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Manufacturers interested in having their products Beta Tested should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beta Testing is when a tester reports directly to a company without publishing the results. From time to time, manufacturers use the members of the BackpackGearTest group to select beta testers for products they plan to bring to market. Beta tests involve gear that has not yet been announced and may still go through design changes before being brought to market. Each beta test is run independently and there may be great variation in how each test is run. The BackpackGearTest group usually collects the applications and forwards them to the manufacturer. The manufacturer usually picks the testers from those applications.
Companies looking for beta testers are not interested in exposure for their products. When they are ready for exposure, they go through the normal BackpackGearTest process. Beta tests usually involve a confidentiality agreement so that the manufacturer can maintain tight control over who sees and tests their product.
Unless otherwise specified, they do not want input on how a group of scouts did while playing with it, or what your girlfriend thought of it. They want you, and only you, to use it discreetly. Do not show it off to your buddies, your hiking club, your friend at REI, or even a scout troop. If you are beta testing a stove, you do all the cooking.
Do not post anything about the beta test gear on this list. If you have a comment or complaint about dealing with the company, bring it directly to the attention of the Moderator who is in contact with the company.
Goals for beta testing vary from product to product and manufacturer to manufacturer. When a request for beta testers goes out, reply to that request. A standard gear test application may not be what the manufacturer is looking for. Saying the right things will improve your chances.
The gear you receive from the company will often be pre-production. They do not want you talking about it with anyone else. You generally have to return the gear to the company at the end of the test period. They will want to have it back to check for wear and defects. Beta test gear is usually not yours to keep. There is usually some sort of thank you gift from the company. Sometimes it is the gear when it goes into production, sometimes it is a selection of other gear from that manufacturer. Different companies have different policies. Be sure to follow all policies and procedures as dictated by the company you are beta testing for. Revealing confidential information about a beta test is grounds for expulsion from this group.
If you are an avid backpacker, we are always looking for enthusiastic, quality reviewers. Apply here to be a gear tester.