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BackpackGearTest.org (BGT)was founded in 1999 by Jerry Goller, a backpacker from Utah, who saw a need for impartial backpacking gear reviews. In a world where most gear reviews were published by media who also accepted advertising money from those same manufacturers; BGT was, and still is, unique.
Originally, Jerry created a Yahoo! Group called BackpackGearTest and posted invitations to join on various backpacking related email lists and forums.
While backpackers were joining the new group, Jerry was busy contacting manufacturers with a pitch that just makes too much sense to ignore - impartial, comprehensive 16 week field reviews for no more than the cost of their product! Not just short reviews where the product gets opened in the writer's backyard, but THREE CONCURRENT real in-field tests under all sorts of conditions, in multiple parts of the globe, by reviewers of different ages and genders.
Dozens of manufacturers recognized the value of independent reviews with no advertising dollars skewing the results and they have signed on - repeatedly, too.
The benefit to manufacturers is invaluable. BGTers report their findings and make constructive suggestions, giving manufacturers feedback they are then free to incorporate into the designs of future products. The reviews can also be used in the manufacturers' own marketing materials.
For backpackers looking for gear reviews, BGT offers detailed reviews with extensive field experience, without the bias of paid advertisements coloring those reviews.Much time and effort goes into these reviews and there is never any monetary compensation to BGT or the reviewer.
BGTers not only submit reviews based on gear provided by BGT partner-manufacturers; they also review gear they've purchased themselves.
In August of 2002, BGT outgrew the services available at the Yahoo! Groups web site. With some personal capital from Jerry and a lot of elbow grease gleaned from the diverse knowledge of BGT volunteers, the independent web site, BackpackGearTest.org was launched.
Through word of mouth from BGT members and manufacturers who work with BGT, ever-increasing readership of the BackpackGearTest.org website has continued to grow.
Jerry turned the reigns over to Kathy and John Waters of Canon City, Colorado, who now own and operate BGT.