Inside My Backpack: Laptop Sleeve
With the advent of netbooks, MacBook Air, and now many of MBA copy-cats, more and more travelers are packing the laptops with them as they hit the road. Even backpackers that treasure every ounce of their gear are now able to pack these small, light powerhouses with them!
toy tool of choice is an 11" MacBook Air and one thing I was concerned about when packing for my round-the-world trip was keeping it protected while I stuff my backpack and daypack beyond the limits again and again. After all, I still remember how in grad school the keyboard on my ThinkPad had left an imprint on the screen because I stuffed too many things into my backpack then.
So, I spent some time on Amazon trying to pick a 1) lightweight and 2) practical case for my MBA. After reading many reviews, I settled on the BE.EZ "Robe Sleeve":
I really like the heavy duty zipper that makes it a breeze to open the case (instead of folding and unfolding or clipping) while holding the MBA snuggly inside. The fact that it goes around well beyond the corners, makes it easy to pull the laptop out. And it is thick!
At first, I was contemplating getting the case as numerous people commented on how thick it is. After all, the advantage of MacBook Air is its thinness. And with this sleeve, it makes it about twice the original thickness. But the sleeve itself weighs only 5.5 oz /156 g and I quickly came to appreciate the 5mm padding it provides on each side - there were many times I would pull it out of my pack and see just how deep some of the other gear pushed "into" the padding, leaving quite noticeable "dents", but the MBA has always been safe inside - no key prints on the screen!
Beyond protecting the MBA, I found the sleeve to be useful as a makeshift table - whether I am squeezed tight on the airplane or a bus, it is nice to have a little cushion between my legs and the laptop to reduce vibration as well as prevent the hot parts of from touching my skin.
A year and a half after I bought it, I am still using it any time the MBA leaves the house with me. In fact, I have upgraded to a new MBA last year but still using the original case as it has stood the test of time. There is some fraying in one of the corners from the way I stuck it into my daypack that was just big enough to fit it, but otherwise it held up extremely fine..