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The Bylaws
v. 0609

Appendix 5

The Appendices are provided as detailed explanations and backgrounds of the policies and procedures of  Each Appendix contains delineated topic Sections that are not necessarily related.  Appendices are included to provide additional explanations, clarifications, and resources.  They are not required reading, but you may be referred to them if you require further information on a certain subject.  They represent the collected body of knowledge about many topics. 

The Appendices are written and edited by the Moderator Team of, with contributions gleaned from the email of the BackpackGearTest group.


Appendix 1 - How Works
Appendix 2 - Editing
Appendix 3 - About Rules and How to Change Them
Appendix 4 - Test Calls, Test Applications, Newbie Rule
Appendix 5 - The Apprentice Program
Appendix 6 - All About Report Writing
Appendix 7 - A Lesson in Pictures
Appendix 8 - Copyright, Fair Use, and Links Policies

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APPENDIX 5 - The Apprentice/Mentor Program


  1. What is the Apprentice/Mentor Program?
  2. Guidelines for Mentors

1.  What is the Apprentice/Mentor Program?

The Apprentice/Mentor program pairs someone interested in becoming a tester with with a Veteran tester who volunteers his or her time to help the new person learn the ropes.  If you would like someone to personally help you become a tester, just send an email to and ask for one.  Include MENTOR REQUEST in the subject line of your message.  Be sure to give your name.  A mentor will contact you as soon as possible by email and give you guidance and answer your questions.  You should read the Survival Guide so that you understand what it will take to become a tester.

The Apprentice/Mentor program is strictly voluntary.  If you are comfortable following the documentation on your own, you can certainly do that.  If you want additional help, though, be aware that we are ready to help you.

A Mentor Will:

  1. Explain the report writing process and answer any questions you may have.
  2. Direct you to appropriate documentation.
  3. Read your Owner Reviews and make helpful suggestions.
  4. Assist you with any problems you may have in the process.
  5. Read your Applications and offer hints and suggestions.
  6. Read your Initial Report when you are selected for testing, and make suggestions.

A Mentor Will Not:

  1. Do any of your work or any writing for you.

2.  Guidelines for Mentors

One of the basic leadership principles of any successful organization is the investment of time and energy in properly preparing successive generations.

By embracing the training of future generations as a key principle of leadership, we ensure our successors are trained by professionals who pass on their knowledge and experience.

The Mentors are the first 'real' contact a new person usually has with We need to be seen as supportive and helpful, making the process 'doable'.  Current mentors should review this information, and all new mentors should read it at least twice.

Mentor Mission Statement

To help guide, mentor, and inspire new testers on the trail to becoming veteran testers.

Expectations of the Mentor

  1. Make Initial Contact
    1. Make initial contact within 5 days of being asked to mentor.
  2. Be Proactive
    1. If you haven't heard form your mentee in a while then ping them.
    2. Follow up if there is a lag in contact (reviews, edits, etc)
  3. Offer suggestions/edits for Owner Reviews and Applications
  4. Keep Mentee through first Initial Report
    1. Writing an OR is easy by comparison. The real work begins once you get accepted to test gear.

This is very important - We need to make contact with these folks and get the ball rolling while its still fresh in their minds and they are interested. You don't have to overwhelm them with information, just get the conversation going. You can start out with getting to know the person first, and giving a link to our website.  Ask about what they are thinking of reviewing. You can do it however you want.

Review the mentees OR's first before having them send it to the editing team. It will speed up the process. Explain that you are willing to edit/offer suggestions, but the official edits are from the OR team. Also some folks can't handle the shock "I cant believe I made all those mistakes" If you as the mentor offer to review it first, it will help ease that pain.  Also offer to look at their apps before they are posted.

Don't write it for them, but offer suggestions.

Now on to some suggestions on how to help out your mentee.

Before taking on a new Mentee, please review the following and make sure you cover each of the points with your Mentee.  Depending on the person, you may need to take it slowly.  Do not overpressure your Mentee, but stay in contact throughout the process.  Some Mentees may be ready to 'fly solo' after their second OR, but MOST will need support throughout the application process and until they write their first IR.

Top 10 List:
Here are the points you'll need to cover with your mentee.

  1. Do you have any questions?
  2. What can you write reviews on?
  3. Have you read the SG?
  4. Have you submitted a Tester Agreement?
  5. Tiny URL (
  6. Newbie Rule/Rules of
  7. Did you convert ALL your measurements and use appropriate abbreviations?
  8. Is your bio under 100 words?
  9. Have you spell checked?
  10. Repost/Revised differences.
Other suggestions to help out with mentoring.
  • Explain the Rules - submit one OR at a time, complete the process with
  • the first one, before submitting the second.
  • Which list to post ORs to, which list to post Test subject emails to.
  • Only review items you have purchased (as opposed to made).
  • Can not use reviews already published elsewhere.
  • Do not rewrite for the Mentee, but offer suggestions, etc.
  • Offer examples of good reviews – not necessarily a 'great' review.
  • Can be intimidating.
  • Explain the Newbie rule.
Most importantly, ENCOURAGE!!


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