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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 BackpackGearTestfirstname.lastname@example.org.
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 BackpackGearTest.org Editors are selected from among veteran testers who have shown an aptitude for the position. The BackpackGearTest.org 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.
If you are an avid backpacker, we are always looking for enthusiastic, quality reviewers. Apply here to be a gear tester.