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(BackpackGearTest is often abbreviated "BGT".)
BackpackGearTest.org'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.
BackpackGearTest.org'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 BackpackGearTest.org, and we find that diversity among the testers is beneficial. Different people also get different things out of BackpackGearTest.org, 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:
This is an all volunteer organization. Nobody - not even Kathy or John - makes any money from or gets paid by BackpackGearTest.org. No money or other form of remuneration is taken from the manufacturers whose gear we review. BackpackGearTest.org is entirely independent of the industry which we review. To learn more about the organizational structure of BackpackGearTest.org, please see Appendix 1.
Who uses BackpackGearTest?
The most obvious group of people who use BackpackGearTest.org are persons seeking to purchase outdoor gear and who are looking for actual field performance data. Manufacturers use BackpackGearTest.org in two ways. Manufacturers use BackpackGearTest.org reviews to gain market exposure. BackpackGearTest.org 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 BackpackGearTest.org 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.
If you are an avid backpacker, we are always looking for enthusiastic, quality reviewers. Apply here to be a gear tester.