Rumpl Blankets at Portland State: They’re Out of This World - New Center for Retail Leadership pop-up highlights company delivering high-performance coziness around the world… literally
Author: Melinda Crouchley
Posted: October 9, 2018

Portland State’s Center for Retail Leadership is hosting Rumpl, a local outdoor retailer, in its Karl Miller Center pop-up space through October 19. The main attraction is a former UFO: the RUMPL1 blanket. 

 Stop by the Center for Retail Leadership in KMC 155 to view the actual blanket and set up Rumpl sent into space!RUMPL1 “Launches”: A Rumpl Story

On September 5, 2018, armed with two custom weather balloons designed in conjunction with Portland State University engineering graduate student Rihana Mungin, the RUMPL1 team set out to send a Rumpl blanket into the Mesosphere, a first in the world of blanket space travel. 

The goal: to introduce the limited edition Many Moons print to the world, they wanted to see just how close they could get the blanket to the actual moon. 

 Three men launch the Rumpl blanket into space, attached to a balloonBuilt from Rihana’s custom 3D printed and laser cut designs, the rig was designed to be as ultralight as possible. Factoring in the weight of the extra Puffy Blanket, the entire rig was designed to weigh only 7.75 lbs. They traveled to the Alvord desert in southeastern Oregon to the launch site, around 4,000 feet above sea level. On a clear, cool morning, they inflated a 1200 gram latex balloon with 175 cubic feet of helium, turned on four GoPro cameras, and set RUMPL1 free to sail into the great beyond. But there was one problem the team didn’t discover until much too late. 

The added weight of the GoPro camera, not factored into their original payload calculation, caused the rig to ascend at a slower rate than anticipated. As a result, RUMPL1 spent more time floating in the jet stream, carrying it 58 miles east of their original landing zone.

The -60 degree fahrenheit temperature also froze the batteries on the GPS. So after a few hours of wandering the scorching desert searching for the rogue blanket, the team left RUMPL1 for dead. 

Mission failed. 

Until a serendipitous voicemail came through from a local rancher who located the balloon on his property and alerted the Rumpl team. 

Miles away and in surprisingly good condition, RUMPL1 returned to Earth. After an unexpected adventure along the jet stream, RUMPL1 reached the mission goal of 110,000 feet. The blanket withstood temperatures near -100 degrees fahrenheit. 

Down To Earth

 Rumpl blanket floating in space, attached to a balloonThe now infamous RUMPL1 blanket is on display in room 155 in the KMC Atrium. Until October 19, passersby can view RUMPL1 through the windows, and Monday through Friday 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. pop-up visitors can get an up-close look, meet Rumpl representatives, and learn more about their products and mission. 

Started as a conversation between friends nestled in sleeping bags, Rumpl has evolved from a Kickstarter funded back in 2014 to a company shipping product all over the world… when it’s not launching blankets into outer space. 

True to PSU’s School of Business ethos, Rumpl believes in business that matters. The retailer partners with The Trevor Project, 1% For The Planet, and The High Fives Foundation, as well as fundraising efforts and donations to combat homelessness in San Francisco. 

Center for Retail Leadership Executive Director Jennifer Nolfi recognized the affinity for service, and orchestrated the inclusion of Rumpl in the pop-up space. 

“As a Center, one of our primary goals is to serve as a bridge in connecting our students and faculty with people and companies outside the university, especially those aligned with our core mission and values. Our pop-up program is an initiative designed to facilitate those connections and opportunities,” said Nolfi. 

Nolfi and her team were introduced to Rumpl at the summer Outdoor Retailer event, where she mentioned the pop-up program. Rumpl expressed interest in participating. 

“It was only while we were setting up the exhibit space that we learned about RUMPL1 and their work with the PSU School of Engineering, reinforcing our goal of connecting,” said Nolfi.
Video of the experimental launch will be available on October 24 when the product officially launches in stores. 

Vist the Center for Retail Leadership for more information on the Athletics and Outdoor Certificate.