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Imago or Large Cafe: good large purse/carry bag?

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  • Adi
    replied
    Imago, Imago....

    Hello All:

    Glad someone else found this thread useful! I should post a longer follow-up, but for now I can say that it's been almost a year since I got my lovely Imago and I can't imagine going anyplace without it. Best money I've ever spent on a bag and worth every penny! But for now:

    Positives:

    --Quality is amazing. Still looks brand new after nearly a year of daily use.
    --I can actually find what I'm looking for very quickly. The more horizontal way "spread out" of the interior seems to be better than having gotten a large Cafe Bag where it's more vertical & things might end up on the bottom.
    --The Absolute Strap makes it seem as if I'm carrying nothing much at all when the Imago is fully loaded. Remarkably comfortable.
    --The back side full-length pocket is surprisingly useful. Holds all sorts of things more securely than I'd have imagined.
    --The organization under the front flap is just right. Wallet in the zippered compartment and miscellaneous little things in the front pocket.
    --The buckle is wonderful -- one handed operation never a problem

    Negatives:
    --Not much!
    --The soft fabric of the lining in the two side zippered compartments (the ones on each end of the bag) sometimes gets stuck in the zippers. Hard to get out of the teeth but not impossible.
    --I'd really love it if the inside pocket had a few pen loops or pen sheaths in them. Pens have a habit of migrating to the bottom of the pockets.
    --Essentially, though, the positives far, far outweigh these picayune things.

    Verdict: Best carry bag I've ever owned and I plan to order another one just to have another color for fun!

    Many thanks to all the folks at Tom Bihn. It's nice to have something I can not only enjoy but also recommend without reservations.

    Cordially,
    Adi
    --

    Leave a comment:


  • reina
    replied
    Cool thread...I've been debating between a Large Cafe Bag and the Imago, too. Luckily the colors I wanted in the LCB are only available for pre-order now & I got to read everyone's helpful comments from this thread!!

    Leave a comment:


  • Adi
    replied
    Originally posted by Darcy View Post
    I'll be sure to pass this on to our factory crew.
    Please do with my sincere compliments!

    And to elaborate on what I mean by "freakishly well built": compared to the general level of workmanship in most non-TB carry bags, the high quality in this Imago bag is enough to "freak out" anyone with its meticulous integrity, well-thought out details and obvious attention to detail.

    I can also say that "freakishly well built" also means well built in the sense that this is an "abnormal" product. It's so far above what is normal these days that it would take an abnormally well-qualified group of people to stitch it together.

    So, yes, it seems that part of the apparent cost of Tom Bihn products is to pay some freakishly competent people a good wage to put them together. :-)

    Cordially,
    Adi, known for certain freakish tendencies as well.

    Leave a comment:


  • Darcy
    replied
    Originally posted by Adi View Post
    Initial Impressions:

    --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.
    I'll be sure to pass this on to our factory crew.

    Leave a comment:


  • Adi
    replied
    New Imago Arrived: VERY happy customer

    Hello All:

    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.)

    Initial Impressions:

    --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!

    Best regards,
    Adi

    Leave a comment:


  • Adi
    replied
    Well, after the new colors came out, I had to wait a bit! But in the end I decided to order the Hunter/Steel/Steel with the Absolute Strap. It's just classically good looking in my opinion and will go with just about anything I happen to be wearing.

    I may have to order another color, though, as well! The new Sapphire looks great and the more I look at it, the Cocoa looks like a classic, too.

    Thanks to everyone who chimed in with comments. They helped a lot.

    Cordially,
    Adi, now awaiting the friendly UPS folks.

    Leave a comment:


  • PM4HIRE
    replied
    About 3 years ago, I purchased a wallet from Waterfield Designs.
    The wallet arrived with a rip on the inside and frankly I didn't care
    for the colors Waterfield Designs offer, very limited.

    Waterfield Designs bags are not as functional TB bags.

