A receipt from 2008 for a California burrito.
Finding that crinkled at the bottom of my wallet was a turning point.
Forget the fact that buying a burrito with french fries in it is already controversial, but unknowingly holding on to the receipt for a decade?
That’s simply unacceptable.
I need rules in my life. I need guardrails (particularly when bowling).
So the idea of owning a wallet that didn’t even let me carry useless receipts was immediately appealing.
I started with a pretty cool one—until it chewed up every single one of my cards. Then I went to a leather version, which was great until I overstretched it and my cards would randomly fall out.
Well, now I’m on to the big dog in the space: The Ridge.
I picked up two of their most popular designs: the lightweight carbon fiber, and the flagship aluminum.
Is the third time the charm for me? Or do I need to keep searching? Keep reading for the full scoop.
What Is The Ridge?
The Ridge started as a Kickstarter from Daniel Kane back in 2013. That’s when the original Ridge Aluminum minimalist wallet launched and has since exploded into a worldwide phenomenon with dozens (maybe hundreds?) of competitors and knock-offs.
Ridge wallets are currently in the pockets of over half a million guys and gals, and while the brand’s specialty is wallets, they also offer bags, chargers, and some other cool gadgets (I also picked up their Bolt-Action Pen for this review).
All Ridge wallets feature RFID blocking technology, which allows you to securely store your credit and debit cards in your pocket without worrying about scammers and thieves accessing your card info.
Things to Consider Before Buying
Ridge wallets are at the top end of the quality and price spectrum. There are plenty of knock-offs available, and while their price is lower, there are also some serious drawbacks to consider.
Many of the alternatives I’ve tried either have sharp edges on the outside of the wallet, which makes them uncomfortable. Or they have sharp edges on the inside, which chews up all your cards in a matter of weeks.
The Ridge represents the highest quality materials and construction. Plus subtle design elements like the beveled edges and money-clip tension make for a top-of-the-line product. So yes, the wallet may cost more than you’ve ever spent for this kind of accessory, but because of the build quality and warranty, you can think of it more like an investment.
My Hands-On Review
Aluminum Wallet with Money Clip
The Ridge’s most popular product—what put them on the map—is their minimalist Aluminum Wallet.
I picked up this staple in Navy, which has a brilliant shine to it and fits in well with several of my other blue EDC items.
Maybe it’s OCD, but I love a matching set.
Let’s start with the brass tacks: all Ridge wallets can carry up to 12 cards without permanently stretching the elastic band.
I picked up the Aluminum Wallet with a money clip, though you have the option to also choose a “cash strap,” which holds your bills in place with elastic.
I opted for the clip because I like the look and I just trust metal more than elastic.
The 6061 T-6 aluminum is cool to the touch and—after diving deep down the alloy rabbit hole—I learned that it’s nearly as hard as steel, but it’s 1/3rd the weight and has much more flexibility, which makes it handle heavy loads much better than steel.
Sure, maybe I put on a few pounds during quarantine, but I don’t know that I need a space-age alloy to keep my wallet in shape when I sit on it.
Jokes aside, this isn’t your standard aluminum knock-off wallet. Ridge uses top to the line materials and the quality is apparent when you’re holding the wallet in your hand.
At first, I had some trouble sliding my cards in and out of the wallet smoothly. There seemed to be some grippy substance on the inside of the wallet, but after spending about three minutes working the cards back and forth, I had no trouble.
The money clip is perfect: tight enough to hold bills securely, but not so tight that you can’t fit five or six bills in easily.
I actually pushed it to the limit and found that it can reasonably store up to 20 bills at once (folded in quarters—hot dog style). Yeah, that’s right. I have 20 bills laying around. Pretty baller if I do say so myself.
The wallet that started it all. If you're looking for a minimalist wallet for your EDC, The Ridge has carefully considered all the minor details. It all adds up to sturdy, effective, and fun to use wallet.
Bolt Action Pen
The Ridge blasted to success with their wallets, but they’ve also introduced several other products, including backpacks, keychains, pocket knives, and a few pens.
I probably spent a good 10 minutes deliberating whether I should get the Bolt Action Pen, or the Space Pen.
