Tom Bihn- Imago
- Made of 1050
denier Ballistic nylon - or - 1000 denier Cordura®;
lined with 500 denier Cordura®
in lots of cool colors
waist strap for cycling
- Grippy shoulder
pad in matching colors
- Overall dimensions:
14.5" x 12.25" x 3.5" / 370 x 310
- Volume: 600
cubic inches / 10 litres
- Weight: 1lb,
9oz / 700 grams
in Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.
- Current Price: $85 http://www.tombihn.com
First Impressions: The Imago
- Quick Pre-Review
I've been running it through my 'Urban Combatant'
test plan. So far I've logged 40 hours on the Imago
in the following circumstances:
- Biking errands around town AKA... Courier Lite
- Casual meetings via Subway/Walking
- Internet Cafe jaunts
- Weekend beach getaway
- Compared to the Super Ego, this is the 'petite'
of courier bags! It's small enough to be an excellent
constant companion, and yet it's dimensioned to hold
a 13" laptop such as Macbook. It's especially
kind to the Macbook in the new TB Horizontal SoftCell.
You can also use the classic BrainCell but the stiffeners
take too much space . Simply put, when the Super Ego
is too much bag, the Imago is the natural choice.
- The Imago exhibits wonderful balance! Its compactness
makes it ergonomically adaptable to a wider range
of user statures than the formidable Super Ego or
large packs. Persons of diminutive stature will especially
appreciate the smaller form factor- Heck ! it's the
ideal book back. Though I'm very attached to the Super
Ego's capacity, the Imago is so sweet for those quick
trips to the Café or travel situations that
don't require ( politely meaning "Don't Permit"
) the carry of numerous water bottles plus the kitchen
- The Imago exhibits key Tom Bihn / Super Ego >DNA<.
The shoulder strap is padded for comfort - even when
carrying heavier contents. Most important for users
on the move and on the go- the waist strap keeps the
Imago snug up to your waist- preventing jostling,
sway and other potentially nasty luggage behavior.
I've been testing a tactical backpack on bike rides
and switching to the Imago felt like I was carrying
a wallet by comparison!
- Strategic pockets are where you'd want them to be.
Obviously that's a subjective observation- or is it?
High Gloss gadgets are all the rage- but scratches
are so declassé! Thus...my highly scratch prone
Samsung T809 phone as well as highly scratch-prone
Black iPod Video - both found very plush and cozy
homes in the respective Imago end pockets- all within
easy reach. The waterproof zippers ensure security
from loss and let me tell you- those sexy Utrasuede
liners are velvety enough to have given the late Roy
(Halston) Frowick - Goosebumps!
Heck, why not line more pockets in that stuff ?- then
we'd be in Fat Cat heaven!
Releasing the adjustable buckle and lifting the flap
reveals two pockets- one a YKK zippered pocket and
the other a slash- open pouch. The open pouch gets
to hold my 16oz water bottle + EnergyBar and the zippered
pocket gets my fat wallet and travel docs. The main
compartment has two more small open pockets. One gets
the laptop power supply or spare battery and the other
my PDA, flashlight, meds etc.
-The main compartment is a natural for a 13"
laptop plus papers, or literature of all stripe.
-The ubiquitous back pocket is huge! Perfect for spare
garments, Periodicals etc.
Wash It and Wear It- A Funny but Stinky Story...
Being the incorrigible person that I am , I couldn't
resist trying to bring home a take-out meal in the
Imago. It was really a spur of the moment idea. One
evening, I stopped bye a favorite Kabob joint and
ordered two kabob meals to go- one with swordfish
and the other one with chicken - Yum!. Into the Imago
they went, protected by thin plastic bags. The next
day, I carried some packages to the post office office
- Imago in tow. As I waited in line I couldn't help
but notice the pungent odor that I had attributed
to a fellow customer ahead of me. Minutes later I
realized that the offensive odor was actually emanating
from my Imago! A leak from the previous day's errand
had obviously corrupted my otherwise odorless Imago!
I simply washed it in the machine and line dried it-
The Fish Kabob odor is totally gone and the Imago
was back in action.
- I love both the Cordura and the ballistic nylon
versions of the Imago. The Ballistic Nylon version
feels softer to the touch. I'd get one of each for
- I only had one minor issue. The two Ultrasuede lined
end pouches don't accommodate all sizes of sunglasses.
They were about 3/4" too short and generally
too small to house either my Native Ripp or ESS CDI
sunglasses. If this could be an issue- take it into
consideration- remember that the other pockets can
easily carry most glasses . Since I only use these
two end pockets for my mobile phone and Mp3 Player
-it's not really a big deal
Other Notable Observations
The Imago customer has excellent color options to
choose from! Kudos go out to Tom Bihn/ Darcy and Co.
for facilitating the appropriate user survey on the
forum that resulted in the final colors that are currently
being offered . This was an object lesson in Democratic
Group Design. My favorite Imago colors are the Crimson/Steel/Crimson
(A perfect match to the Crimson Aeronaut) and the
Cocoa/Cocao/Wasabi- the later is a nice earth color
to match earthly colored apparel and backdrops. Later
on I may also buy the Olive/Steel/Olive to go with
my Barbour Jacket. Am I becoming a Fashion Victim?
