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Thread: Imago in Cordura vs. Ballistic

  1. #1
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    Imago in Cordura vs. Ballistic

    I thought maybe, in the future, when I can justify it, I'd like either an Imago or Synapse.

    I just had a few questions:

    1. Does anybody prefer the cordura or ballistic Imago? Why? Is the cordura more floppy? Does it have more of a scoop-y look? Does the ballistic feel/look like it's better quality?

    2. Will TB continue to make cordura versions of the Imago? (I thought I might've read that they're phasing them out, but I might've been dreaming.)

    Thanks!
    Last edited by thisisme; 08-15-2011 at 06:22 PM. Reason: added a couple of words, for clarity
    My little set of TB stuff:
    Western Flyer (steel/ultraviolet)
    Small Pouch (cork)
    Large Shop Bag (solar)
    packing cubes

  2. #2
    Registered User dorayme's Avatar
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    I definitely prefer the Ballistic version of the Imago. I was gifted a Coco/Coco/Wasabi Cordura version first. I liked the size and organization but it was floppier and less structured feeling than what I like my bags to feel like. Since I have problems with bags that behave this way it wasn't a great fit for me. I like my bags to hold their own when I don't stuff them. . . .

    When I went to the factory I had a chance to see the bags up close and chose to bring home my current Imago, Steel/Cork/Wasabi, which is a ballistic version. IMHO it's much more substantial feeling, not in a bulky way, but in a sturdy/structured way. I want to use my Imago for carrying my laptop, for bringing along items in the car when we travel, as a day bag when I travel. I like it not being floppy because I feel I can more easily find things and for how it looks when I carry it.

    If you like hobo bags, large floppy purses, or a colorful selection the Cordura version is probably your good match. If you like your bags to hold up to their shape whether or not they are full of contents, regardless of what the contents are, within reason, and you like a more neutral color palette then the Ballistic version is probably a better fit.

    Of course as backpack stated in another thread, the colors at TB change, so going forward it's possible that there will be more "neutrals" offered in Cordura and more "colors" offered in Ballistic.

    I too thought Darcy mentioned somewhere that the Cordura version was phasing out and the Imago was going to become a Ballistic bag. I don't remember where though.
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    Si non aptus in Peram, ego opus ad buy magis quisque.
    my bags: S, LS, KP, mg'11, S, LS, COW, MCB, LS, COW, LSB, SE, LSB, TT, SB, SE, TSS4, PCSB, PCBP-A, SC, BB, SCB, FJN, BB, FoJ, RS, F.O.T., LSB, S25, PCSB K, LS, I w/AS, A, PP FJN, SE, 3-DC, MCB, PCBP-T/WF, PCSB, CQPC, S19, LSB, SB, TT, SE, S, P, WF, UT, LSB, CQPC, PCBP-T/WF, RiPad, SB, LSB

  3. #3
    Registered User marbenais's Avatar
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    I definitely prefer the Cordura version, so I'm sad that they are being phased out, since the Ballistic just doesn't drape the same way.
    I have : many pouches & wallets & 3D Cubes & CQPCs & Stuff Sacks & Shop Bags, plum & black (C) & black/UV & aubergine/UV (B) Side Effects, steel/UV Citizen Canine, black FJN, plum/wasabi SCB, Cork Little Swift, black/steel Co-Pilot, old plum/olive (C) & black/UV (D) LCB, plum/black (C) Swift, old plum/olive (C) Imago, old plum/wasabi Ruck's Sac, steel WF/TS PCB, plum/solar & black/UV (C) & steel/UV (D) Synapses, black/iberian Smart Alec, steel Brain Bag.

  4. #4
    Registered User ncb4's Avatar
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    I've had both a Ballistic and a Cordura Imago, and like marbenais, I'm sad to see the Cordura being phased out. I didn't hang onto my Ballistic one for long: the color (Steel/Cork) though shimmery, just wasn't for me. (Sold it on eBay.) I may replace that one day with a Navy/Cork Imago, or possibly the Cardinal/Hemp: can't make up my mind. But during the short time I used the Ballistic, I noticed a trade-off: yes, it did have more "heft" and more structure, as dorayme has pointed out; and I did appreciate that. But the Ballistic Imago also seemed to have less give. If, like me, you tend to overstuff your bags, you might want to grab one of the Cordura Imagos while they're still available, because my Indigo/Plum Imago is more forgiving and will let me cram more in there.

