MacBook Air Travel Express
Function: Sleeve-style case for MacBook Air.
Developer: WaterField Designs
Requirements: 11-inch or 13-inch MacBook Air
Looking back at all the Macs I’ve owned, and taking into account the technology available at the time and place of ownership, I’d have to say that my favorite of the bunch was the 12-inch PowerBook G4. Sure, it was only a 1 GHz machine, and sure the RAM maxed out just over 1 GB, but it was a great little machine. Time, as it does with technology, moved on, however. Last I heard, that little PowerBook was being used by a homeless man in the Carolinas. I hope it continues to serve him as well as it did me.
In May, I got an early Fathers’ Day/anniversary present: a fully-loaded 11-inch MacBook Air. And the Air—fast looking like my new all-time favorite Mac—needed something to get hauled around in. I have plenty of large bags, mostly backpacks, but wanted something more like a sleeve for basic protection.
Due to my previous experience with WaterField Design’s bags, I knew I could expect a high-quality item, and they have a line devoted exclusively to the MacBook Air: the Travel Express. It’s versatile enough that you can use it as a sleeve, or throw on the optional shoulder strap and have yourself a full-blown case. Each case is made from black ballistic nylon, and you have a choice of one of six accent colors. I went with Pine, and I love the look.
The MacBook Air Travel Express in Pine.
A pair of rigid plastic inserts pull double duty, protecting Apple’s thinnest laptop while giving the Travel Express its shape. The lone zipper is easy to pull as it circumnavigates half of the case’s outer edge. I’ve found that a minimalist laptop like the Air almost demands a minimalist approach to carting it about. Thus far, I haven’t needed anything beyond the Air, its power supply, the small backup drive I purchased just for the Air, and the external drive’s cable. Oh, and the convenient system install USB stick Apple provides with each Air in lieu of a DVD.
What normally goes into the Travel Express.
The interior panel between the Air’s slot and a pair of the interior pockets is a bright orange, giving what would otherwise be a drab interior a bit of pop. The Air slides in and out easily, and you don’t have to unzip the Express entirely to remove your Air, handy for those traveler-groping TSA moments at the airport. There’s plenty of room for the extras I need for any bit of lengthy travel.
Everything in its place.
The Air went on our family vacation to Wyoming, intended as a nightly photo repository for our various digital cameras, to provide entertainment for our two boys via movies and TV shows in iTunes, and to stay in touch as we felt necessary. The Travel Express rode inside my Tom Bihn Brain Bag, my carry-on travel pack of choice. It fit well with the Brain Bag, and as expected held up swimmingly as it was mishandled by security personnel and occasionally boffed around our vacation condo by a two-year-old.
Stuffed. (Not quite.)
For just around town, I don’t bother with a larger bag. (And most of the time, I don’t even bother with the Air’s power adapter, thanks to the generous battery life.) I just throw the Air—and maybe a magazine or two—in the Travel Express and go. It provides a measure of protection without adding significant weight. If you’re a member of the MacBook Air family, I encourage you to check out WaterField’s Travel Express. It’s a high-quality item, made in the USA by a company with excellent customer service. I expect mine to last as long as I keep the Air. Heck, based on past experience, it’ll outlast my ownership of Apple’s thinnest MacBook yet!