Bacpacker Magazine award to Big Sky
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Mitchell Keil
(mitchellkeil) - F

Locale: Deep in the OC
Bacpacker Magazine award to Big Sky on 03/05/2007 17:56:09 MST Print View

I know this is going to be hard to believe, but Backpacker Magazine just awarded Big Sky Tents an Editor's Choice Award for their tent line. A gushing review and a shameless plug for the quality and service of the company.
Those of you who have had problems with Big Sky may want to drop a line to Backpacker Magazine about your experiences with Big Sky. You may also want to reconsider your subscription to the magazine. I know I did.

Steve .
(pappekak) - F

Locale: Tralfamadore
Re: Bacpacker Magazine award to Big Sky on 03/05/2007 18:09:30 MST Print View

They had some comment in the Gear Guide (or what ever it is called) that Big Sky had fixed their problems with delivery, or something like that.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Bacpacker Magazine award to Big Sky on 03/05/2007 18:27:25 MST Print View

I saw that too. Oh boy. Ummmm gotta say that Backpacker is ad driven and they pretty much don't have the "ear" to the ground. I gave up on that magazine a long time ago. As soon as my subscription runs out.....Bye!

todd harper
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: Sunshine State
Re: Re: Re: Bacpacker Magazine award to Big Sky on 03/05/2007 20:11:00 MST Print View

I'm with you, Ken!

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: Bacpacker Magazine award to Big Sky on 03/05/2007 20:56:16 MST Print View

BM:
Hello Big Sky,
This is Backpacker Magazine. We are looking to test a few of your tents for our 2007 awards issue. Do you have anything that could be sent to us for the testing?

BS:
Why sure we do. We'll get it shipped to you in the next week.

BM:
Why that's great. Wow, I guess you're guy's turn around time must not be "that bad"?

BS:
Well sure, I've got this one from Taylor that got canceled, and the one for Hideaki and Tom that just got done. But that doesn't matter. You'll get yours in a week and and we'll make sure they get there's with-in the next 30 days.

BM:
You guys are great!

Edited by awsorensen on 03/05/2007 21:03:04 MST.

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: Re: Bacpacker Magazine award to Big Sky on 03/05/2007 21:00:17 MST Print View

On a serious note,

When I got the 2005 awards issue, I must have spent a total of 10 hours looking through it.

Last year was a good year becuase they included tons of UL gear throughout the pages.

This year I looked through it once for about 30 minutes and haven't picked it back up yet.

Scott Peterson
(scottalanp) - F

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re: Re: Bacpacker Magazine award to Big Sky on 03/05/2007 21:55:13 MST Print View

Concessions - That is what you make in life generally, as no one thing in life fits all needs.

I need to look at cool photography of places that would be intense to spend time in. I like to do it on a regular basis. I like it to be in a format that does not require logging on to anything. I like Backpacker magazine for those reasons. Is it everything I need regarding content related to backpacking? No. Would I like to hear a lot less from Jonathon Dorn (editor et al) whoever that is...YES!

I did not think much of the gear put forth by Backpacker this year. I am not sure that is there fault or manufacturers in general...or a lack of engaged consumers that drive demand in the first place. That said, I don't think that the Big Sky review seemed overly "gushing" except for the fact that the product was light weight and that you could pick custom options. Those two things are rather unique in the world of outdoor equipment. Most of the BIG names do not offer anything like that. I applaud Backpacker for holding a little manufacturer up...even if they might still be a few years away from a smooth operation. Some complain that the mag. in question is too commercial (implying too many North Face and Mountain Hardware ads) and then complain that these cottage manuf. are a pain in the ass to deal with!

I would suppose that Backpacker is giving the guy (insert name of struggling business man who burned a few people on this board here) the benefit of the doubt. He really is the one with EVERYTHING on the line at this point.

But it does seem kind of silly to bash away at a magazine that is only doing what it has for longer than a lot of people on this board were big enough to put on a backpack...that is, creating something for amusement. This is not a forum on cancer research...it's recreation.

