Sunday, September 09, 2007

The Legend of the Marlboro Sleeping Bag

In my post below I mentioned that I bought a new sleeping bag this weekend. The sleeping bag that got replaced has become a legend among my friends and family and thus warrants a post all to itself.

When I was a kid my family went camping quite often so we had a variety of sleeping bags. I had a light one that was great in the super-hot summer months and a heavier synthetic one my dad had given me that was warm but had a broken zipper. Also when she wasn't using it my mom would loan me her really nice North Face down sleeping bag (this bag is probably over 30 yrs old now and is still wonderful, for those of you who may be wondering). I always dreamed of someday having a sleeping bag like hers, that was warm and cozy and packed into a fist-sized ball. When I got a little older my mom, who knows the importance of a good sleeping bag, scored big at a garage sale - she found TWO down sleeping bags of unknown age that were extremely cheap and extremely nice. The downside: front and center was the brand name: Marlboro Adventure Team. Another downside: these were not true "adventurer" sleeping bags... they weren't very light, the zippers didn't operate too smoothly, and they don't pack very small. But they were warm, and down, and actually an upgrade from what I was using.

For the next five years or so I used one of the Marlboro sleeping bags but with increasing complaints. The most annoying was the zipper, which got worse over the years. And as you may expect I got a whole lot of flak for the Marlboro name on the front, especially since I'm not really a Marlboro kinda gal (I hope this doesn't actually surprise any of my readers). And the thing that was constantly lurking in the back of my mind was that this really wasn't the North Face down sleeping bag I had always dreamed of.

So last weekend when REI was having its annual Labor Day sale and their REI brand sleeping bag was on sale for almost half what it usually was ($124), I had to try it out. And as soon as I crawled in it I knew I wouldn't get back out until my Studly Hubby agreed that we could buy it. Then he tried it out and wanted one for himself too. I know it's not North Face (which they tried to sell us but was 3X as expensive) but it packs into a tiny ball and is super lightweight and cozy, so hopefully it will be good enough for what we need. It sure felt nice! We're going camping again in a few weeks and we can't wait to try out our new bags.


uncle bruce said...

A few months ago we got a nice sleeping bag from Cabela's (mail order) for Ryan, less than $100.

Sounds like it doesn't get too cold in Seattle, but are you going to go camping in the mountains?

Peggy said...

Have you tried rubbing soap on the zipper? It sort of lubricates things and makes it zipping easier.

I like the sort of sleeping bags that you can zip together but down bags never have that option.

Happy Anniversary!

Uncle KT said...

I never knew that you had a Marlboro sleeping bag--I hope that Marlboro didn't promote smoking while in the sleeping bag (not that you'd know) because that doesn't seem like a good idea.

You're new stuff looks totally sweet--nice haul!

J-Funk said...


The temperature is mild here and we're not too hard-core so we didn't go for the extremely crazy sleeping bag but yes it does get cold at night (even in summer at normal altitudes, it gets down to the low 50s) and yes we do plan to go to higher ground where it will be colder every once in a while. We got sleeping bags that will keep us very warm in about the coldest weather we think we can tolerate (about 30-35F).

Peggy: actually you can zip two down bags together if they're made for that (and these are, which is partly why we bought two). You zip them in such a way that the zipper is between you so you each still have your own footbag. It's a little weird but he showed us how at the store. Also my mom's old down bag is a normal rectangular bag that can be zipped together with any other bag but I think those are hard to find anymore.

KT - it seems like smoking in general while camping is a bad idea, esp in Eastern Washington and Montana where they have fires all the time. But I think this bag may have been from another time.

J-Funk said...


Oh yeah I forgot, thanks for the zipper advice! I'll try that.

Leesa said...

Haha! My mom had gotten us two Marlboro Eureka Sleeping bags in 2006 (sans advertising label) from all the Marlboro Miles from all the smokers in the house (as well as a tent, canteen, and other camping stuff) because I wanted to go camping. We just started camping last year with all our stuff. Works great, and researching for inventory purposes found they sell, new, for $10-$50 on e-bay. Pretty cool. Sorry your sleeping bag sucked.