    But Cordura is floppier, that's true. Yesterday I made a trip carrying my Macbook Air in a new felt sleeve I'd sewn for it: also kind of floppy. The combination didn't work too well, honestly. Every time I would remove the Air and then want to put it back in the Imago, everything else in the bag had slid around, and I had to rearrange the whole works to get the sleeve back inside, which didn't want to go. What works better for me with the Imago, Cordura or Ballistic, is to use a rigid laptop sleeve inside. The Brain Cell might work, though I haven't tried it. I've got a 13-inch Higher Ground Flak Jacket that just fits inside, and it gives the Imago the structure it needs. I unzip the Flak Jacket, remove my Air, and leave the FJ inside. There is still sufficient room to carry everything else that I want to; I'm even able to fit my 3-inch diameter thermal mug. (I think the width of my Flak Jacket is about 1.75 inches.)

    I love my Indigo/Plum Cordura Imago, but I'll have to live without it for a few weeks. :-( It's going back to the mother ship to be retrofitted with an additional o-ring in the main compartment. Thanks to Katy and June for arranging that for me.
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  5. #5
    Registered User dorayme's Avatar
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    What you describe with the contents shifting when you remove something was what was maddening me when I had my Cordura Imago, and every other messenger I've ever owned. It's this very thing that has kept me from even trying the Cafe Bags. I love the idea of them and their size, but remember past messenger bags that I couldn't stand because of their floppyness and the blackhole like manifestation that would happen when my things went in and all intermingled.
    The Ballistic version did a much better job of keeping enough of it's shape so that the contents didn't fall together when I removed something from the bag. The other colors are nice, and I would love to have one for the color, but realize that I wouldn't enjoy the function as much as I do with my Steel/Cork.

    An additional o-ring. That's a great idea. Please share pictures when you get it back!
    Si non aptus in Peram, ego opus ad buy magis quisque.
    my bags: S, LS, KP, mg'11, S, LS, COW, MCB, LS, COW, LSB, SE, LSB, TT, SB, SE, TSS4, PCSB, PCBP-A, SC, BB, SCB, FJN, BB, FoJ, RS, F.O.T., LSB, S25, PCSB K, LS, I w/AS, A, PP FJN, SE, 3-DC, MCB, PCBP-T/WF, PCSB, CQPC, S19, LSB, SB, TT, SE, S, P, WF, UT, LSB, CQPC, PCBP-T/WF, RiPad, SB, LSB

  6. #6
    Registered User ncb4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dorayme View Post
    What you describe with the contents shifting when you remove something was what was maddening me when I had my Cordura Imago, and every other messenger I've ever owned. It's this very thing that has kept me from even trying the Cafe Bags. I love the idea of them and their size, but remember past messenger bags that I couldn't stand because of their floppyness and the blackhole like manifestation that would happen when my things went in and all intermingled.
    The Ballistic version did a much better job of keeping enough of it's shape so that the contents didn't fall together when I removed something from the bag. The other colors are nice, and I would love to have one for the color, but realize that I wouldn't enjoy the function as much as I do with my Steel/Cork.

    An additional o-ring. That's a great idea. Please share pictures when you get it back!
    As for the o-ring, it turns out that my Imago was made before maverick's video. Your Steel/Cork Imago probably already has two o-rings in the main compartment, dorayme: on the left and on the right, correct? Mine lacked one of those, because it was made about sixteen months ago with a slightly different design. I really missed that second internal o-ring, so I asked if they could add one, and June said yes! Made me so happy.

    As for the "shiftiness" of Cordura Cafe Bags, you may want to give one a whirl. In the past, I hadn't thought I liked bags with a vertical orientation because I had to awkwardly stack things in them to make full use of the space, and then stuff at the bottom was inaccessible; either that, or things tended to get lost in that black hole you mentioned. (Nice way of putting it.) But when I got an iPad this summer, I decided to try a Medium Cafe Bag as a way of carrying it along with its keyboard, my purse stuff, small camera, and even that thermal carafe. (Got to have my chai lattes.) I have surprised myself with how much I like my MCB. Although this may not be true with the deeper Large CBs, the MCB seems to be the perfect height so that I'm not wasting any space or having to stack items. Of course the o-rings (three of them in the main compartment alone), along with key straps and Organizer Bags, help with that a lot. But I've actually found myself gravitating to the MCB over my Imago some days. But then, I already liked the Cordura fabric of my Imago, so your experience might be different.