    Leave a comment:


  • backpack
    replied
    I have the Large Cafe Bag and the Brain Bag, I also plan to add an Aeronaute,

    Leave a comment:


  • Adi
    replied
    Originally posted by backpack View Post
    But if you really like the weight distribution a landscape bag allows, I suggest you look into the Brain Bag.
    You're reading my future plans. :-) I'm likely going to be traveling a lot this fall and I'm definitely going to be replacing my current cavernous-but-uncomfortable backpack with either a Brain Bag or an Aeronaut, depending on how I end up using the Imago and what all I'll be carrying.

    Cordially,
    Adi, who seems to be developing "bagaholic" tendencies. And happily so.

    Leave a comment:


  • backpack
    replied
    If you don't mind the difference in orientation landscape Imago versus Portrait
    Cafe Bag.

    Go for the Imago, It is gorgeous and this style of bag is wonderful to have if you overstuff.

    But if you really like the weight distribution a landscape bag allows, I suggest you look into the Brain Bag.

    Leave a comment:


  • Adi
    replied
    Thank you!

    Hello All:

    Thank you all very much for the replies! They helped me to make my choice on what to order on Friday: a ballistic Imago in Hunter/Steel/Steel with an Absolute Strap (I'd almost prefer the Black/Steel/Olive but it doesn't seem to be available at the moment.)

    The big deciding factor, which you all helped out with, was the worry that everything would indeed end up in the bottom of the Large Cafe Bag. I've already got a similar problem with the Medium, and adding several vertical and horizontal inches wouldn't help fix that.

    For anyone else looking, I also looked at Waterfield Designs' Cargo bag. It is sort of similar to the Imago and Waterfield has many of the same design/production philosophies in practice as Tom Bihn. However, the Cargo as equipped would be almost twice as expensive as an Imago. While Waterfield makes excellent stuff, I think, I don't know if I'd call their bags "twice" as good as Tom Bihn's! In fact, when you take final cost into account, it's not really even a contest. Tom Bihn is making exceptional quality bags for what really seems like a fair price.

    So, yay! On Friday when the funds in my bank account magically increases I'll be ordering a spiffy new Imago. Thanks again to everyone who replied for your experience and most helpful comments.

    Best regards,
    Adi, who, if he had a wish, would be able to order the Imago in Grape. ;-)

    Leave a comment:


  • JoyR
    replied
    Ditto to pretty much everything the other posters said. To me, the Cafe Bags are purses, while the Imago is for more serious hauling.

    Leave a comment:


  • timarelay
    replied
    As an owner of both the Imago and the Large Cafe bag, I'd say go with the Imago. I haven't used my large cafe bag since I got my Imago, because the Imago's just better organized and, as someone said, better suited to the occasional overstuffing.

    It's also easier to get stuff out of the Imago, I find. The vertical orientation of the Cafe bag makes things more likely to get lost under each other. Well, maybe that was just me, but it did get a bit annoying.

    Leave a comment:


  • thax
    replied
    I am in general agreement with the Imago suggestion. More so than size and orientation is the structure you have with an Imago vs the lack of structure and more of a large soft pouch that the Cafe bag is. You might find a large pile of stuff in the bottom of the cafe bag unless you are really good at clipping in organizer pouches. I have a Large Cafe bag and it will take my Macbook in a sleeve, but there is not a lot of room after the laptop is in there. If your needs of having one big pocket then cafe bag or lots of pockets (Imago).
    Also do you want a tall bag or a wide one, the orientations are 90 deg. of each other.

    Leave a comment:


  • Falfa
    replied
    I just made the move from Large Cafe bag to Imago and I don't carry nearly the stuff you do.

    You might find the Imago a little large if you're not carrying the laptop.

    I found that the Large Cafe bag didn't handle the occasional overstuffing as well as the Imago has.

    My main beef (such as it is) with the Imago is that there aren't dedicated pen slots. I was surprised that it bugged me as much as it did. I'm over it now, though.

    You really can't go wrong with either bag, IMO, but the Imago will give you some extra room if your carrying needs grow as much over the next four years as they have over the last four.

    Leave a comment:

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