Mountain Laurel Designs

Forum Posting

A Membership is required to post in the forums. Login or become a member to post in the member forums!

Home Forums Commerce Reader Reviews Mountain Laurel Designs

  • This topic is empty.
Viewing 25 posts - 1 through 25 (of 41 total)
  • Author
  • #1220305
    Joshua Burt


    Locale: The Smokies

    I recently had a poncho/tarp on order from MLD during their reorganizational process. After about 6 months of waiting for the tarp (I didn’t think to check the website), I sent Ron Bell an email inquiring about the order. From this point, we exchanged a number of emails in which I first was willing to wait for the tarp, then I wanted a refund. Each time I emailed Ron took no longer than a day or so to reply. Additionally, he had my refund check in the mail within a day of receiving my information.

    I currently don’t own any MLD products, but in this return process I really felt like a valued future customer, so I plan to become one at some point. EVent Rain Mitts?

    Roger B
    BPL Member


    Locale: Denmark

    I agree with Joshua, you cannot complain about Ron’s service. Even when ‘times are a changin’ he still takes the time to respond to emails and participate at BPL. I too intend to shop at MLD and yes the eVent Mitts look great.

    Doug Johnson
    BPL Member


    Locale: Pacific Northwest

    I’ve bought products from Ron since his days on eBay. All the way through, he has been excellent with customer service, despite the extremely rapid growth he’s experienced of late. I’ve had 5 products from Mountain Laurel Designs and they’ve all be very high quality, both in design and construction. I’m sold- MLD is a fantastic company.

    Terry Boldt


    Recently purchased the MLD silnylon Pro Poncho Tarp. When I ordered Ron emailed that he was 8+ weeks backed up on orders. I sent a check and proceeded to wait. After about 8 or 9 weeks I sent an email on the off chance that he might have gotten to the poncho/tarp by then. Within 2 or 3 days he had it in the mail.

    Received it in 2 days. The poncho is great. The ability to adjust the hood fit is superior and the workmanship is just great. I have sewn some silnylon myself and know howe difficult it is to sew. The seams were done really professionally.

    Some items were missing in the order – I suspect that Ron is really busy. emailed hinm and he reponded the same day and had the items in the mail that day.

    Ron knows how to produce not only a good product but great customer service.

    I highly recommend MLD and Ron – both the products and the service.

    paul johnson


    Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest

    I think that the following will suffice as a brief review of my experience with MLD.

    Having already obtained Ron Bell’s permission to do so, i’m posting a copy of an email that I sent to Mr. Bell after he made a Custom Epic/Soul Bivy for me:
    Mr. Bell,

    The Custom Epic Bivy with modifications arrived today. So Light. Packs so small.

    Excellent design & construction. You handled the modifications perfectly – especially since I think my descriptions of the mods was not always that clear.

    The Bivy is exactly like I envisioned/hoped it would turn out. You must have read my mind and knew exactly what I wanted.

    The sewing is perfect. The stuffsack, and all of the extra zipper pulls, the repair fabric and tape are very nice touches.

    Didn’t remember reading about the drawcord bottom. It’s a great feature though – I really like it. The elastic drawcord will make sure nothing gets in & if in doubt you left the cord long enough to throw a clove hitch around the cinched bottom. Perfect.

    I can’t say enough good things about your design & craftsmanship. Examining the bivy closely would lead someone to believe that you have produced this identical bivy many times as a regular product instead of as a special order having several modifications.

    All I can say is THANK YOU VERY MUCH. Thanks for making all of the mods & for doing business with me.

    I look forward to doing more business with you and your company Mountain Laurel Designs for both your standard designs and possibly some more custom work.

    Many Thanks,

    Sam Haraldson
    BPL Member


    Locale: Gallatin Range

    When you order from Ron Bell, don't expect to find your order at your doorstep the next week the way you would expect a purchase from a giant retailer. And when you order from a giant retailer, don't expect the kind of personal attention and custom craftsmanship you'll get from Ron Bell.