    The other thing I've noticed is that the felt sleeves that I've sewn for both my iPad and my Macbook Air work better inside the Cafe Bag than the Imago. They slip in and out of the Cafe Bag easily, and I don't feel I have to completely unpack and repack the CB every time I access the felt sleeves. Both my MCB and my Imago are Cordura, remember, so the floppiness of the fabric isn't the issue. I think it may be that the vertical orientation of the Cafe Bag tends to hold large, relatively thin items like these computer gadgets in a more stable way. That's my working theory anyway.

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    Thanks for the responses. It looks like there is no clear winner! :-) Very helpful to know about the jumbling around of stuff, and the extra stuffability of the cordura.
    My little set of TB stuff:
    Western Flyer (steel/ultraviolet)
    Small Pouch (cork)
    Large Shop Bag (solar)
    packing cubes

  8. #8
    Registered User ncb4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thisisme View Post
    Thanks for the responses. It looks like there is no clear winner! :-) Very helpful to know about the jumbling around of stuff, and the extra stuffability of the cordura.
    That's the problem with TB stuff: every option is so worthwhile (or drool-worthy, as I say) that there never is a clear winner. And so you the end up like falconlea and the rest of us in this thread VAST and ever-increasing TB collection!
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  9. #9
    Registered User dorayme's Avatar
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    I would have to agree, with ncb4, thisisme. There are benefits and caveats to them all. It really comes down to your style, how you plan to use it, and your personal tastes on certain things. That being said, I am a firm believer that there is something TB that almost everybody will love!
    Si non aptus in Peram, ego opus ad buy magis quisque.
    my bags: S, LS, KP, mg'11, S, LS, COW, MCB, LS, COW, LSB, SE, LSB, TT, SB, SE, TSS4, PCSB, PCBP-A, SC, BB, SCB, FJN, BB, FoJ, RS, F.O.T., LSB, S25, PCSB K, LS, I w/AS, A, PP FJN, SE, 3-DC, MCB, PCBP-T/WF, PCSB, CQPC, S19, LSB, SB, TT, SE, S, P, WF, UT, LSB, CQPC, PCBP-T/WF, RiPad, SB, LSB

  10. #10
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    I have a Cordura Imago and just bought a new Cardinal/Hemp/Steel Imago. I also have a SCB. I really like Cordura as a fabric. I like the light-weight, the softness and flexibility. I never find the Cordura Imago very floppy, probably because it always has my MacBook Air (inside cache) in it, which provides structure. The ballistic Imago arrived Thursday and I haven't had a chance to use it (I'll get its computer on Monday), but clearly there's more structure when empty. I'll be curious to see which fabric I prefer.
    Owner of Crimson/Steel Western Flyer, Forest/Steel Zephyr, Olive/Cayenne Ristretto for iPad, Olive/Cork/Steel and Cardinal/Hemp/Steel Imago, Plum/Wasabi Side Effect, Linen/Steel and Conifer/Steel SCB, Steel Breve, Plum/Black Swift, Steel FJN, Horizontal Freudian Slip, black Brain Cell, Iberian Packing Cube Backpack, Ultraviolet Packing Cube Shoulder Bag, and various organizer pouches, caches, and other odds and ends.

  11. #11
    Registered User ncb4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wennefer View Post
    I have a Cordura Imago and just bought a new Cardinal/Hemp/Steel Imago. I also have a SCB. I really like Cordura as a fabric. I like the light-weight, the softness and flexibility. I never find the Cordura Imago very floppy, probably because it always has my MacBook Air (inside cache) in it, which provides structure. The ballistic Imago arrived Thursday and I haven't had a chance to use it (I'll get its computer on Monday), but clearly there's more structure when empty. I'll be curious to see which fabric I prefer.
    Congratulations on your new Imago in that luscious Cardinal/Hemp. I like Cordura, too, and have an Indigo/Plum Imago in Cordura. I've had the same experience that you have: I don't find the Cordura too floppy as long as I'm carrying my Macbook Air inside it (though I use a rigid case, not a Cache). I've been looking at either the Cardinal/Hemp or the Navy/Cork Imago and hoping for an excuse to purchase one, so since you carry the same things as I do, I'll be really interested in your comparison between your Cordura and Ballistic Imagos. And maybe we can see a picture of your new Cardinal/Hemp Imago, too.


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