Wa-ben Cuben Fiber Wallet

What do you get when you mash Cuben Fiber and a wallet together?
Well that’s easy…you get a Wa-ben!

Item: Wa-ben Cuben Fiber Wallet
Designer/Manufacturer: Yasutomo 2020
Web URL: http://yasutomo2020.com/index.htm
Year of Manufacture: 2011
MSRP: (US) $46
Listed Weight: 0.69 oz (19.7 g)
Measured Weight: 0.7 oz (19 g)
Listed Dimensions: N/A
Measured Closed Dimensions: 3-5/8 x 4-3/8 in (9 x 11 cm)
Measured Open Dimensions: 3-5/8 x 8-1/8 in (9 x 21.5 cm)
Materials: Cuben Fiber CT9K.5
Pockets: 2 cash pockets, 6 front pockets & 2 internal pockets
Color Purchased: Standard (white)
**This wallet is also offered in black, dark blue, yellow, red, gray, light blue, orange, fluorescent green & fluorescent pink.**

From the website:
This is the world’s first Cuben Fiber wallet! A high-tech sail material, Cuben Fiber CT9K.5 consists of laminates using unidirectional prepreg tape consisting of in-line plasma treated Dyneema fibers spread over mono-filament level films. Cuben Fiber is 30 – 40% lighter than normal Dacron or traditional laminates. This is a very special product!

Yasutomo 2020 is operated and ran by Jason Hung and is located in Hong Kong. Other than these wallets, he also sells day bags and weekend bags on his site. Jason builds these wallets using the standard, or white, colored cuben fiber. However, he has recently started to add in a single colored piece of 0.75 oz Spinnaker cloth in between the outer layer to give these wallets a little color. So, other than the standard (white) color, these wallets are also offered in black, dark blue, yellow, red, gray, light blue, orange, fluorescent green & fluorescent pink. A color for everyone!I first came across these wallets a number of months ago on a post over on Whiteblaze.net. At the time, I must admit that the $46 price tag was more than I wanted to spend. Then, just a few weeks ago I came across these wallets again on a thread over on Backpacking Light.com. This time when I came across the wallets I figured that it was time to replace my current wallet anyway, so hey, why not? So, I placed an order. (There is just something about cuben…  🙂 )

When I made the purchase I had no way of requesting which color wallet I wanted, so I contacted Jason through the “Contact Us” link on his site and requested that I would prefer the Standard (white) color. As well, since he was pretty active on the thread over at BPL I also posted there that I placed an order and my color of choice. Jason returned my email the next day and said a-ok! He also told me that he would ship the wallet out the next day (Monday) but to expect up to a 2.5 week shipping estimate due to security checks while in transit from Hong Kong to the USA. The next day I received an email with a tracking number. Then, 12 days later the postal lady knocked on my door and I happily signed for the wallet! (I will add that since I ordered my wallet, Jason has added a drop down box on his site to specify which color is preferred when ordering. Nice move Jason!)The wallet arrived in a brown envelope as seen in the picture above. When I opened the envelope I found the contents enclosed in a heavy-grade plastic sleeve that was sealed on all 4 sides. Upon opening the plastic sleeve and removing its contents, I found a warranty card which was printed on thick card stock. This card is to be used if the wallet is ever to be returned for repairs or what-not. The Wa-ben Cuben Fiber wallet itself was inside a Spinnaker stuff sack, which is in my opinion an added bonus! Score! A wallet for everyday use, and then one for backpacking…

But first, back to the stuff sack, it is indeed made using the same 0.75 oz Spinnaker cloth that he uses to add color to the wallets. The stuff sack that I received is enveloped-shaped and measures 4-5/8 in (12.5 cm) wide and 5-5/8 in (15.2 cm) tall. On my scale, the stuff sack alone weighs in at 0.2 oz (5 g). The stuff sack closes at the top with a cinch cord which is fed through a sewn channel, except it is a double channel and has a cord coming out on each side. The stuff sack does not use cord locks to lock it closed, but rather can simply be tied closed using the 2 cords which cinch it closed. (The stuff sack can be lightened up though by removing one of the cords, and even more by using a lighter cord.)

As far as the wallet, it is just what I expected. Sexy…  🙂  As expected, the wallet is super light and is super thin. The wallet is standard size, or at least the same “full” size as my other bi-fold wallets that I have ever owned. The stitching is great, but there are 2 spots in which there is a small weave. Although I do not see how it will be a problem with construction, and to be honest, unless looking for it, it is not noticeable.