    I have purchased two items from Mountain Laurel Designs on two separate occasions, the eVent Rain Mitts and the SuperLight Bivy. Both items are of top-knotch construction with obvious attention to detail. They come simply packaged and without wasteful packaging material, fancy mailing labels or shipping receipts.

    Although I am very happy with the service in respect to full disclosure I must state that my feelings of content are based on end-results of what I received. The Mitts I ordered failed to ship and I had to contact MLD upon which time a pair was promptly mailed and at my door within the week. The bivy took the expected two months to ship but arrived in the wrong size. Once again one short message to Mr. Bell and a new bivy was at my doorstep within three days along with a pre-addressed return package for the wrong-sized product.

    In conclusion, Mountain Laurel Designs has a long wait-time for gear. It is however a long wait which is worth the value of such fine, handmade items.

    kevin davidson


    Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson

    For all the reasons above. I've had 3 MLD packs (w/ a 4th on order)–a Revelation, a Prophet and a prototype —all absolutely top notch in design and execution—a Soul Bivy and a Tarp ( top of the mtn. among their peers).
    Ron Bell has been generous in the past about modifying a design if the user needed it. The secret is out and MLD is thigh deep in orders, these days, so patience is required. Order often, but order early!

    Valentin Zill


    Locale: Europe

    In February/early March I ordered a Revelation Pack, a Monk Spectralite.60 Tarp and a few weeks later a LiteSoul Bivy, for which Ron didn't charge me any extra postage fees. As others already mentioned, he is responding very fast to emails and customization is never a problem, for example I ordered the LiteSoul without stake-out loops.
    Unfortunately I was very busy until June, so I used the Revelation Pack first in the third week of June and found that it kept sliding down constantly, even with very little weight in it. I emailed Ron and he told me that he knew about that problem (the straps below the shoulder straps were to thin), he had already changed the design (I had one of the first packs). He suggested that I send the pack back to him for a free repair, he would cover for my expenses with stuff sacks etc. International shipping from Germany to the US is very expensive, and I needed the pack very soon because I had to work again in 1.5 weeks. So Ron simply told me he would sew me a new one, include a stuff sack for my sleeping bag and ship via USPS Global Express Mail! The pack arrived today, took less then a week, I'm impressed. Doug's right: MLD is fantastic!

    douglas girling
    BPL Member


    Locale: Adirondacks

    Not only are MLD products exceptional but the customer service and individual attention that Ron provides is truly outstanding. As a relative newbie to the ultralight world I’ve had a lot of questions (many inane I’m sure) which Ron has answered timeously and clearly. Not only that, but prior to actually manufacturing an item Ron, has called personally to go over any custom options and give his recommendations. I haven’t had the opportunity to return any products – you’ll have to wrestle them out of my cold dead hands (hmm, that may not be quite the endorsement I intended for winter camping gear) but Ron has expressed numerous times his willingness to take back any gear that isn’t 100% satisfactory. I have no doubt about this. So, are there any downsides? Well, there is the rather long lead time, but I’m beginning to think that MLD may be on to something with this, the exquisite pain of anticipation of these delightful products makes their arrival all the more glorious – Christmas is no longer once a year. Melodrama aside, unconditionally recommended. If you don’t like the product, I’ll buy it from you

    Michael Chamoun
    BPL Member


    Locale: SoCal

    I ordered my Zip pack back in April of last year in preparation for a thru-hike of the CT that was taking place July 14. I was well aware of the 10 week waiting time but I knew that I had enough time. Well, it's July 10 and I still haven't received my pack. I call Ron in desperation and explain that my pack hasn't arrived. I WANT to backpack with this one and no else so I was pretty dead set. He calmly explains that he already shipped it out last week USPS Priority so we know there is a problem going on with the shipping. Reassuring, he says that if I don't get it the next day to call him again. Sure enough no pack. I call him and he says that he'll drop whatever he's doing, make me my pack (which takes about a full day from my understanding maybe longer) and overnight it to my buddies house in Denver at his expense. I arrive in Denver and the next day the pack is there! I was so happy and relieved! I couldn't have asked for anyone better to be so accomodating and understanding. Thank you Ron for making my trip possible because I would not have wanted to hike the trail without your beautifully designed product.

