Don't think of myself as "missing a full load of bricks" all the time, but do confess to ordering a tent from Big Sky late last summer. I ordered a standard version that appeared likely to be "in stock" and did not add on a lot (or even any) fancy options. No carbon poles. No porch. No "superlight" fly. Just the basics, still very light.
Delivery was prompt, within a few weeks time frame as I recall, and I was pleased with the tent's design & quality.
I did have an issue with some of the velcro attachments on the pole sleeves of the fly not appearing to align exactly with velcro on the tent body. Bob remedied the issue by having me ship the fly back (at his expense) and then returning the fly (again at his expense, with shipping expedited shipping) with the velcro corrected just fine.
Emails between Bob and me regarding the velcro issue were speedy, with his replies always provided within 24 hours as was the case when I first sent him emails to ask about the tent's features before placing an order. Bob even called me to confirm the shipping method needed to assure that I would have the fly and tent returned when needed.
I post these observations because, as was the case when I decided to order the tent, I believe someone just can't be as bad as some have made Bob sound -- not when it was evident that he had invested a great deal of time and effort to create such a fine tent and bring it to market. The success of of his design and production efforts, as it seemed to me, indicated that he had pride in the quality of his product. And that pride seemed inconsistent with a total disregard for the satisfaction of folks who might want to enjoy his tents, too. So I dropped a few bricks from my load, and placed my order.
From my experience with Big Sky, my trust in Bob was well-placed, and I would order again from his company.
Balanced against Big Sky's history of problems reported in other forums here about unfilled and delayed orders, it also seems that Big Sky has a very good reputation for the innovation and quality of its tents. At least that's my understanding based on reviews I've read about the product itself, including reviews at BPL. I'd be interested to know if anyone has seen a bad review of Big Sky's tents, as opposed to reports of customer dissatisfaction with the poor handling of orders or pricing practices?
This current thread appears to have resulted solely from Big Sky posting on its web site its pricing policy with discounts for advance payment arrangements even though the tents covered by the policy wouldn't be available until sometime late next spring. Maybe I'm wrong, but I believe only one of the comments thus far posted in this thread, has reported a greatly delayed order based that poster's personal experience in dealing with Big Sky. That person apparently is pleased with the tent (nice photo, too), aside from the delay.
I appreciate the efforts by others to relate their own personal experiences with any gear purveyor so that I am better informed of possible risks or rewards of the gear or the seller of the gear. In Big Sky's case, I'm glad that I was "several bricks shy of a full load" on the day that I decided to test my judgment and place an order.
The tent is definitely a fine full-featured tent weighing in at right about 3 pounds. I know from postings I've read in various BPL forums, and reviewed Carol Crooker's interview with Bob, that Big Sky has had difficulties in the past in meeting demand for a very nice product. All those resources were considered by me before my order was placed for a Big Sky tent.
Now, I believe from my own experience that Bob does care about his customer satisfaction -- just as he cares about tent quality. I wish him great success in both areas.