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  1. #1
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    Thumbs up Love (LOVE, LOVE, LOVE) Imago Bag

    I ordered the cocoa/cocoa/wasabi Imago bag a few weeks ago and have just now found time to switch all of my stuff from my Large Cafe Bag (Kelly/Gray) so that I could start using it. What an incredible bag. It is one of the best bags I have ever used. I am able to hold a large textbook, notebook, iPod, Moto-Q cell phone, multiple Tom Bihn pouches, and assorted other small items in this bag. And it wears very comfortably. Just a great fit. I bought this exact bag a few months ago and returned it because, frankly, when I opened the box it appeared too small. Was I ever wrong. This bag holds just about everything. I purchased mine with the Absolute Shoulder Strap.

    As much as I love the bag, I love this strap even more. It has a foam-stretchy place at the top of the bag that has give and stays in place, but feels so comfortable. I have only used the bag for a few days now, but get tons of compliments on the style and color. I am flying to Texas from Washington this weekend for my little brother's wedding, and this is my main bag that I am taking with all of the little necessities I need. I will post an update to let everyone know how the bag is holding up. If you don't already have this bag, I highly recommend it. I own several (okay, once you buy a Bihn, you can't stop) Tom Bihn bags, and I have to say that this is one of the best designs ever.

    Tom Bihn - what a great company. Exceptional customer service and a product that will last. Thank you.
    Proud user of Tom Bihn products since 2005.

  2. #2
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    Question Any Update on Your Imago Review?

    Quote Originally Posted by bobster View Post
    I will post an update to let everyone know how the bag is holding up. If you don't already have this bag, I highly recommend it. I own several (okay, once you buy a Bihn, you can't stop) Tom Bihn bags, and I have to say that this is one of the best designs ever.
    How did it work out? I myself am trying to decide between a Large Cafe Bag or the Imago. I will be getting the Absolute Shoulder Strap either way.
    Bags: Super Ego (Black/indigo w/cork seatbelt); Aeronaut (Crimson/Steel); 2 Medium Cafe Bags (Navy/Cayenne, Linen/Olive), w/an Ultrasuede Shoulder Strap Wrap; Large Cafe Bag (Cocoa/Wasabi) w/Absolute Strap; Imago (sadly lost to hazmat); a Brain Cell w/ another Strap Wrap; and a Shop Bag (Steel). Accessories: Bunches and bunches.
    Wanted: Zephyr or Empire Builder.
    " ...all [that] you have to depend on is yourself and your luggage." - The Luggage Salesman (Joe Versus the Volcano)

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by ex machina View Post
    I myself am trying to decide between a Large Cafe Bag or the Imago. I will be getting the Absolute Shoulder Strap either way.
    The Absolute Shoulder Strap is a must, no more bruised shoulders!

    I might be able to help you a little since I have 2 Large Cafe Bags and was about to order an Imago when it first came out in Navy/Storm/Sapphire (it was some time ago).

    I ultimately decided that the Imago was not for me because of weight distribution.

    In the Large Cafe Bag the weight is distributed North/South. So the shoulder, the back, the hips and the legs support a little of the weight.
    No matter what I do walk, walk fast, trot or even run, the bag follows the contours and movements of the body.


    Before ordering the Imago, I decided to do an experiment with the Swift, another East/West bag.
    I switched all the items from the Large Cafe Bag to the Swift and went on a bus/metro ride to the City.
    I came to the conclusion that lugging things in an East/West manner was no longer for me since shoulders and legs took the brunt of the weight and were sore.
    I thought it might have to do with the absence of the Absolute Strap to cushion the shoulder, but the Swift Poron handles are cushy too.

    When I use the Swift as a needlework purse/light shopping tote and also carry my Large Cafe with its usual load, both feel perfectly fine.


    Because a bag is such a personal thing, you might order the Imago and the Large Cafe Bag, try them by switching all of your essentials from one to another.
    A good indoor test is to keep each bag on for sometimes while you are doing stuff around the house. (no deep frying or quality time with your angora cat or your drooly dog Or you gonna have to keep both bags. lol!

