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Question: how to wear Imago waist strap

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    Question: how to wear Imago waist strap

    I apologize in advance for the really stupid question, but I've never used the waist strap on either my Imago or my ID. However, I will be going hiking in the mountains soon (short hikes on well-cleared trails), and I'd like to use my Imago as my camera bag. I've switched the Absolute strap from my ID to my Imago, so that will help. And I re-attached the waist straps that I took off when I first received the Imago a few months ago. I plan to wear the Imago across my chest, and I can see that whilst hiking, I will definitely want the extra stability that the waist strap offers.

    But when I tried the Imago on today with the waist strap, I discovered that I have to cinch the shoulder strap very, very short, and carry the Imago much higher on my body than I normally do, to the point where it felt sort of awkward. Even then the waist straps still were going more around my hips than my waist. So I wondered if anyone could share what the best way is to carry an Imago when using the waist strap.

    Thanks so much!

    Hmm, sounds like this may be a job for the Q-AM Shoulder Strap; even then, I wonder if that could provide the high and close to the chest carry you desire.


      Hi there: I have had the same question. I don't think it carries up on the back like some messenger bags do. My old Patagonia could be carried comfortably on the back; but I have not been able to quite do that with the Imago. I have also never been quite happy with the waist strap itself: I find them too narrow, and we have discussed this on the forum before. Many defend the narrowness of the straps, but I find that it cuts into me regardless of how loose or tight I wear it. I just like the shoulder strap; or the backpack style. Even with backpacks, I have had the same "comment" on the waist strap; and I have not got a satisfactory response from Tom Bihn himself about why he will not consider making a slightly padded and slightly wider waist belt --for the Smart Alec for example. Maybe he has his reasons!


        Regarding the "narrow" waists strap and the fact that the material "cuts" into the skin.

        The Waist Strap on small bags doesn't cut into the skin and it has no need to be padded.

        Last month, my family relocated, we had to make stops along the route and I was in charge of loading and unloading some of our bags.

        Because of the heat, I sometime wore only a tee, not my usual long sleeve blouse and tee tops.
        Because of what I read here about the Simple Strap "cutting" into skin, I was kind of nervous to wear my Small Cafe Bag Strap on top of my shoulder under the Absolute Strap of my loaded to the max Large Cafe Bag.

        Despite the heat, resulting sweat and dealing with the most sensitive of skin, I had no problem.

        As a matter of fact, the seat-belt like webbing of the Small Cafe Bag strap is very comfortable.

        I did get heat rash on my back from my undergarment trapping the heat while seated in the car between destinations.

        During the trip, I stopped at many places to get food and drinks.
        Some of the stores had back to school backpacks. None of those backpacks had padded waist straps.

        Tom Bihn Bags are not heavy hiking bags, the waist straps are there to help balance the load between shoulders, back and core muscles (six packs), they are also there to secure the load while biking or running.

        I have run with a Brain Bag more times than I would have liked and the (non-padded) waist strap is extremely effective at balancing the load.

        I have seen many bike messengers in the years I lived in San Francisco. I think that using messenger bags high up on the back is the only way to prevent them from making the front swinging motion that messenger bag owners find desirable under most circumstances.
        Last edited by backpack; 09-16-2010, 04:56 PM.


          I had no idea what a great discussion my question would inspire; thanks to those who have weighed in so far. Karl, I hadn't even considered the Q-AM Strap, though it might be a possibility.

          I think what I'm hoping the waist strap will do is keep the Imago in place on the side of my hip as I hike. Years ago I bought a cheap Eddie Bauer sling-style backpack that I thought would work as a camera bag, but it had no waist strap, so although it stayed in place on level surfaces (like sidewalks), it kept sliding around when I was on a trail. Also, I had to take it off to access my camera. The Imago, on the other hand, I sometimes wear on my lower hip, sometimes pushed to my back, and that has proven quite comfortable. Then whenever I want to access my camera, all I have to do is swing it around to the front of my body. Perfect! But I'm afraid it will also slide around when hiking a trail; that's why I re-attached the waist strap. I guess I'll have to experiment with the strap, and see what I can figure out.


            Originally posted by KarlJ View Post
            Hmm, sounds like this may be a job for the Q-AM Shoulder Strap; even then, I wonder if that could provide the high and close to the chest carry you desire.
            I agree: this is a job for the Q-AM!

            As far as waist straps go: the waist strap on our shoulder bags is designed to stabilize the bag while you're riding a bike or walking - they're not designed to be load bearing. While riding a bike, a wider strap - the buckle and webbing - can dig into your body as you lean forward. That's why we use 1" webbing instead of a wider webbing. We may be offering a wider width webbing waist strap for backpacks such as the Smart Alec somewhere down the line. Tom is still considering an optional padded waist strap for the Smart Alec and Brain Bag.
            Have a question? @Darcy (to make sure I see it)

            Current carry: testing new potential materials in the form of Original Large Shop Bags.


              i find that the 1 " strap does the job of taking some of the load off your shoulders when carrying a shoulder bag. i got one for my cafe bag.
              aeronaut[black/solar]tristar[black/red iberian]western flyer[black/steel]synapse[black/steel]side effect[black/wasabi]medium cafe bag[black/wasabi]large cafe bag[black/wasabi]shopping bag[steel].