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Innate Portal Billfold

1 review
5-star:   0
4-star:   0
3-star:   1
2-star:   0
1-star:   0
5

If you like keeping the profile of your back pocket…

Rating: rated 3 of 5 stars
Source: received it as a sample, freebie, or prize (Trailspace and Innate, for being named the July 2013 Reviewer of the Month)

Summary

If you like keeping the profile of your back pocket as small as your environmental impact, you'll love this wallet. Made from repurposed materials, and featuring stitch-less, welded seams, it has proven as worthy on the trail as it has anyplace else. Even if unintended, the backside of the material has a rubbery finish which keeps cards in place and prevents them from slipping out. In short, this wallet folds so flat and weighs so little, you may even forget it's in your pocket to begin with.

Pros

  • As ultralight as the manufacturer claims it to be
  • Folds thinner than any wallet I've ever owned
  • Welded seams stronger than sewn-in stitches
  • Eco-friendly and made from repurposed scrap materials
  • Quick-drying

Cons

  • "Clip Point" unnecessary and impractical - better to trim it off!
  • So small and light you may forget it's in your pocket!

Innate Portal Billfold Wallet

fps-79690_1z.jpg

My old Columbia wallet had long since been worn threadbare and began coming apart at the seams. Around the same time, I was chosen as the July 2013 Reviewer of the Month and had my pick of a list of prizes. Good timing on their behalf, because if I hadn't won this wallet, I'd have been buying my own from the store sometime the same week.

I use this wallet every day, but it's equally useful on the trail, thanks to a small profile and low weight.

My convertible hiking pants have mesh back side pockets, and aren't like traditional pockets in that they're inside the pants themselves (instead of being additional material sewn to the outside of the pants - think blue jeans). You don't want to go adding any more interior volume than your have to when your wallet has to compete with your body for space inside your clothes.

This wallet is actually comfortable enough to wear inside mesh back pockets, and if I don't feel like putting it in my back pocket, I'll simply slip it into the breast pocket on my shirt and keep it there.

SIZE AND WEIGHT

"Ultrathin," as described by the manufacturer.

3.94" X 3.54"

0.67 oz / 19.0 g

P1020367.jpg

Innate Portal Billfold Wallet, shown next to an iPhone 4s for size comparison

This sucker folds FLAT, and weighs so little you barely even notice it's there. 

It's great for card-users, not so much for cash-carriers.

There won't be any single-stashing, rain-making storage of dollar bills in this wallet. Most my purchases are made with a debit card - call it the "UL" way of making purchases. More stores than ever are beginning to allow you the option of an e-mailed receipt, and this further shortens the paper trail and streamlines the wallet. Having spent a good amount of time in my life as a "city boy," too, I'm not much a cash-flasher and don't like to make my self a billboard advertisement for mugging victims. Stick to the cards with this one. Maybe a couple $20 bills, but nothing more. For my needs, however, the size and capacity are more than enough.

CONSTRUCTION

I'm all for how friendly this wallet is to the environment (made from repurposed scrap fabrics), and while the seams themselves are formed with strong bonds (opposed to stitches), the outside edges of the wallet have tended to fray over time. It's not a deal-breaker, and for what this wallet's been through in the time I've owned it, I'm surprised it hasn't done more than fray a little at the edges.

It should also be noted the backside of the material has an almost rubbery quality to it, and firmly keeps plastic cards in place. Whether or not this was deliberate, it is a feature I like.

P1020365.jpg

Other ultrathin and ultralight "wallets" out there are merely stitched-together fabric card holders. I like how this wallet's welded seams are stronger than stitches and don't fail as easily.

The Columbia wallet I used previous to this one completely had worn-through the edges. Once part of the stitching became compromised, the stitch as a whole was, and it slowly but surely began self-destructing. 

Because of the way this wallet is made, the fraying is more a cosmetic defect than a structural one. Truth be told, I could trim the material if I wanted to. If this wallet was something I invested my own money in, and not a free-of-charge prize, I would mark the durability down more than I have. To be completely fair, however, this is what makes this a three-star wallet instead of a five-star. The manufacturer claims newer, prototype models are being tested with an improved edge finish, although this doesn't do much good for the wallet I already own.

If you are interested in buying this wallet, wait until they come out with a newer model.

CAPACITY

"Bi-fold" style, with card organizers and a cash organizer:

1 L side horizontal pocket

2 R side vertical pockets

1 rear, full-length pocket for paper currency

Mine comfortably holds a driver's license, two debit cards, my health insurance card, my dental insurance card, and my American Alpine Club Membership Card. 

P1020366.jpg

ADDITIONAL FEATURES

The built-in "clip point" I couldn't find use for, and eventually wound cutting off with a pair of scissors. This is the most extensive gear modification I've ever made, as I don't trust myself as a do-it-yourself-er (people have jobs doing specific things for a reason, folks!). I was able to trim the loop off because the seams are welded - fusing surfaces together as opposed to tying together edges.

