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Quick Start Guide
v. 0704 rev E

How To Start

This is simply a quick-start guide to get new gear testers up and running with an overview of the requirements for participation.  For the complete set of rules and regulations, and for any special case scenarios, please see the Survival Guide at under Test Requirements.   The Survival Guide is the governing document, and this is merely a reference document.

First -
You must join the BGT Discussion Group for BackpackGearTest in order to read the messages posted by all the members of this testing community, and to respond and submit reviews for editing. This is a very high traffic list, but there are options for reading messages on the web, in a periodic digest e-mail (several per day), or via individual e-mail messages (dozens per day).

Second - You must register at by going to  If you don't, you won't be able to upload any of the reviews and reports you are about to work so hard on.  (Note: you don't need to register to read the reports, only to upload them.)  You will be given uploading instructions at the appropriate time during the editing process. 

Third -
Review the list below and act accordingly.  Any questions should be answered in the Survival Guide, but if you can't find it there you may ask on the BGT Discussion Group.

Now What Do I Do?

Write an Owner Review on a piece of gear you own and submit it to the BGT Discussion Group for editing.  There are a lot of requirements you must include, so make sure you review step 2 of HOW TO BECOME A GEAR TESTER for the elements needed for Owner Reviews.  Also, PLEASE consult the Owner Review Checklist for a final check before submitting.

Monitor the list for a message with your name and your review for responses.  Official edits should have EDIT in the subject line.  Follow the directions given to you by the editor.

Once your first Owner Review has been approved, you need to upload it to  You will receive instructions.   Then, and only then, you should submit your second Owner Review... repeating the process above.  The reason you need to wait is so you learn from the editing process and your second review will be even better than the first.

After your first two Owner Reviews are approved you will be an official “Newbie”.  Newbies may apply for tests in response to test calls posted on the BGT Discussion Group.  The “Newbie Rule” means that you will have to complete one test series (consisting of three reports over a period of time on provided gear) before you will graduate to being eligible for testing more than one item at a time.  There are often exceptions to the Newbie Rule, so stay abreast of the traffic on the list for opportunities.

The Survival Guide has the detailed requirements for Owner Reviews, Test Applications, and Test Reports, so once you start the process you will want to check with it often.  It is also highly recommended that you browse through the Recent Reviews section of to see what is expected.

We hope this helps!  Editors are standing by for your first Owner Review!

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