The Tactical Kydex Wallet - Functional...or Fad?
From a tactical standpoint, carrying a Kydex wallet seems to make perfect sense. But is this type of wallet really any better than traditional leather or cloth wallets? Or how about those aluminum case wallets? I mean, past generations, including military, security, outdoorsmen and everyday people seemed to do just fine with old school wallets. So what's all the hype about? Is Kydex that much better? Read on to find out what we found out.
We'll cut to the chase right off the bat - if you spend any amount of time outdoors, in the wildnerness, or if you perform any sort of tactical duties or strenuous activities, a durable Kydex wallet is definitely the way to go. And we will show you why. So let's break down why Kydex is so good, and let's look at some good Kydex wallet options. For the money, you probably can't find a more reliable, durable wallet.
So What Is A Kydex Wallet?
Sounds simple, it's a wallet made of Kydex. Yes, but there's more. First off, let's define Kydex. Kydex is actually a brand name line of acrylic-polyvinyl chloride composite engineered for thermoforming (heat formed), made by Sekisui SPI. But today most people just refer to this material as Kydex in general, even though other companies make similar raw material. Somewhat like people call any tissue a Kleenex.
One of the most popular and early tactical uses of Kydex was for knife sheaths, followed by gun holsters. And now, Kydex wallets provide a much improved alternative to traditional leather or fabric wallets. Nearly indesctructable, Kydex wallets provide much more protection for credit cards, cash, photos, receipts and more.
Kydex wallets are formed through the process we mentioned above - theroforming - using a heat press system to both shape and set the form of the wallet.
Why Buy A Kydex Wallet?
Well, first off, they're amazingly cool. And they look much better than the alternative hard shell wallets such as the aluminum wallets. Second, they are more functional. Those aluminum wallets are more like carrying a small suitcase in your pocket, based on their design and how they open. Kydex wallets have a smaller footprint, are more comfortable to carry and typically are slim in profile.
- Nearly indestructable
- Tactical superiority vs. leather or cloth wallets
- Slim profile in the pocket
- Much more protection of valuable credit/ID cards
- Variety of colors and designs that fit your lifestyle/interests
- Much easier to use than conventional wallets
- Value vs. Price is extremely good
But, the real reason Kydex wallets work is the pounding they can take. So if you are working some serious duty, or are deep in the back country hiking, or climbing, you need a wallet that will retain its form and not eventually fall apart under stress. Kydex is the answer on this front.
How Is A Kydex Wallet Made?
While the actual process is not extremely difficult, making a tactical wallet out of Kydex does require some skill, materials and equipment. But in short, wallet makers will create a template first, then heat the Kydex material in order to form the shell of the wallet. Once that form is cooled, the wallet can then be shaped and customized to particular specifications. Here is a good video that shows all the basic steps in creating such a wallet:
What Features Do You Want?
While most wallets follow a basic design, a Kydex wallet still gives you plenty of style and functionality options. Here are some of the key features to consider:
- RFID protection - probably not necessary
- Thickness with an average of five cards - try for under 15mm-20mm
- Stainless steel fasteners - recommended
- Expansion kit to increase width of wallet - as needed
- Add-on clips or tools - recommended
- Customized designs or engraved - yes!
Let's take a quick look at some Kydex wallet examples, just to give you a feel for what is currently available in terms of design and style:
So you can see we've got some guys out there making some really nice looking gear as far as Kydex wallets are concerned. Really loving the camo designs with die cut style images, such as the US Flag. Hell yes on that.
In short, adding a cool tactical Kydex wallet to your EDC will give you both functionality and style. In fact, this could be the last wallet you ever buy. And you have a lot of choices in terms of color, texture, Kydex pattern and size.