Stephen Nelson
(stephenn6289) - F

Locale: Sunshine State
Re: Re: Re: Re: Bacpacker Magazine award to Big Sky on 03/05/2007 22:31:59 MST Print View

Scott, well said. I enjoy the photography too, even though I also really like the nick name adpacker. I think many times we all just get tunnel vision and forget other perspectives on things. Just like Dr. J's article on innovation that bashed camel baks because they were'nt the light weight or highly functional for ultralighters. Though they may not be the lightest option for ultralight backpackers and though they may be considered the "gold standard" of traditional backpackers, for mountain bikers, they fit the bill perfectly. A hands free hydration system. Sometimes we just get self absorbed and miss what others see.

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: Re: Re: Re: Bacpacker Magazine award to Big Sky on 03/05/2007 23:11:18 MST Print View

Hey Scott,
Thank's for setting me straight.
Things said like this, (not on a serious side) should only be taken with what grain of salt you throw at it, and hey, I did mention that I did buy the last 3 years of the awards series, and will buy next years. It happens to also be the most informative single issue of any backpacking magazine out there.
.
I am not trying to "bash" anybody. It may be a little on the ruthless cenacle side, but I am sure there is also some truth in the matter.
However there is much more truth in yours.

Shawn Basil
(Bearpaw) - F

Locale: Southeast
BP and Big Sky on 03/06/2007 06:53:36 MST Print View

Scott, I have to respectfully disagree with you on this point. Yes, this is about recreation, and Big Sky hasn't been providing any when it defrauds its consumers for over a year or more. I find it to be absolutely irresponsible for Backpacker to brush aside his production and even what I would call ethical issues with a single sentence, then promote his product in a way which will likely lure many more victims into the same scenario that members here and on other forums have experienced.

If he can't meet the demand of the cottage industry consumers that he has failed to serve for the past two years, how can he possibly hope to meet the orders of mainstream buyers who will now likely purchase his product, only to be come disgusted with the "cottage industry" in general.

It takes a leap of faith to order a product online when there is no chance to touch or try it in real time. When these new customers get burned, the real losers will be companies like Shires, Six Moon Designs, and ULA, because the mainsteam buyer will likely declare "Never again" to buying from the "little guy" off the internet.

It stuns me that great gear manufacturers are barely or not even mentioned and a phantom Evolution from an unethical supplier receives an Editor's Choice Award. If you doubt my choice of words, take a look at the thread here or the warning on the main page at Backpacking.net. This has gone on for over two years, and the year+ wait (during which time the buyer's credit card has already been charged) has NOT diminished yet.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Bacpacker Magazine award to Big Sky on 03/06/2007 08:18:58 MST Print View

IMO, "BackPacker" is not targeting folks like us with their marketing thrusts and articles. They are aiming for the uninitiated masses, sweating in their cubicles while staring at screen-savers of Denali, lustfully picturing themselves doing the Actic 1000 while their credit card heats up in their pocket.

These are the folks who either don't have, or won't invest, the time needed to research gear, destinations, and techniques. God forbid they should train by doing more than walking from the sofa to the dinner table. Rather, they'll walk into their local outfitter with a credit card and a list of gear recommended by BP, toss it all in the car - "why should I try it out before I go? BP gave it an Editor's Choice award; it's golden." - and spend their vacation in something approaching misery and disallusion because "this isn't what I was led to expect".

Most readers here have the scar tissue of experience, and are willing to invest the research time before heading into the Great Out There. We've learned never to act on the basis of a single (+ or -) recommendation where our comfort and safety are dependent upon qality and functionality once our ride drives off, leaving us 30 miles from town.

I dumped my subscription to BP years ago and never looked back. I rarely go into REI anymore unless I feel the need to upgrade my image on the slopes or in the field with the latest in Yuppy fashion statements. I've outgrown them and most of the colorful, trendy gear they carry.

Long live the cottage industry gang. May they never get large enough to even consider mass marketing. Quality is the first thing to go when that happens.

