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Published Aug 2, 2022 5:18 PM

Before we go any further, ask yourself what you need in a tactical wallet. After all, they’re merely pockets for dollars and business cards, and these can skyrocket in price as you scale higher up the mountain. Sure, they can be gimmicks to many average people, but let’s analyze them from the lens of tradespeople, outdoor adventurers, extreme athletes, and service members. Everyone has use for something, even tactical pens (yes, those exist).

These buyers live hard-working lives and partake in hard-working hobbies that demand something that can hold their valuables without getting obliterated in one wrong move. Being such a regularly-carried commodity, they might as well snag something to withstand the elements, survive getting run over by a car, and even do a bit of handy work if necessary, just as an excellent tactical flashlight would. 

Enter our guide to the best tactical wallets on the market, with everything from EDC wallets to products with extra doses of style and flair. Through this sea of nylon and steel, we’ll help you pair with the perfect product to keep up with your demanding lifestyle.

The Dango A10 Spec-Ops Bifold Pocket Adapt easily stands as the best-built, best-balanced product on this list, with something for everyone. Breaking away from the compact and minimalist designs of most tactical wallets, including Dango’s own lineup, the Bifold Pocket Adapt adds a bi-folding, water-resistant skin. The skin adds far more storage and further protects the steel frame and aluminum casing, which are RFID-proof to shield from cyber criminals. The stainless steel cherry on top has to be the removable multitool complete with a seatbelt cutter, bottle opener, and more. There’s even a pen slot for one of Dango’s tactical pens.

It’s easily one of the most acclaimed products on this list, with frequent praise for its robust construction and admirable craftsmanship. However, it’ll cost you. While most metallic wallets start below $100, this model starts at $159. Specialty editions and higher-tier variants with carbon and titanium construction can easily blow past $300.

That’s a lot of scratch just to house some credit cards, but those who live exceptionally rugged lifestyles (or are a clutz like me) will appreciate a product built to last multiple lifetimes.

Product Specs
  • Materials: Carbon fiber (optional), titanium (optional), aluminum, stainless steel
  • Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Dimensions: 4.1 x 3.0 x 0.7 inches
PROS

Improved storage over more compact stablemates

Detachable multitool insert

Detachable pen slot

Durable, water-resistant construction

CONS

Price starts high and only gets higher

The Extremus Tactical Minimalist Wallet is indeed both tactical and minimal, but more importantly, it delivers reliable protection to miserly consumers at an excellent price point. Ranging from $21 to $25 depending on your desired finish, Extremus throws in a money clip and aluminum construction while retaining a respectable half-inch side profile. It’s as basic as it gets: two slabs of metal squished together with an elastic band, leaving room for roughly 15 cards.

Build quality is the primary concern separating the Extremus wallet from pricier rivals such as Ridge, GRIP6, or Dango. The wallet has proven reliable in owners’ hands, but there have been reports of awkwardly-placed screws that don’t entirely sit flush and, in a few cases, protrude into the storage compartment. Additionally, having a singular storage area means those with stacks of cards will spend a few extra seconds sifting through them, and the elastic band is a weak point that could potentially wear out.

It may not be perfect, but for many, it’s perfectly functional for a hell of a bargain.

Product Specs
  • Materials: Carbon fiber (optional), aluminum, stainless steel
  • Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Dimensions: 5.2 x 3.8 x 0.5 inches
PROS

Knockout price point

Full-metal construction for remarkable resiliency

Slim, compact design for easy carrying

Money clip included

CONS

Potentially wear out the elastic band

Abysmal storage compartments

Minor build quality inconsistencies

Honorable Mention

Don’t sleep on The Ridge Wallet, a premium take on the simple, compact tactical wallet design. Compared to budget-oriented rivals, the Ridge makes its case with superior quality and a headache-inducing palette of colors to choose from. If you want woodland, burnt titanium, blue, or a slightly different shade of blue, then by all means, give Ridge your money. Standard construction is aluminum, but to further diversify the personalization options, you can tick the boxes for titanium and carbon in their own array of finishes. It’s among the most compact on this list, as well, matching our Best Slim winner at 0.2 inches thick, and unlike the budget options, build quality passes with shining colors with no loose bits in sight.

