The blogging team here at TUAW has pretty much seen every type of iPad bag, sleeve, case, and cover that has been developed since the first iPad hit the streets last year. Now a New York-based company that is well-known for nautically-themed gear, Sailor Bags, is selling a fun iPad Sleeve (US$27) that will have you dancing the hornpipe.
What makes this sleeve so different from the rest of those bazillions of sleeves we've covered so far? It's made of sailcloth, a very robust and rugged material that can keep your iPad protected from bumps, drops and liquid splashes.
Like many of the other Sailor Bags products, the cool iPad Sleeve is made in multiple colors -- a bright red, a sea blue, and plain old white. The material is manufactured by Sailor Bags to be less stiff than the sailcloth used for boat sails. The company notes that the bag will acquire a patina with age and "personality all its own."
Unlike many of the sleeves and bags that we review, the Sailor Bags sleeve actually comes with a lifetime guarantee. Whether that's for your lifetime or the lifetime of the sleeve is a legal question I'm not going to answer, but basically they say that if the sleeve "wears out of underperforms in any way, just return it. We'll repair or replace it for free." That's pretty darned good.
There's a nice zippered pocket on the outside of the sleeve for holding sync cables, your Camera Connection Kit, or other small accessories. Both of the zippers appear to be made of a nylon material to provide a good water-resistant seal, and they opened and closed smoothly.
The inside of the sleeve is lined with a microfiber material to keep from scratching your iPad, and the sleeve has just enough foam padding to insure adequate protection in the case of a drop or bump.
I'm not sure why, but I really like this relatively plain-looking sleeve. Perhaps it has something to with the solid construction, or maybe I was a sailor in another life, but I quickly became fond of the Sailor Bags sleeve. It provides a lot of protection while not trying to be too high-tech or fancy, and the wide diagonal stitch marks in the corner add a very nice sailing touch.
The price is definitely right (at least for the base cost; custom embroidery adds $12 to the total) and the sleeve would make an awesome Christmas gift for the iPad owner on your list. Just add up to two lines of embroidered love to that sleeve, and you've given a gift that someone will remember for years to come.
I was pleasantly surprised by this iPad sleeve from a manufacturer that up until now hasn't been a player in the Apple accessories market. With this sleeve cradling my iPad 2, I don't think I'd feel uncomfortable taking it to a beach or laying it on a chaise lounge next to a swimming pool. If I had a sailboat, my iPad would be wearing the Sailor Bags iPad Sleeve every time it went aboard. You don't need to be a sailor to love this iPad sleeve, though, and I'm giving it my highest recommendation.