🔥 Get up to 15% off ALPAKA • Join Pack Hacker Pro

ALPAKA ARK Bifold Passport Wallet Review

The ALPAKA ARK Bifold Passport Wallet’s X-Pac fabric is undeniably rugged, but its lack of stretch makes it feel too tight—not ideal for a passport wallet.

Our Verdict

6.8 /10
Okay info

Form

73/100

Design

67/100

Value

67/100
Unlock the Pro Summary

Save time. Get access to brief summaries of our reviews so you can browse and make decisions more efficiently.

Join Pack Hacker Pro or, Sign In

Pros

  • Orange liner makes innermost pockets easily visible
  • Water-resistant X-Pac repels moisture that could ruin the wallet’s contents
  • Simple, fuss-free design if you just need a wallet that fits a passport

Cons

  • Fabric feels too tight or too loose in some areas
  • A bit lacking in features for its large size
  • Would like a zippered or sealed compartment
Recent Pack Hacker Video

Technical Details

  • Weight (oz)

    2.4 oz (68 g)

  • Dimensions

    4.68 in x 6.14 in (11.9 x 15.6 cm)

    (closed) | 9.4 in x 6.14 in (open)

  • Notable Materials

    X-Pac

  • Manufacturing Country

    China

  • Warranty Information

    Warranty & Repairs

Full Review

Get up to 15% off ALPAKA • Join Pack Hacker Pro

X-Pac is an excellent material for many reasons, but most prominently for its high water resistance. As such, you’ll find many brands, like CODEOFBELL, Aer, and TOM BIHN, use it for very tough bags. ALPAKA is also one of those brands, and they’re also quite liberal with their application of X-Pac. Good examples include their Zip Pouch and the Pencil Case V2. Overkill? Sure, but they’re not detrimental to functionality, so we don’t mind.

ALPAKA ARK Bifold Passport Wallet In Bag
ALPAKA ARK Bifold Passport Wallet | Is X-Pac really the right choice for a passport wallet?

That said, the ARK Bifold Passport Wallet seems to be an exception. The fabric’s lack of stretch makes it tough to deal with when putting in a relatively bulky passport. Strangely, the material also feels too loose in some areas once you start to open and close the wallet. In other words, X-Pac may not have been the best choice of materials here. Is it a deal-breaker, though? Find out with us!

The Rundown

A quick recap for those of you unfamiliar with X-Pac: It’s a fabric made up of three or four layers, all working together to ensure water doesn’t penetrate. The ARK Bifold Passport Wallet specifically sports black X-Pac VX21, with a 210-denier nylon outer layer, polyester film, polyester X-PLY, and 50-denier polyester taffeta backing. It’s the only colorway, too, at the time of writing.

ALPAKA ARK Bifold Passport Wallet Material
ALPAKA ARK Bifold Passport Wallet | X-Pac’s X-PLY layer gives the fabric its unique pattern.

Despite the fancy material on the outside, the ARK Bifold Passport Wallet is just that—a wallet with a bifold design. In fact, if you handed this to someone without mentioning anything about passports, they’d probably think it’s a typical everyday wallet. However, look closely inside, and you’ll see the telltale signs that it is, indeed, a passport travel wallet.

On the left, you have the slot for your passport, followed by three card slots below. On the left is a single diagonal slip pocket for boarding passes and tickets. Each side also has an inner pocket for storing vaccination cards and cash. Overall, it’s a very simple and straightforward design—a bit too simple, if you ask us.

ALPAKA ARK Bifold Passport Wallet In Use
ALPAKA ARK Bifold Passport Wallet | We dig the hi-vis orange liner they’re using.

First, we wish there was a sealed compartment or pocket where we could put a smart tracker, like a Tile or an AirTag. We would also like a dedicated spot for a pen. Granted, ALPAKA shows that you can clip a pen along the spine of the wallet. However, this isn’t very secure, nor is it very elegant.

