WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE DO
You have found "the most
comprehensive interactive gear reviews and tests on the
planet." Within this group are outdoors people of
all types: ultra-light, mid-weight, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink-weight and
everything in between. We truly span the world, with members
many countries. Our backgrounds are different, but our
in the outdoors brings us together. Members of the group variously
backpack, hike, bushwalk, tramp, climb, camp, run, snowshoe, and ski. One way or another we all carry our gear.
We all share a keenness to play with
backpacking gear and to share our experiences with the wider
So please read on to learn about the various policies and procedures at
At the bottom of the page are
links to the Backpackgeartest By-laws, related to this section of the
You will need to join the
at Yahoo! Groups. This will allow you to submit reviews,
and follow the flow of the group. You will have options at
to how you receive your mail.
will also need to register at:
Once you write your first review you will need to be
order to upload it on
the site. You do not need to be registered to read the reviews.
welcome Owner Reviews from everyone, and will work with you to make
sure your review meets our standards. If you are under 18
will not be able to apply to test gear until after you turn 18.
You will need to write two Owner Reviews (OR). The
writing of two Owner Reviews is, in part, a learning process.
The Owner Review process helps the new member to understand the standards and
processes associated with Backpackgeartest.org. It also shows
are willing and able to make a commitment to the group.
The item chosen for
your first Owner Review should be a piece of backpacking
equipment that you are very familiar with – keep it simple
your first review. It's advisable to avoid complex
equipment, such as packs, tents, or electronic equipment. The
item you review should be still in production, or not more than two
years old. You
should have enough days/nights in
the field with the item you choose to write a thorough, detailed
report. If you are unsure if your item is
appropriate, email the group and include the name of the item, and a
moderator will get back to you. Take the time to read some recent
reviews on the
http://www.backpackgeartest.org website, as this will help you understand the
structure and style we require. Only submit one review at a time.
Allow your editor to work with you on your first review, before
submitting a second review. It saves editing time in the long
and helps you avoid the same mistakes. Once you receive
edits for your first review, be sure that you understand why the edits
have been made. Ask your editor if necessary. The
are veteran testers who volunteer their time. They will work
you, helping you to understand the standards that Backpackgeartest.org sets
for its reviews and test reports.
Many new testers (and some who have been around a while, but are having trouble) request a
mentor to help them get through the process of review writing. Mentors can answer
questions and offer suggestions. They also can 'pre-edit'
and test applications to help insure the new tester is on the right
to request a mentor.
WRITING THE REVIEW
Your review needs to include the
Name of item being tested prominently at the top of the page, followed
by ‘Owner Review' and the date.
Smith Company Top of the Line Tent
January 1, 2006
The date should be in this form, rather than (for
example) 1/1/2006, as the order of month and date are not
internationally uniform. Do be sure that you have the equipment name
listed in the exact form that is used on the manufacturer website or in
their literature. As in the example above, please include in the review
title the type of gear under review (in this case, tent).
Personal biographical information:
- Height – include metric/imperial conversions.
- Weight – example: 5'7" (1.7 m) (see
- Email address (need not be clickable) You may use
this format: jdoeATyourispDOTcom or
- City (or region), state, and country where you live
- Typical weight carried, packing style (ultra light - heavy
- pace, area covered, terrain
- tent, hammock, tarp?
- Special activities while outdoors
- 100 word limit – link to
"Writing a Brief
- Year of manufacture *
- URL of top level
manufacturer web site (not the item at the site, and only use the
- Manufacturer's listed measurements, if
pertinent to review*
- Actual measurements
- Listed weight*
- Weight as
delivered - Many testers use an accurate kitchen scale or a
Suggested Retail Price (MSRP from web site). e.g. $250 US *
*If this information isn't available on the
manufacturer's website, please indicate that.
You will also need to include a written descriptive of the item you are
reviewing. This would include such information as; texture,
color, fit and any features of the item. Also address any
peripheral items included with item (tent-stakes), directions included
with product - are they easy to follow and accurate, etc.
