Two Decades of Sleeping Bag Evolution: From Peter Max to Skeletor

It wasn’t until the 1980s that sleeping bags became billboards for kids’ favorite pop culture icons.  Throughout the 70s, they were mostly just fun designs with a favorite character like Snoopy here and there.  Then, something happened, and sleeping bags exploded with images of David Hasselhoff, Pac-Man, Darth Vader and Benji.  Let’s take a look at two decades of sleeping bag evolution…


You know your art has gone mainstream when it’s on sleeping bags in the Sears Catalog.  Peter Max’s hippy psychedelic aesthetic had its start in a 1962 counter culture art studio, and in just a few years was ubiquitous in pop culture.

Not a Peter Max design, but still has that bold colorful look of ’70.


1971 offered simple patterns of “Famous Sayings”, “Gingham Daisy”, “Patchwork” and “Indian Blanket”.


It almost could be Mr. Brady with Bobby and Peter out on their Astro-turf backyard.



We have our first official example of a kid’s pop culture favorite winding up on sleeping bags via the Caped Crusader.



Star Wars came out this year, but it would take a few months before the tidal wave of merch flooded the catalogs.


Take note that The Empire Strikes Back hadn’t even been released when these items appeared in the Christmas catalogs in 1979.


I love that Superfriends sleeping bag – extra points for featuring Wonder Dog (and his owners Wendy and Marvin).

On January 28, 1986, I was in a high school classroom watching the Challenger launch… then explode.  I’ll never forget it.  After that, things like Moonraker and cool Space Shuttle merch lost their luster.


Poochie, Shirt Tales, Care Bears, Barbie and Smurfs

We’ve come a long way from Peter Max and patchwork designs. Knight Rider, Pac-Man, Darth Vader, GI Joe, He-Man…. it’s an eighties kid’s dream.



Not sure which is creepier – the clown sleeping bag or the Pee-Wee Herman

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