    Ryan Gardner


    I've purchased 3 of Ron's products now, all of which have been well designed and of high quality and craftsmanship. My actual items have always been extremely close to the stated weight on the website – something I feel to be very important.

    Aside from the superb quality of product, Ron has been amazing to work with. Before I had ever ordered anything from him, he had spent probably 30 minutes on the phone with me, answering questions, talking about my setup, and discussing possible options open to me. Every time I have called him he has answered the phone and spent time with me. He is also very prompt at answering e-mails. I don't think it's ever been longer than a day. Tonight I had a response within 15 minutes!

    Ron is also active on the message board and is there to add his advice to others about certain products. After purchasing my tarp and setting it up for the first time, I needed some advice on getting a better pitch. I posted to the "G-Spot" and that same day Ron added his tips and tricks to the other forum user's posts. He obviously feels like the customer isn't "off his desk once the item gets shipped". He's there to make sure you get the best out of your UL gear.

    As far as shipping times, two items were shipped within the promised time, and the third took about one week. Not bad at all!

    In short, this is a top-notch company to do business with.

    Matthew L.
    BPL Member


    Locale: Pittsburgh, PA

    Ron Bell has created an amazing cottage shop which consistently turns out cutting-edge UL and SUL gear, not for the masses, by for the true purist.

    I now own four of Ron's products:

    1. 2007 Revelation in spinnaker
    2. Cuben poncho
    3. LiteSoul bivy
    4. Prototype Devotion two-season top bag

    While I have not used the Devotion and poncho yet (can't wait!), I have been very pleased with the other products.

    More importantly, however, is the patience that Ron has with my many questions and his drive to keep improving his products. Apathy is not the case with MLD. I love to check the site and see what new creations he has made. While that has made me spend some serious bucks, it has also helped make my backpacking experience even better. That is priceless.

    One sidenote: Ron even posted on BPL that he had a pair of Injinji socks that he didn't want and offered to mail them to someone interested. I asked for them, and he mailed them to me. It didn't cost me a cent (and I love the socks). This is how Ron runs his business. What a classy guy!

    Jay Wilkerson
    BPL Member


    Locale: East Bay

    I ordered a custom MLD Serenity Shelter. 7ftx40front widthx25rear width and 35in HT. He told me it would take longer and it showed up sooner. Ron seems like a real committed UL hiker and you can see it in his business. Highly Recomended- Very happy w/ customer service.

    jim bailey
    BPL Member


    Locale: South East

    After using a Prophet pack for a few seasons had the front pocket seam rip out. Contacted Ron if he could repair this & he mentioned shipping it back for some patching up. A week later the pack was back with all new straps and modifications, much more then I ever expected, Great Job Ron!, you have a loyal customer for the life of your fine business on this end.

    Art Sandt


    I've dealt with Montain Laurel Designs twice and my overall impression is very good. The wait periods quoted are accurate. I was told 1-3 weeks for some various small items in December and received the package in a week and a half. I was told 7-8 weeks in spring (busy time for them) and received the package in 8 weeks.

    In general, the products are very well made, but a little too expensive for my budget. If the prices were lower, I'd buy more gear from them. As it stands, I often am forced to make my own gear and looking at some of MLD's designs is a hearty inspiration of just how light some of this stuff can be made.

    John Haley


    Locale: New York/Vermont Border

    Having dealt with Ron Bell for several years and after purchasing tarps, shelters, bivies, and packs… as well as many minor products, I consider Ron's service, help, and products as good as it gets in this realm. I often find myself calling Ron for advice about his products or even just to discuss backpacking. At all times Ron makes me feel that my questions and getting answers to them are important to him. Great products from an equally great guy.

