Back in December I wrote a review of the J. Crew Bowery drafting tote after I picked one up for $30 at my local J. Crew (it is still $98 online, in case you haven't checked in a while). After I wrote that, I received an email from ATDS reader Dan who informed me that upon visiting the J. Crew at Perimeter Mall in search of the drafting tote, he also came across a similar bag labeled "Helmet Bag" which was on sale for $50, marked down from $110 or something like that, and went ahead and picked one up. A few days later I was over at Perimeter and stopped in to have a look around myself and saw that they still had one of these helmet bags. Since it was the last one, and since I had just gotten paid, I went ahead and picked it up. I was pretty happy with my drafting tote at the time, but figured I would hold onto it and could return it later if I didn't want it.
Well, it sat in my closet for a while until my brother said that he wanted my drafting tote, so I sold that to him and brought the helmet bag out of the bullpen.
The bag is actually pretty interesting. While the materials, both interior and exterior, are the same as on the drafting tote, and the interior has the same pocket layout (albeit with slightly bigger pockets), at 19"x19" the bag is kind of a strange size, and I still haven't figured out exactly what I could put in the two big pockets on the front. However, what I do like about it over the drafting tote is that the handles are shorter and not quite as potentially "purse-like." It feels good to carry both in-hand and over the shoulder. While I don't have any helmets to carry, it does a decent enough job of hauling around my day-to-day stuff (notepad, camera, phone charger, papers, etc.).
In an attempt to find out more about the bag, I emailed Jack from J. Crew (you know, the "Jack Knows Best" guy). He wrote me back and said that it was, in fact, only available at a few stores, and was never sold online. Also, he said that it was inspired by old flight helmet bags. In trying to find out some about it, I came across these modern nylon helmet bags which are currently made for flight helmets (available here and here).
Also, those of you who look at Valet may notice how similar it is to the helmet bag that they wrote about the other day. Personally, I think the J. Crew one looks better--that bag on Valet looks like it needs to be ironed.
Bag from Valet article