I imagine you could clip it to a lanyard, and wear it inside your shirt - but putting it in your pocket accomplishes the same, minus the need for additional accessories (and weight). They claim the clip point can withstand 22 lbs / 10 kg of force...no idea why you'd send your wallet cliffhanging, or use it as a handle for something, but in case you ever do, seems like you're covered? Sure.

The material this wallet is made from is also quick-drying. On the first day of a three-day-long section hike of the River-to-River Trail, we hiked through rain for the entirety of the day. This wallet sat in my back pocket (only holding plastic cards - no paper currency) and was dry come the next morning (unlike my synthetic shirt).

Joseph Renow

Great review Eric!


6 months ago
gregf BRAND REP

Wow! Nicely done review, pls note we've got testers using versions for improved edge finish the clip point is for sk8ers :)


6 months ago
Eric Labanauskas

Roger that, Greg! Thanks for the comment!


6 months ago
Jake W

While the is a thorough review HRH, I find it odd you rave about the durability of this wallet. Having only owned it for a couple months is seems premature, and misleading, to write such a glowing review. There are many references to "durability over time", and how you "don't baby your gear", yet you list this it is fraying on the edges? Maybe a diffence of opinion, but something I've owned for three months, and fraying already, would not get a stamp of approval, not yet at least.


6 months ago
Eric Labanauskas

All fair points, Jake, and the review has been updated accordingly. If I use something daily, I'm using it much more often than the gear I only take on the trail with me. I use this wallet for both everyday and on trips. I will admit, too, to the partial bias that comes with receiving something as a prize (opposed to something I've invested my own money in). Hope this clarifies the matter and know the star rating and review have both been changed in light of this.


5 months ago
gregf BRAND REP

my comment upthread was rather brief due to being on the road with a malfunctioning mobile device. Now that I'm back at my laptop I'd like to expand on my comments as one of the product folks at Innate. Regarding the clip point, this was included for two reasons: a) Backcountry users could clip it to the internal key pocket clip found in many a pack pocket. b) We wanted to do a burly clip point for the wallet chain/lanyard crowd whom it should be noted are often found with both baggy pants and skateboards :) , we reinforced and tested the clip point to 15kg. Now turing to the issue of edge fraying, Jake W makes an excellent point, a few months does not a full field test make and in full disclosure we feel the edge stability of our wallet is not perfect. The die-cutting of the fabric is done using a hardened dies on a punch press with pe surface. The trick to a durable die-cut edge is to get a crisp finished edge; we've found that this is not just due to quality of the dies but also in the cut surface, materials like ldpe tend to let the fabric "drag" into cut marks from previous operations and this can lead to fraying over time. So taking all this into account we have gone to a modification on the edges of our portal wallets and card holders; we will start edge finishing them using the same rf welding process that is used on the rest of these products. We have been field testing these and have seen no significant issues of wear so will do this as an in-line change. Thanks again for the opportunity to participate in this great forum.


5 months ago
Eric Labanauskas

Are you supposing that using it more would cause it to fray less, Greg? :) If I use a product to the point of wear (or failure) at the fault of the product, that's usually where my field testing stops. Thanks for the explanation on some of these features: the item page on Innate's website is rather short on descriptions and I'd rather say I didn't know the intended purpose than guess it. My reviews are always updated with time and usage, so if Innate were to send a replacement wallet with that prototype edge finish, I'd be more than glad to give it a fair chance and update my review if those edges fared better than these did. I really, truly do like this wallet. But writing an honest review with full disclosure means I couldn't not mention those edges. Thanks again for your reply, Greg.


5 months ago
gregf BRAND REP

Hi Erik, Touche! Nope I would not expect that more use =less wear and apologies for my poor writing style that seemed to imply this might be the case. Your mention of the edge fray issue is spot on and entirely appropriate for you or any other reviewer; heck that is what reviews are for! Excellent suggestion regarding getting you an updated version. Can I make a small request that you email customerDOTservice@innateDOTca giving a link to this conversation and noting your mailing address plus stating that Greg had requested you be sent one of the edge stable portal wallet samples when the pre-production versions come in. This will likely be about 6 weeks till we get these. cheers


5 months ago
Eric Labanauskas

Went ahead and sent them an e-mail mentioning everything you'd want noted and had requested, Greg. Thanks for being a gentleman and giving me another chance to enjoy this product. I'll be sure to update my review, in kind, once I've had the time to put this through the paces.


5 months ago
gregf BRAND REP

Perfect -i will followup next week.


5 months ago
gregf BRAND REP

Hi Eric, I just received another set of photos from our testers, the fraying is minimal to none, it seems this new method of construction is much more edge stable


5 months ago
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Innate Portal Billfold

MSRP:
$18.50

The Innate Portal Billfold is not available from the stores we monitor.

If you're looking for a new accessory, check out the best reviewed current models.

Specs

Weight 19 g / 0.67 oz
Dimensions 10 x 9 cm / 3.94 x 3.54 in