Something tells me a whole range of these lovely earth
tones such as Terra Cotta, Tan, Beaver etc are going
to start appearing on TB Imagos.
A Parting Shot
All Tom Bihn bags are sooo addictive that it's hard
to know which one to buy first- the Imago is a perfect
first bag for everyone (May I call it the VolksBag?)
and a welcome addition to the ever growing Tom Bihn
family of useful luggage .
Anyone in need of a small messenger style bag that
can carry up to a MacBook within an Archetype sleeve
plus papers and a host of small accessories. Ideal
for light weight students carry, professional or intenerate
Human Factors & Usability - Almost
all the ordinary demands of a person carrying a laptop
in an urban environment are attended to elegantly.
The Imago is typical of Tom Bihn designs in that it
lacks superfluity, and yet every compartment and feature
makes sense. Our favorite was the Ballistic Nylon
version. That version has enough 'structure' to stay
slightly open when empty, allowing for easy contents
insertion. The modest dimensions make it better balanced
on a shoulder for users of all ages and statures than
larger messenger bags. All hardware such as zippers
and buckles are ergonomically placed for easy one-handed
use. Outer and inner compartments support a logical
distribution of contents. We found it easy to contain
a basic laptop in a sleeve, AC Power supply, two extra
batteries, a PDA, cell phone, iPod 30GB, reading glasses
case as well as house keys and sundry writing implements.
Being a deminimus carry bag, no accommodation is offered
for bottle carry.
It naturally carries well on the shoulder and is extremely
well balanced (especially for biking) when supported
by the belt strap. The lack of a handle for quick
grabs is sorely missed. If you really need that handle,
theTom Bihn ID bag is the one to get.
Styling and Aesthetics - The Imago
earns high marks for styling and aesthetics. Taking
a number of geometric cues from the much larger Super
Ego, it abandons the boxy looking aesthetic typical
of such luggage, for a more streamlined curvilinear
silhouette instead. Its Unisex sensibility transcends
age, occupation or cultural clique. Depending on the
choice of color, it can be dressed up or dressed down.
For those that enjoy two-toned styling options, the
Imago fulfills such desires with aplomb. The color
choices cover the basics of earth tones, traditional
neutrals and electric primaries. The Imago may well
be offered in even more colors as it gains momentum
Environmental Stress- The Imago,
as with other Tom Bihn luggage, is designed to endure
the trials and tribulations of campus or commute and
it does so admirably. Though the top flap could be
cut a tad larger to prevent stray precipitation from
entering the main compartment, carefully arranging
it with a tug here and there, ensured that no water
would enter the bag during our 10 minute shower tests.
The user is advised to take this special attention-
as a hurriedly packed Imago sometimes exhibited a
peekaboo opening, large enough to let rain in during
a heavy downpour. In all other ways it's tough enough
for years of shoulder carry by foot or bike. Since
we've seen bags of lesser pedigree last for 20 years
of use, it's easy to bet the Imago could last for
more than 20 years of respectful usage.
Ease of Use- The Imago is extremely accommodating
to the needs of its users. I found it very practical
for my daily jaunts to a nearby Starbucks. I timed
myself at 5 seconds from plunking the bag down on
a table, to the moment my iBook was out and ready
to surf. Indeed- with the flap down on the table,
I slide the laptop out and onto the flap, pop open
the screen and I'm online. Reversing the sequence
had me packed in another 4 seconds! I always carry
two spare batteries and power adapter so as I mentioned
above, the Imago carries all of that as well. From
the position of flat on its back all the compartments
are easy to reach. These compartments are also easily
accessible from the shoulder carry angle, making a
quick grab of a phone , PDA or MP3 Player- quick and
effortless. I really like the massive main buckle
and stylish zippers. I did take the liberty of adding
cords to the zipper pulls as they make usage easier
with gloves on.
Task performance optimization- The Tom Bihn
Imago earns top marks for getting the job of carrying
a modest load done well. It's not big enough to be
an emergency go bag for escaping disasters but it's
ideal for going to class, work or the café
with a laptop, magazine and electronic gadgets safely
Items of Note:
Excellent Customer Relationship Management
|Superb design and construction quality| Logically
arranged compartments and sub-compartments | Form
fitting flexibility | Premium materials and hardware
| Ideal for small
volume loads & active lifestyles |Exceptional
comfort especially on bikes/mopeds/scooters | Generous
color choices | Fits entirely into a Tom Bihn Super
Ego messenger bag ;)