The MGear Gadget Wallet 3.0 is a minimalist card holder wallet that can be customized 8 ways to Sunday.
If you’re the outdoorsy type (like me) who likes to hike dusty desert trails, you can order it as a full-fledged tactical adventure wallet to throw in your backpack. But if neckties and cubicles are more your thing, it’s also configurable as a compact minimalist wallet for an easy front pocket carry.
Either way, some creative minds really put their heads together to design the MGear Gadget wallet. As far as I know, there isn’t another wallet quite like it.
MGear Gadget Wallet 3.0
How it’s put together
At its core, the MGear Gadget wallet is really gadget-free. It starts with a solid machined aluminum frame, then uses carbon fiber for the front, sides, and back. Wrapped around the back plate is a thick elastic bend for holding cash.
A spring steel tension plate keeps tension on the front plate with just the right amount of pressure to hold 5 cards firmly in place. To access the cards, just push them out from the recessed slot at the bottom.
The bottom of the aluminum frame slightly narrower than the width of a card, so the cards will never fall out the bottom. And they won’t fall out the top, either, no matter how hard you shake the wallet. I like the fact that it holds a single card just as securely as 5.
The aluminum frame is thick and stout, but doesn’t feel heavy. It has an air of authority, like a cage for your cards.
The components inside the frame, namely the front and rear plates, are held in place by the tension plate. Cards are held between the plates. Cash goes under the elastic strap on the back plate. Everything is removable if need be.
I ran into problems when I tried to reinstall the back plate (the one with the elastic cash strap) because the elastic kept getting hung up on the spring loaded tension plate. I solved it by using a credit card to push the tension plate down first so the rear plate could slide past.
This shouldn’t be a problem for most people because the back plate can’t be customized, so there’s no reason to remove it.
There are also several holes cast in the aluminum frame in both corners at the top of the wallet for adding a tether or a chain (which comes with the wallet) to hang around your neck.
A customized, built-to-order wallet
Definitely set aside about 15 minutes to place your order, because this is one of those wallets that you have to build step-by-step on the MGear website. There are plenty of choices and decisions to be made and it takes some time to look them over.
The base wallet is $50 but you can quickly add another $20 with the various design, color, and texture options for the front plate. You can even upload a custom image that MGear will engrave or print on the front plate for another $35.
If you add additional outside accessories like a flashlight, pen, and storage tube, you can find yourself getting well over $100. Basically, you can get as extravagant as your credit card will bear.
Many accessories to choose from
Accessories are divided into those that fit inside the wallet and those that are attached to the aluminum frame on the outside.
The front plate can customized with different colors for the carbon fiber and for the MGear logo. You can also choose a custom front plate design or upload your own image to be either printed or engraved.
The next level of options are where all of the “gadgetry” of the MGear Gadget Wallet 3.0 comes in. Some of the them, like a 32 GB credit-card-sized USB-A flash drive and a multi-tool, are designed to fit inside the wallet.
The rest, like a mini flashlight, storage tube, and mini bolt action pen, are called sidekick accessories. These are are held in place by elastic loops attached to carbon fiber plates that are recessed into the frame and held by two screws.
There’s room for cash and cards inside, and for add-on accessories outside that give the MGear Gadget wallet that tactical bling.
The inside accessory options won’t actually increase the thickness of of the wallet, but they will decrease the card capacity. The USB card, in particular, is about twice the thickness of a credit card. So if you add that, you just have room for 3 cards.
I rarely carry more than 2-3 cards anyway, so this is no problem for me. It’s just something to keep in mind.
The base wallet without any attachments measures 2.8 inches wide x 3.6 inches tall. It is roughly equivalent to the size of other popular metal wallets such as the Ridge, Aviator Slide, Trayvax Original 2.0, and Dango A10..
It’s the sidekick accessories that increase the width of the MGear because they are mounted on the sides. These inches of width add up quickly with these accessories.
In fact, if you choose two accessories, they add more than an inch to the total width. This isn’t a deal breaker by any means, but it does bulk the wallet up somewhat.
