Up until quite recently I was traveling with my passport, local currencies, credit cards, and any other important travel documents just kept loose in a plastic ziplock bag.
Every time I would pull it out my girlfriend would make fun of me and I also admit that having everything jumbled together in a small plastic bag didn’t allow me to stay very organized.
One day I decided that enough was enough and I began to search for a suitable travel wallet that I could use to keep my passport, credit and debit cards, and some local currency organized all in one streamlined, easy-to-access place.
I can’t remember what I was searching for but I eventually stumbled onto a company called Oliberté and I was really impressed with their small (but practical and well-designed) selection of travel wallets as well as the story behind the company itself.
I decided to go with the Bazbo leather wallet and after giving you guys a quick look at the company I’ll dive into my review of the wallet and why I recommend it for travel.
Oliberté – A Sustainable Brand
Oliberté is one of those companies that you hear of that works with people living in Africa but never really get a chance to support.
However, in the case of Oliberté they’ve actually grown quite popular and have a wide selection of different products for men, women, babies, and even a selection of dedicated travel gear as well.
From my experience most of these companies fizzle out but that’s not what’s happening with Oliberté.
They have a factory located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and it’s here where all of their products are handmade by locals that are paid a fair wage and are working in safe and respectful conditions.
Not only are they providing jobs for locals that would have had to turn to other less sustainable means as a way to feed their families but one of their main goals is to lead the charge for workers rights and fair employment across all of Africa.
Leading by example and giving back into the local economy goes a lot further than just sending money to those in need and it also helps to inspire others both within Africa and internationally to do the same.
As cliche as it sounds it was through hard work, dedication, and countless hours of effort that Oliberté became the first Fair Trade Certified footwear manufacturing factory in the world.
These days they’ve expanded past footwear and are now producing handmade leather wallets, backpacks, beach bags, and plenty of other quality products.
Now that I’ve gone over the basics of the company and why I personally support it let’s take a look at my review of their Bazbo leather wallet.
Oliberté Bazbo Leather Wallet Review
Right after pulling the wallet out of the packaging that it came in I was immediately surprised by its overall build quality.
Some of the different leather wallets you get these days are quite flimsy and really don’t feel that nice to the touch but with Bazbo I found the complete opposite to be true.
It was made in Ethiopia using a premium cow leather and I could instantly smell the real leather material as soon as I opened the package.
In my hands the wallet felt very firm and the leather was thick enough that it would protect my credit cards and passport without being too thick that it wasn’t comfortable to keep in my pocket.
One thing I noticed right away is that there were a few marks in the leather on the exterior and I quickly realized that this was a sign of locally-sourced, genuine leather material and the marks really helped to make the wallet seem much more personal and unique.
After adding in all of my cards, passport, and a few other travel documents the wallet wasn’t much thicker than when it was empty and it was able to maintain its closed shape even while I was walking around with it in my backpack and front pocket.
When I was opening it to grab my debit card to pay for something I noticed that I felt quite firm and the rigidity made it so that I didn’t worry about one half of it flapping around and dropping all of the contents that I had stored inside.
Overall, I found the build quality of the wallet to be quite superb and in my opinion it felt a lot better than the more higher-priced ones that you would find at the mall.
Keep in mind that if you’re looking for that ultra-soft processed leather then you’re going to want to keep looking elsewhere because the Oliberté Bazbo uses much more of a rough and original feeling material.
The design of the Bazbo is a combination between a passport case and your standard wallet.
It’s a bi-fold design so it opens up just like a book and after opening it you have access to anything that you’ve kept inside without having to fiddle around with any snaps or velcro or weird folds.
On the inside is a dedicated passport slot where you can fit your passport for quick access and there are two other interior slots where you can keep things like paper lists, local currencies, bus tickets, maps, or anything else that can fit inside.
Inside the wallet is enough space for 5 of your most important cards. There are small pockets for your passport, cash, and room for other documents (insurance, ownership, etc).
The cards slide in quite nicely and it’s a very tight fit at first though I noticed that it gets a bit looser the more you use the wallet.
The Bazbo slips quite nicely into my front pocket and doesn’t take up as much of a profile as my smartphone.
As for the back pocket, it’s a little bit higher than your standard wallet so I wouldn’t recommend keeping it in your back pocket just to avoid any problems with pickpockets while you’re traveling.
In case you’re wondering, the specific dimensions of the wallet are:
- 5.3-inches in height
- 7.7-inches in length (while opened)
- 3.85-inches in length (while closed)
What I Didn’t Like
Overall, I really like the wallet but the only issue I had with it is that it’s not able to accommodate many foreign currencies without folding them up beforehand.
It’s definitely big enough to stuff some Euros inside without folding them up but if you’re using bigger currencies such as Canadian dollars or Great British pounds then you’re going to have to fold them.
This is really just a pet peeve of mine and it does add a little bit of extra bulk but for most people this is it going to be a problem at all – I’m just really particular when it comes to folding up bills.
I really like the design and quality of the Bazbo and even for such a reasonable price it’s one of the best wallets that I’ve owned over the past few years and I can see myself using it for quite a while.
I would definitely recommend checking out the Oliberté Bazbo if you’re looking for a nice leather wallet to use at home and if you’re looking for something that you can use to carry your passport as well as the cards and local currencies you’ll be traveling with.
Not only do you get to use a super cool wallet but you also get to support a great company so you can feel good knowing that the product that you’re using is actually making a difference somewhere in the world.