A common problem that both backpackers and day hikers face is where to put their ID, health cards, debit/credit cards, emergency cash, and car key when they are on the trail. You may be tempted to throw your regular, bulky wallet and heavy keyring into your backpack as is. If they are not secure, they could become lost in your backpack or stolen. Alternatively, a lightweight, hiker’s wallet can store these critical items and allow you to secure them to the interior of your backpack or wear them around your neck. This post is a hiker wallet project review. This is post 9 in my do-it-yourself backpacking gear series. You may also wish to read parts 1 (modified Jones Tent II), 2 (Alpine Ruck Sack), 3 (GVP pack), 4 (sleeping quilt), 5 (YAMA Bug Shelter), 6 (SUL Tarp), 7 (Rezac Ultralight Backpack) and 8 (Stitchback Gear TH50 Backpack).
I found several online tutorials for hiker wallets. This post is a review of the two I thought were the best combination of versatility and sewability. For the purposes of my review, I’m going to summarize the basic steps, tell you what I did differently (if anything) and share my general thoughts about sewing the project.
The links to the free hiker wallet project tutorials I choose are:
Step 0 Gather Materials
These small projects are intended for scraps of silnylon, PU coated nylon, X-Pac, Dyneema, or 210D Gripstop. Ripstop nylon, ripstop polyester, PVC coated nylon and PVC coated polyester could also be used. I sewed a total of 4 hiker’s wallet: 2 each using silnylon and water resistant 420D PU coated nylon.
You will also need a zipper for the LearnMYOG hiker wallet. A #3 zipper is recommended and I used one for my silnylon wallet. I used a #5 zipper for my 420D wallet. An optional (recommended) feature is a webbing loop and/or key clips. I used a ½” wide d-ring and 2.5” long piece of ½” wide grosgrain for both versions of this wallet.
You will also need ¾” wide velcro, ¾” grossgrain ribbing and cord for the Stitchback Gear hiker wallet. I used 2mm nylon static cord.
Step 2 Mark Fabrics
I used a washable sewing pencil to mark the wrong side of the 420D nylon. I used a few scant dots of permanent marker to mark the wrong side of the silnylon. This fabric is so slippery that none of my sewing pens and pencils would mark it. The permanent marker is visible on both sides of my khaki silnylon so be warned that marks may be visible through light colors of silnylon.
Step 2 Sew
Both of these hiker wallets are have a minimum of steps. Beginners may find the instructions for sewing the zipper and sewing the velcro lacking. Sewers who have experience with zippers and velcro will likely find the instructions sufficient.
The seam allowances for this project are clearly stated. With wrong sides together, sew on the zipper. If using, fold the webbing loop around your webbing hardware and insert it between the zipper tape and back panel. Open the zipper and stitch the short ends of the wallet. Open the wallet then fold it into shape. Top-stitch the side seams to hide the raw edges and keep your wallet flat.
Here are some photos of one of my 420D nylon LearnMYOG hiker wallets:
The seam allowances for each sewing step are indicated. Hem the short ends then sew on the velcro. Fold the wallet into shape then sew on the cord loop. Sew on the grosgrain, then trim it to size and carefully melt the cut edges to prevent un-ravelling. Bar tack over the cord ends.
Here are some photos of one of my silnylon Stitchback Gear hiker wallets:
Here are some photos of my 4 hiker wallets:
In order from lightest to heaviest they are silnylon Stitchback Gear (3 g ), 420D Stitchback Gear (4 g), silnylon LearnMYOG (8 g), and 420D LearnMYOG (12 g) (see below).
Both of these hiker wallet projects came together quickly and easily. I tested the capacity of each of my hiker wallets and all of them were able to hold all the cards from my regular wallet. Both styles of hiker wallet can easily accommodate a few bills. LearnMYOG Hiker Wallets have additional room for other small objects like a key or two. This style of wallet could also be used to carry any number of other small items like a compass, emergency fire starting kit, first aid items, or snacks.
Stitchback Gear Ultralight Wallets are lighter and more compact. This minimalism style of wallet would be easy to wear around one’s neck. Simply run a longer cord through the top cord loop.
Both carry loops and d-rings make it easy to secure these wallets by attaching them to the interior of your backpack or day pack. These projects are great ways to use up scraps of technical fabrics and doing so creates water resistant hiker wallets for storing important items.
Have you sewed a hiker wallet? Did you like this hiker wallet project review? Comment below and/or Pin me for later!
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