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Big Sky International Update
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Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
We are with you,Ron on 06/02/2007 19:20:35 MDT Print View

Ron Moak,
Lots and lots of kudos to you.
I am not the only one that has expressed dismay at reading generic comments about the risk of buying from "cottage manufacturers" because of the Big Sky saga.
If Bob had taken the Ron Bell way, it would have been much better for all of you guys.
As much as I can, I like to buy locally, but my last two tents,quilt, stove and 2 backpacks are all from USA cottage manufacturers because there is nothing like that sold here in Australia.I received great service and great products from all of them.
None of my products are SMD but looking at the specs and reading the many favorable comments about them, I am sure that I would have been happy with all of them, so it would be a great shame for the Big Sky saga to indirectly tarnish your excellent reputation.
Keep up the good work !!!

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Re: Re: Re: 18 Month wait for B.S. on 06/02/2007 20:45:46 MDT Print View

I posted the photos from Trail Days. While I thought about asking him about this controversy, I wasn't really involved enough in this discussion to feel comfortable putting him on the spot.

Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Re: The UL Cottage Gear Deliemma on 06/02/2007 21:01:14 MDT Print View

Kudos, Ron. And may I put in a big plug for Ron's company. I hiked 9 days with his Starlite pack last year, and it was a most superb hike, and as advertised, it rides fantastic with a 35 pound load (my base load is 22 pounds but with water and food, it was 35 pounds).

I find the best gear to be from the small companies (tarptent, sixmoondesigns, luxurylight, ula, gossamergear, antigravitygear, ursack, wild-ideas to name those I've done business with). I do do business with the big companies too but the major gear pieces some to come from the small companies whose keenness to the needs of avid hikers is most sharp.

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
re:Big Sky International Update on 06/03/2007 00:13:52 MDT Print View

Geez, you guys spend a lot of time talking about these tents made of unobtanium. Now Im getting so riled up I posted again about it.. and I don't even want one!

Someone said: "The only thing worse than being talked about, is not being talked about."
So if you dislike BS or BPM so much, just drop the subject, get your refund, and let B.S. live or die a natural death in the free market ecomomy?

Or better yet, looking at the B.S. website, there is nothing revolutionary about those nylon tents, make and sell them yourself to fill this obviously great demand! : )

Scott Toraason
Re: re:Big Sky International Update on 06/03/2007 11:02:15 MDT Print View

Finally a light in the darkness, well said Brett!

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Big Sky International Update on 06/03/2007 11:35:15 MDT Print View

I disagree.

If BS' problems were resolved, then most all of us would be happy to just let the issue die. Take Wanderlust Gear for example. A few years back, the owner (Kurt) was quite responsive with delivery and all -- until he just vanished all of a sudden -- leaving the last few paid-up buyers with no tents! However, the company's website was still up and running for a year afterwards, ready to receive orders and payments from unsuspecting buyers! Many of us posted warnings for about a year -- until the website itself finally expired. Nowadays, no one mentions the guy or the company anymore, simply because it is now truly history.

In contrast, Bob Molen is STILL showing up on Trail Days peddling his tents and promising 4-6 week deliveries for all!

Yes, many if not most of us are pretty tired of BS! But to newcomers, these posts are still useful -- unfortunately.

Edited by ben2world on 06/03/2007 22:19:27 MDT.

(onthecouchagain) - MLife

Locale: Sunny SoCal
thanks for the tip on 06/03/2007 13:00:49 MDT Print View

I almost pulled the trigger and ordered one this week! Man am I glad these forums are up and running and UP-TO-DATE. Information is a needed commodity in these times of UL manufacturing/manufacturers to keep the community in touch with the pendulum swings. I for one am sad to hear of the Big Sky Int. production problems as I believe they have an outstanding product- however, the delivery and continued customer service is paramount to me when purchasing.

I hope they get it together- the UL industry needs continued innovation and people willing to put their savings on the line to push the envelope even further.

Good luck ....but I am on the sidelines pending your responses to all these good folks who fronted their trust/money!


indeed in need of editing! scat-away!

Edited by onthecouchagain on 06/03/2007 19:34:49 MDT.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
Trade associations and more on 06/03/2007 13:22:37 MDT Print View

Rats, Dave your editing has rendered my wit, witless. So, bye,bye bon mot.