I’ve always wanted a Space Pen. The only problem is that I still can’t get Elon to reply back to me, so I’m not sure when I’ll actually get to use my Space Pen.
Because I don’t have space plans, I went with the Bolt Action Pen.
As someone who fidgets, this pen is incredible. The bolt mechanism is a true pleasure to click in and out.
If this review were written by the person sitting next to me at the coffee shop, the pen would receive zero stars because I’m sure I’m incredibly annoying with it. I mean, I go crazy on normal clicky pens, but the Bolt Action Pen takes it to a new level.
In all seriousness, I really enjoy this pen. It has a solid heft to it and the proportions make it look like a very solid, sturdy pen. Of course, it’s made with the same 6061 T-6 aluminum as the wallet, so it is very solid and sturdy.
The writing action is smooth, and the pocket clip is firm. This pen is a great addition to my EDC and it quickly took the top spot as my go-to everyday pen (which as a writer means a lot).
Carbon Fiber Wallet with Money Clip
I couldn’t just stop at one wallet—I also wanted to check out the Carbon Fiber Wallet with a 3k carbon fiber weave. I loaded this piece with a money clip, too (did I mention that I have 20 bills on hand?).
The bones of this wallet are the same as the Aluminum Wallet, and it also carries up to 12 cards and comes equipped with RFID blocking capabilities.
The big difference is in the face (or shell?) of the wallet.
Between the two, I actually prefer the Carbon Fiber—it’s lighter and I like the matte feel. Plus, 3k carbon fiber weave is practically indestructible, which is a positive for someone who drops their wallet as often as I do.
Given that the internal parts of the wallet are the same, I’d love to see Ridge offer just the face plates because there were a few cool other models (like the Matte White and the Half Dome Topographical design).
It would be a cool feature to be able to buy those designs and swap out the plates for a “new” wallet.
What Do Other Reviewers Say About Ridge Wallets?
In reading through several Ridge Wallet reviews, there were a few that really stood out to me. And those pertained to Ridge’s customer service.
One reviewer mentioned that after five years, they lost a screw and the elastic band started to give out (though he did mention that it still held all his cards fine).
He sent a picture of his wallet to Ridge and they sent a screwdriver, new screws, and a new elastic band to him the next day, free of charge.
My Thoughts Overall
What I Like
All models offer the same RFID blocking, so you can choose the material you like the most and get the same security.
The money clip is firm, but still flexible enough to easily slide bills in and out.
Ridge wallets are made in the USA, have free 45-day returns, and are backed with a lifetime warranty.
What I Don’t Like
I’d like Ridge to sell the faceplates only. So if I decide to get the aluminum now, but in a year or two want to upgrade to the carbon fiber or Damascus steel version, I only have to buy new faceplates—not an entirely new wallet.
Who is Ridge for?
Ridge wallets are a fantastic option if you’re ready to invest in a minimalist wallet that uses nothing but the best materials. If you have a strong attention to detail and want the products you carry to have that same ethos, you’ll like The Ridge.
After bouncing from one minimalist wallet to another, I’ve landed on a piece I can see myself carrying in my front pocket for years.
I don’t believe I’ve had anyone try to steal my card info with a high-tech scanner, but if I did—hooo boy were they disappointed. RFID scanning isn’t something I’m actively worried about, but I do feel peace of mind knowing I’m covered on that front.
The Bolt Action Pen is a blast, and this is an essential part of my everyday carry now.
Overall, The Ridge is a bit of an investment, but the only part of the wallet that’s going to really wear-out is the elastic. And after reading several reviews from folks who simply reached out and had their wallet either replaced, or replacement parts shipped out quickly (based on the lifetime warranty), I’m confident with this pick up.
Is the Ridge wallet TSA approved?
You’ll still need to remove everything from your pockets, but yes, the Ridge wallet is TSA approved. There are also non-metal options like the carbon fiber weave, which is super durable and won’t set off a metal detector.
How much cash can the Ridge wallet hold?
The money clip on the Ridge wallet can hold up to 20 bills, folded in fourths. It can also carry up to 12 cards.
How long do Ridge wallets last?
After reading through reviews, it seems like after five years, the elastic starts to get a bit tired, at which point you can contact Ridge and they’ll either send you a new wallet or replacement parts free of charge per their lifetime warranty.