Everyday carry is a game of balancing personal preferences with necessities. And figuring out what you want, what you need, and how to fit those two together in a compromise is a major part of understanding your own gear. As it turns out, that balance also applied to the design and manufacturing processes of EDC gear, as well. Sometimes, when we’re all very lucky, a brand comes along that stands out from the crowd with a unique selection of offerings to fill a gap in available gear that we didn’t know existed, which is exactly the case with Recycled Firefighter.
The brainchild of an actual 12-year fire fighting veteran, Recycled Fire Fighter actually started as a side project that grew into a fully-fledged career. That growth can be credited, at least in part, to the brand’s unique ethos: to create reliable, durable everyday carry goods using some of the toughest upcycled materials around. That started with the brand’s flagship offering: a minimalist front-pocket wallet called The Fire Hose Sergeant — which we had the pleasure of getting our hands upon for the following in-depth review.
The very first thing you’re going to notice about the Fire Hose Sergeant is just how small it actually is. Measuring up at just 4″ tall and 2 5/8″ wide, it’s only slightly larger than the credit cards it is meant to carry. However, upon picking it up, it’s also immediately apparent that its small stature is complemented by construction materials that feel wildly durable and rugged. It’s a unique juxtaposition, that this wallet is slim and small while also feeling tough and robust — one that definitely helps this card-carrying front-pocket wallet stand out.
Materials & Craftsmanship
As mentioned, this wallet is quite small — able to fit in the palm of the average person’s hand, in fact. However, it offers a unique value proposition in the materials out of which it was constructed. Yes, it is compact, but it’s also tremendously durable, as it is actually constructed from genuine repurposed fire hose fabric. That means it’s resistant to abrasions, punctures, and it’s even waterproof. Better still, it feels just as formidable as you might think.
It’s important to note, however, that the materials used in its construction are, in fact, upcycled — meaning they were previously used before being turned into a wallet. As such, you should expect some scuffs here and there, but this really only impacts the appearance — not the quality — and even gives it a bit of character and uniqueness (technically, no two can look exactly alike). The fire hose fabric is also supported by stitched-on nylon edges that serve to give the wallet structure and help make the corners a bit less daunting and dangerous. Furthermore, the elastic cash strap attached to the back has both good elasticity and feels plenty substantial, and like it will last for years to come.
On the wallet we handled, however, there was one concerning issue with the craftsmanship. While the wallet feels sturdy, the stitching of the nylon lining around the edges is a touch shoddy and looks like it may have been done hastily. There were also a few loose fibers hanging off. Granted, some of this could be credited to the nature of recycled materials, but it does give it a little bit of a commoditized feel, as though it was produced more for quantity than quality. Still, the issue is an aesthetic one and does not, as far as we can tell, affect the functionality or overall usefulness of the wallet.
Function & Form
Going into it, any interested parties should be abundantly aware that The Sergeant is a front-pocket wallet, and that comes with some immediate “limitations” (if you can call them that) inherent to the style — including, most apparently, a capacity cap on the carry. As such, the Fire Hose Sergeant is said to have a capacity of just eight cards in total. However, we found it a bit too tight to fit more than four at the offset. We presume it can stretch over time to accommodate the full eight, but pushing the limits definitely makes it much harder to retrieve the cards. Furthermore, the main slot is not well suited to holding a single card, requiring at least two at a time to feel secure and not like it might fall out at any moment.
Along with the single main card compartment, the backside of the wallet has a thick, durable elastic cash strap well suited to handling a stack of bills folded in half and stored horizontally. It’s easy to input and retrieve the bills, however, we did find ourselves wishing we could fit the bills vertically, as they so stick out either side of the wallet when stored horizontally and have the potential to shift out of place in your pocket.
So long as you’re only going to hold a few cards (no less than two and no more than six, by our experience) and a small wad of cash, the functionality of this wallet is pretty great. There isn’t much in the way of organizational options, but with such a limited capacity, that’s not what we would call a chief concern — and it wouldn’t suit the purpose of this wallet, anyhow.
Who Is This Wallet For?
There’s not a specific type of person we’d say the Recycled Firefighter Fire Hose Sergeant suits best, but there are a number of features that help narrow down who might want this particular cash and card carrier. For starters, it’s definitely extremely compact and more suited to storing in a front pocket than a back pocket and can really only hold a few cards (the brand says up to 8, but you might need to stretch it out a bit over time). Furthermore, the materials are ultra-rugged but also not very refined — a symptom of the fact that they’re recycled and, therefore, used. This bodes well for fans of sustainability, but might not suit anyone who likes brand-spanking-new sleek gear. If you’re fond of minimalism, durability, eco-friendliness, and you don’t have a ton of cards and cash to carry around, this wallet is for you.
There’s definitely a unique value proposition going on with this wallet. It punches well above its $29 weight class — thanks largely to the extremely rugged materials — and it’s well suited to the modern EDC tenets of minimalism and reliability. However, there are some potential downsides, as well. For starters, the storage is somewhat limited — a handful of cards and a small stack of cash is really all you can haul, but we wouldn’t suggest trusting it to keep fewer than two cards safe at a time — and there are inconsistencies in the craftsmanship (namely the stitching). All told, the sheer uniqueness, durability, sustainability (an integral part of the brand’s mission), lack of extraneous details, and sheer minimalism all make this one of the best slim EDC card-carrying wallets around.
Recycled Firefighter The Fire Hose Sergeant
Ultra-minimalist card-carrying wallet made from genuine retired fire hose.
- Incredibly Durable
- Limited Storage
- Little Organization
- Middling Craftsmanship
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