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Now that you have a completed and edited review, it's time to finalize your owner review by uploading it to the BackpackGearTest website.  The first step in doing so is to convert your report from a text format to an HTML format.  HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language, and is the standard format that is read by all web browsers.  Web documents must be in HTML in order for people to be able to see and read them.  There are many tools for creating HTML content, and you don't have to have any special knowledge to convert your review.  If, however, you need help, click here for instructions on joining the BGTFileUploadHelp group.  Once a member of that group, post your problem there.  If you need someone to convert your review to HTML for you, simply post the plain text version to the BGTFileUploadHelp group with a note asking that your review be converted to HTML.  A volunteer will convert it for you and send you the file as an attachment that you can then upload.  If you need individual support, someone will help you through the entire process.

It is NOT recommended that you use Microsoft Word to convert to HTML, since Word adds extraneous formatting that can cause problems.  Since Microsoft Windows is the most common operating system, and Microsoft Outlook Express is free with this operating system, a brief overview of how to use Microsoft Outlook Express to convert your review to HTML is provided here.  Feel free to print this page out if it is helpful to you.


  1. Open Outlook Express

  2. Click the New Mail button, or from the File menu, select FILE - NEW - MAIL MESSAGE.

  3. A 'New Message' window will appear.

  4. Make sure your message format is Rich Text.  Do this by selecting FORMAT from the file menu, and selecting Rich Text.

  5. Copy and paste your review into the body of the new message you have just created.  (Open your text file, select all the text, press Ctrl-C on the keyboard, move to the new message and click in the body area and then press Ctrl-V on the keyboard.)

  6. Check the review for formatting.  You can add any dynamic formatting such as bold, italic, underlined, and even different colored text at this time.  You can even add images.  All these things are acceptable in HTML.  

  7. From the File menu, select FILE - SAVE AS.

  8. The 'Save Message As' window will appear.

  9. In the 'Save as type' drop down box at the bottom of the 'Save Message As' window, select 'HTML Files'.

  10. Enter a file name in the 'File Name' text box just above the 'Save as type' drop down box.  Be sure to write down or remember the file name you use. (e.g. flashlight_owner_review.htm)

  11. Select a folder in the 'Save In' drop down box at the top of the 'Save Message As' window.  Be sure to note this folder, since you will have to be able to find it when you want to upload the report.

  12. Click the 'Save' button.

  13. Your file is now saved.

  14. From the File menu, select FILE - SAVE.

  15. Your message is now saved in the DRAFTS folder of Outlook Express.  Should you wish to edit your review in the future, you will be able to do so by opening it in the DRAFTS folder, making your changes, and then following these steps again.

  16. If you have any trouble with any of these steps, or any questions, just post a message to the BGTFileUploadHelp group and someone will assist you.

That's not so hard, is it?  Now you have an HTML file in a folder that is suitable for uploading to the BackpackGearTest site.  Now it's time to actually upload it.  A simple set of instructions is provided below.   


  1. Log in to the site.  You must be a registered member, and you must be logged in to be able to upload your review.

  2. The moderator that edited your review will also create a folder for it.  In most cases, a link to this folder will be provided to you.  If it is, then you can click on the link and jump directly to it and skip to step 7 below.  If no link was provided, continue with step 3 to browse for your folder.

  3. Select 'Browse Reviews' from the left side menu.

  4. Select the Main Category that relates to your item.  (e.g. Lighting) (Note that there is a TEST category.  You can upload your report into the TEST category for practice.)

  5. Select the Sub-Category that relates to your item.  (e.g. Maglite_Solitaire_Flashlight)

  6. Continue selecting Sub-Categories until you reach the folder where your review belongs.

  7. Once you reach the appropriate Sub-Category, you should see an Upload File link in the yellow menu bar.

  8. Click on the Upload File link to begin.

  9. The Upload Report page will appear.

  10. Follow the instructions on the Upload Report page.

  11. In the first field, enter a description of your file.  (e.g. "Owner Review - Shane Steinkamp")

  12. In the HTML file field, enter the path and filename of your file, or click the 'Browse' button to browse to it.

  13. If you have images in your report, you must enter the image file names in the Image text boxes.  You can also select the 'Browse' button next to each Image text box and select the file that way.  Images must be in the same folder as your review file in order for the images to be uploaded.  Images are not required and if you have no images, simply leave all the Image text boxes blank.

  14. After following all instructions, click the 'Upload' button at the bottom of the page.

  15. If your upload is successful, the Sub-Category you selected will reappear with a link to the file you just uploaded.  Click this link and review your file.  If you wish to make any changes, delete the file using the Delete link to the right of the file description, make any changes, and follow these steps again.  You can only delete files that you create, and only for ten days after the upload.  If you want to revise an old review, contact a moderator and ask that the file be deleted.

  16. If your upload was unsuccessful, you will receive an error.  Post this error in the BGTFileUploadHelp group and someone will assist you.

Congratulations!  You've completed an owner review!  Once you have uploaded two owner reviews, you can start applying to test gear.

You have two options:

Return to the Introduction page or Continue to the next lesson, Applying to test Gear.

Product tested and reviewed in each Formal Test Report has been provided free of charge by the manufacturer to Upon completion of the Test Series the writer is permitted to keep the product. Owner Reviews are based on product owned by the reviewer personally unless otherwise noted.

If you are an avid backpacker, we are always looking for enthusiastic, quality reviewers. Apply here to be a gear tester.

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BackpackGearTest software copyright David Anderson