Now, more to the point---
Along the lines of Mike Barney, a professional cottage industry association would, I think, really further these micro-manufacturers in many ways such as enforcing a code of ethics, furthering PR in the larger world of Outdoor Equipment and might also serve to help protect intellectual property rights. I can easilly see it as an energy strain for this still small pool of cottage designer/manufacturers (as Ron Moak says) and as with many artists, inventors and other individualists----rather like herding cats. All I can say is that associations have often helped me and my peers in the Interior Design and allied fields in any number of ways.

Edited by kdesign on 06/04/2007 10:07:06 MDT.

Mitchell Keil
(mitchellkeil) - F

Locale: Deep in the OC
Re: Re: Re: Re: Backpacker and Big Sky on 06/03/2007 22:12:31 MDT Print View

I just noticed that this forum has heated up again about Kristin and BP Magazine and its review and award to BS for its tents. I detect heat on both Kristin's and some on the posters' side, most notably Benjamin Tang who is not noted for losing his cool.

So, what to make of this whole affair. Let's be realistic. Nothing will change BS's approach to customer service if all of the negative posting here has not done so already. Also, and sadly, nothing will change BP's penchant for looking only at the "cool" factor without regard to other and more important factors. Sorry, Kristin but your comment that the tent "rocks" reveals entirely too much about BP. ( a short aside: Assume Backpacaker Magazine "rocks". If you never sent out a paid subscriber his copy of the magazine, would it still "rock" and would the subscriber be entitled to some level of pique with you? It's a worthy comparison whether you think so or not.)

So, back to what to do. I really think that the only solution is to leave the forums entirely and pursue legal action against the company. I am sure that someone from this forum has ordered a tent and lives in the state in which BS is incorporated. File a complaint with the department of corporations. Take the fool to small claims court. Shut his business down if you feel wronged enough.

I would encourage BPL to not review or carry any references to BS or any of its products on the site. If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it does it still make a sound? Stop listening and hoping for BS to make changes; change the dialogue. Use your financial muscle. If a site or magazine advertises BS stop doing business with the site or the magazine. Exercise your consumer power and rights. Are you listening BPL?

Edited by mitchellkeil on 06/04/2007 17:30:16 MDT.

George Taylor
(gmtaylor3) - F
Big Sky Update on 06/05/2007 13:07:31 MDT Print View

I am fairly new to the site and must admit to being a Backpacker Magazine reader. I'm going with my son to Philmont in a few weeks and wanted a really great tent and ordered one in early April with a promised delivery date of June 1. I have since called and e-mailed the company with no response. I guess my question for the Backpaker Magazine folks is, should I just keep on waiting for the tent or is there a more reliable company that makes a comparable light weight tent that I should consider? Time is getting short! (Responses from any of you pros would be much appreciated.)

Edited by gmtaylor3 on 06/05/2007 13:08:28 MDT.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Big Sky Update on 06/05/2007 13:23:43 MDT Print View

I guess my question for the Backpaker Magazine folks is, should I just keep on waiting for the tent or is there a more reliable company that makes a comparable light weight tent that I should consider? Time is getting short! ... Henry may or may not be able to deliver in time but he'll try hard and if he says we can, he will.

Mitchell Keil
(mitchellkeil) - F

Locale: Deep in the OC
Re: Big Sky Update on 06/05/2007 13:48:35 MDT Print View

Either Ron Moak or Henry will be the type who deliver on their promises. email Henry or Ron and ask about your needs. Trust that their tents will deliver the performance you want. Their tents are a good value as well. Please don't expect BP magazine to give you advise on this issue. AS you can see from the many posts about BS and BP's complicity in promoting a charlatan, you won't get a straight answer or one that will assist you in getting a tent that meets your needs. You might also want to print out the excellent article on preparing for Philmont that appears on this site. here is the reference hyperlink:

John Kays
(johnk) - M

Locale: SoCal
Re: Big Sky Update on 06/05/2007 13:57:18 MDT Print View

1. did you order this tent based on your reliance on the Backpacker Magazine's (BPM) recommendation of this tent?
2. do you feel that you are in a position of disadvantage in so far as securing a satisfactory shelter to take to Philmont with your son?
3. will this reliance on Backpacker Magazine negatively affect your experience with you son at Philmont?
4. When you relied on Backpacker Magazine in making a decision to order this tent, did you infer that Backpacker Magazine was also promoting the manufacturer as a reliable supplier of gear?

your answer to these questions, just might bluntly put this matter in proper perspective for BPM which is monitoring this thread through one it's editors and who has, heretofore, refused to acknowledge that she and her company have any responsibility to the consumer in this matter.

