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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 

Chapter 3: Owner Reviews

An Owner Review is a report that details an item that you have used extensively in the field. If you don't have any field experience, then that is a perfect excuse to go backpacking! Owner Reviews from persons new to the sport of backpacking are valued by the list, so don't be discouraged if you are new. There are many people here who will be happy to help you. Similarly, you should not be discouraged if you have poor writing skills, or if English is a second language for you.  While most of the testers are Americans, we have many testers all over the world.  We have Germans, Hungarians, Mexicans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, and even a displaced Kiwi, to name just a few.  The Editors will work with you to refine your writing in a helpful and positive way.  What is most important is the contribution of your experience to the body of knowledge available to the backpacking community.  You'll never become a Tester if you don't at least try!

Owner Reviews allow individuals with extensive field experience with their own gear to write reports for inclusion on BackpackGearTest. These Reviews add great value to our site and improve its usefulness as a resource for all backpackers. If you would like to become a tester, you must successfully complete and upload two Owner Reviews.  No second-hand reviews are allowed except in cases where you are writing on behalf of young children or pets. If the item you want to review is a mainstream item such as a pack, tent, sleeping bag, or any other item type that has already been reported on, then write your report and post it to the Owner Review List. If the item is unlike anything previously reviewed, contact the moderators, off list, for approval before you write your review by sending an email to

Once you write an Owner Review, you submit it to the mailing list for examination by the Edit Moderators.  Please submit only one Owner Review at a time.  The Editors will proofread your Review and post spelling and other corrections, as well as other recommended changes if appropriate. (See Chapter 8 for more information about editing.)  When you have taken these changes into consideration, you will then upload your Review to the BackpackGearTest site. (See Chapter 9 for more information about uploading.) After you have successfully uploaded two Owner Reviews and submitted a Tester Agreement, you may apply to test gear.

A note about Editors: The Editors are selected from among veteran testers who have shown an aptitude for the position.  The Editors are an all volunteer crew, and while they can be very strict, they are here to help you.  You should never take their edits as a personal affront or attempt to engage the Editors in petty arguments.  Responding to an Editor's edits with an uncooperative attitude may be taken as an inability to work with the team, and is likely to impact negatively on your selection for future tests.  If you are not a person who handles constructive criticism well, then you will likely not enjoy participating here.

A step-by-step instruction manual on creating Owner Reviews is provided in the document HOW TO BECOME A GEAR TESTER IN THREE EASY STEPS.  If you need additional help, you may elect to participate in the Apprentice Program. Please see Appendix 5 for more information about the Apprentice Program.


  1. Select gear that you are familiar with. Preferably something that you have used for awhile.
    1. As a minimum, you should have used the item for a minimum of six days/nights on at least two trips.
    2. More use and experience is always better than less.
  2. It may be helpful to select something that you like.
  3. It may be helpful to select a simpler item, rather than a complex one.
  4. Choosing something that can still be purchased will make your Owner Review more valuable to the site.
    1. In no case should you write an Owner Review on a product that has been discontinued for more than two years.
  5. If you are just getting started backpacking, review the thing that you have the most experience with.
  6. You are encouraged to include at least one image of the item in the Owner Review.
    1. For more information about including photographs, please see Chapter 11.
  7. Remember that the Editors are here to assist you.  Cooperate with them whenever possible.


  1. Your Review must contain the minimum information detailed in Chapter 6.
  2. You must post Owner Reviews to the list in very simple HTML (no images) or plain text (preferred).
  3. Only submit one Owner Review at a time.  Wait until you have uploaded the first Owner Review before submitting another.
  4. Follow the list for the Editors' comments, and possible comments from other List Members.
  5. You must incorporate Editors' comments into your review and carefully follow the Editors instructions
    1. You may be required to REPOST your Owner Review with the suggested edits in place.  That is the usual practice.
  6. Incorporation of list member comments is optional - use your best judgment.
  7. Upload your Review when and where instructed to do so.  Upload instructions can be found in Chapter 9.
Chapter 2: Mailing Lists


Chapter 4: Tester applications


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