Wallets are an odd item. They’re one of those things that everyone carries around, but – much of the time – they’re more of an afterthought than a featured part of our everyday carry. The folks at Trayvax, however, have been working to change that for some time now – offering up a catalogue of unique and interestingly featured wallets to suit a variety of lifestyles.
In case you’ve never heard of it, Trayvax’s flagship cash and card carrier, the Element, has been heralded as one of the toughest minimalist wallets ever to be made. And that can be a very hard claim to substantiate, especially without getting down to the nitty gritty with the wallet itself. Luckily, we got ahold of one with the intention of proving once and for all whether the Trayvax Element is all that it’s cracked up to be. And we put it through the ringer in the following hands-on review.
Built to Take a Beating
The first thing you’ll notice about Trayvax’s flagship wallet is that it feels substantial. That’s not to say that it’s heavy, as the skeletonized stainless steel frame helps lighten the load to an incredibly manageable 5 ounces. But rather, it feels sturdy – as it rightfully should. And the rigidity of the American-made steel frame is complemented by the equally handsome oiled American leather that makes up the rest of it. This modern wallet certainly seems to fit the heirloom standards of those that came before it.Truly the whole package harkens back to a time when the world was a much more difficult place to survive in; when men worked their fingers to the bone crafting real tangible things out of metal and animal hide.
Yet, there are still touches of modernity to be had – such as the RFID blocking built-in tech, paracord woven down the length of the thing, and the overall minimalism to its form. Even the snap-button closure brings the cash and card carrier into the present, as it reminds us that this isn’t just another classic cash fold, but a carefully though-out front-pocket cash and card carrier. Overall, we can say that this modern wallet certainly seems to fit the heirloom standards of those that came before it. And that’s a very good thing.
More Than Enough Room
We’ve noticed recently that there are a lot of “minimalist” front-pocket wallets on the market today that boast a capacity of 10+ cards. This is not one of them. And while you might argue that as a drawback, we ask: who actually carries around that many credit cards on them at all times? We suspect none. Or at least not anyone looking to keep their wallet in their front pocket. The Element is not the most capacious carrier out there, but that’s not exactly a drawback.Yes, the Element is not the most capacious carrier out there – offering a carry capacity of about 3-4 cards brand new and up to 5 after having broken it in a bit – but that’s not exactly a drawback in this case.
That’s doubly true when you consider that it also has a built-in money clip, as well. So it’s not really just 5 cards and that’s the end of it. You can also carry up to 5 bills. Arguably, that’s the bigger issue, as we know many more people that are apt to carry 5+ bills. But even they are a dying breed, what with the drastic drop in the necessity for paper money. Truly, the average guy can get by on just a couple cards and a couple of bills. That’s exactly what the Element offers and, honestly, it’s more than enough room for most folks.
Perhaps we’re a bit spoiled by the many innovators in the everyday carry space, but we’ve come to expect a little bit more out of our wallets than just the ability to haul our cash and cards. Lucky for us, the Element doesn’t disappoint in that vein either. Along with its built-in interior money clip, it also features a handy bottle opener as a part of the frame. Best part is, it’s accessible and usable even when the wallet is fully loaded. And that’s a good deal better than some of the other bottle opener wallets we’ve seen, which require you to empty out or maneuver your cards in order to get use out of the opener.
While we’re not sure it qualifies as an extra, we’re also very appreciative of the fact that Trayvax included a thumb hole in the leather exterior. Without it, we imagine it would be nigh-impossible to get our cards out in a timely fashion, if at all. That being said, the biggest detraction from the form of the thing is that, in order to get any one specific card, you need to slide them out one at a time until you find the one you want. Along with its built-in interior money clip, it also features a handy bottle opener as a part of the frame.Although, with just a few cards in it at any given time, that’s more of a small gripe than a real glaring problem. And it’s one shared by just about all other minimalist wallets we’ve ever seen.
Finally, in taking the wallet through its paces, we’ve discovered that you can actually fully open the leather sleeve that wraps around the metal frame. In normal use, this isn’t a function you might be concerned with, but we happen to like taking care of our leather goods and this feature – accidental or not – allows us to properly clean and maintain the leather of the wallet without its frame getting in the way. You could certainly keep the wallet together without ever needing to take it apart in this manner, but we appreciate that it isn’t permanently enclosed.
All told, the Trayvax Element is an impressive minimalist cash and card carrier. It features the kind of rugged structure and quality of construction materials that back up the brand’s claim that this is, in fact, one of the toughest wallets ever made – but it isn’t so rigid and bulky that it couldn’t be comfortably carried in your front pocket. In fact, the limit to the carry capacity (a maximum of 5 cards and bills within the leather sleeve and built-in money clip) pretty much guarantees that you can carry it in your front pocket at all times.
The woven paracord down the length of the item is a nice aesthetic addition that brings the whole thing into modernity, from a design perspective, though we’re not really sure if it’s necessary to the structure of the wallet as a whole – as rivets may have served the same purpose. To be clear, that’s not a complaint, just an observation of note. But the inclusion of a snap-button closure is certainly appreciated, as it stops your wallet’s contents from slipping out unintentionally. And it pairs nicely with the thumb hole card deployment, built-in money clip, and bottle opener. If you’re looking for a minimalist wallet that you can put through the ringer time and time again, it’s the Trayvax Element.
© Photography by HiConsumption
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