The confusing bit comes when it’s time to purchase a Ridge. If you want to keep it minimalist, stick to basic metals in basic colors, or that sub-$100 price will rapidly inflate to nearly $200. Unfortunately, its compact status compromises space no differently than its rivals, cheap or otherwise, and the use of an elastic band raises longevity concerns. Thankfully, Ridge backs its customers with its lifetime warranty that covers individual replacement parts.

Product Specs
  • Materials: Titanium (optional), carbon fiber (optional), aluminum
  • Weight: 2 ounces
  • Dimensions: 3.3 x 2.1 x 0.2 inches
PROS

Personalizable in a dizzying palette of finishes

One of the most compact profiles on this list

Lifetime warranty covers individual replacement parts

CONS

Fluctuating prices that all start far from cheap

Some may find it too minimalist for the price

Okay, let’s take your standard metal tactical wallet and make macho! The 5.11 Tactical Steel Jacket Multi-Tool is a superbly functional take on run-of-the-mill EDC wallets, and I vote to make this an issued item to every service member. It takes the standard design of two steel plates wedged together and spices it up with an arsenal of downsized tools, including a pry tool, bolt wrenches, and the almighty bottle opener. Interestingly, the plates’ interior features two SD card slots of varying sizes. And yes, while the rubber band is the primary weak point in the construction, 5.11 will kindly include a spare band with your purchase.

As with all wallets of this design, you will still suffer from compromised storage. One owner reported being able to fit eight cards; likely inhibited due to the extra tightness of a rubber band over an elastic fabric. However, it ultimately helps keep this wallet as slim as can be, at 0.2 inches thick when empty.

Still, it’s not hard to see that plenty of trade workers and handy folk will appreciate the Steel Jacket’s hardcore toughness while still being able to lend a hand when needed.

Product Specs
  • Materials: Rubber, stainless steel
  • Weight: 2.8 ounces
  • Dimensions: 3.0 x 2.0 x 0.2 inches
PROS

Near-invincible steel construction

Ultra-slim design

Quirky yet usable toolset including SIM card holders

Relatively low price tag

CONS

Possibility of rubber band losing elasticity

Minimalistic storage space

The 5.11 Tactical Bifold Wallet is the perfect solution for those into added functionality yet think the metal wallets are still not quite for them. The Bifold Wallet sheds the hardened frames and casings for a nylon material, just like a web belt, that can still hold its own in the field or at the work site. Opening the wallet reveals two cash sleeves — bye, bye, money clip — and plenty of card slots, including a see-through pouch for identification and a nifty key pouch. It will carry your items like a standard wallet yet last like a proper piece of military surplus, and can handily serve as anyone’s one and only EDC wallet.

The 5.11 bifold wallet’s nylon construction shouldn’t raise any eyebrows in terms of longevity, but take extra caution if your lifestyle regularly puts your wallet at risk of getting run over by a tank, drowned in a lake, or snatched by geese. And on the subject of its construction, it’s worth noting that the Bifold Wallet retails at $32, which is $6 more than the tougher yet less cavernous Steel Jacket.

Product Specs
  • Materials: Nylon
  • Weight: 1.9 ounces
  • Dimensions: 4.5 x 3 x 0.5 inches
PROS

Simple design riddled with nifty storage pockets

Nylon construction is still durable and tough

Two separate cash sleeves

Hidden key pouch

CONS

Lack of hardened casings or frames

Nylon costs more than steel?

Dango swoops into another spot with the T01 Tactical Wallet, the charming lovechild between a metal EDC wallet and a Swiss Army knife. Like Dango’s other offerings, the T01 falls in line with stainless steel and machined aluminum fastened together with top-notch workmanship, resulting in near-flawless build quality. The T01 distinguishes itself with its unique “MT02 Multitool” accessory, equipped with hex wrenches, a paracord tensioner, cutter, and more. Even desk-bound workers can find usefulness with its engraved ruler and built-in phone stand. And yes, a bottle opener is still included, as is a glass breaker for potential in-car emergencies.