But perhaps the minimalist approach to features is the point. Maybe that’s what you’re looking for in a passport wallet: a nice, high-visibility interior courtesy of ALPAKA’s reflective orange liner and a clean everyday wallet layout that can accommodate even a thick 52-page U.S. passport. As an aside, thick documents like those fit better in the right side pocket where you’re supposed to put boarding passes.

ALPAKA ARK Bifold Passport Wallet Pocket
ALPAKA ARK Bifold Passport Wallet | We wish this wallet had a sealed pocket for accessories like a smart tracker.

All of that said, our biggest gripe with the ARK Bifold Passport Wallet is the X-Pac fabric’s lack of stretch. Areas like the card and passport slots feel too tight. We can squeeze two cards in each slot, three if we really shove them. However, fitment will highly depend on the thickness of the cards you’re inserting, so your mileage may vary. On the other hand, we notice visible warping in both the liner and the X-Pac whenever we open or close the wallet, signs that the fabric is loose in those areas. In other words, the choice of materials here—although undoubtedly durable—doesn’t feel optimal for a passport wallet.

Packability

Size-wise, the ARK Bifold Passport Wallet is noticeably taller and wider than the passport it houses. That, in itself, is not an issue. However, given the simplistic layout and features of the wallet, it’s not a very efficient use of space, which will become more apparent once we bring in other passport wallets for comparison.

ALPAKA ARK Bifold Passport Wallet Bag Pocket 2
ALPAKA ARK Bifold Passport Wallet | The wallet’s flat shape is relatively easy to fit into tight pockets.

Consequently, it’s easy to see the ARK Bifold Passport Wallet as too bulky for its size. Fortunately, ALPAKA did a good job making the wallet very flat and uniform. You won’t have much trouble slipping it into your bag’s security pocket, provided it has enough width and height. Still, we can’t help but wonder if ALPAKA can make a more focused and condensed version.

Quick Comparison

Once we bring in the ARK Bifold Passport Wallet’s competitors, you get a better picture of what we mean when we say it’s simplistic. A smaller one, like the Zero Grid Passport Wallet, features RFID-blocking, an exterior pocket, a pen holder, and a zippered closure. Its build quality isn’t on the same level as ALPAKA’s offerings, yet it has better functionality.

ALPAKA ARK Bifold Passport Wallet Comparison
ALPAKA ARK Bifold Passport Wallet | Features are looking a little thin compared to the competition.

Then there’s Fjallraven’s Passport Wallet, which features a more canvas-y interior. Stretchiness isn’t an issue, and you get a lot of pockets inside, including a small zippered pocket. Bellroy’s Travel Wallet is also a solid alternative, given its similar width and height dimensions to a passport. Plus, it offers a lot of pockets inside while having that stylish leather exterior.

Usage Timeline

Initial Usage

Condition: Excellent

  • X-Pac is an interesting choice of material for a passport wallet—it feels nice, but also a little “loose” when the fabric is folded over in some areas
  • Orange interior is bright and easy to see
  • Feels like there is wasted height space since a passport isn’t that tall—it does allow you to organize more cards though
  • Left side is tight if you load it up with cards and a passport, especially the non-standard, 52-page non-standard US Size
2 Weeks of Use

Condition: Excellent

  • The wallet is in great condition
  • The X-Pac holds onto card too tightly or too loosely—there’s no stretch—and the liner makes it feel a little sloppy—though it looks good
  • Missing a zippered enclosure or dedicated spot for a pen—a lot of smaller and less expensive options out there offer better features
mm
By Tom Wahlin
Created June 2, 2023 • Updated June 2, 2023
Access the Pro Community Discussion

Get your questions about the ALPAKA ARK Bifold Passport Wallet answered from our team and the Pro Community right here on the page. Plus, join discussions with other members about gear, guides, and more.

Join Pack Hacker Pro or, Sign In