    David Ure



    Eugene Smith
    BPL Member


    Locale: Nuevo Mexico

    Ron had my MLD Spinnaker Monk tarp repaired and improved upon free of charge with reinforced tieouts in 1 week, from shipping to Rons' shop, sewn, and shipped back to me, one week! This would never happen in the mainstream industry, this is above standard treatment. He stands behind his products and because of that many will stand behind his gear, I will. It is good to see a company seriously focused on creating gear that works and doing everything in their power to get it into the hands of the lightweight user to enjoy.

    Mark Verber
    BPL Member


    Locale: San Francisco Bay Area

    The product design and quality is first rate. Ship times are accurate, and Ron is easy to work with. For example, I ordered a superfly but then had second thoughts about the options I had selected. Ron was helpful in settling my order while at the same time nor delaying the tarps completion or ship date. My only complain is that he doesn't make the superfly anymore.

    Barnett Childress


    Locale: New England

    I've been purchasing gear from Ron now for the last few years. EVERYTHING Ron has sent me has been top notch in design & quality. Ron has helped me many times & always takes the time to answer my questions, discuss gear & SUL in general. A great guy and a great company. Whenever I'm in the market for new gear I always check MLD first.

    Currently own:
    2008 ZIP pack
    2009 Revelation Cuben Pack
    Grace Solo Cuben tarp
    Litesoul Cuben Bivy
    Cuben rain chaps
    Cuben stuff sacks

    Currently on order:
    eVENT Mitts
    DuoMID in Cuben

    Can you tell I'm sold on MLD?

    Adam Frizzell
    BPL Member


    Locale: Mid-Atlantic

    Mountain Laurel Designs epitomizes what it is to be a cottage gear manufacturer. His designs are innovative, his prices are competitive and his customer service is unparalleled.
    I personally have had numerous emails exchanges with him before most of my orders either for custom changes or just to ask questions or get his opinion. He is always quick to respond and honest. Ron and his crew are amazing. Ron is even a frequent poster on BPL and provides us all with helpful info about his products and fabrics/technique in general.
    MLD definitely is at the top of the UL industry.

    Red Fox
    BPL Member


    Not only does MLD offer the best products, but they also offer the best customer service.

    I can honestly say that Ron Bell has provided me with the best customer service I have ever received. I put in a very large order with him in November and I received everything in December, right before the holidays. The wait is a little long but it is well worth it for the very high quality of the products I received. Everything I received was exactly as specified.

    Most of what I ordered from him was custom and Ron was very patient with me and worked with me to modify everything exactly the way I wanted. He usually answered my e-mails within the hour and was always quick to answer any questions I had.

    I don't think you will find better customer service than what Ron Bell will offer.


    BPL Member


    The pack, tarp, and mitts I purchased over several years were all well made and arrived as scheduled. The pack and tarp were custom and made exactly as requested. When I needed a change in the pack he did the work and shipped it back the day he received it. Strongly recommended.

    scott Allman


    Locale: Pennsylvania

    I own several MLD items, some from the days when they were in Maine.
    From the ordering to the communication to the product my overall experience has always been outstanding.
    The items that Ron envisions and creates are that of true honest value & lasting quality.

    MLD is a trusted resource for the UL gear buyer.

    scott Allman


    Locale: Pennsylvania

    I own several MLD items, some from the days when they were in Maine.
    From the ordering to the communication to the product my overall experience has always been outstanding.
    The items that Ron envisions and creates are that of true honest value & lasting quality.

    MLD is a trusted resource for the UL gear buyer.

Viewing 25 posts - 1 through 25 (of 41 total)
  • The forum ‘Reader Reviews’ is closed to new topics and replies.
Forum Posting

A Membership is required to post in the forums. Login or become a member to post in the member forums!