It follows the typical compact design, which means a bifold wallet will blow it out of the water in terms of day-to-day practicality. However, its approximate carrying capacity of 12 cards is still respectable. Thankfully, a bifold variant is available for those who could use a smidge more room. Pricing is still on the higher end, but the T01 is still appreciably lower than its Best Overall-winning kin, right at $100.

Product Specs
  • Materials: Titanium (optional), silicone, aluminum, stainless steel
  • Weight: 3.5 ounces
  • Dimensions): 4.3 x 2.6 x 3.7 inches
PROS

A wallet and Swiss Army knife in one

A myriad of variants exist (including one with a pen)

Retains a sleek and slim design

A bifold option is available

CONS

Price quickly escalates as you climb the model ladder

The inherent storage compromises of a compact wallet

Easily the prettiest item on this list that will be at home both in the field or at a fancy dinner, the GRIP6 Wallet + Leather and Loop combo is a winner. GRIP6 starts with their basic tactical wallet constructed of machined aluminum that’s then anodized in a finish of your choice, from plain grayscale colors to vivid oranges and blues. It’s then paired with a functional leather sleeve, stitched with nylon, and not only serves as added protection but includes extra slots for cards and cash. Even with the sleeve, it retains a compact profile that’s appreciably easier to carry than typical leather wallets, as many consumers have noted.

While not explicitly disclosed in the listing, consumers praise the admittedly gimmicky yet charming “squeeze function.” A discreet trigger protrudes from the side of the wallet, which can be actuated to deploy your cards.

The leather case somewhat negates the inherent storage compromises, and a roughly 14-card capacity isn’t a bad start, anyway. While the leather is tough and durable, using it for cards or large wads of cash can be a tight fit that requires breaking in, which could compromise its longevity.

Product Specs
  • Materials: Aluminum, leather
  • Weight: 2.8 ounces
  • Dimensions: 4.0 x 3.0 x 0.5 inches
PROS

Added style and protection with leather sheath

Slim profile, even with leather sheath

Leather sheath has cutouts for extra storage

Handy keychain loop included

CONS

While not the most expensive, it’s far from the cheapest

Possibility of leather sheath degrading

No money clip

It seems they make wallets with free toys included, and the Gerber Gear GDC Money Clip is one of them. But in all seriousness, this could easily be a fantastic, one-purchase solution to buying a new wallet plus a self-defense tool. Stealthily tucked inside is a 1.75-inch knife, with a finger groove and loop for gripping or affixing to a tool. The wallet itself is aluminum, while the blade is stainless steel, granting both products resiliency for long service life.

While it’s built reasonably well for its low price, consumers are quick to point out its lack of practicality as a regular wallet. The knife is an awkward shape to hold, which will require some practice to get used to, and it takes up a space that could otherwise be dedicated to cards and cash. As the name suggests, the primary storage method is a single money clip, which can hold quite a lot, but it leaves your valuables open and exposed.

However, you can look at it like this: When the crooked fiend tells you to hand over your wallet, they won’t know what hit them.

Product Specs
  • Materials: fiberglass, aluminum, stainless steel
  • Weight: 2.9 ounces
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 3.6 x 1.6 x 0.3 inches
PROS

One of the slimmest options on this list

Can’t argue with a detachable knife

Highly-agreeable price

CONS

Among the lowest storage capacity

More of a novelty than a day-to-day tool

The addition of a knife compromises legality

Things to consider before buying a tactical wallet

Portability

Ask yourself how compact you really need your wallet to be. Tactical wallets are often made slim to offset the added bulk of hardened construction, with most measuring under half an inch thick. This ensures easy carrying, and you could even use the included money clips on most of them to simply clip to your inner pocket. Some variants with an enhanced focus on outdoor use may have loops to be affixed to carbine clips and rucksacks, should you choose. The smaller they get, however, the less storage you may have for your necessities, so find the perfect balance for you.