There is not an ID window in this wallet, so I will have to get used to pulling my license in and out in order to view it rather than just open my wallet and flash it. But this is not a deal breaker for me. There are 3 tiered-pockets on each side of the wallet (for a total of 6 pockets). The pockets are approximately 2 in (5 cm) deep and 3-3/4 in (10.5 cm) wide which I find to be the same size as in my other wallets. My license and other debit cards fit inside the pockets as expected. The pockets hold them firmly in place so that they will not fall out easily but is still easy enough to remove the cards from. (Although, I will say that due to the somewhat slippery texture of the Cuben Fiber, it has taken me a little time to get used to sliding the cards in and out.)

As well, there are 2 internal pockets which are located on each side behind the outer pockets. (This is where I usually stick all the business cards I get, so I was glad to see that they were included on this wallet.)
And let us not forget the cash pockets! There are actually 2 of them (for those that like to separate their bills maybe?) They are both the full width of the wallet however, the inner cash pocket is about 1/8 in (0.3 cm) shorter than the outer cash pocket. This shorter pocket should allow me to easily distinguish between the 2 pockets.

The wallet is quite thin. Without any cards inside the wallet the wallet is about 1/8 in (0.3 cm) thick. This is easily thinner than any other wallet I have ever owned. Even with all of my usual cards inside the wallet, the wallet measures approximately 3/4 in (2 cm). When using the wallet, I have found that I do not even notice I have the wallet in my back pocket. (I also credit this to the wallets super-light weight too.) This is awesome considering with my previous wallet I would have to remove it from my back pocket if driving in the car for long periods of time~ but not with the Wa-ben!)Also, since I opted to get the standard (white) color, the wallet is a bit see-through (as with other versions of Cuben Fiber). Some may not like this simply because others may be able to see what is in the outer cash pocket of the wallet, although I find it to be interesting, and well, I just like the look of plain ole white Cuben Fiber. (Plus, I usually don’t carry cash on me anyway.) However, for those that do not like for others to glance over and see the what bills are inside the wallet, the wallets with the Spinnaker cloth will make the wallet more opaque, thus, more private.I really have been very excited about this wallet since the moment I opened it up. Right off the bat, based on the quality effort of even the packaging material, the whole kit appears to have been put together with care. This alone gives me reason to believe that this is a quality product rather than carelessly thrown together. The wallet itself appears to be well constructed and has proven to be more comfortable than any of my other wallets. And let us not forget, this wallet is much sexier than any of my other wallets. As well, I am also excited about the Spinnaker cloth stuff sack that came with the wallet. (I have plans to turn this stuff sack into my backpacking wallet.)

So, as you can tell, I am happy that I decided to replace my wallet with Jason’s Wa-ben Cuben Fiber wallet. And if anyone out there is looking for a Cuben Fiber wallet specifically, I highly recommend this wallet to you!Thanks for reading!

~Stick~

Disclosure: The author owns this product and paid for it using their own funds.

About Stick

My blog is essentially a record of my hiking career. Through it, I, and others, can see how I have evolved from a heavy weight backpacker, to a smarter, more efficient, lightweight backpacker. Through the use of video, still photos, and of course writing, one can see my progression, as well as check out some of the places I hike, and not to mention some cool, lightweight gear options. For me, my blog is a journal, but for others, I hope that it is an interactive learning tool to aid them in their own progression towards lightweight backpacking.
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21 Responses to Wa-ben Cuben Fiber Wallet

  1. Pingback: Yasutomo 2020 Wa-Ben Cuben Fiber Wallet is a delight | fordsbaswment

  2. Mark says:

    FYI Hyperlite Mountain Gear has equal at a lower price.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Yeah, I noticed that HMG also started selling these not too long ago, and IIRC, even Luke’s UltraLite has also been selling similar wallets too. Keep in mind though that I bought mine about 3.5 years ago… before these were even available! 🙂

      ~Stick~

      Like

  3. Erik Marcus says:

    Great post! Now that this post is a year old, I would love for you to update it to let us know how your wallet is holding up.

    My two year old sturdy-looking and extremely bulky hemp wallet is already falling apart.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Erik,

      I will keep an updated post in mind, however, I can’t promise anything for a while. However, my wallet is still holding up well. Of course it doesn’t look brand new anymore, but it isn’t anywhere close to looking worn out…Other than being a little wrinkled around the edges, it is still in great shape! Still no loose stitching anywhere, everything is still where it should be. And as far as the cuben fiber, I have a fair share of cuben fiber products, and in weights from 0.51 oz/sqyd up to almost 1.5 oz/sqyd, and in everything from tents, backpacks, stuff sacks, pack liners, pack covers, rain kilts, etc… The material is tough and I have a feeling it will be around for a while…

      Hope this helps some, and thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  4. namaniac says:

    dammit!
    I just picked up a wallet from NEMO…pretty damn light itself…but not cuben:(

    Like

    • Stick says:

      namaniac,

      I have never seen those wallets. That is cool that they use old tent pieces to make them though. How do you like it?

