The Infamous Apple Bag From the 1985 National Boy Scout Jamboree

I was 15 years old when I went to the ’85 National Jamboree. Already a bit of a trader, I was carrying my swapping stock in a small black suitcase that I’d stuck a sheet of Jambo stickers on. Shortly after the Jamboree began, I remember seeing guys walking around with these cool grey shoulder bags filled with their patches. There was just something about them, they seemed the perfect way to tote around your stuff. Much to my surprise, I found out that one could be had for FREE up near the Merit Badge Midway. Apple Computers was running a program at the Jambo and the bags were the give away item for going through it.


apple bagsNext morning bright and early, I caught the bus headed that way, all geared up to get MY bag. When I found the spot, there was already a queue of Scouts a mile long. Apparently you had to stand in the line to go through the program, then stand in another line to get the bag. The word was, it took most of the day to get the job done. I had the trading fever bad, I just couldn’t imagine taking a whole day off from going to events and swapping to get a stupid bag. I fancied myself a pretty good trader so I thought to myself “Heck with this, I’ll just trade for one!”


That didn’t work out too well, I headed home from the Jamboree without the magical “Apple Bag” in my possession. Years passed, and I still wanted one. You’d think somebody who was a “professional trader” could find anything, but I never saw one available for sale or trade. A couple years ago I had just set up at the Great Lakes Trade-O-Ree and a guy came walking in with one over his shoulder. This wasn’t too unusual, I know several guys who still use one for carrying patches. But when he started talking I realized that he was “selling out” and wanted to get rid of everything he had. I beat feet over to his table and asked about the bag. Was it for sale? He said sure, make him an offer. A couple minutes later my wallet was $20 bucks lighter and I finally had one! It only took 27 years….


It’s funny that the bags have become so iconic to the event. When you ask anybody who went what they most remember, nearly everybody will say “Those Apple Bags!” or maybe how hard it was to trade for a Malibu flap.


I’ll add to the story a bit with the tale of another piece of memorabilia from the event. This was the Jamboree of Hurricane Bob, and all the guys who went remember that first and foremost. Torrential rain storm soaking everything we owned, gale force winds knocking down every tent in camp, a tough time even for tough Scouts.


A couple days after the storm passed through, I ran into a guy walking around passing out flyers to order a “Hurricane Survivor” patch. Just a hand draw xerox showing what the patch would look like and an address to send your money to. I took one and stuffed it into my trading case but somehow never made it home with the paper. One of the first things I did when I unpacked was look for that order form. Nothing, wasn’t in my gear, must have gotten lost. Argh!


Same as the bag, the years passed by and I never saw one, the exact same amount of years oddly enough. Once I had the bag I knew I wanted to decorate it up with some patches. I’d saved a big “non official” ’85 Jambo jacket patch forever to sew on the front, I had a North Central Region patch, and one of our Egyptian Council CSP’s with my Jambo Troop numbers still attached. But I wanted that Hurricane patch bad, it would just “make’ the bag as far as I was concerned. I asked around amongst friends who went, other collectors, posted about it on the Facebook forum even. Nothing, a few guys had one (not many) but nobody had a dupe. What was even more funny was that there was a ton of us looking, guys who’d gone to the event and had never scored one either. Seemed like they were rare as hen’s teeth! Then shortly after I got “the bag” an envelope came in the mail from a friend. Much to my surprise there it was, the long awaited “Hurricane Survivor” patch.


So that’s the story of the famous Apple Bag as far as my personal experience. It makes me smile every time I throw it over my shoulder, brings a little youthful spring into my aging steps for sure.


Destry L. Hoffard


This is a guest post from well known collector and TSPA’s goto guy Destry Hoffard. At we welcome other Scout collectors that would like to submit guest posts. One of the goals of this site is to pass on the wisdom and stories of the hobby. If you’d like to write up a topic please email the webmaster.


