Gadling Gear Review: Zippo Stainless Steel Wallet

Zippo Stainless Steel WalletLast week we reviewed an excellent backpack from Tumi that featured a pocket that is specially designed to protect against the theft of data via Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. RFID chips are now being incorporated in our credit cards, smartphones, passports and other commonly used items in order to pass information while in close proximity to a device designed to read them. But less-scrupulous people have found a way to hack those chips to gain access to that information, which has added another challenge to keeping our data and identities safe.

Zippo, the company that is so well known for its iconic lighters, has designed a new wallet that is built to protect against RFID theft. The wallet features a stainless steel outer shell that suppresses the signal sent from an RFID chip. This makes it much more difficult for thieves to detect the signal, let alone hack it and obtain access to the data contained within. Considering the fact that so many new credit cards are being issued with these chips, you can see how this could be a very useful feature.

The stainless steel shell doesn’t just serve as an extra layer of protection against high-tech identity theft; however, it also gives this product its own unique look. Zippo’s wallet certainly isn’t like any other that I’ve ever seen and it garnered more than a few comments when I’ve taken it out in public. It has an attractive and distinctive look about it that caught the attention of just about everyone who has spotted it, with most asking where I had gotten it. It has a certain masculine appeal that is uniquely its own and makes it a great gift idea for the man who has everything.Zippo Stainless Steel WalletInside, the wallet has enough slots to accommodate up to six credit cards and includes a designated window that specifically allows for quick access to a drivers license or other form of identification. It also has a money pocket, although unlike a traditional wallet, the bills need to be folded in order to make them fit. For my needs, this is plenty of storage capacity, but if you’re one of those people whose wallet is a bit like a mobile office, you may be put off by the minimal amount of space available. There isn’t a lot of room to stuff business cards or receipts for example and if you prefer to carry a lot of cash, it may be tough to squeeze it all into the relatively small bill holder. I’m the type of person who keeps his bills organized in order by ascending value, which allows me to quickly find $1, $5 or $20 bills. But it isn’t possible to do that with this wallet, which I found to be a minor annoyance.

Carrying around a stainless steel wallet also takes a bit of getting use to. Obviously, it is far more rigid than a typical leather wallet and there were times when I’d sit down on a hard surface, only to be reminded of this fact. It definitely has a different feel in your pocket, although after using it for a week or two, it quickly became an afterthought. But the metal outer-shell does provide a level of protection for the contents of the wallet that you don’t get elsewhere and you won’t worry about having one of your credit cards snap when you sit down on it.

The Zippo stainless steel wallet carries a price tag of $49.95, which is actually a very reasonable price for a product like this. I’ve certainly paid more for a traditional leather wallet in the past and those tend to all look alike and offer no form of protection from RFID hacking. This wallet certainly has its own look and appeal, and if you don’t mind its minimalist approach to how much it can carry, you’ll likely be very happy with what Zippo has created here. Unlike leather, the stainless steel outer shell isn’t likely to wear out over time either, which means you’re practically buying a wallet for life. This is a great new spin on a product that most men carry with them every day and I think it’ll be a hit with its intended audience.

[Photo: Zippo]

Contest: Cold hands? Win a Zippo Hand Warmer!

zippo hand warmer

Earlier this week, Chris reviewed the new Zippo Hand Warmer – and since we are still right in the middle of the cold season, Zippo asked us to give away two of their Hand Warmers to our readers.

All you have to do to enter is tell us the coldest temperatures you’ve been in this season. Feel free to add some background to it (like your location) if you want!

The Zippo Hand Warmer is available directly from Zippo, and retails for $19.95. To stay in touch with Zippo and their other products, follow them on Twitter and check out their Facebook page!

  • To enter, simply leave a comment answering the question posted above.
  • The comment must be left before Wednesday February 16, 2010 at 5:00 PM Eastern Time.
  • You may enter only once.
  • Two Prize Winners will be randomly selected to receive one Zippo Deluxe Hand Warmer.
  • Open to legal residents of the 50 United States, and the District of Columbia who are 18 and older.
  • The total value of each prize is approximately $19.95.
  • Click here for the complete official rules of this giveaway.

Gear Review: Zippo Deluxe Hand Warmer

Zippo Deluxe Hand WarmerIf you have ever worked outside in the Winter, like it’s your job to be out there not just a run in from the car or out to walk the dog, you know there are three body parts you need to keep warm. Your head, your hands and your feet. Take care of those and the rest of you does just fine. The Zippo Hand Warmer makes a good addition to your arsenal of winter cold weapons.

How it works
The Zippo Hand Warmer takes lighter fluid and a what could best be described as a flameless fire to function. I found it easy enough to fill, a little tough to light the first time but after that it was easy. Once lit, there is no way to stop the heat, you just have to let it exhaust the fuel but that is no big deal. The unit produces a nice warm heat that is good to put in the pocket of a jacket, alternating side to side occasionally.

Product Value
At $19.95 and an estimated 80-use life, the Zippo Hand Warmer is a way better value than the next best thing: disposable hand warmers that work via a chemical reaction. One “use” of this product lasts a whole lot longer too.

Who would like this
I’d recommend this for hunters, outdoor sports people of all kinds. People who find themselves waiting around in the cold, maybe to catch a bus, would like this too. Someone wintering in Russia? Must have one.

The Company that made it
Zippo is one of those companies that has been around a long time (1932) and survived in spite of a changing world. Best known for quality “windproof” lighters their product line has expanded and adapted to todays marketplace. Their almost cult-like followers can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Where to get it
The Zippo Deluxe Hand Warmer is available directly from Zippo or at most major sporting goods stores.