The Wallet Problem—By Steven L. Thompson


," I remain skeptical. Wallets and the pockets they now fit into (or slip out of or are stolen from) have been around for centuries and show no signs of being "obsolete."

I've tried every way I could imagine to keep cards and cash on my person, never more carefully than when I lived and worked in New York City in the late 1970s. It was common practice to carry only the stuff with you that you could most easily afford to have stolen by some mugger, so there were days when I'd walk the two blocks to my office at One Park Avenue without my driver's license—ironic given that I was an executive editor of Car and Driver then, but since the cars we had in our test fleet were kept at the Red Ball Garage a few blocks away, I could easily stop by my apartment on the way to the garage to get kitted-up for the highway.

A wallet, like a pocket, is a piece of technology, though we usually don't think of it that way. This is why it's no leap at all to such solutions to the cash-and-cards problem as the RFID-blocking wallets and "identity safes" fabricated from some version of a thin-walled Faraday cage.

Even without an RFID-blocking system, though, the wallet is available to us in many guises, from the old-school pain-in-the-butt models to ones like those made by the innovative All-Ett company. These patented ultra-slim designs appeal to me, and they also appealed to Andy Goldfine, head of Aerostich RiderWearhouse. Not long ago, Andy and I talked about our mutual dislike of wallets, but Andy thought I should see how good the All-Ett "Executive"—his best-selling All-Ett—was, and sent me one to evaluate.


," with all my important gear stowed right where I can see it, feel it and grab it when needed, one thought keeps running through my mind: Maybe the Highland Scots were on to something with that sporran.