    I can assure you that with such an experiment, you will know if they fit or not.

    Be aware that while you are trying on the goods, family members/friends might try them on too and say "I want it" and you will have to order another one for yourself.
    Last edited by backpack; 01-10-2009 at 05:18 PM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ex machina View Post
    How did it work out? I myself am trying to decide between a Large Cafe Bag or the Imago. I will be getting the Absolute Shoulder Strap either way.
    I used a large cafe bag before switching to my Imago, which I've been using faithfully for the past two years that I've owned it. I still use the Large cafe bag occasionally, but I don't love it nearly as much as I love my Imago.

    The imago has a great carrying capacity (and more organization by means of pockets), for one, but it's still a decently compact bag. It is also less deep than the large cafe bag, which makes it easier for me to find things in it.

    My imago is my every day bag. My large cafe bag is my minimal "I need to carry a few mid-size things" bag.

  5. #5
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    Smile Thank You backpack :)

    Tnx backpack for your informative reply.

    Quote Originally Posted by backpack View Post
    The Absolute Shoulder Strap is a must, no more bruised shoulders!
    I agree. I am concerned however if it will be long enough. I can always get it reworked by a cobbler if need be but, I would like to see if there is an extra long/tall one available.

    Quote Originally Posted by backpack View Post
    I came to the conclusion that lugging things in an East/West manner was no longer for me since shoulders and legs took the brunt of the weight and were sore.
    I currently use an east/west bag, and since I added a shoulder pad to the strap, I find carrying it is fine. I get your point on North/South. And as you said, bag choice is a very personal thing. I have reflected on how I interface with the bag as well. I expect that ultimately I will get both an Imago and a Large Cafe Bag over time. But the present budget covers the choice of only one.

    The decision to carry a camera at all times seems to have been the proverbial straw that excised me from using the Medium Cafe Bag. Added to the other things I intend to carry, it tipped the bag to a tad swollen. The side pockets are a big point in my attraction to the Imago, as are the numerous pockets under the flap. Perhaps I am just not ready for a Cafe Bag as yet, and an Imago will be my transition bag on the way to such.

    So it seems I am now leaning toward the Imago. I was leaning toward it before I saw your response, and after spending a day contemplating the excellent points you make, I think I will go with the Imago for now, and order the Large Cafe Bag in March. I can see already where I am headed regarding bags this year: Imago, Shop Bag, Large Cafe Bag, and a Utility Tote.

    I am hoping to speak with staff over at TB tomorrow to further aid me in my decision process. So I will say the jury is still out. I will of course post my final decision and eventually a bag review (with pictures).

    BTW, I have in my possession a Medium Cafe Bag, in Navy with a Cayenne lining. I will be returning it because after my test drive (seeing how my stuff fills it) I was surprised at how much I filled it. The bag is gorgeous btw, and extremely well made. Also, the Cayenne is more subdued that it looks on the web site, which made it even more attractive (imo). The Navy color is deep, rich, one might even say luxuriant. Best Navy I have seen, more deep blue than bordering black.

    Also, this was my first experience with a vertical bag. I now get the Gucci oblong bag. I always thought it was an odd looking bag in shape. But it is the horizontal orientation that of course allows easy top down access to everything. Stacking is something a vertical bag user must do which is not something I had given much thought previously. Apparently I have a preference for direct eye-contact access to everything when I open a bag. I did try a work around using keystraps and pouches that made it very doable for me. In fact, had the camera not tipped the scales (and only by very little I might add), I would have been quite content. It would have been simply a matter of committing to muscle memory the vertical arrangement and access.

    What I would really like to see in the cafe bag series is expandability on the fly. I saw a bag last year and asked a fellow about it. It was about 20 years old but held up well. He had gotten it at Eastern Mountain Sports (so he thought anyway - I visited the store he thought he used and it no longer had such). What was nifty was the satchel nature of it, (more square than a cafe bag though), but most of all he could slide a zipper around 3 sides and double the capacity of the bag. This ultimately led to my purchase of a Manhattan Portage Deluxe Europa (I had yet to discover Tom Bihn). It is a feature that has been very handy. I'll be jockeying to be first in line should that design appear in a Tom Bihn everyday carry bag!

