There are those that are happy to toss a naked gadget into a bag full of loose items and let nature take its course, and then there are those who need to baby every device they own with a protective case. The BAD Wrap exists for that latter group, but instead of being purpose-built for a specific gadget, it’s designed to conform to the shape of whatever it’s wrapped around.
I have a specific case for everything: my phone, my Nintendo Switch, my cameras, and even my laptop. As far as I’m concerned, these cases provide peace of mind that my stuff will likely survive a run-in with gravity. But finding a perfect fitting case for every device can be a challenge, and it feels like I’m paying an extra tax on every gadget I buy, because companies rarely include one with purchase these days. The BAD Wrap may be the world’s first genuinely universal case, which means that it doesn’t matter what future devices like the rumoured Nintendo Switch Pro might look like, you’ll already have a way to keep it safe and sound when you travel.
The BAD Wrap uses an approach that most of us already use in the kitchen. If I’ve got a leftover slice of pizza (shame, I know) I don’t reach for a specific triangle-shaped container. Most of the time I just wrap it up in a piece of aluminium foil (more shame, I know) and toss it in the fridge. The BAD Wrap replaces thin sheets of rolled foil — which would do a real number on the surface of an LCD screen — with a square of double-layered fabric that sandwiches a wire frame inside.
The malleable wires allow the BAD Wrap to be tightly wrapped around a given item and then hold that shape without the need for fasteners or velcro to ensure it doesn’t come unwrapped all on its own. The production sample I was sent worked great, with a satisfying amount of rigidity that eliminated any concerns I had about the wrap coming loose, even if a protected item was banging around inside a bag.
The BAD Wrap is allegedly waterproof, and while the material used on the outside can easily shrug off moisture, the wrap doesn’t create a watertight seal around whatever’s inside. There’s a definite risk that rain or splashes of water could get in, depending on how an item is wrapped and how it’s held. And if dropped in a pool or a toilet, forget it: The wrap provides zero protection against whatever’s inside getting soaked.
The material on the inside of the wrap is a very soft fabric that will protect your gear without any risk of the screen getting scratched, which is probably the primary reason most of us use cases to begin with. The BAD Wrap is also padded, not extensively, but enough that it should easily protect devices from dings, dents, and scratches should they be accidentally dropped on the floor. I’m not sure if the wrap would be as effective at protecting a dropped camera lens whose delicate elements can easily be damaged (I decided not to test that scenario) but the wrap still provides good protection against minor mishaps.
At launch, the BAD Wrap will be available in three different sizes: a small 10-inch version that can be used to wrap compact action cameras like GoPros, external drives, and smartphones; a 14-inch medium version (which is what I tested) for mirrorless or point-and-shoot cameras, lenses, and many portable gaming consoles (including the Switch); and a large 21.5-inch version that’s ideal for laptops, bulky DSLR cameras, and even tripods. The universal fit means that if you wanted extra protection and didn’t mind the extra bulk, you could easily wrap smaller items with the large sized wrap, resulting in additional layers of padding.
The creators of the BAD Wraps are going the Kickstarter route for their new product, and are looking to raise a little under $65,000 through crowdfunding to help put their creation into mass production. The cheapest way to preorder the wraps is to be one of the first 100 to make a contribution, which gets you the small version for $23, the medium for $36, or the large for $62. Other discounted tiers are available, but retail pricing will instead be $32, $51, and $83, respectively. If you want more than one, you can save a few extra bucks by grabbing all three sizes in an $113 early bird bundle.
The wraps are expected to ship sometime in December anywhere in the world, but as with any crowdfunded product, you should take that timeline with a grain of salt and be ready for potential delays, especially during an ongoing pandemic that continues to affect shipping and manufacturing around the world. That being said, the BAD Wraps won’t be subjected to the current chip shortage as they contain no electronics, and the sample I tried looks and feels like a consumer-ready product. Aside from raising the necessary funds, there aren’t too many challenges that might prevent the wraps from shipping out to backers on time, but it wouldn’t hurt to factor in a little extra patience just in case.