Imago and pickpockets
I saw the request for help for the Synapse and pickpockets, and think I need some help for my Imago, which doesn't have as many zippers. I am the happy owner of a new steel/cork/wasabe Imago, and I would really like to use it as my EDC when I travel abroad this summer to dense urban areas. It's comfortable and just the right size for me. How can I make this bag more secure? There is one small zipper pocket under the flap and two outside the flap (wish there was a large zippered inside pocket along the back!) and a large flap over the opening (no zipper for the large opening).
Some things that I would carry in it would be a camera and Kindle, and the usual sundries - chapstick, sunglasses, hat, scarf, cash for the day, sunscreen, etc. Has anyone here traveled to pickpocket-dense areas with an Imago? How did you use it? Suggestions are most welcome!
My worry with the synapse was those two side pockets that were the ideal place for wallets etc an I thought they might be slid open without me noticing.
Looking at the Imago (I don't have one myself) and its look like there is plenty of organisation under the clipped down main flap. I suspect you'd have a reasonably chance of noticing if someone unclipped and lifted the flap.
Originally Posted by drpher
while i haven't traveled with the imago in dense pickpocket prone urban areas, if i was concerned about someone getting into my bag, i would carry it with the strap worn across my back and the bag in front of me.
i would also place the camera and kindle inside organizer pouches and attach them to o-rings inside of the imago. if you have a tom bihn clear organizer wallet or organizer pouch, place your cash inside that and attach it to an o-ring also. it adds another level of protection.
above all, if you find yourself in a situation where someone is trying to take your bag and you don't feel safe - if they are armed, if there aren't people around, whatever - by all means let the bag go. the contents and your bag can be replaced, but you can't.
Originally Posted by gonty
i carry my tom bihn clear organizer wallet attached to an o-ring inside of a side pocket of the synapse. i think i would notice if someone pulled on one of the splash proof zippers that tom bihn uses on this and many other bags.
when we were in walt disney world last november, during the afternoon parade when the crowd became fairly dense, i carried the synapse worn on my front rather than on my back, and this provided an added level of protection.
Hi, maverick, Jonathan!
Thanks for the reassurances and good ideas (and photo!). I will carry the bag in front with the flap facing me most of the time. I do have organizer pouches and plan to use them. I am also going to look for a carabiner if I can find one that is just the right size to make it more difficult to unhook.
@maverick - "...let the bag go" ?!?!? that will be very difficult! (jk) I waited three months for my bag! :) Seriously, though, thanks for the sound advice!
Have a great day!
Don't put all your eggs in one basket, either: carry some of your cash, credit cards and your passport in a pouch inside your pants. If you wear a dress, you can use a money belt or small pouch on a lanyard around your neck and inside the dress, though neither of these are as secure as inside pants. Some people I know also carry cash inside a shoe.
But the key is being aware of your surroundings (not paranoid, just aware).
I'm expecting the arrival of my plum/olive Imago Friday of this week. If I'm worried about pickpockets I turn the bag around so the flap is against my body. This makes me feel more secure, whether or not I am, who knows.
At my local large box craft store in the jewelry department I found a chain with a snap hook on one end. I put a split ring on the other end and attach it to one of the O rings in the bag. I then attach my wallet to that. Hope that makes sense. The chain is about 18 inches long and weighs nothing.
Even if someone cut into the bag they wouldn't be able to get the chain loose. Any pickpocket worth his/her weight is going to look for the easy target. My wallet is NOT an easy target when literally chained to the inside of my bag. Like bbcamp, I never put all my eggs in one basket. Its an old saying but so true at home and when on the road.
@ bbcamp - Thanks for the reminder about putting all my eggs in one basket. I'll be sure to spread it out a big more.
@ Moose - The plum/olive looks like a great combination! Like you, I plan to turn the flap toward me when I use it. I like your idea with the chain and snap hook. The TB key straps sort of serve the same purpose, maybe not quite as securely, though.
Thanks for your help and advice!
As a former tour director who has visited many of those pickpocket prone areas, let me offer some suggestions:
1) Wear a moneybelt. Either the one around your waist, neck, attached to a belt and worn inside your pants (hidden pocket) or around your ankle. In this should be your passport, credit cards, debit cards, any tickets you might have, and the majority of your cash. Your daily needs for cash and perhaps one credit card, either goes inside a wallet in your front pocket or inside either the Tom Bihn wallet or another wallet attached to an o-ring. (I use a Pacsafe Wallet that has an attached chain that goes around my belt and inside my front pocket.) You only carry enough cash for that day. And never, ever access the moneybelt in public.
2) I''m switching from backpack to messenger bag and I'm also concerned about the theft. My current plan is to get a Large Cafe Bag and put my Side Effect inside it and attach, on both sides, to the O-rings. My small electronics--Ipod, camera, phone, etc,--would go into the side effect. You could do the same with the Imago. (And should I have to check the LC in someplace like a museum, the Side Effect comes out and goes around my waist. I'll keep a small carabiner to attach the zippers to make it harder to get into in this situation. The way my expensive stuff stays with me and not in some checkroom.)
3) Violent crime is extremely rare in Europe. The most people encounter is pickpocketing or con artists. The more you can learn about commonly found scams and tricks, the better. A good place where people post their experiences is the Tourist Scam Alert section of the Rick Steves board:
4) Alertness, common sense, and being aware of your surroundings will help. Pickpockets look for opportunity. The harder you make if for them, the quicker they'll move on to someone else.
I actually found an article by Rick Steves about this subject. Not trying to scare you--but--the more info you have, the less likely you'll have a problem.
Thanks for the great tips! iI had seen the Rick Steves' articles before, but they were good reminders. I don't have a side effect, but i do have a 3D Clear Organizer Cube that has attachments so that I can link them inside my bag. It doesn't have the same organization and isn't as large as the Side Effect, but at least I can connect them on both ends. I'll be leaving soon and will let you know how everything goes!
Do you think that room safes are not, well, safe? I tend to leave my valuables there while I am out and about--leaving the bulk of my cash and my emergency US dollar stash, pricier electronica that I don't need during the day, my extra credit cards, passport, etc. Then I keep one credit card, a xerox of my passport, and daily cash in a Tom Bihn wallet clipped inside my Imago. Not pickpocket proof, I realize, but pickpocket resistant. And having limited valuables with me on the street limits my exposure to theft in any event.
But the whole strategy is premised on the idea that I can trust the room safe to be secure. Is this naive? (Too late for me this time if it is, since I'm writing this from China right now, with no moneybelt along for the trip.)
From what I've read, hotel rooms are safer than carrying everything with you. Like you, I also do not have a money belt, but will only take what I need for the day. I hope you're enjoying your trip! Will be there a few days! Packing now...