The Imago - A Mini Review
Call me vain but I could swear The Tom Bihn Imago was tailor made for us at Imago Metrics !
Anyway- as a privileged evaluator of the eponymous Imago- I've been running it through my 'Urban Combatant' test plan. So far I've logged 40 hours on the Imago in the following circumstances:
- Biking errands around town AKA... Courier Lite
- Casual meetings via Subway/Walking
- Internet Cafe jaunts
- Weekend beach getaway
I haven't traveled by plane since getting it so that will have to wait till I get the chance.
My summary observations:
- Compared to the Super Ego, this is the 'petite' of courier bags! It's small enough to be an excellent constant companion, and yet it's dimensioned to hold a 13" laptop such as Macbook. It's especially kind to the Macbook in the new TB Horizontal SoftCell. You can also use the classic BrainCell but the stiffeners take too much space . Simply put, when the Super Ego is too much bag, the Imago is the natural choice.
- The Imago exhibits wonderful balance! Its compactness makes it ergonomically adaptable to a wider range of user statures than the formidable Super Ego or large packs. Persons of diminutive stature will especially appreciate the smaller form factor- Heck ! it's the ideal book back. Though I'm very attached to the Super Ego's capacity, the Imago is so sweet for those quick trips to the Café or travel situations that don't require ( politely meaning "Don't Permit" ) the carry of numerous water bottles plus the kitchen sink.
- The Imago exhibits key Tom Bihn / Super Ego >DNA<. The shoulder strap is padded for comfort - even when carrying heavier contents. Most important for users on the move and on the go- the waist strap keeps the Imago snug up to your waist- preventing jostling, sway and other potentially nasty luggage behavior.
I've been testing a tactical backpack on bike rides and switching to the Imago felt like I was carrying a wallet by comparison!
- Strategic pockets are where you'd want them to be. Obviously that's a subjective observation- or is it? High Gloss gadgets are all the rage- but scratches are so declassé! Thus...my highly scratch prone Samsung T809 phone as well as highly scratch-prone Black iPod Video - both found very plush and cosy homes in the respective Imago end pockets- all within easy reach. The waterproof zippers ensure security from loss and let me tell you- those sexy Utrasuede liners are velvety enough to have given the late Roy (Halston) Frowick - Goosebumps!
Heck, why not line more pockets in that stuff ?- then we'd be in Fat Cat heaven!
Releasing the adjustable buckle and lifting the flap reveals two pockets- one a YKK zippered pocket and the other a slash- open pouch. The open pouch gets to hold my 16oz water bottle + EnergyBar and the zippered pocket gets my fat wallet and travel docs. The main compartment has two more small open pockets. One gets the laptop power supply or spare battery and the other my PDA, flashlight, meds etc.
-The main compartment is a natural for a 13" laptop plus papers, or literature of all stripe.
-The ubiquitous back pocket is huge! Perfect for spare garments, Periodicals etc.
Wash It and Wear It- A Funny but Stinky Story...
Being the incorrigible person that I am , I couldn't resist trying to bring home a take-out meal in the Imago. It was really a spur of the moment idea. One evening, I stopped bye a favorite Kabob joint and ordered two kabob meals to go- one with swordfish and the other one with chicken - Yum!. Into the Imago they went, protected by thin plastic bags. The next day, I carried some packages to the post office office - Imago in tow. As I waited in line I couldn't help but notice the pungent odor that I had attributed to a fellow customer ahead of me. Minutes later I realized that the offensive odor was actually emanating from my Imago! A leak from the previous day's errand had obviously corrupted my otherwise odorless Imago! I simply washed it in the machine and line dried it- The Fish Kabob odor is totally gone and the Imago was back in action.
- I love both the Cordura and the ballistic nylon versions of the Imago. The Ballistic Nylon version feels softer to the touch. I'd get one of each for different occasions.
- I only had one minor issue. The two Ultrasuede lined end pouches don't accommodate all sizes of sunglasses. They were about 3/4" too short and generally too small to house either my Native Ripp or ESS CDI sunglasses. If this could be an issue- take it into consideration- remember that the other pockets can easily carry most glasses . Since I only use these two end pockets for my mobile phone and Mp3 Player -it's not really a big deal
Other Notable Observations:
The Imago customer has excellent color options to choose from! Kudos go out to Tom Bihn/ Darcy and Co. for facilitating the appropriate user survey on the forum that resulted in the final colors that are currently being offered . This was an object lesson in Democratic Group Design. My favorite Imago colors are the Crimson/Steel/Crimson (A perfect match to the Crimson Aeronaut) and the Cocoa/Cocao/Wasabi- the later is a nice earth color to match earthly colored apparel and backdrops. Later on I may also buy the Olive/Steel/Olive to go with my Barbour Jacket. Am I becoming a Fashion Victim? Something tells me a whole range of these lovely earth tones such as Terra Cotta, Tan, Beaver etc are going to start appearing on TB Imagos.
A Parting Shot
All Tom Bihn bags are sooo addictive that it's hard to know which one to buy first- the Imago is a perfect first bag for everyone (May I call it the VolksBag?) and a welcome addition to the ever growing Tom Bihn family of useful luggage .
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