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Flowfold iPad sleeve: a water-resistant case with an eco-friendly footprint

If you live in an area that gets warm rain in the summer or cold rain in the winter, then you'll want to check out the iPad sleeve from Flowfold. It's a basic sleeve that'll protect your iPad from the elements. It's made of recycled materials, which makes it friendly for the environment, too.

Design

The Flowfold case has a basic sleeve design with sailcloth on the outside and a soft inner liner made of recycled bottles. The outer sailcloth layer is made from leftover scraps that would otherwise be thrown away. For those who have never seen it, sailcloth is used to make professional racing sails and has a unique glossy, fibrous appearance. This sailcloth sleeve is different from any other case I have seen because the styling doesn't come from inks and coloring, but from the material itself.

Besides its unique appearance, sailcloth is also an extremely durable, water-resistant material. According to the manufacturer, it's made of Carbon Fiber, Kevlar, Pentex or Polyester matrixes sandwiched between Mylar films. The outer sailcloth layer gives the sleeve some strength, but it's not a rigid case. It's still soft and flexible.

The inside is a low-pile plush material made from recycled bottles. It gives the case some cushioning and the soft surface won't scratch the surface of your iPad. At the top of the sleeve is an inner Velcro tab that'll keep your iPad in the case and not on the floor. It's a solid closure that requires some force to open and won't open without warning.

The Flowfold is a handmade case and solidly made. If you look closely, you may notice the stitches are not always perfectly spaced like a machine, but it's a strong stitching that doesn't come apart easily. I like the handmade look because it means each case will be a little bit different from the others.

Size-wise, the sleeve is designed for the case-less iPad, but it will fit will fit other similarly-sized tablets. I used it with my iPad 1, my iPad 2 and both the Touchpad and Xoom.

Functionality

The outstanding feature of the Flowfold sleeve is its outer sailcloth material. It gives you enough water protection that you can carry it in the rain or snow without concern. Be careful around deep puddles, though. The sleeve is water-resistant against surface moisture, but it's not a sealed case and won't protect your iPad if it takes a plunge.

Besides being water-resistant, the sailcloth won't rip or tear easily. I tried tugging at it and brushing it up against sharp corners and couldn't cause a split in the fabric. I'm sure if I took my Spyderco knife to it, I could tear it, but that's to be expected. Unless you work or play in an extremely rough environment, the sleeve will stand up to everyday wear and tear.

The Flowfold sleeve has a soft inner lining and thick stitching around the edges that provide protection from your average fall. It's not an Otterbox case that'll let you throw your iPad, but you can drop it without worrying about damage. It's a flexible sleeve, however, and won't protect your iPad from twisting forces or blunt impact. If you put your Flowfold-encased iPad in a backpack, you still have to be careful you don't bend it, twist it or step on it.

Conclusion

The Flowfold sleeve is excellent for the casual user who wants to carry their iPad without worrying about the weather. It gives you enough water protection that you can carry it in the rain and enough impact protection that you can drop it without concern. The sailcloth also gives the case a unique, outdoorsy look that's quite eye-catching. Best of all, it's made of recycled materials and is handcrafted in the state of Maine. The Flowfold iPad sleeve is available for $35 in a variety of colors from Flowfold's website.

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