      As far as the weight, TBH, since I did not buy this wallet for actual backpacking, I was not concerned to much about the weight. of course though, I am not complaining either…

      ~Stick~

      Like

  5. lukabrazi says:

    Very cool. They look really well made. He should make a simplified version with a slit for money and one slot on each side of the fold for an ID and a credit card. Maybe even half size so the money is folded. Thanks for sharing!

    Like

  6. Lawson Kline says:

    Nice Review. I saw that you purchased this on BPL and was looking forward to reading your review. I think the wallet is pretty cool looking myself and also think its a good idea to keep the pockets/layout in their current form. As far as the dot goes. I like it..

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Lawson,

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting! As far as the wallet. I really do like it. I like the sleek design as it is way more comfy than my other wallets I have owned. Although, the All-Ett wallets are a nice looking alternative to this one as they are the same thing, except not in cuben… but of course a little less $$$.

      ~Stick~

      Like

  7. Patrick says:

    Yeah, I agree with John. These are neat, but a caught in the hype of cuben. I myself have made a simple wallet made from the sail of a sail boat. The design is simple, the profile is thin, made in USA, and you’ve guessed it inexpensive! I can post a picture if interested.. I do make them for sail (hehe), but that’s another note.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Patrick,

      I would be interested in seeing your pictures and specs of your cuben wallet. And when you say that you do “sail” them do you have a site, or how would someone go about ordering one? I am also interested in what kind of cuben that you use. I tried googling the CT9K.5 cuben but got nothing. Do you get old used sails or do you buy the sails new?

      Thanks for stopping by and commeting!

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • Patrick says:

      I don’t make them from Cuben Fiber -I make them from an old sail that needed replacing. I don’t know the fabric off hand, but it’s some kind of nylon. I don’t have a website.. just a few wallets that I sell here and there. Once I use up the material.. that’s it (limited production if you will), no more until another sail becomes weathered.

      Like

    • Stick says:

      Gotcha. That’s a cool way to recycle. Thanks for the info.

      Like

  8. I don’t know… I just have a few too many issues with this thing…

    First of all, considering the price of cuben fiber, it seems like this product is easily 25-30% more expensive than what it should be, even after you factor in man-hours. I own a lot of CF gear and buy the material buy the yard and it just seems to be overpriced, even in the CF world.

    Secondly, about the only people who are going to buy these (that is, hikers, and not just CF thrill seekers) are going to be those who need a very small wallet for thru-hikes. I have never heard of any thru-hiker carrying around 6+ cards. Two, maybe three, but not 6+. It could easily do away with 50% of the card slots, reduce the weight by a few grams, reduce the man-hours, reduce the amount of material, and thereby reduce the price.

    Lastly, and a rather petty issue, but that stupid colored dot on the outside is… well, just stupid and ugly.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      John,

      I will admit that this wallet is not for 2 kinds of people.

      1. The DIY’ers that are comfy spending the big $$$ on cuben.
      2. People that simply do not need a(nother) wallet.

      Unfortunately, I am not confident in my DIY skills yet to throw down the money for cuben fiber, but one day I know I will… I would actually love to make my own pack from cuben, but that time is not now. And fortunately, I was in the market for another wallet.

      As far as the price, I understand that there is indeed a mark-up, as is with any other type of merchandise for sell. However, as far as DIY for this wallet I would expect to spend at least $30 on the materials, and that is essentially for a yard of cuben. I know that different thicknesses and grades of cuben fiber is priced differently and I did try to come up with a price for a yard of the CT9K.5 cuben that Jason uses, but I turned up nada. So, I figure at $30 in materials (minimal) to DIY this wallet, then Jason has approximately a 50% mark-up. However, this does not take into consideration the time spent to make the wallet, the shipping from Hong Kong to my home or even the Spinnaker stuff sack that was included. When I take all of this into consideration, I did not feel like the price was unfair.

      Also, I figure that hikers and sailors will be a majority of the market that is targeted with this product simply because other’s simply have no clue what cuben fiber is. When I told people at work they had never heard of such a thing… As well, there are still a great number of hikers that are unaware of cuben fiber. However, I do not believe that Jason is trying to sell this wallet as a backpacking wallet specifically. He did hit up the backpacking forums though because like I said, hikers are familiar with it so they can appreciate it.