- Locations where the test was
- Description of
location (mountains, elevation, terrain, etc.) *
- Weather conditions
(temperature, precipitation, wind, etc.) *
- Any other
*Don’t forget to include metric/imperial conversions
information about the content of the review text:
The body of the review may include any additional factual information
you are able to provide about the item being tested. You may also
include your opinions about a piece of gear. If you had expectations
from company advertising, this is where to report whether or not the
item lives up to expectations and why or why not. While you
may certainly quote portions of the
manufacturer's description, the item under review needs to be described
in your own words, and any claims made by the manufacturer should be
evaluated in the review, and any specialized terms should be
explained. Any quotation of the manufacturer description should use
terms for proprietary materials exactly as they appear in the
literature, although the trade or registration mark symbol need not be
used. You should not
project how someone else will find the product. Avoid
implying that your reader's
experience will be the same as yours. Avoid the use of the pronouns
"you" and "yours." "I," "me," and "mine" should be used.
review must be written to reflect your findings while using the item.
Reviews are not required to be positive. Reviews of poorly performing
or designed gear are just as important as reviews of outstanding gear.
All statements you make, whether positive or negative, must be
with details. To balance your reviews, consider both the positives and
the negatives as you write.
Do not compare the item
you are reviewing with any other product.
You may say "compared to my past experience with a similar
product" or a similar statement, but do not do direct comparisons, with
named products. As a group, we also do not 'rate' items. Just describe the item, and how it performed for you.
Try to come up with at least three things you really like about the
gear. Even if the item does not work out the way you expected, does it
have features that you like? Conversely, try to come up with at least
three things that you do not like about the gear. These could be
features you hate, you merely find annoying, or even just ways that you
think the gear could be improved. This is a recommendation,
requirement. Use your best judgment as to whether or not to include
positives and negatives in your review.
Although photos are not required in Owner Reviews, they are highly
desirable, especially in your second review. If you are
unable to take and use your own photo, you may take one from the
web site. Be sure to credit the manufacturer. Your
photo should be clear and show the item being
reviewed. If you describe in your report a structural issue,
photo to illustrate that is a very good way of giving the reader a
clearer understanding of the issue.
POSTING THE REVIEW
to check for BEFORE submitting:
- Do you have metric/imperial
ALL measurements? Use this link to the conversion table:
- Make sure you read the
directions and abbreviation standards at the bottom of the conversion
- Did you spell and grammar
- Does your
manufacturer’s link work?
- Have you covered all the
required areas in your review?
- Did you use the word
‘you’? If so, you may be projecting your
findings onto others.
How to submit:
- Email the
of your review to
- Do not send
your review as html.
- Your subject line should read:
'OWNER REVIEW', <product name>, <your name>
- You will also
upload an HTML version to:
- If you make changes to
review after the first submission, but before an editor picks it up,
put ‘REVISED’ in the subject line.
- Repost means you’ve made changes that your editor suggested.
- Revised means you’ve made changes before being edited.
Problems? If you need help with html issues, send an email, stating the problem
There are free programs available that will assist you in
html. One is Nvu, which can be found at:
There are Windows and Macintosh based downloads available.
NoteTab Light is another free program, available from
http://www.notetab.com. Microsoft Word does not create clean HTML, and should be
Many testers write the report in Notepad and then copy it into an html
program, such as Nvu, Composer or similar program. A few
do hand code. You may also use the
BGT Report Writer, which will help to ensure that your reports are
compliant with our format.
An editor will
edit your review.
your editor (whoever it happens to be), not as an adversary or critic
trying to get you to change your *style*, but as someone who knows what we want at
BackpackGearTest and can help you become an effective tester.
the list firstname.lastname@example.org)
for the edits. It may take two weeks for your submission
to be edited. Please be sure to monitor the BackpackGearTest
for your edits. Once you have your edits,
make the necessary changes, and send it back to the list with
added to the subject line.
UPLOADING TO BACKPACKGEARTEST.ORG
First, you must be registered at
Once registered, you will have access to the test folder (where you and
your editor can look at your review, before it is uploaded to its
Once you have completed all edits, you will be given the link to your
review’s permanent folder. Upload and
review - looks good, doesn't it? Now you can start on review
You also need to fill out and mail a
to the address on the agreement. The agreement is found in the files
Once you have completed your second owner review and your tester agreement has
been accepted you are eligible to apply to test gear!
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/backpackgeartesters/. On the Backpackgeartesters
will be able to read about tests in progress, test reports, test calls,
and general management of the list. You are encouraged to
continue to submit Owner Reviews; it helps to develop writing skills,
and shows a commitment to the group.
Once you join the Backpackgeartesters group, you will have the
opportunity to apply to test gear. There are specific
requirements as to what is addressed in your applications.
Further application information can be found at
LINKS TO RELATED GROUPS
LINKS TO RELATED CHAPTERS IN THE BYLAWS