I love how light my iPad Air is, so I usually use it naked or with just the smart cover. But I travel a lot and need to protect the iPad before I throw it place it carefully in my bag. Growing up in the frozen north of Michigan I learned to love wool clothes, so picking a wool felt iPad sleeve was a natural (pun intended) for me. I love the look and feel of wool felt, and like that it’s renewable. I tried two of the most prominent brands of felt iPad sleeves and both have their merits and limitations. Keep reading to see if one of them might be right for you.
Just the basics: Byrd & Belle Simple iPad Air Sleeve
Being a minimalist at heart, I started with the Byrd & Belle Simple iPad Air sleeve. I also figured a Minnesota company should know how to do wool. The sleeve is as simple as it can get: no closures, and no hardware to possibly scratch my iPad. The wool is thick, beautiful, and will protect your iPad from bumps and scratches. Of course it won’t protect from extreme calamities the way a hard case like a Pad & Quill would, but my iPad always goes in some kind of bag when I’m traveling. The stitching on the Belle & Byrd sleeve is extremely precise: my iPad fits perfectly with the smart cover on. Without the smart cover, the iPad could theoretically slip out if I put it in the bag upside down and grabbed the sleeve by the bottom and gave it a mighty tug. If placed in the bag with the opening up or to the side, however, there’s no way the iPad will slip out.
Pros: High-quality wool and stitching, precision fit, allows for use with smart cover, made in MN
Cons: Cover-less iPad could slip out
Precise but tight fit: the Mujjo iPad Envelope Sleeve
Sometimes my iPad goes in the main compartment of my briefcase or backpack, not in the padded computer compartment. For those times I wanted a sleeve with a closure. After seeing a Mujjo Envelope Sleeve carried by a fellow traveler on an international flight, I decided to give the Dutch company a try. When I unwrapped the Envelope sleeve I was immediately taken with how attractive it is. I love the tan/gray color combination and the wool itself is thick and nice to the touch. The Mujjo wool is a little stiffer than the Byrd & Belle which might offer a little more protection. The Mujjo sleeve also has two pockets on the inside: one that’s just right for business or credit cards, and a larger one that’s just smaller than the main compartment. I’m not sure what the pocket is for as it’s too small for unfolded 8.5 x 11 or A4 papers, and too thin for a regular (e.g., Molskine) notebook.
The envelope-style closure works great and I never worried that the iPad might slip out. The flap fits into a leather strap which is attached with two rivets. The rivets are completely protected by stitching and their placement on the sleeve, so there’s no way they could contact your iPad. An upside of the Mujjo design is the precision with which your iPad fits. It will never slip around or slip out. That precision fit may also be the biggest downside if you like to use a smart cover as I sometimes do: the iPad simply won’t fit with the smart cover on. So if I’m traveling with the smart cover, I have to remove it and find someplace to put it before stashing the iPad in the Envelope Sleeve.
Pros: Beautiful, high-quality felt and leather, precise fit
Cons: Precise fit (no room for smart cover)
In the end you couldn’t go wrong with either of these sleeves. Both companies offer super-high quality goods at reasonable prices. They both offer myriad products and styles of sleeves for your iPad, so I suggest you browse their websites to find a design that’s perfect for you.