      As for me, I have no plans to use the actual wallet as a backpacking wallet, but rather my everyday wallet so no doubt that I will get my money’s worth out of it. The quality of construction is impressive and I have no doubt that it will last me quite a long time, however, if it does fail I will be sure to update my post. As I said though, I was in the market for another wallet anyway, so if not $46 dollars on this wallet, it would have been about the same when I walked into Fossil to pick up a new one. Although, I must say that this wallet is already better than my other Fossil wallets, or any other wallet I have owned for that matter. As I mentioned in my post, I would have to take my previous wallet out of my pocket when driving in a car for anything more than a short amount of time. The other wallets I owned were just thick and beefy and I felt like I was sitting on a small brick. With the same stuff in the Wa-ben, I sometimes have to check my pocket to be sure I have it with me!

      Of course there are the All-Ett wallets and I was even looking at them. They are even priced pretty inexpensively and they offer a number of different styles. But none in cuben, and now that I think about it, I would be curious to see what kind of prices would be attached to a cuben All-Ett wallet similar to the Wa-ben.

      As far as my backpacking wallets, I have been fine using a small Ziploc. However, since the Wa-ben came with a nice sized Spinnaker stuff sack, I may make some changes to it and start using it, however, unless I seam seal it, it is not waterproof like a Ziploc. Saying all of that, I would not suggest removing any of the pockets from the Wa-ben as it would not function as a wallet, which is what it is. I think that it would be quite silly for someone to actually carry a real wallet while backpacking as there are too many chances for it becoming lost. I like to keep my ID and other wallet items I carry on a backpacking trip in a safe place inside my pack. Then if for some reason I leave my pack behind, I carry these things with me. But in my opinion, this is not a backpacking wallet (and especially for a light-weight ~ or lighter-weight ~ backpacker.)

      And I like the dot. Again, in my opinion, the clean look of the white cuben is sexy looking, but the red dot adds a nice little touch to give it just a little life. Although if you don’t like it, he may be able to leave it off if requested. For that matter, it would be nice if he made them custom as far as how many pockets are in it so that more people would be interested in them. I don’t know if he will do custom wallets, but it doesn’t kill ya to ask him.

      So, I am still sticking to my initial impressions. For those that are in the market for a new wallet and are not a DIY-er but wants something a little different from everything else out there, the Wa-ben Cuben Fiber wallet is a great choice.

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • Stick says:

      Hey John,

      If you are interested, it looks like Jason now has a Ca-Ben. It is a card holder. It has what looks like 3 pockets to hold cards, but folds in half so it should be just a little bigger than a credit card. Plus, at only 7.1 g, more than half the weight has been cut. Here is a link:

      https://www.facebook.com/pages/PiCharPaK-WorkSHop/178433758893205?sk=wall

      (Oh, and it looks like the red dot is not there…)

      Like

    • johnabela says:

      Thanks for letting me know about this. Still looks way bigger than it would need to be for a thru-hiker, but at least it is getting closer 🙂

      Weehoooo!!!!! about the lack of red dot…. ugly, plus adds weight :-p

      Like

    • Stick says:

      Haha… I figured it would be more appealing for that application. However, I think that the best option for a wallet for a thruhiker is just simply a small pouch with a tiny cord lock to cinch it closed. And of course, cuben would be nice… but for those that are looking for a more cost friendly option, a small Ziplock works great!

      Like

    • johnabela says:

      Yeah, I have used (and plan to continue too until it can be beat) the ZPacks “Wallet Pouch” which is 1.4 grams (.05 oz) and costs under 5 bucks.

      Granted, not a true wallet and far from pretty, but in the end it serves its purpose, is a heck of a lot cheaper than these wa-ben products, and seems to weigh less.

      Do you happen to have one of the QiWIz Ti Trowels I talked about in my video ( http://youtu.be/yWNZPUVO81M )?? I have one of his smaller ones I was thinking of sending your way, if you do not have one and think it would be something you would use. The slightly larger one proved more useful for me here in the Redwoods, but just about anywhere else, the small one should be perfect.

      Like

    • Stick says:

      I was actually planning to throw one of Joe’s “Wallet Pouch” in cuben (of course… 🙂 ) in my cart the next time I placed an order, but it may be a while before I place another one… I meant to with my last order from him, but completely forgot… Going back to my Ziploc bag though, they have been working quite well for me for now though so it is not a huge ordeal…

      I have noticed QiWis’s trowels for a while now and thought that it would be a nice little piece of kit. So far I have just used the heel of my boot or a stick if the ground was too hard. Just let me know what you want to do.

      Like

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