Pelican RF G5 Field Wallet Review
The Pelican RF G5 Field Wallet is durable and waterproof but is hard to open, and the design lacks the organization needed for use as an everyday carry.
- Structured aluminum shell is drop-proof
- IP67 submersion rating keeps our gear dry
- Outer strap is great for quick access to cash
- Hard to open
- Interior organization isn’t intuitive
- Lanyard is much lower quality than the wallet
5.4 oz (153.1 g)
5 in x 3 in x .8 in (12.7 x 7.6 x 2 cm)
Pelican is a brand we have grown to expect durability from over the years, as they offer a ton of rugged travel gear, like their Memory Card Case and Personal Utility Go Case. The Pelican RF G5 Field Wallet aims to bridge into everyday carry territory while continuing its durable legacy, but some of the features leave us wondering whether it’s as useful as it is tough. Let’s find out!
Materials & Aesthetic
The shell of the wallet is made from aircraft-grade aluminum that feels very sturdy and has a clean look. It develops smudges pretty easily when handled, but it wipes clean with a microfiber cloth or even just a soft t-shirt. It only comes in black at the time of writing, but it adds to the sleek design that the wallet employs. The hinge pins are silver, which pop a little against the black exterior of the shell.
The shell is ridged, which makes grabbing onto it a little easier. It’s pretty slippery, especially when wet, but dries off quickly. The different topography adds more grippable points when trying to grab it quickly. It fits nicely into a daypack‘s interior pocket, which is great for keeping your pockets free, but if the pack’s interior is black, it can be hard to locate in suboptimal lighting conditions.
The hinge pins that enable the clip and main compartment to swing open are stainless steel, so you won’t have to worry about them rusting if you submerge the wallet. They also make for smoother opening and closing, which is quick and oddly satisfying.
Pelican is spelled out on the front of the wallet but is difficult to see unless you’re right on top of it, as its dark grey and blends into the black of the shell. The logo doesn’t appear anywhere else on the exterior, adding to the industrial minimalism.
The rear rubber strap is a little sticky, but not so much that it attracts dust or hair. It feels durable even when you put your hand through it and shows no signs of stretching out with use.
The clip to open and close the wallet is a hard plastic that feels durable, but it’s difficult to open. You have to quite literally jam both thumbs into it to ensure it opens on the first try, which isn’t ideal for quick access.
The wallet has a RFID blocking shell, so any unfriendly radio-frequency identification won’t be able to access your credit card or identification documents.
The included lanyard doesn’t adjust to your wrist and feels a lot less durable than the rest of the wallet. It’s also made of a nylon-like material that easily soaks up water, so it’s still wet long after the moisture sitting on the exterior of the shell has evaporated.
The wallet is rated IP67 for submersion up to 1 meter for 30 minutes, which is due to a gasketed O-ring seal. We submerged the wallet at the bottom of the sink for an hour and everything on the interior stayed dry, so all is good on that front. We would expect varying performance in deeper water as our sink isn’t a meter deep.
The interior strap and mesh organizer are elastomeric, which is a fancy word for a polymer that has elastic properties. Their use on this wallet feels a little dull, but not brittle. It stretches a tiny bit, but for the most part stays in the same position. Pelican is spelled out on the strap, but it’s a colorless imprint, staying with the minimalism of the wallet.
Usage & Features
The wallet is durable enough to transition from the grind of exploring a new city to the adventure of the trail. That’s great on paper, but how well does it really work?
When it comes to overall usability, this wallet has a few quirks. The hard plastic clip can be frustrating to open, especially if you have smaller hands or suffer from arthritis. We think it may loosen over time, but it has shown no signs of that so far. For quick trips into the bodega or when you need to get out a transit pass quickly, the slow access is far from ideal.
Another time-related issue is how difficult it is to get cards in and out of the elastomeric strap. Even with just a few cards slid behind the strap it can be difficult to get any one in particular out. This is true even when it’s in the first position, but anything behind the first row is even harder to access. You have to bend cards when removing them, which isn’t great for their longevity, either. When we stuff the wallet to the brim we notice that the corners of our cards get dinged up from the holder at the bottom of the wallet.
The mesh organizer isn’t foolproof either, as even when it’s stuffed tight things can come tumbling out with a little bit of turbulence. We combat this by stacking items like keys and folded money, but even then we still have issues with it falling out. These issues may seem trivial, but if you’re carrying it every day, it may get annoying.
The rear rubber strap is great for holding cash while waiting in line, as you can fold it up and slide it in for safekeeping. This isn’t a great spot for long-term storage, as it can slip out over time. The more bills you place here, the tighter it is, which adds more security. Using it for anything other than quick use is asking for trouble, as the only thing securing the bills is the strap, and they could easily fall out of either side when nudged.
What it lacks in internal organization it makes up for with a durable construction. If you’re going on a trip that’ll take you through the woods, across rivers, and into the hustle and bustle of the city, the Pelican RF Field Wallet will keep your gear safe, dry, and intact. It might be a little jumbled, but it’ll all be there. If you’re looking for an everyday carry that is quick and easy to use, this might not be the wallet for you.
- The exterior is heavy-duty, industrial looking, and feels almost bomb-proof
- The rubber interior design doesn’t have much give but offers organizational options
- The hand strap on the back and added wrist strap offer portability while on the go
- The top clip has remained extremely firm when clasped shut
- The aluminum smudges easily but cleans up quickly
- No significant scratches or dents on the shell