You can remove the two elastic loops by removing the two screws that hold them in. This is really easy to do with the Allen wrench that is included in the box.
One thing that the MGear Gadget Wallet 3.0 is missing is a way to carry coins. If a coin tray is what you’re looking for, you might take a look at the Aviator Slide wallet.
The beneficial tradeoff for the extra size is that the accessories are pretty cool, especially the mini LED flashlight.
The housing of the flashlight is made from aluminum rather than plastic and the spread of the beam is adjustable. It requires one AAA battery and there’s a pocket clip if you want to carry it separately.
It takes some effort to jam the flashlight into the elastic loop, but this may loosen up over time. Because it has the pocket clip, the flashlight is just as easy to carry separately.
The pen is thinner, so it slides in easily. It’s also made from aluminum with pressurized ink cartridges you can re-order when the ink runs out.
I also ordered the storage tube, though I really don’t have any secret codes or illicit substances to stash in it yet—but I’m working on it.
As far as the inner wallet accessories go, I really like convenience of the USB flash card. When I plugged it into a USB-A adapter on my MacBook Pro, it recognized it immediately. USB flash drives are SUPER easy to lose in your pocket, so a flat wallet-sized drive is a great idea.
But the multi-tool cards? I find them much less useful.
Multi-tool cards all look good on paper. At first glance, they seem really cool and MacGyver-esque. But I own several similar of them from other manufacturers and I’ve never used any of them. Well, I did open a beer with one once, but that was it.
Clearly, the most useful feature for any multi-tool card is the bottle opener. I wish the MGear had built a bottle opener built into the aluminum frame like the Dango D01 Dapper and the Trayvax Original 2.0. This integrated location also makes them TSA friendly.
I’d rather store an extra credit card in my wallet than displace it with the multi-tool. Remember that the MGear only has a 5 card capacity. With the USB card and the multi-tool both inside the wallet, you’ll only have room for 1 – 2 cards.
MGear appears to be marketing to the adventurous, hit-the-trails kind of crowd. I think it’s fair to say that this wallet and its various gadgets qualifies as a tactical-style wallet that will appeal to these sorts of folks.
As a daily carry, though, it’s a little bulky as a front pocket carry with the two sidekick accessories installed. It starts to look more like a tool belt than a wallet. I’d be more likely to carry this configuration in a backpack or bag than cram it into a tight pair of Levis.
If you use just one accessory, like the LED flashlight, for instance, it leaves a lot more open space in your pocket. The loops are all the same size, so you can swap out the flashlight for pen or the stash tube.
If you want to remove one or both loops, you can easily strip the wallet down all the way to the base model. MGear includes carbon fiber side plates to fill in the gap where the side loops were removed.
Unfortunately, the side plates included with my wallet were too wide to fit. I contacted support and they sent me some replacements that fit perfectly. They even engraved printed my name on one them, which was a nice touch.
Should you buy it?
- Overall, the build quality is excellent. The wallet feels like it will last a century or two. The heavy duty aluminum frame will never let any of your cards bend or break and it looks like it will withstand just about anything you can throw at it.
- Card access is super easy and efficient. You just push them up from the bottom and choose the one you want. The spring tension on the cards exerts just the right pressure to hold them securely without a struggle to push them out.
- There are all kinds of accessories to trick out this wallet to your heart’s content. The problem is that with a sidekick accessory on each side, the wallet is a little wide for my tastes. This is particularly true if you like to carry your wallet in the front pocket of tight jeans.
- It’s a functional and pleasing blend of aluminum and and colorful carbon fiber. Both of these materials are ultra strong and really compliment each other. They definitely give the wallet a manly vibe.
- The price can add up quickly. If you bought all of the accessories and uploaded a custom photo, the price could top out at $150. That borders on stratospheric to say the least, but the $50 base model has all of the basic functionality you really need.
- The wallet comes with a limited lifetime warranty. Each MGear Gadget Wallet 3.0 comes with a card that contains a unique serial number for your wallet. You’ll need this warranty card or a proof of purchase if you ever make a claim on the warranty.
I’ve never seen a wallet designed quite like this, which automatically places it in a class by itself.