The AppStorm Team’s Favorite MacBook Bags

MacBooks might look nice in their original boxes from Apple, but it’s not very practical to carry them around in the original box all the time. And you’d really, really better not carry around your MacBook on its own. That just sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.

So what should you do? Why, you’ll need to get a nice case for your MacBook. Whether you’re still carrying a thick MacBook Pro, or have switched to the slim MacBook Air, you’ll need at least protection for your Mac, and at most a place to put all of your cables and papers and more. There’s a ton of different bags out there, so we’ve rounded up our team’s favorites.

Here’s the MacBook bags, backpacks, sleeves and more that the AppStorm team uses.


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be-ez LA robe Air

DSC_2927 - 2013-08-08 at 11-23-55

via Pedro Lobo

I’m fortunate enough to be a telecommuter – meaning that half the work week I’m in one location and the other half in another. It also means that I end up doing my fair share of traveling. For that very reason, when I bought my Macbook Air, I wanted a sturdy sleeve that would afford my precious new machine all the protection possible without having to worry about which bag I’d be using.

After searching around, I settled on a be-ez LA robe Air (in black/wasabi). It’s thick shape-memory foam, makes it the ideal sleeve for me. I can simply throw (albeit gently) my MBA into whichever backpack or travel bag I may be using that week without much concern. I have a separate bag for accessories and chargers though most times it’s not needed since I have duplicates at each location. After a few years of constant use the sleeve still looks and feels new. In fact, I’m so happy with it that I ended up buying it’s little sibling for the iPad Mini.

Price: From $25

Case Logic PBCI

rita_bag

via Rita El Khoury

I have had this Case Logic bag for roughly five years and it’s still in excellent condition. Granted, I don’t carry my Macbook every day, but it’s still a testament to the case’s materials and build quality that it lasted this long without any wear and tear.

I picked this bag because it fit my 13″ White Macbook very snugly but still offered enough pockets and room for the wall charger, and a few accessories when needed. The tight fit makes sure it can almost be considered a sleeve with only the Macbook inside, but can expand to house the charger, some cables, and even a T-shirt and shorts!

Price: $41.80

Mac Case Messenger

MessBP

via Pierre Wizla

This is truly “the most versatile laptop bag ever”. My absolute favorite feature is that it is a combo: you get a MacBook sleeve with it, and this sleeve is awesome. And of course you can choose the sleeve color: white, black or silver. Nowadays Apple goes full aluminum but not so long ago this color choice had its importance ;)

The bag has some unique features:

  • a shell that adds an additional layer of protection in the rear compartment
  • a bright, almost fluorescent green interior that makes it super easy to find anything within

Though I don’t really use my Messenger bag anymore these days, my MacBook and its sleeve are inseparable. And while having a soft, comfy touch and being light-weight, it’s super resistant: bought it 6 years ago and it’s still as new. It’s lifetime-warranted, and I bet it will really last long.

Price: $59.95

 Be.ez LE Reporter

Be.ez

via Jacob Penderworth

After spending about a week researching messenger bags, I decided on this one because, two years ago, it was cheap at $70, very nice-looking, and included a fully waterproofed canvas. I still enjoy the satchel, but it’s not what I’d call my “dream carrying case”. The thing that most annoys me is that the rear zipper pocket can’t fit any normal-sized notebooks, even though the case is tall enough for it. That means I have to invest in Moleskines or other, smaller pads to jot down my thoughts and sketch things. Additionally, the bag is better for a MacBook Pro than an Air. With my 13-inch Air, it “flattens” a bit at the top and the velcro doesn’t fully fasten unless I manually align it.

Other than the little quibbles, I like this bag for daily use. I did enjoy the other colors it came in, but Amazon.com didn’t have anything else at the time so I decided to just run with black/saffron. It was a good investment; I’m thankful, and rather surprised, that the velcro still works perfectly after all this time.