    I was also considering some mods to the straps. I posted elsewhere on my idea for an attach-to-my-belt system in lieu of the waist strap. I did order the waist strap, mostly so I would have the hardware to connect to my bag. After a couple of weeks I think I would have been heading to a cobbler to make some of my adaptations. However, the same goes for the Imago. So, my experiment will continue if I go Imago.

    The main shoulder carry strap was a bit shorter than I like. One thing I did with the strap is to slide the rubber pad all the way down on one side (the side opposite the strap lengthening widget - and I would like to know the proper name of that widget - "buckle" perhaps). I did not like the way the rubber pad was loosey-goosey sliding about. So I tucked it down out of the way and the bag rode to my liking. I probably would have cut the pad off over time.

    I also ordered a pack of strapeez velcro fasteners. I had planned to keep one on the main strap, so I could cinch together the strap in a neat fold when I placed my bag down on a common table (at the library, Starbucks, etc.) I tested it out and it was fine. I had placed one wrapped around itself on the bag strap as well for a test and it looked good, riding down by the buckle/widget/the-thing-who's-proper-name-I-do-not-know.

    I also considered a mod of the main strap so the strap would be removable. Something that would allow me to use an absolute strap. After thinking about that and taking a quick look at the Absolute Strap web page, it dawned on me that I might well and be better off with a Large Cafe Bag w/Absolute Strap. That coupled with getting snug with the camera, my realization of my (current) preference for horizontal access, a reassessment of the Imago, and I find myself at my current state.

    I did get some padded pouches as well and they are excellent. So excellent in fact that they are fully integrated already with my camera, radio, mp3 player,and headphones. Its the kinda of thing that is such a natural fit it seems it was supposed to be that way all along.

    Tnx again backpack for your excellent input.
    Last edited by ex machina; 01-11-2009 at 07:57 PM. Reason: grammar
    Bags: Super Ego (Black/indigo w/cork seatbelt); Aeronaut (Crimson/Steel); 2 Medium Cafe Bags (Navy/Cayenne, Linen/Olive), w/an Ultrasuede Shoulder Strap Wrap; Large Cafe Bag (Cocoa/Wasabi) w/Absolute Strap; Imago (sadly lost to hazmat); a Brain Cell w/ another Strap Wrap; and a Shop Bag (Steel). Accessories: Bunches and bunches.
    Wanted: Zephyr or Empire Builder.
    " ...all [that] you have to depend on is yourself and your luggage." - The Luggage Salesman (Joe Versus the Volcano)

  6. #6
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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by timarelay View Post
    I used a large cafe bag before switching to my Imago, which I've been using faithfully for the past two years that I've owned it. I still use the Large cafe bag occasionally, but I don't love it nearly as much as I love my Imago.

    The imago has a great carrying capacity (and more organization by means of pockets), for one, but it's still a decently compact bag. It is also less deep than the large cafe bag, which makes it easier for me to find things in it.

    My imago is my every day bag. My large cafe bag is my minimal "I need to carry a few mid-size things" bag.
    Tnx timarelay, that is great input. Your insight has definitely shored-up my leaning toward the Imago. Barring some decision altering data when I speak with the TB staff tomorrow, I fully expect I will be going with a Steel/Steel/Cayenne Imago bag.

    I am curious if the Steel/Steel/Cayenne Imago bag is in the Yin or the Yang style. Either will be fine. Just that in doing my research, it is unclear to me if all the Ballistic Nylon bags are done now in the Yang style while the Cordura bags have always been done in the Yin style. Perhaps all are in the Yin style now? I will ask tomorrow.

