December 18, 2023

From frozen and stranded to Kickstarting a blanket company: The Rumpl origin story

Rad People



Rumpl is a lot like us. We both started our businesses through a need that we saw in our community, and then we both reached out to said community through Kickstarter, and began our adventures into the unknown. Rumpl was one of our very first brand partners as we looked to bring the best of the outdoors to our guest experience. You can find Rumpl blankets in every room at LOGE. They are free to borrow while you stay with us, so you can take yours to the beach, to the firepit, on the trail, for a picnic, wherever. Plus, they’re made out of recycled plastic! We got to sit down with Rumpl’s founder, Wylie Robinson, recently to learn even more about his amazing company.

Hey Wylie, let’s get right to it. What’s the story behind Rumpl?

It was in 2012. I was working at a design agency in San Francisco, and a friend and I decided to use our holiday time off to go on a surfing and ski trip down the coast of California. So, we piled into his car and drove down the coast surfing all along the way. We did Christmas with his family in San Diego. And then the plan was to head east and head up through the Sierra back to the Bay Area. The first night that we headed into the mountains, we stayed in the Bishop area, just outside Mammoth. It was like the coldest night on record in the Bishop Valley. And so, you know, we had traveled on a dirt road out to these hot springs that we knew of, and we stayed there for the night. When we woke up the next morning, the car was just completely frozen, unable to turn it over and really getting like no response from the car. We had no cell phone reception. There was a foot of snow on the ground, so not really possible to walk into any sort of town. We basically just waited around until somebody showed up.

Uhhh, this sounds like the beginning of a scary movie. Tell us this ends well!

For sure. But while we were waiting, we piled into our sleeping bags and just hung out in the car for like four or five hours. And during that time, we started talking about how both of us would periodically put our sleeping bags on our beds, in lieu of shaking our comforters into our duvet covers after we washed them. Because that's always a pain in the ass. Nobody likes doing that. So, we’d leave the sleeping bag for a few days until we got our act together and actually made our beds. And we got to talking, like, “Why hasn't anybody made a blanket out of sleeping bag material?” It just makes so much sense.

Wait, but were you ever found? Are you still in that car?!

Haha. Yeah, we got really lucky. We ended up encountering this guy who had come out to fly his drone. So anyway, that's how we eventually got out. Then, once back in San Francisco I went to a local fabric store and sewed up what would be the first Rumpl.

Wylie sewing the first ever Rumpl. Say cheese!

I've never been very good at sewing. Still not now. But yeah, from there, I was using it on my bed. San Francisco is a very indoor-outdoor type of city. There's a lot of activities going on around here. And so, if we were going to the park or a concert or to the beach, I'd take it off the bed and bring it along. We'd go surfing and use it to warm up in between sessions and, and a bunch of our friends would say, “Hey, this is a really cool idea. You guys should start a company around this.” And we were still very unsure if this was any sort of commercial signal we were getting here. So, we decided to do a Kickstarter and then the whole thing just kind of took off from there.  

The finished product. Behold, the first Rumpl ever. 

Wow, and to think if you didn’t get stuck in a car near some hot springs. Crazy.

Just real quick on that. Rumpl was very much born out of a need. We really do think that there is a need for a product like this in most any outdoor situation where there may be something unexpected that happens. It's this very packable insulation layer that can really help you out in a tough situation. And not in an emergency way, but more like an emotional readiness way.

And I’m assuming you’re not just the founder, but also a Rumpl user?

Yup. I have young kids now–a two-year-old and a four-year-old. Every summer, my wife and I and the kids, we all pile in our camper van for a few weeks. We’ll do Sunriver, or Shasta, or Tahoe and it’s great. And yeah, we have a lot of Rumpls in that van. Everybody's got their bedroom Rumpl and their camp Rumpl that we all bring out and have by the campfire. So yeah, we've got at least eight Rumpls in the van alone.

They're kind of perfect childproof blankets, right? They're drool proof!

Oh yeah. We’ve used ours many times as a changing surface for our youngest.

TMI, Wylie 😉 Jkjk. Seriously though, can you tell us more about the Rumpls that folks can find at LOGE?

Y’all have the Original Puffy Rumpl blankets and some rooms will even have our newer products. . But yeah, they are made with 30D post-consumer recycled polyester ripstop on both sides. That's made from 100% post-consumer recycled content. The film is a 240 GSM hollow fiber installation. It's also made of 100% post-consumer recycled content. Some versions at LOGE will have a little Cape Clip® so you can wear it like a cape. There are also corner loops that you can kind of stick down in the corners. But generally, it's a pretty simple product.

Hang on, recycled poly? Keep talking.

In 2019, we really took a big position on going full post-consumer recycled poly. It met all the strength and durability tests that we had set as the benchmark from the nylon, and we wanted to make sure that we were doing that as sustainably as possible.

Y'all probably have the one-person size, which is our most popular size. There's a whole ton of prints that we offer. I think LOGE has a smattering of different prints that we've created over the years. We also work with local artists and try to tell their story and create unique proprietary art on our blankets.

But yeah, the one that’s in all the LOGE rooms is our staple product. It's just a super versatile, durable, warm, packable, lightweight, weather-resistant blanket. You can shake spills right off and it's not going to get any stains. You can wash it. You can take it anywhere.

Speaking of taking it anywhere... which LOGE locations have you been to?

Bend and Shasta. They were great.

Do anything awesome?

I was riding bikes and hanging out by the firepit and drinking beers.

Yeah, that qualifies as awesome. Nicely done. So, what’s next?

In Fall 2024, we have some really cool updates to the product, a new marketing campaign, new graphics, and taglines. I'm really looking forward to that refresh.

More personally though, you know, probably just having a good winter. My four-year-old is now at the age where I really want to make more of an effort teaching him how to ski. He's done a lot of skiing in a backpack with me, but anytime I put skis on his feet, he's kind of like, why would I do this myself? And then I can carry him. So yeah, he knows that this year he’s got to do it himself. I’m definitely expecting some tears, but just being in the snow with him... hopefully that’ll develop his love for skiing and the outdoors.

You can find Rumpl blankets at all LOGE locations and for purchase on their site. Have any pics of you with a Rumpl when you stayed at LOGE? We want to see! Check out our Instagram or Facebook pages and give us and @gorumpl a tag.

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