A helmet-bag is primarily to store & transport our precious helmets, right? What if I told you that they can be that and more, spectacularly more. Especially when you have the DirtSack ShellSack. A seemingly simple helmet storage bag that’s surprised me plenty over the years.
I first came across the ShellSack, sometime in 2015-16. DirtSack had put up a stall at the India Bike Week (IBW) back then. Things are a wee bit hazy as to what exactly was pitched and discussed, but I remember returning with this piece of kit in hand.
It was a simple, clam-shell design and basic in construction. Dual-layer fabric construction, 3 straps, a zipper for the main compartment and understated branding at the back. Two of the three straps were detachable at one end, while the neck strap was detachable at both. It did have that built-to-last feel though.
The first few months, I strictly used it to store/lug my helmet around, as intended. Then one fine day, I’d ended up on some back-road and shopped my heart out on fresh vegetables that were being sold by the farmer right outside his field. With no bags in sight, I threw open the zip to the ShellSack and filled up. I still remember being shocked at the amount of vegetables it managed to swallow up. I’d discovered the Alibaba’s cave like capacity of the ShellSack. There was no turning back now.
That day on, the ShellSack went everywhere with me, even on off-the-bike days. Since it was one big cavity, I’d dump a few cloth-bags in, for segregating my shopping. Fruits & Vegetables, groceries, milk/news-paper runs, chicken stock-ups and more – the ShellSack carted them all.
On the RX it was still used as a back-pack/shopping bag and tail-bag. With the Himayan entering the stable, it went onto occupy pride of place, up front & center. All the tank-bags I’d tried in the market till then, were wide, bulky and rigid. Resulting in them fouling at turns on the trails, or interfering with my vision on tarmac. Not to mention the fact that they were a bit of a handful to lug around off-bike.
The ShellSack took to tank-bag duties like it was made for it. I’d stuff my electronics into it, along with a weekend full of clothes, slippers and other knickknacks. Not-to-mention, a heavy tool-kit to boot. I’d then merrily go rough road hopping and sliding, with not a care in the world. It held up through all the yanking and pulling through some of the most unlikely terrain in the design book. Later, when the stitching on one of the straps frayed off at the base, DirtSack mended it for me without any fuss.
The new version they brought out some years later, featured a few key improvements. The straps came with plastic tabs at the end, plus the base was now cushioned and came with a zipper down the centre. This meant that I could access the cavernous space, without opening it fully at all. The flexibility in mounting it on the Himalayan improved noticeably. Unsurprisingly, I brought one of the first pieces to be dispatched to their dealers.
This V2 of the ShellSack continued with the same cavernous capacity to swallow whatever my random shopping urges came up with. I also got a small WP stuff sack that fit the head cavity of my helmet stored in the Shell-Sack. In it, I could store my wallet, keys, a small water-bottle & a couple of energy bars. The GoPro and assorted hardware too went in the stuff-sack. My day outings were sorted on another level. In-fact, I even remember taking along a change of clothes and swimming trunks in it on some rides.
The ShellSack has been a remarkable piece of kit and at an incredibly accessible price-point. I’ve recommended it to so many fellow riders (and rather enthusiastically at that), it prompted a few to ask if I was getting some commission on the sales.
I am not!
I’m just a happy trooper, sharing the joys of owning a flexible piece of motorcycle luggage that I love.