End rant.

Scott Peterson
(scottalanp) - F

Locale: Northern California
Re: BP and Big Sky on 03/06/2007 08:24:19 MST Print View

Shawn,

I understand and I am well aware of some of the dubious customer service that is linked with Big Sky. When last year my buddy wanted to purchase one, I had to stress in two or three conversations that no matter how good something looked....if you cannot get it, it is worthless! He ended up buying a Black Diamond product. I did not mean to brush that aspect aside, but can see where I might have inadvertently in an attempt to make another point.

I still think the guy who runs Big Sky is probably an ADD type individual who is trying to do everything himself...and has had too many balls in the air for too long. When you are trying to balance the massive problems with the problems of one individual customer you can probably guess which gets the majority of the attention. So I am only guessing here...I just can't imagine that the guy would put that much effort into something that clearly is a work of passion in order to sh*t on people.

I personally would never take orders for something I did not have in hand, unless people were explicitly warned that wait times are going to be long.

Your point about Big Sky damaging other companies reputations is overstated. I think you may oversimplify the purchase process for gear and over estimate the volume we are talking about. Bottom line, most consumers that are involved with sports that require a little more than passive interest/effort like backpacking, kayaking, backcountry skiing are more thoughtful than you assert. The "editors choice" may get something into a consumers realm of consideration...but it still has to pass other hurdles the consumer will have. And just as we troll for what is now endless info. and reviews...so does a newer entrant into the category. All this considered, I doubt a Big Sky 2007 failure will in any way effect Six Moon Designs if the endless personal review websites keep proliferating and everyone keeps touting the brand. It could make Backpacker look foolish though, to someones earlier point.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Bacpacker Magazine award to Big Sky on 03/06/2007 09:53:45 MST Print View

Given BS's tattered reputation, I am disappointed that Backpacker gave it the award and the added exposure. IMO, no matter how good the products, the magazine should skip over unethical/out of control companies. They can always be re-considered in the future, when and if they get their acts together.

This isn't the magazine's first "poor research / poor judgment" goof up. Remember the splash it gave to "Light is Right"? Yeah, that owner told the magazine that the products were "coming right out" and the magazine took his word at face value too! Sucker.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Bacpacker Magazine award to Big Sky on 03/06/2007 10:19:16 MST Print View

I'm with you Ben. However, if there's anyway that this can really turn Big Sky around, and our friends here can get their orders filled, then i'm all for it. If that eventuality ever occurred, I would hope that Mr. Molen would reward those, in some fashion, who placed orders with him early on - even those who were forced to cancel due to the many mos. lead time.

Scott Toraason
(kimot2)
Re: Re: Bacpacker Magazine award to Big Sky on 03/06/2007 11:27:05 MST Print View

Respectfully Mr. Peterson, I don’t follow the logic of how a strong recommendation from a national magazine like BP would not play to some significant influence on decision making to purchase Big Sky products. The quality of the product isn’t the question; it’s the record of Big Sky’s business practices that can’t be thoughtfully researched in a final decision to purchase. Readers of BP will assume that Big Sky can deliver on their orders.

I do agree with your representations that BP has been around a long time and deserves respect for what it has done for the outdoor industry, all very good points. I disagree with what appears to be your representations that Big Sky has just burned a few people on this board and put forward that this is the rule and not the exception. I also suggest that Big Sky has much more of a cash flow problem than a business personality problem. Be that as it may, I don’t have a dog in this fight.

Scott Peterson
(scottalanp) - F

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re: Re: Bacpacker Magazine award to Big Sky on 03/06/2007 11:40:22 MST Print View

I don't consider this a fight, just assuming role of devil's advocate.

There are folks on this board that got their tents from BS without too much hassle. Given that, then it is not a rule. Also, many of the folks on this board read Backpacker. They also would have access to the service considerations.

There are understandably sour grapes involved with this company and people's view of them. You are exactly right. There may be a couple of hundred people who move forward on a Big Sky tent based on Backpackers reveiw. Whether it works out for the parties involved really has little to do with the past. Is Backpacker shamelessly misleading consumers on purpose...probably not, but only time will tell.