Storage compartments

How roomy is it? To not be frustratingly bulky from their construction, many tactical wallets are made compact, limiting those who use their wallets as miniature pack mules. Room for less than 10 cards plus a money clip is standard, especially on the lower, more affordable end. But some manufacturers have engineered unique bifold and trifold tactical wallets with far more storage pockets, rivaling some standard wallets without sacrificing compactness or styling. Double-check each product you’re eyeballing, and make sure it meets your specific storage requirements first.

Durability

This is not only a test of materials, but build quality and craftsmanship, as well. Do products come tight and flush, or are there slight gaps in the panels and screws that aren’t fully tightened? As you climb up in the price range, some items may trade nylon and plastics to be strictly constructed of metals such as aluminum and steel. Carbon and titanium are extra-cost upgrades from most manufacturers, and a few specialized variants may add purely stylistic touches such as walnut wood, leather, or nickel plating. Should you choose to commit to the tactical wallet bandwagon, ensure whatever product you’re gunning for is proven tough enough for your specific lifestyle needs.

FAQs about tactical wallets

Q. How much do tactical wallets cost?

A. Price greatly varies as materials, functionality, and quality improve, but they’ll generally cost more than most basic wallets. Entry models can be had for between $25 and $40. Higher-tier variants start at $70 to $80 and rapidly escalate into the hundreds. Specialized models with extra tools or carbon and titanium construction can easily eclipse $200 to $300. Our Best Value-winner starts at a friendly $21.

Q. What is “RFID” in wallets?

A. RFID refers to “Radio-Frequency IDentification.” For those genuinely interested, ensure the wallet that you’re keen on purchasing shields against RFID. Many tactical wallets with hardened, metallic construction are usually RFID-proofed and can shield you from the admittedly unlikely occurrence of hackers scanning for credit cards or ID information.

Q. Are tactical wallets actually necessary?

A. That depends on who you ask. It can be needless excess and a gimmicky flex to the average person. To those with active lifestyles who partake in strenuous trade jobs, extreme sports, or ahem, the military, tactical wallets will give them added protection, durability, and weatherproofing for all their valuables.

Q. What advantages do tactical wallets have over standard wallets?

A. The overarching advantage that tactical wallets have is some degree of elevated functionality. Some offer far more generous storage than their less specialized kin, while others sacrifice a bit of space for easier carrying of the bare essentials. Many feature toughened construction with metal frames, casings, and even integrated multitools.

Final thoughts

The Dango A10 Spec-Ops Bifold Pocket Adapt wins at being extremely well-versed and well-built and is simply the best overall tactical wallet that money can buy. The Ridge Wallet deserves a look, as well. It delivers on the promise of a compact, minimalistic vault of a credit card holder with stellar craftsmanship and an endless color selection. However, we understand that those products edge towards the richer side of the scale for a mere wallet, so the Extremus Tactical Minimalist Wallet should satisfy the need at a far more forgiving price.

Methodology 

Our guide to the best tactical wallets was primarily conducted through extensive research, with deep dives into manufacturer specs and, more importantly, consumer feedback. Our top picks were stout and durable pieces with actual, real-world practicality behind them, not just style with no substance. They have to be comfortable to carry and capable of holding all the items the average person will regularly need while proving they can withstand the strenuous work and active lifestyles many of our readers have. Items with abysmal build quality reports or little-to-no consumer input were binned in favor of items with a trusted backing that you and I could rely upon.

While Amazon continued to serve as a major hub for manufacturer and consumer information, a rainbow of worthwhile choices lays a few browser searches away from manufacturer-specific sites. 5.11 Tactical, Dango Products, and GRIP6 all deserve credit for their extensive catalogs. And as always, readers are always welcome to learn more about how Task & Purpose generally curates its buyer’s guides.

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