I've finally found it. After years of seeking the most minimal, functional, and succinctly designed wallet for everyday use, a team of masterclass manufacturers in England delivered. That wallet is called Trove.
What sets the Trove apart from its predecessors and competitors is its versatility. While others have set out to design very minimal wallets, they all typically follow the same set of rules: thin, monotone materials that feature one slot into which you dump all your cards. That’s it, right? That’s apparently how everyone who got into manufacturing wallets decided to execute the minimal concept. Perhaps after several years of backing these endeavors on Kickstarter, reading others’ experiences with wallets, and actually using them daily, folks are starting to realize this isn’t the best design. If you’re going to use a wallet like this every day in every circumstance, it’s helpful to be able to organize the kinds of things you put in it. And that’s not just me trying to be classy — functional design for something like a wallet should really come down to these two things:
- The ease of use in grabbing an often-used item that is separate from transactions (such as a transit card) without having to extract a stack of cards to find it is a daily benefit in both speed and ease of use
- The ability to store loose cash and/or important receipts or certificates in way that doesn’t grind against the primary stack of cards (or painfully seeing that cash rip due to the tightness of the package during extraction) is useful in that it respects your inventory
The other wallets don’t allow for these kinds of luxuries (and I mean luxuries in the ludicrous sense that most all wallets up to this “minimal revolution” have featured these kinds of things as defaults). So let me break down why I think the Trove is the best of its class:
- The Trove is primarily configured to feature one big slot with either:
- A band-like design for accommodating smaller items (like quad-folded currency or tightly wound earphones)
- Two more card-sized slots on the reverse side of the primary one that can accommodate more cards or thrice-folded currency
- The wallet can also transform into a mobile device stand (either horizontal or vertical), ideal for conveniently setting up a phone to watch movies at an angle on an airplane’s seat tray, for instance
- The manufacturing and quality of the product is fairly high for this kind of thing. While I haven’t owned and used it as long as my Saddleback sleeve wallet (which also claims to use leather and a manufacturing process destined to last 100 years), I will make the assumption today that:
- The elastic used should last at least as long as a similar product, the Supr Slim Wallet
- The leather “patches” employed in the design are a high enough quality that they won’t be compromised any time soon
It's a slim wallet. If you've been playing this game for a while, you know what to expect. The biggest differentiator here, however, is the versatility (and dare I say customization) of the Trove’s dividable design.
Instead of retracting a block of stacked cards every time you need to dig for a card that isn't easily available on either end of the group, you can selectively position your most-used cards on the ends of the main compartment as well as the dual slots made available when the wallet is configured with two main slots (inner leather strap tucked in).
It’s small, it’s convenient, it works.
Configurability Beyond Mechanics
At the time of purchase, the Trove is featured in several different color configurations. While this isn’t unique to the Trove, it does seem to have a much larger selection of colors and tones than its competitors. If this kind of thing is important to you, by all means it’s another reason to take make the purchase.
I decided to go with a limited edition version (number 378 of 500) that they dubbed the “Factory Edition”. There were a few other color combinations I liked, but the yellow, gray, and black is a killer look for its design.
Where to Get It
As of January 2015, the Trove is only available for purchase on their website shop. The basic models retail for £30, while the Factory Edition is currently priced at £35. It ships from England, so there is an international shipping fee if you’re from the States or elsewhere. I was lucky enough to catch their free holiday shipping, which extended a bit past the New Year.
If this review wasn’t effective enough to incentivize you to make the purchase — or at least sock it away on a wish list — then keep using whatever you’re used to and try, try so very hard to forget the incredibly functional design benefits of the Trove while you wither away in misery with torn currencies and daily card extraction embarrassments by way of unorganized single-slot wallets for the rest of your life.
Fyi Update - October 2017
Trove ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to promote their latest wallet iteration, the Trove Swift. I was lucky to get a review unit and have assessed the Swift product here.