Rickshaw Bags are one of the bag makers in San Francisco with a unique style of making sleeves and bags. Rickshaw lets you fully customize your own sleeve or bag with an easy process that I myself used to create two sleeves for this review. Customizing my own sleeve using Rickshaw's Customizer was a breeze and there is a slew of color and texture selections that you can work with to come up with your own style that you will love. For this review we've got a customized sleeve for the iPad 2 and MacBook Air 13" 2010 model. Go past the break for the full review of these two hip looking sleeves.
I'll star off with the sleeve for the iPad 2 which is more of a favorite of mine than the sleeve for the MacBook Air, and I'll get into why later on in the review. So there are many ways you can customize the colors on your sleeve like the trim surrounding the sleeve, overall color of the front and back and the color of the inside lining. Aside from color options, you have the option to choose from a few different materials which essentially are what make up the texture and pattern. Rickshaw's materials are Cadura Nylon, Performance Tweed and Waterproof X-Pac. I chose the Performance Tweed fabric for the iPad 2 sleeve and it looks and feels really good. It's got a stain-resistant coating so that the fabric can withstand some beating while protecting your iPad 2.
I'm not a big fan of the interior felt lining which feels pretty rough and not all that soft as Rickshaw describes it to be. Nevertheless, it won't scratch your iPad 2. Another gripe I have about the interior lining is that it isn't glued or stitched to the inside of the sleeve itself and that creates an empty pocket in between the two and it shows when you insert your iPad 2 into the sleeve. The fitting is very tight and snug so your iPad 2 stays secured inside and will never slip out even while there is an open side loading design. If you don't like the side loading design, you can pick out a top loading sleeve as well.
Other than the interior lining being a loose part of the sleeve, I think the overall quality of the iPad 2 sleeve is excellent. It's got a slim form factor and the fitting is snug and secure. While the Rickshaw sleeve won't provide you with any sort of extreme protection, it's lightly padded to keep its slim profile to a minimum for a comfortable carry.
The vertical sleeve for the MacBook Air 13" is equally as slim and padded as its counterpart. I wanted to try out Rickshaw's other materials and went with the Waterproof X-Pac material on the Vertical sleeve for the MacBook Air 13". It's by no means a waterproof sleeve, but it will keep water from socking into the sleeve. Of course it too has an open top loading design so you will need to keep that in mind when thinking about waterproofing.
The Waterproof X-Pac material feels like nylon and less warming as the Performance Tweed. Unlike the iPad 2 sleeve, the fit was not as tight and snug with the Vertical sleeve for the MacBook Air 13". My MacBook Air would easily slide out so there's definitely a fitment issue here.
I'm not too sure why there is such a wide overlay in the opening but it does give you some room to grap when you're slipping your MacBook Air or iPad 2 into the sleeve. I don't think such a wide tab is very helpful and it could have been much more discrete to save space. It elongates or widens, depending on the type of sleeve, the overall look. While I do like Rickshaw's sleeve version for the iPad 2 and its Performance Tweed fabric material, I think there are better options out there if you're looking for a MacBook Air sleeve.
Rickshaw's sleeves for the MacBook Air will run you $40 for the standard Cordura Nylon material, and an extra $10 will get you the Performance Tweed or the Waterproof X-Pac materials. Rickshaw's iPad 2 sleeves will run you $10 less for the normal Cordura Nylon material at $30, and an extra $10 for the Performance Tweed or the Waterproof X-Pac materials.