Price: $99

Wenger Pegasus SwissGear backpack

backpack_peagus

via Bill Morefield

I’ve had my Wenger Pegasus SwissGear backpack for almost six years. It’s from the time when laptops were expected to be big and heavy and built to carry one up to 17″. I’ve carried four different laptops including my current 15″ MacBook Pro in it. It gives me enough room to also carry an iPad and Kindle with me when traveling and side pockets for an umbrella or bottle of water.

The best feature is that it’s tough. It’s ridden in overhead compartments and under seats on airplanes and between my legs on a bus many times. Almost daily it rides in my car to and from work. And after all this time it shows only a little wear and tear and none in the important areas.

Price: Around $80

Incase Nylon Sling

Mark Simpson - Case photo

via Mark Simpson

The protection offered the MBA is excellent with this case. The bright green felt interior is like the inside of a top quality winter jacket, with strong double-stitching around the seams. A single zipper seals the MBA snuggly into the centre compartment, and I’ve found a prefer to put the rear of the laptop in first so the the tapered end is nearer the handle.

All-in-all, this is a sumptuous and practical case with a high-quality finish. Recommended.

Price: From $39.95

Incase Terra Sleeve and Belkin Evo backpack

2013-08-07 10.07.43 HDR

via Jordan Merrick

I have an 11″ MacBook Air and use a combination of an Incase Terra Sleeve and a Belkin Evo backpack which I got from Amazon. Belkin doesn’t seem to have a product page for it and, after some checking, I think it was actually made to be sold exclusively through Dell!

The Incase sleeve is what you’d expect from Incase – perfect in every way. I’ve yet to use an Incase product that I haven’t liked. It’s certainly a little on the expensive side but you do get what you pay for, a robust case that’s designed exactly for your Mac. What’s more, if you’re like me and can’t stand neoprene (it’s like scratching a chalkboard) then it’s a great alternative as it’s made from canvas, instead.

The Belkin backpack is exceptional and feels just as good as anything from Incase. In fact, I’d probably say it’s actually better than some of their range simply because of the plethora of zips and compartments at your disposal. It’s lightweight, well padded and small considering it’s suitable for a 15″ laptop. A bit big for an 11″ MacBook Air, but I occasionally carry a larger laptop around so using the Incase sleeve with the Belkin bag make for a great combination.

Price: $44.95 and around $40, respectively

Timbuk2 Messenger Bag

D-Lux Laptop Racing Stripe Messenger Bag

via Jonathan Garro

Not strictly for MacBooks, but I use a Timbuk2 that has a built-in laptop sleeve that fits the 15″ perfectly. As a bicycle commuter, it works great. The material is waterproof, and there is plenty of space for papers and other odds and ends.

Price: $96.75

A Generic Bag From a Shoe Store

DSC01236

via Matthew Guay

I love laptop sleeves, but half the time I travel I need to take at least some extra documents with me, if not a charger and other cables, so that option’s out. And, I’d rather spend my money on my Mac and apps, so I’m notoriously cheap when it comes to buying laptop bags. It doesn’t help that local stores don’t tend to stock exactly what I want in a laptop bag: a thin case big enough for my MacBook Air, with room for the charger and various extra cables, and perhaps a small pocket to put my passport. It seems there’s only sleeves, or huge briefcases that looks like you’re planning to rob a bank (or move).

So, I head to shoe stores — in my case, a local store called Taywin, who’s site doesn’t even list their bags. But they do sell them: basic laptop bags that are padded, have extra pockets, made from decently durable canvas (I’m on my second one in 5 years; make of that what you will), and are cheap enough for my tastes. Just what the doctor ordered. Don’t even try looking in normal superstores; theirs are usually too junky to bother with. But if you can find a decent shoe store that sells handbags as well, they just might have some decent laptop cases tucked away in a corner.

Price: Your mileage may vary. Around $20 for me.

How about You?

Our team has incredibly diverse tastes on MacBook bags and sleeves and backpacks — though it looks like InCase is the crowd favorite. So what do you use? We’d love to hear about your favorite MacBook cases in the comments below.


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