I am once again in that happy state of anticipation as I await the arrival of my newest Tom Bihn bag: a second Imago. As always, I spent a few weeks changing my mind before committing: what bag did I want, what material, what color? I kept coming back to these forums, over and over, to see what the rest of you had to say about your favorites, and I stared lovingly at the photos of the different bags. (Yes, I know: this could be called a sickness.)
What prompted all this yearning and soul-searching was my purchase of an 11-inch Macbook Air last December. I LOVE that computer; Apple finally came up with just the right combination of design, features, and dimensions that Iíd waited years for. But of course the new Air created a delicious dilemma for me: in which Bihn bag was I going to carry it?
I had a gorgeous Plum/Black ID, but the bag was just too big for me, so I found it a loving new home. I tried my 1st-generation Ristretto (Olive/Cayenne), and that worked well, actually, with the Air in an industrial felt slipcase that I made for it. But after trying it a few times, I decided that a vertical laptop bag isnít for me.
So then I tried my Imago. I have been using it as a dedicated camera bag for my Olympus e620 DSLR, using a three-compartment camera insert made by a 3rd party. That works so well that I didnít want to take all the camera stuff out in order to test it as a laptop bag, but grudgingly I did. And it worked beautifully. (Not that I was surprised!) I have a HigherGround Flak Jacket in which I put the Air, but I was also able to carry my large wallet, keys, sunglasses, iPod Touch, cell phone, a 16-ounce Starbucks thermal mug, two small Organizer pouches (one containing my AC adapter and the other containing a portable MiFi unit with its adapter), pens, notebook, and a book. There was room to spare, too! I love the Ultrasuede-lined pockets on the Imago: so accessible for storing my sunglasses safely, and also my Touch. I also love the two pockets under the flap: one zipped, one yoked with an O-ring. The only alteration Iíve made to the bag is to wrap a padded luggage handle around the web loop/carrying handle. Iíd love to see this handle be made with the same Poron thatís in the Swifts and the Shop Bags.
Thatís when I decided I needed a second Imago, so I could keep one for my camera bag and one for my laptop. But when I went to the Imago page, I confess I was disappointed at the limited color selections: Steel Grey/Cork, Plum/Olive, and Olive/Cork were the only ones in stock at the moment. Grey strikes me as somber, and even olive is a rather subdued neutral. Besides, I already have an Olive Ristretto. I debated getting the Plum, but I didnít care for Olive as the accent color on the front panel. I hoped that maybe there would be some interesting new colors listed for the future: I could go for a blue, or Crimson, but I would really love a Cayenne. But all that was listed was Black/Black and Cocoa/Cocoa, and they were backordered until the end of June.
Disheartened, I looked at other bags with a wider color palette: the Co-Pilot or Large Cafť bag, But I didnít think either bag would be big enough for all my camera stuff, and I didnít think it offered enough protection for the Air even if I could squeeze it in there.
I like color; sometimes I think I need to surround myself with color. I realize that many people like the darker neutrals of black and grey and brown because they require a more polished professional look for their work, so bags in those colors probably sell better. But thatís not for me. The Imago I have now is in Indigo/Plum and I love, love, love Indigo. Itís a deep, saturated, jewel-like color thatís not so bright that you couldnít take it to work. As far as Iím concerned, Indigo is the best color Tom Bihn has ever had, so Iím really sorry to see it go. Fortunately, Iíve got an Indigo Swift and an Indigo Tri-Star as well, so that should keep me in Indigo heaven for years to come.
But Iím crossing my fingers that some of the new colors that Tom and Darcy and the crew unveil later this year will include some brighter, richer colors along the lines of Indigo and Cayenne: not just black and brown and grey.
Having said all that, I still needed a second Imago, and now. So which one did I end up ordering? After debating endlessly, I surprised myself by ordering the Steel/Cork. Iím a little worried about it; Iím not a fan of grey, but I read what several forum members said about the ballistic Steel seeming to shimmer and pick up the light and color around it, so that reassured me. I also read what Katy said about how gorgeous she thought the Steel/Cork Imago was, and I saw a photo that Darcy took just last week of the Steel Co-Pilot. The light did seem to radiate off that bag, so Iím crossing my fingers that I didnít make a mistake. I almost ordered the Plum/Olive, but that was in Cordura, and I thought Iíd try a Ballistic Imago this time.
My new Imago should be here by the end of next week; Iíll let you know!