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To read Reports and Reviews, you need only visit BackpackGearTest.org and click Browse Reviews. No registration is necessary.
If you would like to participate in gear discussions or ask questions of the Testers, you need to join one or all of our mailing lists. As a List Member, you may participate in any and all discussions.
(Note: Throughout this document, the terms Owner Review and Test Reports (which are part of an official Gear Test or Gear Review) are sometimes spoken of inclusively by the term 'Reports' or 'Reviews'.)
To participate in gear testing, you must first exhibit your dedication to the testing process by submitting and then publishing (on our site) at least two Owner Reviews, as described in Chapter 3 of this document. Owner Reviews can be written about any piece of backpacking gear you already own, and with which you have enough experience in the field to write a comprehensive report.
Owner Reviews are edited for language, and for whether or not they meet the group's requirements. Once you have posted your Owner Review to the list, an Editor will work with you to refine your Owner Review in a way that will provide value to the group and to the public. BackpackGearTest will then allow you to publish your Review on our website.
All of the information you need to participate is contained in this document. Be aware, however, that this is a technical document, and if you would prefer a user friendly document that will take you step by step through the Owner Review and Tester Application process, please refer to the Survival Guide for a quick overview, or the HOW TO BECOME A GEAR TESTER IN THREE EASY STEPS document for a step-by-step lesson in becoming a gear tester. You should still refer to this document at each step of the process, and read the relevant sections in their entirety. If you would like additional help, the Apprentice Program can assign you a Mentor who will give you one-on-one help through the entire process. If you would like a Mentor, just send a message to the moderators with the subject, "MENTOR REQUEST". More information is provided on this program in Appendix 5.
Only after you have submitted and published two acceptable Owner Reviews and submitted your Tester Agreement may you apply to test gear. If you are selected, you will be required to complete a series of Reports, usually scheduled over a four-month period. Once you have completed the tests and submitted all required Reports, and they have been approved, the gear is yours to keep! All Owner Reviews and Test Reports become the sole property of BackpackGearTest.org when they are posted to the list, and when they are uploaded to the BackpackGearTest.org site. By submitting an Owner Review or applying for a Test Series, you are agreeing to all the stipulations in these bylaws.
After you have completed your first Test Series, you may also volunteer to act as a Monitor for tests. Monitors, once approved and selected for a Test Series, are responsible for the tracking and editing of a test series, and for communicating with the testers assigned to a test series. Among other things, Monitors play an important role by keeping track of which testers have received their gear, which reports they've submitted, and if necessary, to remind the Testers when their reports are due. Monitors are also responsible for Editing reports filed for the test series that they are monitoring. When a test series is completed a monitor's duties are completed for that test.
All of the requirements outlined here are described in detail in subsequent chapters. This document is intended as an aid and a guide not only for Testers, but for Monitors and Moderators as well. Failure to read and follow through on these bylaws will likely prevent you from being chosen as a tester.
Hiking and backpacking entail some risk. All testing is done at the tester's own risk and neither BackpackGearTest.org, its management, nor the manufacturers of the gear being tested accept any responsibility for any damage or injuries occurring during testing. Your participation in this program is at your own risk. While BackpackGearTest publishes Reports and Reviews, we do not guarantee the content of such, except as specifically outlined in this document.
All testers are required to follow the Tester Code of Ethics, which states:
Rules and Restrictions on Participation, and Requirements for All Testers
If you are an avid backpacker, we are always looking for enthusiastic, quality reviewers. Apply here to be a gear tester.