Deconstructed: Grid-It Sleeve

Growing older does not always mean growing wiser. However, one lesson I've tried to adopt in life is to avoid buying goods that fail to balance form with function. Simply put, I expect to have it both ways. Anytime that I compromise on this one, I regret it. But with that said, often finding a product that fits the bill is a struggle.

When searching for the right daily bag several years back, I ended up continually leaning toward - and eventually purchasing - a bag that was of a more classic design. With bags, "classic" can often mean great build quality and beauty, but it also likely results in a bag that is not built to carry a computer or its accesories; there’s no dedicated, padded laptop sleeve, and in the case of the bag that I went with, the whole thing is comprised of just two main compartments. Small pockets for chargers, cables, and the like? Nada.

Ironically, in the years since I bought my satchel, I've found myself on-the-go more than ever, and the number of items I take with me these days results in pure chaos at the bottom of my bag. I've tried more functional bags and backpacks for the sake of organization, but I simply can’t seem to let go of my trusty leather satchel.

This story has a happy ending, thanks to one simple, elegant solution: Grid-It.

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When I first encountered the Grid-It system by Cocoon Innovations, I was pretty impressed by the effective and custom organization system it promised. To describe it in simple terms: it’s a flat, rigid panel with a bunch of elasticized straps overlapping to create a grid of infinitely reconfigurable options for keeping your stuff organized, and all in one place.

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It takes a few minutes to determine how to best organize your gear, but once you do, everything has its home. Perhaps even more key is that every item is now visible and easily accessible. If you are looking at your Grid-It, you have a clear view of every small item in your bag.

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The tension of the bands is just strong enough to keep everything securely in place but just light enough to ensure accessing and adding new items is easy. It's clear Cocoon took great care to make that balance just right.

 
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Cocoon began with standalone Grid-Its in a number of sizes, and now manufactures backpacks, messenger bags, and more with a Grid-It integrated right into the design.

For myself, the Grid-It Wrap (pictured), with its built-in laptop sleeve, is perfect.

 
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The Wrap features a neoprene cover that "wraps" over the Macbook and covers the items you've secured. It attaches to the back with velcro. Depending on the size of the items in the Grid-It, the cover will bulge a bit, stretching to accomodate the added depth.

 
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For my own use, I simply leave the neoprene wrap folded behind the Grid-It and enjoy a padded sleeve with the added functionality of the Grid-It system that I never have to remove from my bag.

While the aesthetic of the Grid-It isn't something a "classic" bag buyer like me will fawn over, the build quality is solid and the organizational benefits are obvious. My Grid-It now lives inside my bag every day, giving me the best of form and function, all day long.