48 year old down sleeping bag - Fiberglass RV

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Old 02-14-2016, 01:39 PM   #1
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Name: Linda
Trailer: Casita
Posts: 123
48 year old down sleeping bag

i was 22 when i bought my down sleeping bag from REI. never in any of the succeeding 48years did i once stop to wonder how long i would be using it. there were many backpacking trips and tent camping trips; many times i loaned my "good" bag to friends, relatives, children and, eventually, grandchildren. wow. it's still fluffy and warm and has no holes, rips or damage of any kind. it is one that zips open completely so that it is possible to zip 2 bags together. that was a requirement for me and my new husband, of course! i couldn't afford a good down jacket, too; so, i made one from a Frostline kit. i still wear it, even though the zipper is stuck at the bottom and i have to climb into it. guess this trip down memory lane could be a testament to the wisdom of always buying the best quality that you can afford. a $99 down bag was tough for a newly married college student to afford in 1968. never in my wildest dreams would i have guessed that i would still be using it at 70! i took it with me to go to pick up my "new" little Casita last week. if you figure the price for each year of use, it was a real bargain.

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Old 02-14-2016, 02:00 PM   #2
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Name: Ken
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48 year old down sleeping bag

My wife and I were both Frostline Kit fans when we first met. We still use our down vests, jackets, gaiters, packs, stuff sacks, etc. that we sewed from kits back in the 70s. I still have my teardrop pack that I used to carry books to school like this one...

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Old 02-14-2016, 02:12 PM   #3
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Name: Zach
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That's very cool.

I still have my rectangle shaped sleeping bag from when I was in the boy scouts.

Problem is, "quality" these days isn't what quality was back then. Spend all you want on a new sleeping bag, it's going to have a busted zipper and holes in a few years.

All the same, there are very few things I buy "cheap". I completely agree. Buy quality. Even if it isn't up to the standards of the past.
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Old 02-14-2016, 02:54 PM   #4
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Name: Jack
Trailer: Eriba Triton now - ex U-Haul, Boler owner
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I use the down Snow Lion bag I bought in 1978 after carrying another fiberfill Snow Lion all over Europe - the down bag packed smaller and was a couple of pounds lighter.

It still keeps me warm down to about the mid-20's.
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Old 02-14-2016, 02:59 PM   #5
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you guys make me smile. it's so great to hear your stories!
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Old 02-14-2016, 06:42 PM   #6
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Name: Kathy
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Oh Linda, your post brought back a lot of memories. We still have our original REI down bags too! They're probably about the same vintage as yours. I know we bought them at the original REI store in Seattle up on Capitol Hill. Long before the days of REI's all over the country and internet sales. We still take them on some trips where we think we might run into cold temps. They make great toasty warm comforters. I made a stuff sack for mine out of the same fabric that covers our seats and it makes a nice bolster pillow when not being used as a comforter.
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Old 02-14-2016, 09:55 PM   #7
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Name: Linda
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what a great idea you had about a matching stuff sack--i love it! my bag came from the same store yours did, but i had to order it over the phone because i lived in kansas city. those were the days of mail order catalogs!
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Old 02-15-2016, 06:58 AM   #8
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Name: Dale
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Great memories! We don't much need down outerwear here in Alabama, but that reminds me of an amazing Frostline Kit down vest a friend made for me in the late 1970's while living in West Virginia. Wonderful, warm vest for those long, cold, damp, gray, dreary - did I mention long and dreary - West Virginia winters. I wonder where I've stored that thing............
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Old 02-15-2016, 07:24 AM   #9
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I spent what I thought at the time was a small fortune on a North Face winter grade synthetic mummy bag. Went with synthetic because back then I backpacked in wet conditions frequently. That was 1979, and I still use it in the Scamp in cooler temps.

Buy quality, air out thoroughly after use, store properly, and avoid washing machines. A good sleeping bag can last a lifetime.
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Old 02-15-2016, 08:18 AM   #10
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Name: Bob Ruggles
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We bought two Gerry down bags in 1970. We used them a lot and when we were past the sleeping bag phase of our lives we gave them to our son and daughter in law. They still use them. When our boys were small we bought two Eddie Bauer children's' bags, also around 1970. We gave them to our son and daughter in law for their kids. Those are not used any more because our grandkids are too old and two big to fit in them. Buying quality is always money well spent. 1970 was 46 years ago.
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Old 02-15-2016, 09:22 AM   #11
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Name: Josie&Craig
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South Carolina
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These stories are great.

I have a Viet-Nam era down military bag bought at an Army-Navy store by my late hubby back in the 80's for use with the Boy Scout troop he co-led. It's been on many a cold weather trip in the mountain of both North and South Carolina and a Thanksgiving weekend camping / hunting trip in Colorado. It even kept him toasty warm on a long sleet filled night on the side of Sassafras Mountain while hiking in February.


"Not all those who wander are lost." (J.R.R. Tolkein from Lord of the Rings..."Strider's Poem")
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Old 02-15-2016, 09:43 AM   #12
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Name: Craig
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South Eastern Pennsylvania
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Shortly after graduating from college, before meeting my wife, I bought a North Face 2 person dome tent. By far not the least expensive option but it looked like top notch quality. It served me well.

Fast forward 12 years or so. Now I have a wife and two boys. Our camping is in a pop-up. My brother-in-law wants to borrow my North Face tent. He is an avid outdoors-man and I have no hesitation loaning it to him. When he came back from his trip he asked why it smelled like vomit inside. WHAT! Yes, it did smell strongly like vomit. It had always had a slight smell, but now it was much worse.

I called North Face (before email was so prominent) and told customer service my story. I was completely honest that it smelled a little when I bought it but now 12 years later it was much worse. I really did not expect they would replace it. They said to send it to them and they would evaluate it.

A week or so later I receive a package in the mail with a brand new tent. Slightly different design, the current version of that tent. We do not use it heavily but about once a year it is used. It never leaks, always performs the job it is supposed to do.

The family tent we bought from Sears always leaked, from day one. Probably was used less than 25 times. Last year we put it in the trash.

Edit: Forgot to mention, the smell came from the polyurethane coating on the fabric to make it waterproof. It decays over time apparently.
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Old 02-15-2016, 09:53 AM   #13
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Name: Linda
Trailer: Casita
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oh, yeah--that infamous vomit smell!! most of my old waterproof stuff sacks went into the trash many years ago for just that reason. i now use vinyl bags made for float trips instead. great to know that companies we trust and rely on for quality equipment will stand by their products!
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Old 02-15-2016, 10:10 AM   #14
Trailer: '88 16' Scamp #4 layout
North Idaho
Posts: 37
Talking REI, Frostline Kits, Yeah!

your story is about like ours. We still have all our down bags from REI and made alot of Frostline kits in the day. Now in retirement we still back pack and enjoy the mountains. even tho we live in North Idaho we still enjoy backpacking with our adult children and grandchildren now. Can't wait to get out there this summer with all the Frostline Kits we wear and make other things out of the worn out ones, like a vest worn every day for years. I inherited my mothers things I made for her years ago from Frostline Kits. Love those memories and lets get out and keep enjoying life!!! 73 is not too old even if we are a bit slower.

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