My brother was at the 1981 and I was at the 1989 so I don’t have any connection here. BUT! I do have 2 Apple Bags moo ha ha

By admin on February 19th, 2015 at 5:02 pm

I was an asst. director of Nat’l. Displays at ’85 Jambo. I received my Apple bag on first day of Jambe w/o being in a line, just walked into their trailer and received it. It came in a cardboard sleeve and a plastic bag. Nearest dumpster was open-top. We put the cardboard and plastic in it and it filled up quickly. When the US Army helicopter rapelling team flew in and hovered, it emptied the plastic sleeves and made plastic baloons of them. What a mess!!

By Ed Adams on February 24th, 2015 at 4:10 pm

I was there also, I am also looking everywhere for the infamous Apple Bag. I had one for years, it was Full of cassette tapes and it was stolen around 1990, I have never been able to get my hands on one since. I remember “Bob” very well, I had a Volume 1, Issue 1 copy of a new magazine “Fteestlyn” put out be BMX Action that was ruined by water.
Great story, keep the memories alive.

By Tony Martin on July 29th, 2015 at 12:38 pm

I too was there and managed to get an apple bag as well as a Malibu Patch. I remember my friends getting the bags and coming back to our site. Me and a couple others went the next day to get ours. It brings back great memories as it was difficult to acquire both.
Just 3 weeks ago I got down an old storage container to show my son who is in cub scouts. And sure as can be there in the bottom was my apple bag full of my patches, pins and handkerchiefs.
I never did know about the Hurricane Bob patch, but I have to find one.
I was sitting at a picnic table helping my friend write an article for our local news paper back home. I looked up and saw what I thought was a wall of water in the distance about 1500yrds away coming at us with tents folding over like dominos. I’m proud to say that my tent was the only one in our camp standing upright with one pole, lol. But its probably because I was inside of it holding onto that pole 🙂
Anyone come across a Hurricane survivor patch please please let me know.

By Steven Vaillancourt on September 21st, 2015 at 12:22 am

I still have my Apple Bag. Its holding an old G3 Powerbook in it running OS 10.2. Living here in CA, the Malibu flap was easy to come by. I have memories of out running Hurricane Bob as well.

By mike krone on November 9th, 2015 at 12:23 am

I stood in that dumb line to get my bag, and it’s still in my mother’s closet filled with patches. I spend most of the jamboree trading for pins and patches, but that was really the last time I engaged in patch trading.

It was raining hard, and some scouts were chanting not very scout-like things as the Apple people took their sweet time. I remember walking back to our camp area and seeing someone’s dome tent attempting lift off as it flew by in the gale-force winds.

By Michael C on December 2nd, 2015 at 6:53 am

[…] one Scout memorabilia collector remembers: “There was just something about them. They seemed the perfect way to tote around […]

I was on Staff at the 1985 Jamboree, working in the exhibit tent(High Adventure booth)opposite the Apple trailers. When Bob hit, we lowered the poles of the old army tent and stood on the bottom of the canvas flaps to keep it from blowing away. I had looked out as the storm hit and there were at least 100 scouts in line at the Apple trailer.I watched as the storm passed and there were still 75 very wet scouts in line. One of the Apple staff told me that they ran out and had to have more delivered. What a great promotion idea, 10,000 scouts went home and asked mom and dad to fill the bag with a computer!
Until maybe 5 years ago, I didn’t know about the Bob patch. I saw it on eBay and it is part of the memories and my collection.

By Paul Lawlor on March 15th, 2017 at 4:45 pm

I too was a youth staff member at the Jamboree. I traded a couple of CSPs or flaps for my apple bag. Since I saw that Hurricane Bob patch on Destry’s bag I have been on the look out for one. A few months ago I finally found one. The guy I bought it from thought it may have come from Louisiana. I mentioned it to a bigger collector friend of mine. He didn’t think he knew what it was until we looked in his 1985 Jamboree book and there it was on the first page. He said he thought of it as as “Survivor” patch and never really focused on the “Hurricane Bob” part of it.

By John Laitar on February 14th, 2021 at 8:46 am

Thanks for sharing your story John!

By admin on February 15th, 2021 at 9:06 am


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