Gene .
(Tracker)

Locale: New England
Re: Re: Re: Bacpacker Magazine award to Big Sky on 03/06/2007 11:41:37 MST Print View

Backpacker Magazine is ripe for being 'spoofed', on the cover in big letters could be 'Big Lie, the best tent on the market', then have a phto of a campsite without a tent! Ah, the good ole' days of Mad magazine *GRIN*

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Bacpacker Magazine award to Big Sky on 03/06/2007 12:24:53 MST Print View

Mr. Peterson:

I don't believe that BM consciously aimed to "shamelessly mislead" anyone. But that's not the point at all.

As a popular magazine with some authority on the subject, BM knows at all times that the conferring of an award or even the mere printing of a few positive sentences would automatically place that product in the limelight and provide it with some degree of credibility!

I'm sure readers would agree that with this sort of power and influence comes responsibility. For example, BM fell short on fulfilling this editorial responsibility when it made a splash on "Light is Right" -- despite the near total absence of any actual products! And in the case of BS, given its consistently rotten record, the special mention of its tents in BM could well lure unsuspecting readers to BS' website -- where they are then led to believe that by paying upfront, they can expect delivery by "late Spring"!

You wrote about sour grapes. I may be wrong, but to me, it reads like you are simply minimizing / discounting people's negative experiences with BS. Reading the posts, more than a few buyers were deceived by BS -- where a promise of 4-6 weeks delivery time morphed into a year or more! Warning off people is hardly a case of 'sour grapes'!?!

Sour grapes aside, you also wrote that: "Whether it works out for the parties involved really has little to do with the past." A company's past service record is often the best indicator of future performance -- better anyway than any marketing slogans or promises. Unless you actually KNOW of major restructuring or sourcing changes that are now in place, I think you can pretty much expect things to stay the same...

Edited by ben2world on 03/06/2007 12:51:06 MST.

Scott Peterson
(scottalanp) - F

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re: Bacpacker Magazine award to Big Sky on 03/06/2007 14:48:53 MST Print View

RECAP:

1. I don't think a "large" group of people buys anything like the item in question based on a single paragraph review. There is not an Oprah book club by Backpacker that just sends you a piece of gear and bills your credit card as soon as it is designated Editor's Choice. I look at market research on a regular basis and the general feeling on this thread is that most people are naive and are not savy consumers...and I am telling you, you should reconsider that view. People really are not dumb.

2. Big Sky could turn it around...no one knows and everything else is speculation.

3. People did post in this forum about getting their tents from this dude relatively pain free.

4. I am sorry some people waited a year. I would have taken this guy to task way before that. Waiting that long says something about the consumer...and I think some of that anger may be self-directed. You want something so bad...you hold out hope regardless of reality. Credit card companies can get your money back a whole lot faster than 12 months, you just have to take the initiative.

5. I don't care one way or the other whether Big Sky makes a go of it or not.

6. The single reason I entered my opinion here is to suggest that Backpacker has more to offer than gear reviews (which I freely admit is not a strength)...and to say that it is JUST A MAGAZINE. Sometimes publications are wrong. The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times are capable of getting it wrong. This vicoral hate of Big Sky and in some cases the over-posting of "hate" postings for these guys is a weird waste of energy. Get your message out, get your money back...and get over it. LIFE IS TOO SHORT.

I will surely be unpopular for my view, but I was expecting most of the folks in this forum to be more big picture.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Bacpacker Magazine award to Big Sky on 03/06/2007 14:55:23 MST Print View

Interestingly, this just got posted a few minutes ago:


POSTED BY
Brad Russell
BPLRank: 0.01

Ordered approx. 12/27/05
Received 2/27/2007
2P 2D2V Marigold with clips and aluminum poles.


14-month turnaround time. Way to go, Bob Molen!

Edited by ben2world on 03/06/2007 14:58:48 MST.