Blog — Original

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An update to the world’s thinnest wallet

When I introduced the world’s thinnest wallet almost 10 years ago it was just called a “SlimFold” because that was the only model. Then we introduced the “MICRO” to have a smaller footprint. Meanwhile, many Original Tyvek customers were finding that they liked to double fold it to reduce its footprint, yielding one thicker stack the size of a credit card.

SlimFold Minimalist Wallet Booth Photo

Many of you may know that I started selling the SlimFold at design street fairs in San Francisco, but what you may not know is that my main challenge during that time was to keep my samples flat and crisp.

See, once cards were inserted, the whole surface was reinforced by the cards but the seam in the middle would be sort of floppy. So people would fold it there and BAM- my sample was ruined... I even created a display stand and put a piece of plastic inside the wallet, screwing it to the stand so it couldn’t be removed!

SlimFold Minimalist Thin Wallet Display Stand

Well, it turned out that if you folded both sides towards the center and then folded it along the spine, it was totally usable. In fact, many folks preferred this method. I used it this way myself for a few weeks to make sure it worked well and then embraced it as an alternative. However, when we introduced the MICRO wallet, I found that inserting very thin rigid plastic improved the longevity of the Tyvek by evening out the wear over the whole surface. This plastic is actually included in all other models. So now I’m circling back and trying it in the Original Tyvek too.

Thinnest Wallet in the world minimalist original tyvek wallet

Original v 3.0?

In almost 10 years there’s only been one other design change to this wallet, which was to incorporate a slash slot into the ID window instead of a larger rectangle. So I guess this is version 3? or if you consider those minor changes maybe this is v1.2. Either way, it reinforces the notion that it’s a bad idea to name any product “Original”. A close second would be to name sizes with vague comparative size descriptions like Micro and Nano 😉

To get feedback from folks, I’m introducing them as a Beta. I’m especially interested in hearing from folks who have had Original Tyvek models before. For folks who single fold their wallets, my hope is that this will improve your experience by making it more rigid and improving wearing.

What about double folders?

This has been a concern of mine because folks who double fold the Original wallet are part of our core group of initial customers and I don’t want to disappoint anyone. But I think this will help serve the primary use case better. We now also offer the Nano minimalist wallet which has the footprint of a credit card so hopefully that will help ease the pain?

FAQ

Does it make it thicker?

The thickness difference is barely noticeable because the inserts are offset from where the stitching is… so you can’t really tell. In addition, the plastic itself is less than half the thickness of a credit card. In other words, the thickness difference is negligible and if I handed both of them to you, it would be tough to tel the difference except that the center seam feels stiffer.

I’m a double folder, which model is best for me now?

In terms of footprint, the Nano Soft Shell offers the credit card size. You just need to double fold your cash to put it in the pocket.

Otherwise, the Micro Soft Shell or Micro Tyvek wallet is a good option for anyone except those who carry tall foreign currency. In that case, The Original Soft Shell or Original Tyvek will work well but can’t be double folded.

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RFID Blocking for Wallets Explained

Credit Card
I introduced the RFID blocking option to our entire collection based on many requests for this functionality. Lots of customers choose this option, but others have noticed it and wondered what RFID is and whether they need a wallet to block it. I’m not going to try to convince you to get it, just explain what it is as best I can so you can decide. 
Here's a brief explanation and answers to the most common questions...

 

What Does RFID Stand For?

RF stands for Radio Frequency and ID is Identification. It’s basically a way of transmitting information over the air between objects. There are a wide variety of applications for the technology, but the main ones are paymentsidentification, and building access badges.
If you have a credit card with PayPass or something similar, then it has the capability to transmit its information if placed near one of these readers. The concern is that it’s easy to get small readers which can be used by someone to get close to you and “skim”(rfid skimming) the information from your card, without ever taking your wallet out of your pocket. In fact, many mobile devices can read this info.

 

RFID Protection: What You Need it For

More recently, personal information has also begun to be embedded into RFID-enabled IDs. Cards from Washington, Michigan, New York, Vermont, and Canada all contain RFID chips with personal information. I don’t know whether the information can be actually stolen this way (they should have encryption, etc.) but many people who have these cards would prefer to prevent the information from being able to be transferred.
Probably the most common use for RFID cards is for building access. It’s convenient and fairly secure to have employees badge in to buildings, elevators, and rooms. I’ve worked in places where you need to swipe your badge to go through every almost door! So it certainly is convenient to be able to badge through these doors without taking your badge out of your wallet… or even your wallet out of your pocket if it’s at the right height.

 

RFID Blocking Wallets & Card Sleeves: Do They Work?

The blocking in SlimFold RFID wallets blocks the frequencies typically found in paymentidentification, and transit cards (13.56 MHz and above). It only blocks the building access cards if they also works on these same frequencies. Most people seem to want to block their payment cards through their wallets while still using building access cards- and that’s usually the case.
And if your building access cards are blocked, the RFID inserts in the MICRO can actually be removed and put back in. That lets you add RFID protection if you go on a trip or something. (The RFID blocking material in the Original models are sewn in, however.) 
Your other alternative is to get a non-RFID blocking wallet and then use the RFID card sleeves to protect just the cards that have chips.
So do you need RFID? The actual risk is probably not that high… and it of course depends on a lot of things like the risk factors of where you live and the cards you have. But I hope this helps clear up what the blocking feature is to help you decide. Feel free to reach out with any questions!

FAQ

Does it make the wallet thicker or heaver?
Nope! Unlike some wallets that include bulky or heavy material, I use a patented alloy/Tyvek laminate. This results in the Tyvek models being the thinnest RFID blocking wallets in the world.
Will my building access badge work through it?
Probably but it depends on the frequency it uses. I’ve been finding that it tends to attenuate the signal of building access cards, making you need to get a bit closer to use them, but that it still works. Meanwhile, it will block payment, ID, and transit cards. If that’s a deal breaker, you can order both versions and then send back one of them.
Is the protection removable?
For the MICRO, yes. For the Original, no.
Will my train/bus pass work through it?
Probably not. Some folks have experimented with the placement of the card by putting it between the RFID blocking material and the outer layer of the wallet, but I haven’t heard definitive results about that yet. If you try it, please let me know how it works for you!
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New Tyvek RFID Version

Last October I introduced the world’s first RFID blocking Tyvek wallet. I partnered with a producer of a proprietary RFID blocking Tyvek to design an entire wallet out of it rather than just card sleeves. They were very well received and the print run completely sold out before the end of the year.

Recently, I introduced the RFID Soft Shell which is produced by inserting this same material into the wallet during production. That method worked so well that I’ve decided to carry it over to the Tyvek line:

  • Now the world’s thinnest RFID blocking wallet is even thinner.
  • The Original size Tyvek RFID wallets now double-fold more easily.

In addition to the previous black models, Gray/Orange MICRO RFID and Gray/Orange Original RFID is available for pre-order and will ship the first week of February.

RFID Blocking

The wallets block cards which operate at 13.56 MHz and above including:

  • ID Cards (Canada, Washington, Michigan, New York, and Vermont)
  • Credit cards (PayPass, Blink, sQuid)
  • Military cards (CAC Common Access Cards)
  • Building access cards* (HID iClass, HID MIFARE, HID FlexSmart, DESFire)
  • Transit cards (Boston Charlie, DC Metro)
  • Government cards (e.g., TWIC-Transportation Worker Identification Credential)

*Some building access cards are NOT shielded including HID 125 KHz.

I hope you enjoy this new line of RFID Tyvek wallets and I look forward to hearing what you think...

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