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The Bylaws
v. 0609

This document changes over time. Please check back frequently if you have questions. If your questions are not addressed in this document, please send your questions to the group or to the Moderators for answers.  If you have suggestions for changes in this document, or would like to recommend a policy change, please email the Moderators.



The BGT Survival Guide
How to Become a Tester in Three Easy Steps


Introduction: What is BackpackGearTest? 
Chapter 1: Requirements for participation

Chapter 2: Mailing Lists
Chapter 3: Owner Review requirements
Chapter 4: Tester applications
Chapter 5: Test report requirements
Chapter 6: Minimum Report and Review Requirements
Chapter 7: Sending files to the list
Chapter 8: Editing Reports
Chapter 9: Uploading files to the site
Chapter 10: Test Monitor Requirements
Chapter 11: Including Pictures in your Reviews 
Chapter 12: Beta Testing 
Chapter 13: Miscellaneous Rules and Regulations 

Introduction: What is BackpackGearTest?

(BackpackGearTest is often abbreviated "BGT".)

Mission Statement's mission is to provide comprehensive gear reviews to the backpacking community and to outdoors people at large; to provide a useful testing and product review service to manufacturers; and to enhance the outdoor experience of all outdoors people by providing an open forum for the dissemination of information about, and discussion of, backpacking and other outdoor related gear and technology.

Vision Statement's vision is to be recognized as the premier resource providing gear information, comprehensive reviews, and discussions about innovative gear, technology, and concepts in response to the needs and expectations of backpackers and other outdoors people.

Who We Are, What We Do, and Why We Do It

BackpackGearTest is a collection of individuals, under the guidance of Kathy and John Waters, who could all be described as 'gear nuts'.  We have one main purpose: To test and review gear, and to report those results to the rest of the backpacking community while providing feedback to manufacturers who can incorporate that feedback into the equipment they produce.  You are welcome to join us.  Anyone can become a gear tester and write reviews.  Different people bring different things to, and we find that diversity among the testers is beneficial.  Different people also get different things out of, and that's fine too.

Our secondary goal is to have fun!  Backpacking is, after all, a recreational activity that should be fun.  Gear testing can be fun too.  There is, however, a serious side to gear testing.  Someone's life may one day depend on their gear.  It is important that our Reports and Reviews be fair, honest, and objective so that people can choose the gear that's right for them.  Testers are required to live up to a Code of Ethics (found in Chapter 1.) 

Reports found on BackpackGearTest fall into two categories:

  1. Owner Reviews are individual reports written by members of on gear they have owned for a while.
  2. Test Reports are a structured set of three reports: Initial Report, Field Report and Long-Term Report, on gear
    supplied by, in cooperation with manufacturers, for a Test Series.


  1. BackpackGearTest is administered by Kathy and John Waters.  Kathy is known as the Chief Moderator and Publisher, among other things. John is Test Director. Both work with the manufacturers to get product for testing.
    1. Any decision made by the Chief Moderator is FINAL. 
  2. A team of volunteer Moderators assist Kathy and John with administration.  Moderators are hand selected from the ranks of veteran testers.
    1. Edit Moderators manage incoming content.  (Reports and Reviews.)
      1. Test Monitors act as Editors for the test series to which they are assigned.  They also track tests and resolve issues for those tests to which they are assigned.
    2. Test Moderators interact with manufacturers and manage upcoming tests, test calls, and test selections.
      1. Test Managers assist the Test Moderators, as directed, with the test call and test selection process.
    3. Website Moderators handle technical aspects of running and maintain the website.
    4. General Moderators are capable of filling several roles as needed.
  3. Mentors are Veteran Testers who assist new testers through the Owner Review writing and approval process.
  4. Testers come from all walks of life and are real backpackers and outdoorspeople.

This is an all volunteer organization.  Nobody - not even Kathy or John - makes any money from or gets paid by  No money or other form of remuneration is taken from the manufacturers whose gear we review. is entirely independent of the industry which we review.  To learn more about the organizational structure of, please see Appendix 1.

Who uses BackpackGearTest?

The most obvious group of people who use are persons seeking to purchase outdoor gear and who are looking for actual field performance data.  Manufacturers use in two ways.  Manufacturers use reviews to gain market exposure. receives thousands of hits every day, and so a manufacturer who provides gear for review is certain to have their product seen.  Manufactures also use as a testing ground to improve their products, and to be responsive to their customer base.  Many manufactures have used the performance data and reviewer suggestions found in the reports to improve their products.  

Introduction: What is BackpackGearTest?


Chapter 1: Requirements for participation

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.

All material on this site is the exclusive property of
BackpackGearTest software copyright David Anderson