    Thanks again timarelay for your excellent input.
    Last edited by ex machina; 01-12-2009 at 12:18 AM. Reason: corrected my mix-up of the Yin/Yang terms.
    Bags: Super Ego (Black/indigo w/cork seatbelt); Aeronaut (Crimson/Steel); 2 Medium Cafe Bags (Navy/Cayenne, Linen/Olive), w/an Ultrasuede Shoulder Strap Wrap; Large Cafe Bag (Cocoa/Wasabi) w/Absolute Strap; Imago (sadly lost to hazmat); a Brain Cell w/ another Strap Wrap; and a Shop Bag (Steel). Accessories: Bunches and bunches.
    Wanted: Zephyr or Empire Builder.
    " ...all [that] you have to depend on is yourself and your luggage." - The Luggage Salesman (Joe Versus the Volcano)

  7. #7
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    Hmmm-- if I could only pick one, it would be the Imago, but I also have a preference for horizontal bags. However, I've ordered my first Cafe bag (medium), so I'll see how my opinion changes.

    I will say, though, that I LOVE my Imago and heartily recommend it to anyone who wants a small messenger bag.

  8. #8
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    Smile Useful picture for an idea of the bag

    Tnx Jenne for adding to the dialogue. I am definitely hoping you will post your opinion of the contrast between the Imago and Medium Cafe bag when you are done with your shake out period.

    I also found this picture helpful.


    I will be posting pictures of myself with the bag so others will have an idea about how it measures up to a large man. I currently use the MP Deluxe Europa and as messenger bags go, it is on the larger size. On me it does not look out of place. On someone small it might seem distractingly large. That was one of the deficits I found in my research: lack of large models with bags. Not all big guys have switched to wheeled bags you know. :P

    At present it seems I will be getting the Steel/Steel/Cayenne bag, a Steel and White Dyneema Shop Bag (for daily carry in the Imago - to offset those times I just need extra storage space), and several more clear pouches (they're so addictive . I may just get a cork pouch too. I am presently convincing my budgeting self that it would be a sound purchase, needed even, to protect my flash drive. It's a decision based on reasoned and sound merits of course, not wholly on the massively cool nature of the cork pouches. ;P
    Last edited by ex machina; 01-11-2009 at 07:48 PM. Reason: grammar
    Bags: Super Ego (Black/indigo w/cork seatbelt); Aeronaut (Crimson/Steel); 2 Medium Cafe Bags (Navy/Cayenne, Linen/Olive), w/an Ultrasuede Shoulder Strap Wrap; Large Cafe Bag (Cocoa/Wasabi) w/Absolute Strap; Imago (sadly lost to hazmat); a Brain Cell w/ another Strap Wrap; and a Shop Bag (Steel). Accessories: Bunches and bunches.
    Wanted: Zephyr or Empire Builder.
    " ...all [that] you have to depend on is yourself and your luggage." - The Luggage Salesman (Joe Versus the Volcano)

  9. #9
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    I have had a cork pouch since they came out, get one, they are amazing!

    Note that this is from somebody who usually cannot stand any warm color.

    But the cork has "something" and it is very eco friendly.
    Last edited by backpack; 01-12-2009 at 06:19 AM.

  10. #10
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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by backpack View Post
    I have had a cork pouch since they came out, get one, they are amazing!
    I have moved the cork pouch (mini) into the 'buy now' column.

    Quote Originally Posted by ex machina View Post
    ...opposite the strap lengthening widget - and I would like to know the proper name of that widget - "buckle" perhaps
    After reading elsewhere in the forum I now know that the widget in question can be better referenced as a toothed slide buckle.
    Bags: Super Ego (Black/indigo w/cork seatbelt); Aeronaut (Crimson/Steel); 2 Medium Cafe Bags (Navy/Cayenne, Linen/Olive), w/an Ultrasuede Shoulder Strap Wrap; Large Cafe Bag (Cocoa/Wasabi) w/Absolute Strap; Imago (sadly lost to hazmat); a Brain Cell w/ another Strap Wrap; and a Shop Bag (Steel). Accessories: Bunches and bunches.
    Wanted: Zephyr or Empire Builder.
    " ...all [that] you have to depend on is yourself and your luggage." - The Luggage Salesman (Joe Versus the Volcano)

  11. #11
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    Oh, great, now I need a cork pouch! Thanks a lot!

