Most laptop bags, cases, and sleeves aim for a studied anonymity; they're cast in basic black nylon that looks as fitting in a corporate boardroom as it does in a college dorm. Those looking to break out of that generic rut should check out the line of laptop sleeves from ColcaSac, made of materials such as hemp and burlap, and lined with fleece. This $33 13-inch version, made of dark brown hemp canvas, is a bit pricey for a laptop sleeve, but is well-constructed, and is flexible enough to hold several kinds of laptops, even if it's specifically marketed at MacBook owners.
Measuring 14 inches tall by 9.75 inches wide with the top flap folded down, the sleeve is a surprisingly tight fit for the current 13-inch MacBook, but perhaps the natural fibers will stretch a bit with time. Other 13-inch laptops fit with no problem, and for larger laptops, the company makes 15-inch and 17-inch versions, as well as smaller sleeves for 12-inch PowerBooks (which might be good for Netbooks as well).
The ColcaSac has a front lip that folds down and seals with Velcro, as well as a small front pocket. While tiny, the natural flex of the hemp material let us squeeze a MacBook power AC adapter into the pocket, but stuffing larger items into that front pocket does make it harder to slip the sleeve into a slim shoulder bag.
We've always been fond of laptop sleeves, as they allow you to safely use any shoulder or messenger bag as a laptop case, rather than being restricted to specially made, padded laptop bags. The fleece padding in the ColcaSac is thick and soft, so it will protect your laptop without risk of scratches, but it's also not as high-tech as some of the shock-absorbing foam padding we've seen in other bags.