Macbook – bag or sleeve?

What should I buy, a Bag or a Sleeve?

If you’ve bought a premium notebook computer from Apple, you’ll naturally want to protect it when you’re transporting it around or not using it. When buying a bag, sleeve or case for your MacBook Air or MacBook Pro, you have many choices available to you.

The question is, do you need a bag or a sleeve?


You can buy many different styles of bag to carry your MacBook around, such as a messenger bag, shoulder bag, briefcase style bag, handbag style tote bag or backpack. Messenger and shoulder bags are practical and accessible when carried over the shoulder, whereas Backpacks have the advantage of being comfortable and ‘out of the way’ for cycling or extended walking.

Most bags have an internal padded compartment tailored for your particular computer, whether you have a small MacBook Air or a larger MacBook Pro. The compartment enables maximum protection and security through a snug fit and soft padding.

Bags will have a number of other pockets and storage compartments of various capacities for the rest of your gear, such as folders, books, phone and wallet or purse. Every bag is different and the amount of storage varies according to the bag chosen. Each size of MacBook has a myriad of options to suit it. Choose a lightweight, minimalist bag if you don’t have a lot of additional stuff to carry around (or perhaps a sleeve!), or choose a bigger, high capacity bag if you plan on packing your work or school stuff in with your MacBook.

Examples of high quality Messenger Bags are made by STM and Jansport. Examples of premium backpacks are Brenthaven and Wenger Swissgear.

Sleeves and cases

A sleeve is a padded zip-up or velcro fastening case that fits your MacBook snugly. They are suitable for carrying around on their own, or you can throw them in any bag, briefcase or suitcase. So if you already have a bag that you like, perhaps a sleeve would be a useful addition.

MacBook sleeves are available in a variety of materials. For example, there are Neoprene sleeves, such as those made by Tucano, or sleeves made of ‘memory foam’ that moulds to the shape of your laptop like those made by Be.ez or plush fabric (e.g corduroy/demim) such as those made by Cushcase.

Keep in mind that many sleeves do not offer ultimate protection. In other words, while a neoprene sleeve is great for protecting your MacBook from scratches of grazes and soft impact, it will not offer adequate protection from high impact scenarios such as dropping from height.

Some sleeves are available with shoulder straps, to form a sort of ‘hybrid’ between a bag and a sleeve, such as those made by Ektor.