Gabriel August
(gaugust) - F

Locale: Penn's Woods
Re: Re: Big Sky Update on 06/05/2007 14:09:48 MDT Print View

Not to pile on BS, but business practices such as those employed by Bob Molen are unacceptable and should be brought to the attention of everyone possible, lest several others be "duped". I wholeheartedly agree with the whistle-blowing that is going on from the UL community (especially on this site), and i must say that the total lack of concern for the general public by BPM is typical of large companies and publications that have absolutely no concern for anything outside of lining their own pockets. It is Backpacking Magazines responsibility to fully research a product that they will endorse as an "award-winner" and to take everything into consideration, not just whether or not the product "rocks" to borrow Kristin's phrase.

My family owns a small business, and whether or not we produced the absolute best product in the world or provided the most amazing service ever imagined, if we handled our customers the way Big Sky does i would hope that there wouldn't be a single customer calling. In addition, i would hope that other small businesses would call us on it. Fortunately not everyone operates as unscrupulously as Bob Molen.

Shawn Basil
(Bearpaw) - F

Locale: Southeast
George Taylor and a tent for Philmont on 06/06/2007 17:35:25 MDT Print View

The responses for Shire's Tarptent and Six Moon Designs are good ones. I own two SMD shelters (the Lunar Solo E and the Gatewood Cape) and can attest they are both superb for their intended uses.

However, if you are looking for a freestanding double wall tent, like the Big Sky Evolution 2P2D2V, the best alternative on the open market would have to be the MSR Hubba Hubba. It's a pound heavier, but you can get it and reliably use it at Philmont. I would say the chance of your getting a tent from BS is pretty much zero. I have followed this debacle on this and two other sites and the earliest ANYONE has gotten a tent is about 7 months with most going a year to 18 months.

I honestly think BPM had no real clue about the severity of BS's production issues when they issued their Editor's Choice Award. But the fact remains that you'll be much better off cancelling your order and getting a very good tent rather than waiting on a "great" but nonexistent one.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
msg for George Taylor on 06/06/2007 20:55:24 MDT Print View

George, I might be able to arrange a bit of trail magic for you, email me .... jcolten at comcast dot net

Sven Klingemann
(svenklingemann) - F
Re: Big Sky International Update on 06/13/2007 15:05:35 MDT Print View

So Robert ... June 8th has come and gone ... I assume that you have not received the tent? I have to confess that I also ordered one back in December and even got two e-mails from Bob in the mean-time, promising me a May delivery. Well, I have been trying to contact him for the past three weeks without any success (e-mail/phone). As for Backpacker magazine, I agree that they should post a caveat for buyers, it is the only responsible thing to do. That for me, is professionalism. But business probably trumps guts, as usual. There is more than enough evidence out there that Bob is having major problems delivering on his promises, being honest with his customers and providing minimum standards of customer service. Listing a contact number on the website is a joke. Maybe we should advertise in Backpacker magazine to get the message out? Let me know what you guys think.

Mitchell Keil
(mitchellkeil) - F

Locale: Deep in the OC
Re: Re: Big Sky International Update on 06/13/2007 15:43:35 MDT Print View

Some of you may remember that I started a thread a while back about the BP magazine review and recommendation of BS. Kristin H of BPM responded at one point letting us all know how much she valued our input and that she had been and continues to monitor this site for all manner of commentary on Backpacking issues, especially our concerns about BS. She also told me in a post that she was going to publish my comments in a forthcoming issue of BPM and that she would respond to my comments and by extension all of the comments that have been posted here.

WELL, My "letter" appears in the most recent issue of the magazine for June. It is truncated but does capture my concern and by extension our concerns about BPM giving such an award to a company that has delayed delivery or not delivered its tents for up to a year or more.

Her response is the same response we have seen here. BS is having growing pains as all start ups do and that it had fixed these problems and was delivering tents on time NOW.
BPM will continue to monitor the situation.

Trust BPM to watch out for the little guy is the basic message and BS has fixed the problem. My, My I am so pleased that all of us have been served so well by BPM and BS. We can all move along now nothing to see here.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Big Sky International Update on 06/13/2007 15:46:00 MDT Print View

Now how about this. I am sure some from Backpacker Magazine read things on this site and such. How prudent would it be to print a disclaimer about their shoddy customer service? Being that they're good journalists, they could even do a story about them. Or how about a retraction about the award. Just a thought.

Sven Klingemann
(svenklingemann) - F
Re: Re: Re: Big Sky International Update on 06/13/2007 15:52:27 MDT Print View

Thanks for the update Mitchell. I am glad to hear that everything is just great. Oh, and I just found that tent I had been waiting for. Must have overlooked it.