March 30, 2021
Wayfinder is a Portland-based company focusing on minimal, well-built items for everyday carry. With careful consideration of design details and well-constructed products, this first collection embodies their design philosophy well.
Wayfinder is a one-man product shop from designer Hrag Nassanian. He had previously spent 12 years at Nike as a senior designer on their global bags design team but spun up Wayfinder in 2018 to start designing and producing his own products, under his own brand.
The first collection I'll be taking a look at contains the Borderless Passport / Notebook holder, Flux Cardholder, Daybreaker Billfold wallet, Forest Path Notebook, and the Glitch Data Blocking Card.
One thing I'd like to mention right away is the material that Wayfinder is using for these products. It's a PCV free polymer coated polyester that has many benefits that I wasn't aware of until I dug a little more deeply into the details.
The first thing I noticed when taking these products out of the packaging was the feel of the material. It feels almost like a textured rubber, which makes it super easy to grip, and very durable feeling overall. It's hydrophobic as well, meaning you can easily clean these products with soap and water, or even throw them in the laundry.
You can even easily attach your boarding pass stickers at the airport to the outside of this material, and it'll quickly come off after without making a gigantic mess (which I learned the hard way last summer with a sticker on the pack of my passport).
Just like the name of the product says, this is a simple passport holder to keep you organized while traveling. While it's a simple product in theory, I've found Wayfinder has really nailed some of the smaller details on their products that really make it a joy to use.
At a glance, you can see that Wayfinder was going for a minimalistic look, but you really only start to notice how much they committed to it when you give it a closer look.
Once the holder is opened, you can see a large slot on the right side for your passport, as well as some additional slots on the left designed to carry individual cards. The product has zero visible stitching throughout. The polymer material can be bonded together, which gives it an extremely durable construction.
Let me preface this by saying I never really thought I would ever buy a passport holder, as it didn't really feel like it solved a problem while I was travelling.
Fast forward a couple of years, and I found myself with a preferred traveler card (it helps speed up my travels from Canada to the US considerably) that I would often lose track of. I was using the card as a bookmark inside of my passport most of the time, which would often fall out while pulling the passport out of my back pocket whenever TSA needed to scan it.
I also ended up with an airport lounge pass card through some benefits on my credit card, which I would always forget about, and leave at home in a drawer.
I love how I can now keep those 2 cards in the passport holder, which gives me easy access when I need them but also allows me to just forget about having to pack them. It's such a simple thing, but I always just hated having to manage these 2 cards for when I travel.
The monochrome stamped logo is well done too. The texture is smooth compared to the outside of the holder, which gives it a subtle contrast that makes it easy to read but doesn't stand out too much.
I've been using Field Notes for a decade now, and I've grown fond of these small, pocket-sized books.
Its design language is right on par with the rest of the Wayfinder products, with a simple black cover, and subtle branding on the back.
Inside the front cover, you find a list and small description of various places around the world you can experience a forest bath, which is where the name of the product comes from.
60 pages of dotted paper are enclosed, each thick enough to withstand a fountain pen from leaking through the opposite side.
As it turns out, you can easily swap out your passport in the holder with this notebook, and it'll fit perfectly inside. Nice.
If you're like me and don't have a need to carry a bunch of cards in your wallet, the Flux cardholder will save some valuable pocket space. I wish more people would try cardholders, as it makes you realize that you probably don't need to carry all the cards you think you need. It forces you to be selective, and you end up with a slimmer, more comfortable wallet in your pocket.
Since it's using the same hydrophobic, cleanable material as the other products, this is surprisingly rugged for how slim it is (it clocks in at around 4mm thick). It'll support up to 8 cards, and resist stretching over time.
Last up in their accessory line is the billfold wallet, which had its design inspired by a few problems discovered while traveling.
First, it's designed around the measurements of international currency. As a Canadian, this is a necessary feature whenever I've looked at other wallets. Our bills are slightly taller than US currency, and I can't tell you how many times I've tried to fit some cash inside of a wallet, only to have a tiny bit peeking out of the top. It drives me crazy.
Since it has a little extra room for larger bills, it can also fit multiple boarding passes comfortably inside.
I typically only use 4 cards, and while this can support up to 16, my 4 fit snug inside.
I had a close call with an identity theft issue this year, so these kinds of products are now on my radar.
To use the Glitch card, you simply drop it in your wallet or pocket within 5cm of your cards or passport, and you're good to go. The Cloak Tech chip has an internal copper antenna array that blocks data transmission from the thief's NFC reader.
At no extra bulk, I'm going to toss this in my wallet from now on.
My biggest takeaway from this line of products from Wayfinder is that each product is doing one thing, and they are all doing that one thing well. I like this unique, durable material that lends itself to more minimal designs without the need for stitching but also has durability, can repel water, and are washable.
These types of products are great because it showcases the designers desire to just nail all the tiny details that transcend an average product into a great one.
I'm excited for the reveal of their next collection.