When gear becomes available to test, the official Test Call is posted as a message to the
BackpackGearTesters list with 'TEST CALL' in the subject line. Test Calls are also posted in the
News section of
the BackpackGearTest.org website as a courtesy. You apply to test a piece of gear by
submitting a test application as detailed herein. You must have completed and uploaded two
and submitted your
Tester Agreement in order
to apply for a test. At this stage of the game, you are considered a
'Newbie' tester until you complete your first test series - three reports over
four months. Once you complete your first test series, you are considered to
have 'graduated' and are now a 'Veteran'.
New testers (a.k.a. 'newbies') are looked upon with some caution by the
During the Newbie stage, you are limited to one test series, with some
exceptions. Once you graduate, you may be selected to test multiple items
a detailed explanation of this policy, please see
To be included in the pool of applicants you should submit your
complete application by the stated deadline. The testers will be selected based on parameters specified by
the manufacturer and/or to include a broad spectrum of hiker types, styles, and
locations (demography). For more information about the selection process, see Appendix
A test call generally remains open for one week, but may be shortened or
extended at the discretion of the Test Moderator. It is important to submit your application as
soon as possible after the Test Call is posted. If you are selected, you will be contacted off-list for additional
information such as mailing address and telephone number. Respond as quickly as
possible to this request or it may be necessary to pick an alternate. The Moderator for
each test series will endeavor to inform the group when the testers have been
Do NOT apply for a test if you are unable to spend the time and effort in
the field to
gain the experience with the gear necessary to write complete and impartial
reports over the four-month period typical of gear tests. Remember
that the manufacturers are 'paying' you for your reports by letting you keep the
item being tested. If you are not going to post the reports in good faith then
please do not apply.
It is acceptable to apply for two similar pieces of gear at the same time,
however it is advisable to mention this in your application. Along the same
lines, if you are already testing a similar piece of gear to the one you are
applying for, you should justify why you will be able to perform the test
satisfactorily in your application. In general, it is better to convey any
special circumstances so that any appearance of impropriety is avoided from the
If you are not selected for a test, do not become discouraged.
Competition for gear can be stiff. Persistence and patience is
important. If you have posted your Owner Reviews, cooperated with the
Editors, and submitted your
Agreement, you are almost guaranteed to be eventually selected for a test
series if you write good applications. Posting additional Owner Reviews is
a good way to get noticed.
- Test calls will include the term "TEST CALL" in the
- Test Calls are also posted in the
News section of
the BackpackGearTest.org website as a courtesy.
- The Test Call posted to the
BackpackGearTesters list is the official Test Call.
- Incomplete applications will be discarded with no notice.
- Test applications must be the original work of the tester.
- Copied or proxy applications will be rejected.
- Any tester who copies another tester's application or other work may be banned from testing.
- For an expanded explanation of this policy, see
- You may not submit an application for any third party. Testers are
responsible for testing the gear that they were selected to test.
- The exceptions to this rule are gear used by an animal, and gear used
by a child.
- No test applications will be accepted after the close of the Test Call.
- Test calls can be closed or extended at any time at the discretion of the Test
- The decisions and selections of the Test Moderator are final.
- When selected, you should respond to the Moderators email notification
within 48 hours. Failure to do so may result in the selection of an
- If you will be unavailable during a test call close, you can send your
name, address, and telephone number to the Test Moderator off list in case you
- The Newbie Rule
- Persons who have not yet completed a Test Series are considered Newbies.
- Persons who have completed a Test Series are considered Veterans.
- During the Newbie stage, you are limited to one test series. That
means that you can only test one item at a time.
- There are some exceptions to this rule.
- Some items are designated 'freebies', and it will be noted that the Newbie
Rule does not apply to that item in the Test Call for these items.
- The Test Moderator may select a newbie for more than one test based on
- The application of this discretion is subject to discussion and veto by
the other Moderators.
- For a detailed explanation of this policy, please see
- Your acceptance of a test item constitutes a pledge to complete that
test series in good faith.
