Pioneer Commuter Zip Wallet Review
The Pioneer Commuter Zip Wallet can fit more gear than your average wallet, though the large size takes some getting used to.
- Durable and weather-resistant materials
- Three places to stow gear inside
- Sheds dust and dirt
- Bulky in pants pockets
- Zipper can be a little slow to open
- Small items can jostle around inside
1.45 oz (41.1 g)
6.3 in x 4.33 in x 0.98 in (16 x 11 x 2.5 cm)
10XD, 3PN, DWR Coating, YKK Zippers
Commuting can get hectic, whether you’re living at home or working digitally while trekking across the globe. As far as wallets go, there are a ton of categories that span everything from minimalist slips of metal for just your cards to pouch-sized cathedrals for anything you might normally throw into your pockets.
At first glance, the Pioneer Commuter Zip Wallet seems to fall somewhere in the middle of that spectrum, with weather-resistant materials to boot. Will its organization and function be worth its full pocket size, or will it make us crave something smaller? Let’s find out.
Materials & Aesthetic
The wallet’s shell is made with a durable three-ply nylon material with a diamond ripstop texture. It has a matte finish that feels a little rough but not uncomfortable to the touch. The ripstop is noticeable up close, but it blends in nicely from afar.
At the time of writing, there are four colorways to choose from. The model we have on hand is Earth, which has a deep forest green/brown tone. There’s also Slate, which is greyish-silver and feels very professional. The last solid colorway is Navy, which is a very deep dark, almost black, blue. The final option is Black which has white accents. The white runs along the diamond ripstop pattern and contrasts nicely, making an oddly satisfying geometrical pattern across the wallet.
Pioneer is spelled out in small darker green letters across the front of the wallet. It’s subtle and overall doesn’t affect the look of the wallet. The Grey model has white lettering, which is more noticeable, and the Navy has deep gray text that blends in nicely. The Black colorway has white lettering, which is a bit chaotic for our liking considering the white accents on the diamond ripstop.
The solid colorways (Slate, Evergreen, Navy & Earth) are made with 3PN™, which is a three-ply nylon. It’s highly durable but doesn’t flex at all. This is great for weatherproofing but not so great for stuffing in an extra piece of gear. The Black colorway is made with 10XD™, which is an extremely strong polyurethane that they claim is 10 times stronger than steel. We weren’t able to test that, but Pioneer is known for their premium materials, and we’re glad to see this wallet get a similar treatment.
A YKK #5C AquaGuard zipper sits on the top of the wallet. It opens smoothly but can be a little slow around the edges because of the squared shape. Pioneer has matched the color of the zipper track wonderfully with the shell material, making it hard to notice there’s even a track there at all from a distance.
When closed, the zipper has a little garage to park itself in, which covers almost the entire zipperhead. The garage is just a fabric overhang and is made from the same materials as the shell. It adds that little bit of extra protection for our goods inside the wallet, as we have seen even the most honorable YKK zippers with small gaps where the track ends.
The zipper pull is one we’ve seen before from YKK. It’s made from metal and has a little piece of raised hard plastic on the end with the YKK logo imprinted in it. They can be a little hard to grab onto, especially in inclement weather. The hard plastic is a bit slippery, even more so when wet. We can get it open, but it’s more difficult, especially around the corners. We’ve started to use our fingernails to grab onto the little ledge between the metal and the hard plastic, which does offer some assistance.
Pioneer’s website says that the Commuter Zip is washing machine safe, though we haven’t tested that.. We did wash it thoroughly with a sponge and rag, both of which did the trick. The material doesn’t pick up dirt very easily, and the only time it got noticeably dirty was after falling into some snow layered with mud and rocks. So, if and when it does get dirty, the wallet cleans up quickly without much effort.
Inside the Wallet
Moving onto the interior of the wallet, there are three areas to store your everyday carry items, each of which has unique usage options and a different level of security. We’ve found that these varying levels of security are an excellent addition because we can place things we care about keeping safe in the most secure area, while other items can find a home in the other two regions.
The largest and least secure area is in the middle. There’s a surprising amount of space here for a wallet, especially considering there are two pockets on either side of it. This is an excellent place for your keys, a small power bank like the Goal Zero Flip 12, a charging cable, a pair of headphones, or a compact camera. Even with a small camera in the pouch, we can still fit a small set of keys and a pair of headphones. It’s tight, but it works. Before going gung-ho on a wallet camera setup, be sure to check the dimensions of your camera with those listed on Pioneer’s site.
The second area is a liner pocket on the side of the wallet. The wall separating the pocket from the middle section is constructed from the same material as the shell and doesn’t any flex. You can fit a good amount of gear here as well, but larger items do better as they don’t have as much of a chance to slide out in transit. Smaller items like coins or loose keys are at risk of jumping out at every bump in the road, although this has only happened to us a handful of times.
The last area in the wallet is a zippered pocket on the opposite side of the liner pocket. It has a YKK #3C zipper that is smooth but a little difficult to find in low-light situations. It’s the only place inside the wallet that offers extra security, so it’s a good place for essential items like credit cards, insurance documentation, or large bills. We can fit a shocking number of cards here—so many that we had to test its limits. We fit 42 standard-sized cards, which is remarkable. Perhaps this wallet is the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything. It doesn’t feel empty when you only have a few cards, either, which is a nice plus.
Having three separate pockets on the interior is a great way to add segmentation to your daily carry items, especially since all three are unique in their design and offerings. You can fit a surprising amount of gear inside, even for a wallet of this size. If you need more security than just your pockets but don’t want the added bulk of a sling or daypack, the Commuter Zip does the job. But at what cost?
As we mentioned earlier, this wallet has a lot of functionality, but it comes at the cost of size. It feels bulky in a front pocket and is awkward to sit on in a back pocket. If you wear baggier pants it isn’t as noticeable, but it takes up most, if not all, of the room in an average size (men’s) pocket. With tighter fitting clothing, it creates a noticeable bulge, which isn’t flattering.
It feels more at home inside your pack, especially in a quick-access top pocket. This keeps everything in one place but leaves your pockets free from bulk. Your gear will be a little further away, but if you don’t need it at your fingertips, this isn’t a big deal.
Overall, the Pioneer Commuter Zip Wallet is a catch-all for most of your daily items, plus some. It might not be a perfect everyday carry wallet, but it enables you to keep all your important quick-use items in the same place. This is great while traveling because the last thing you want to do is search all over your pack for your credit card, ID, or keys. It’s bulky, but it gets the job done!
- Internal divider feels relatively structured
- Fits bills without folding
- No dedicated card slots inside
- Nylon stays clean without maintenance
- No loose threads or marks on interior or exterior
- Mud washes off quickly and easily