    I love organizer bags. My friends laugh at me because of my need to keep everything in little bags.

  12. #12
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    Thumbs up Just placed my order! :)

    I placed my order!

    I spoke with Tom Bihn himself and he was very helpful. The process of returns is quite easy. Just send it back with a copy of your invoice(s), and a request for what you want done. As for the new stuff: just order it like normal. No return authorizations, no bureaucracy, no restock fee, no hassle. Ya gotta love the way TB does business!

    So, what did I order?
    Clear Organizer Pouches: 2 large, 2 medium, 2 small
    Cork Organizer Pouch: 1 mini
    Shop Bag: 1 in Steel-White Dyneema
    The Imago: 1 Steel/Steel/Cayenne w/Absolute Strap

    The above coupled with the 2 small padded pouches, 1 mini clear pouch, 2 keystraps (an 8in. & a 16in.) from a previous order will round out my TB setup. I will begin the shake-out the day it arrives. I will post my detailed review with pics in about a month or two. I want to give it a fair and honest review so it will take some time to do such. I have to wait for my after-new-bag-glow to fade and run the bag through at least a month of its daily use tasking. I will be taking notes as I go on how it is working for me and such so I expect the review will be too detailed for some :P
    Bags: Super Ego (Black/indigo w/cork seatbelt); Aeronaut (Crimson/Steel); 2 Medium Cafe Bags (Navy/Cayenne, Linen/Olive), w/an Ultrasuede Shoulder Strap Wrap; Large Cafe Bag (Cocoa/Wasabi) w/Absolute Strap; Imago (sadly lost to hazmat); a Brain Cell w/ another Strap Wrap; and a Shop Bag (Steel). Accessories: Bunches and bunches.
    Wanted: Zephyr or Empire Builder.
    " ...all [that] you have to depend on is yourself and your luggage." - The Luggage Salesman (Joe Versus the Volcano)

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenne View Post
    Oh, great, now I need a cork pouch! Thanks a lot!

    I love organizer bags. My friends laugh at me because of my need to keep everything in little bags.
    You are welcome! Hey we need to keep TB in business! LOL

    Me too I have a lot of TB pouches, for me this is the only way to find what I want when I want it.


    It must be noted that, before I found TB first class products, I used low grade pencils cases and various cosmetic bags/pouches for "organization".

    I treat my stuff really well but those cases could not hold together after sometime of daily use. My biggest pet peeve were the very cheap zippers.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ex machina View Post
    I also found this picture helpful.
    Hooray, that's my pic! :-)

    I may have to bust out my Imago and use it more often.. I've been using the Large Cafe bag pretty much daily now. I'm pretty flexible with the organization of my gear, main difference for me is that I prefer to wear the Imago across the torso, and the Large Cafe just over one shoulder.. this is a critical thing when one is wearing graphic T-shirts and the strap across the chest would totally discombobulate the message :-)

  15. #15
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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by backpack View Post
    It must be noted that, before I found TB first class products, I used low grade pencils cases and various cosmetic bags/pouches for "organization".
    I am still using a grammar school style pencil bag I picked up at Staples. It will be replaced by one of the clear pouches I have being shipped from Tom Bihn.


    Quote Originally Posted by Just View Post
    Hooray, that's my pic! :-)
    Tnx Just for posting it on Flickr. It gave me excellent input on the bag.
    Bags: Super Ego (Black/indigo w/cork seatbelt); Aeronaut (Crimson/Steel); 2 Medium Cafe Bags (Navy/Cayenne, Linen/Olive), w/an Ultrasuede Shoulder Strap Wrap; Large Cafe Bag (Cocoa/Wasabi) w/Absolute Strap; Imago (sadly lost to hazmat); a Brain Cell w/ another Strap Wrap; and a Shop Bag (Steel). Accessories: Bunches and bunches.
    Wanted: Zephyr or Empire Builder.
    " ...all [that] you have to depend on is yourself and your luggage." - The Luggage Salesman (Joe Versus the Volcano)

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