STRONGER THAN STEEL, SO LIGHT IT FLOATS, HANDMADE IN THE USA! These are bold claims for any product, but for a wallet? Hmm. I, and many men like me, seem to be forever searching for the ultimate wallet. No sooner do we find something that looks fantastic, then it disintegrates within the month. Here at TwoMenAboutTown we do have a bit of experience road testing wallets, with the A-Slim and the Bellroy both having been put through their paces. So if Flowfold fancy their chances, then we’re more than happy to see if they can cut it with the big boys! They sent us a few samples of their wallets and invited us to see if they really are up to the test.
First let’s take a quick look at the range; Flowfold have 6 different wallet types and a couple of designs within each. The wallets are made from excess materials taken from the sailing industry such as mylar, carbon fibre and even kevlar which makes these things super light and unbelievably tough.
They might be tough but, stronger than steel? Let’s find out; the wallets are made of woven carbon fibre and what seems to be some pretty heavy stitching, but would it truly hold up? In my book, that bold statement gives me pretty much carte blanche to go all ‘Apocalypse Now’ on these things and I started with secateurs. The Flowfold took that pretty well. There wasn’t much damage in evidence, so I moved up to the Stanley knife. Here the plastic coating definitely took a battering but the carbon fibre weave underneath was far more difficult to pierce. I could get some cuts through but unless you were putting this thing through a tree shredder then cosmetic damage is probably the worst you’ll suffer in similar circumstances.
The freezing and crushing tests all remained inconclusive but things got more exciting with fire. Now, we all know that steel has a higher capacity for remaining solid than many fabric wallets, so I expected nothing less than total impenetrability from a product which claimed to be even tougher than that. Unfortunately for Flowfold, you can see here that we did suffer some issues. Again, it was the plastic coating that let us down but surprisingly the fibre layer and the fabric edges survived relatively well. Certainly well enough to give you time to quickly retrieve your wallet should it have the misfortune of dropping into a dangerously uncovered BBQ accidentally. You know, as you do.
The second claim on the pack is regarding a weight/floating scenario. The physics teacher in me wants to give this an immediate fail simply due to the fact that as we all know, weight has nothing to do with whether something floats or not and grammatical correctness costs nothing. However putting the real laws of physics aside, I know what they mean and I on reflection, should test it. Yes, it floats… when empty. But who is going to take all of their cards/cash/photographs/receipts/car parking tickets etc out before going scuba diving? Nobody. So does it float when filled with the normal amount of crap that everyone carries around with them? Well, it makes a valiant effort and it certainly sinks slowly but, no. In fact I had to take out quite a lot before the mid-sized would remain on the surface. Interestingly, the Passport and the mini wallet sizes performed significantly better with over a minute of floating time when moderately full. Perhaps because of the increased surface area and limited capacity that these sport respectively.
Finally, I need to examine the claim that these items are in fact, ‘made in the USA’. Unfortunately, Flowfold decided not to fly me out first class to America to personally inspect the factory and so I have only their word for it. It’s a shame because I think that’s probably the most important point and should really be checked thoroughly. Preferably over at least two weeks and in conjunction with considerable value of ‘expenses’. But regrettably, Nick seems like a pretty nice chap and I don’t think he would lie to me. So, I’ll just have to roll with this one and call it an unconfirmed pass (although there’s still time Nick, just say the word…!).
It must be said that throughout all these tests, the Flowfold remained remarkably stiff, perhaps a little too stiff for comfortable everyday use. However, the wallet I’ve been carrying around with me has loosened up a bit over the last few weeks but certainly not as quickly as my usual standard leather suit pocket filler. The layers and the materials are clearly high quality and appeals to those of us want function over style. Personally, I like a lot about the Flowfold wallets, particularly the undeniable fact that these things are damn near indestructible, but I was missing the statement, the jazz hands, the theatre that a good wallet can make. A quick look on their website though brought me all the jazz hands I needed; bright colours and more great designs mean that whatever your preference, you’ll be able to spot your wallet when it floats away down the river after you drop it bungee jumping off a bridge or whatever ridiculous activity you’re engaged in at the time.
I have to say that I really liked Flowfold’s website and shop. As well as wallets these guys make bags, packs and even dog leashes. These are products for active people who like to take their wallet mountain climbing, ice diving, volcano adventuring and who doesn’t want to think of themselves as someone who does that on a regular basis?! I even caught myself wondering just how many of these things would it take to stop a bullet but had to stop myself before the tests got out of hand. I know that the material choice, design and quality manufacturing behind these products means that these things are going to probably out-live me but the truth is that I’m afraid that it won’t replace my usual everyday leather long wallet. However, for travel (and considering my current EU Tour I’m going to be doing quite a bit more of that in the near future), the seriously heavy-duty yet lightweight benefits that the Flowfold brings will be fantastic.
Take a look at what they’ve got on offer and if you need something as strong, tough and rugged as you are then you’ve come to the right place.