- Items do not become the property of the tester until after all
required reports have been posted.
- Testers that do not successfully complete a gear test series completely
cannot keep the gear.
- If you do not, or cannot, complete a test series for any reason, you will
be required to send the item to an alternate
tester at your expense. In some instances, you may be required
to pay the full cost for the gear.
- If you cannot finish a test series for any reason, contact the
- Open communication about your situation, and cooperation with the
Moderators will insure that your status as a tester is not jeopardized.
- The Moderators understand that life issues beyond a tester's control
sometimes happen, and we are willing to work with you.
- Testers who do not complete a test series and do not return the gear
have, by definition, stolen the gear.
- Such a tester may be banned from participation in
BackpackGearTest.org and all associated discussion lists.
- Such a tester is subject to legal action as allowed by law.
- It is better to include too much information rather than not enough.
- Please use your best judgment about the information you include.
- You should read applications from veteran testers to get a feel for how a
good application should read.
- If you have come back to us after a hiatus, or you simply haven't tested
in awhile but would like to again, there are a few things you should do to
make sure you have a fair chance to test gear. If you qualified then, you
qualify now, but you can improve your chances by doing two things:
- Read these Bylaws to be sure that you are aware of any new policies
- Make sure that you have two reports or owner reviews that meet the
current standards. This does NOT mean that you have to go back and re-do
all of your reports. In fact, the best thing to do would be to submit
Owner Reviews that follow the current Survival Guide outlines.
- If you have any question as to your approved tester status, please contact
the Moderators directly for information about your status.
- Applications must be posted to the
- If you submit an application and then need to modify it, resubmit the
entire application. Do not just send the additional information.
- If you need to withdraw your application for any reason, send a note to
BackpackGearTesters list stating that you wish to withdraw.
- Include both Imperial and Metric units when giving measurements.
- Refer to the Converter for rules about
units of measure.
- You must also read
Chapter 5 and include
additional information in your application as specified in that chapter.
- You should read the Test Call message carefully, and include any
additional information specified therein.
- IN YOUR APPLICATION, YOU MUST INCLUDE THE STATEMENT THAT YOU HAVE READ
THESE REQUIREMENTS AND WILL COMPLY WITH THESE REQUIREMENTS. INCLUDE THE
DATE YOU READ THIS DOCUMENT OR THE VERSION NUMBER FROM THE TOP OF THIS
YOU FAIL TO DO SO, YOUR APPLICATION WILL BE IGNORED!
The following is a starting point for required information:
- Personal biographical information
- Email address (need not be clickable)
- City (or region), state, and country (if outside the US) where you
- Backpacking background
- Short, comprehensive description of your backpacking experience
(how long, where, etc.)
- This biography may be longer than the one traditionally
required in Test Reports, when appropriate. Test
Moderators actually welcome comprehensive biographies in
applications. You should, however, attempt to be
- You may wish to include biographical information that is
relevant to the specific test for which you are applying.
- Style (lightweight vs. heavyweight, tent vs. tarp)
- Field information
- Location or locations where you propose to test the gear.
- Understand that 'backyard testing' is not an acceptable substitute
for actual field testing.
- Extended Travel Plans
- If you are taking extended trips of a week or more, please make the
dates of these trips clear, and take note of where these trips fall in
the probable schedule of testing.
- If you are uncomfortable posting away dates on a public forum, send
this information to the Test Moderator or Test Manager in a private
- For an expanded explanation of this, see
- Description of location (mountains, elevation, terrain, etc.)
- Typical weather conditions expected (temperature, precipitation,
- Style of hiking you plan to do during the test (lightweight, tent
vs. tarp, etc.)
- Test plan or strategy.
- Previously written reports
- Include a link to your Reviews Written by <Tester> page on the
- This link is automatically created when you upload a report.
- The usual format of the link is: "http://www.backpackgeartest.org/tester_reviews/"
+ <your user ID>
- You can find this link at the bottom of any of your reports on the
- It is no longer necessary to include separate
links to previous reports.