ll just come out and say it. I’ve always wanted to carry a more minimal wallet than the Costanza-inspired beast I’ve used for years. When you’re a dad and own two companies, there’s no end to the cards you end up carrying around.

I’ve tried a couple of slim wallets over the years, but I couldn’t whittle my life down to three or four cards, no matter how hard I tried.

Then I saw Tom Bihn’s spin on things and decided to try again. In short, we have a winner.

I ordered the awkwardly-named “Nik’s Minimalist Wallet #3” in “Cloud 10 Ballastic,” which is the nice gray you can see in the photo above. Black continues to back-ordered, so I opted for this instead. As it turns out, I really like the color, and not being black makes it a little easier to spot in my backpack or truck.

The #3 variant of the line has two interior pockets and one outer pocket. One of the interior ones is covered in clear urethane, making it easy to show your ID to someone without needing to take your driver’s license out. The outer pocket is great for folded up bills and receipts. The width and height of the wallet are just big enough to hold a credit card; there’s no extra material here to bulk things up.

The Tom Bihn website says this about storage options:

All four versions of Nik’s Minimalist Wallets can fit up to about 6 credit cards or 3-4 credit cards and 4-6 ID, health insurance, or membership cards or similar (the raised text and numbers of credit cards take up a little more space and the thickness of other cards can vary slightly) and a few folded paper bills of any currency.

I took this spec sheet as a challenge to really cull what I was carrying with me everyday. Here’s what I have in mine now:

Pocket 1:

  • Driver’s license (under the clear window)
  • Personal debit card
  • Personal credit card
  • Hackett Technical Media debit card
  • Relay FM debit card
  • Relay FM credit card

Pocket 2:

  • Gym membership card
  • St. Jude meal card
  • Health insurance card
  • Dental insurance card
  • Two car insurance cards

I left behind a second, rarely-used credit card, my library card and three memberships cards to various places around town. For all but the first, if I forget the card at home and I need it, I should be able to show up at the place in question, tell them I don’t have my card, and be looked up in their systems and allowed to proceed.

I can live with that.

Thanks to the amount of fabric between the pockets, it is easy to slide the contents of one of them out with disturbing the other. When you’re done putting things back, the whole thing stays shut with a nice elastic band that is easy to operate, but tight enough to hold the wallet securely shut.

While it’s not made of high-grade leather, and it’s not the most handsome wallet on the market, but that’s fine. Nik’s Minimalist Wallet has struck a balance between minimalism and usability that really works for me, especially for the $30 price tag.