Imago or Large Cafe: good large purse/carry bag?
About four years ago, I needed a daily carry bag and happily purchased a Medium Cafe Bag. My "purse" has gone everywhere with me since then and has been the best bag I've ever owned. Compared to the "disposable" bags I see all the time, the Cafe Bag is almost freakishly well-built. It always draws compliments and people want to know where I "just" got it as it still looks brand new despite hard daily use (I ordered it in the black exterior and an interior color that doesn't seem to around anymore, a very light shade of purple-grey or violet.)
I seriously thought I'd wear out any bag before I outgrew it, but short of taking a blowtorch to my Cafe Bag, I don't think that will be possible!
Here's my dilemma: I naturally thought about upgrading to a Large Cafe Bag, but I'm not sure it will be quite big enough for all the stuff I'm carrying around now vs. four years ago. The Imago looks like it might be perfect, especially as I can order it with an Absolute Shoulder Strap to make it even more comfortable.
Here's what I'm attempting to haul around in/with my overstuffed Medium bag (having to carry a few things now!) and also what I'd like to haul around in either a new Imago or Large Cafe:
--wallet (large size)
--eyeglasses in hard case
--business card cases (three -- I wear a lot of "hats")
--two notebooks (both about 9" x 5")
--various reading material including hardback books
--occasionally my Powerbook 12" (already have a sleeve for it)
--power adapter when PB is present
--"medicines pouch" (basically like TB's large accessory pouch)
--cell phone and handsfree headset (wired)
--Buddhist prayer beads in their own medium pouch
--meditation texts (like little bound spiral notebooks about 9" x 6" or smaller)
--and various little things like lip balm, lotion, kleenex, etc.
So, what do you folks think? Would an Imago make a good large "purse" or would the large Cafe Bag be more suitable? I think both are exceptionally good bags and this really might be more a question of which of the best would be best for me. It might help to know that I'm tall guy (6'4") so overall size isn't a big issue with either bag, although I am little concerned about the Imago's width vs. the Cafe's more vertical orientation. The only real issues are the daily use factors (which would be more convenient, easier to tote around, etc.) and which seems better at holding all my stuff for easy access.
Any ideas or suggestions will be most appreciated especially from folks with either of the two bags. Thanks!
New Imago Arrived: VERY happy customer
To follow-up, my new Imago in Hunter/Steel/Steel arrived two days ago exactly as promised. (The bag is the "older" slightly more conservative style on the front without the swoopier color panel.)
--freakishly well built compared to any other bag I've seen that does not have the Tom Bihn name on it. I decided to go over every stitch just for fun and they're all perfect.
--colors are wonderful -- the Hunter as shown on 72dpi web pages can't capture the deep richness of the actual material in Ballistic nylon. Richly elegant yet subtle.
--the Absolute Strap option was worth the extra $15 and more to me. I'm carrying twice as much stuff around as I was in my Medium Cafe Bag but with this strap, I hardly notice I'm carrying anything at all. The contact the bag makes with my hip is actually more noticeable than the load on my shoulder!
--ordering a medium Organizer Pouch with the bag was a very good idea for me. Well-made and the ability to click it onto one of the Imago's rings makes it at-the-ready all the time.
--having a more landscape organization seems to definitely be better (for me) than having it more vertical as it would have been in a Large Cafe Bag. With the Imago's pockets and space setup there is no digging around for anything. It's all just there exactly where it needs to be.
I usually don't think much about singing the praises of consumer goods, but when something comes along that is this good & from a company that seems to be doing a lot of good things, it's worth my time to pass on my experience. I hope it helps others!