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Thread: What is a Gear Review?

  1. #1

    Default What is a Gear Review?

    Im just curious of what hunters think of what a gear review should be? We as outdoorsman see/hear review everywhere. (Ex: magazines, shows, word of mouth based on first hand experience, etc..)

    My question is when you read a gear review or hear a gear review how do you take this information in response of how you will either buy the product or not buy it? Also, whats going through ones mind when reading a gear review.

    I know for myself when I see a gear review in field and stream magazines, etc.. From that review, I take that the editor has USED the product himself and wants to either recommend that product, even if its not the best or not.

    Looking forward in hearing ones, Views of what a Gear review should be?

    Thanks,

    James Smith

  2. #2
    Member Rod in Wasilla's Avatar
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    Magazine reviews are worthless. The majority are either straight up paid for by the manufacturers, or are otherwise tied to advertising dollars. Tell me, what magazine has enough cash laying around to risk losing advertising money in order to put up a real review? Because it's tough to spend money on ads in a magazine that just slammed your latest and greatest super widget. Legit magazine reviews are simply too few and too far between, so I lump all of them into the "not credible" catagory.

    Yeah, it's my opinion. But think about it... When was the last time you read an honest review of a truly BAD product? Surely it's not possible that all new products are above average, is it?
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    Member Anglette's Avatar
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    Word of mouth from friends and family is what I trust. I would never take the advice from a TV Show, Sporting Goods Salesperson or a magazine that has that product advertised in it. I Definitely will go with "WORD OF MOUTH".

  4. #4

    Default review

    I would agree with you all about the word of mouth over magazines. My point is when you get your word of mouth review are you relying on that persons review based on their actual hands on experience with the product? How can one have their two sense on a product if they havent used it? Will you listen to that individuals based on their status of that particular field or their actual experience with the product?

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    in my opinion the best gear reviews are on sites like this where the reviewer has no financial interest in the product or actions that might come (advertising, etc.) from the review.
    When I see a gear review, I expect that the reviewer has used the product under it's intended conditions.
    I want to know how it works, good & bad (even the best products usually have some shortcomings).
    I want to know the reviewers level of experience in the area of the products intended use. If someone on their 1st ever float gives a review on a raft I'll take it with a grain of saly because I know the reviewer has little to compare it with. If someone with 20 yrs float hunting experience gives the review, I'll give it more credence.
    I also want to see ways that their experience has shown the product can be improved.
    Vance in AK.

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    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Spectrum of validity and usefulness

    Agree with all above - magazine reviews are more on the "pure advertising" end of the spectrum with trusted/experienced friends opinions way on the other end. Less valid and therefore less useful on one end to field-tested by trusted source on the other end.

    Another source: When not much info is available, the user product reviews on the Cabelas website can be useful. Repeated comments (pro or con) about a product seem often true.

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    I think we embody everyone's positive comments at Backpackgeartest.org. Though we don't have a lot of hunting gear, we test a lot of outdoor gear. Our site is competely independent, advertising free and run completely by volunteers. We have no paid staff, and the founder of the group pays for the website out of his pocket.

    We have three testers per test item, and each tester gets their own item to test and keep! Our test period is four months long and we write three reports over that time frame - an Initial report, a field report after 60 days and a Long Term report after 120 days. Each tester has to meet a minmum field requirement during their test which depends on the item.

    I think magazine reviews have some validity to them, most magazines do send the product to testers who use the item, but due to constraints on what they can print the negative reviews never make it in the issue.

    Backpackgeartest is not constrained by the words available in a print magazine so every review is published positive and negative. Here is a full test series on a Silva watch were the testers had negative experiences and reported those http://www.backpackgeartest.org/revi...or%20Computer/

    Anyway thats my two cents... gear reviews should be independent and thoroughly tested in the field with the information reported - positive or negative.

    Jason B
    Full Disclosure - I am a tester for Backpackgeartest and I help run the group.

  8. #8
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Interesting gear reviews...

    I read the Bibler I-Tent review.
    The review gave the reviewers background/experience and use conditions. It seemed informative in a way that would be useful and explained why he had some concerns about the tent. Useful site. I wonder how they select volunteers?

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    Quote Originally Posted by 6XLeech View Post
    I read the Bibler I-Tent review.
    The review gave the reviewers background/experience and use conditions. It seemed informative in a way that would be useful and explained why he had some concerns about the tent. Useful site. I wonder how they select volunteers?
    What you read was actually an Owner Review. Anyone is eligible to become a tester, and we always need more testers.. I am the only Alaskan tester.

    To become a tester, one needs to write two Owner Reviews, like the I-tent author (who never did a second OR... I don't know why) Once the Owner Reviews are completed, you are eligible to apply to test gear. Everything is done via the internet and yahoo groups. Once a week we issues test calls which are open for one week. Testers usually research the item a bit and decide whether it is something they can test and then apply to test the item. We go through all the applications and pick three best test applications. We try to pick a good spread of testers from across the US to get multiple field conditions as well as a gender spread when approriate.

    There is a link to become a tester here http://www.backpackgeartest.org/less...eTester&page=1

    I will be honest writing Owner Reviews is the hardest part of becoming a tester. I found it to be very challenging personally. However we have a great mentor program now to help potential testers through the process.

    Here is a list of test calls that went out this week - Osprey Kestrel 48 L pack, Teva Ossagan eVent boots, Black Diamond Stormtracker tent, OR Neoplume Pants, OR Highpoint Hat and a couple of others I cannot remember right now...Other recent test calls were Kelty Foraker 15F sleeping bag, Cloudveil Run Don't Walk Half Zip, Montbell Nomad Parka, Sitka Gear Traverse Top, Sitka Gear Core Zip T so forth...

    I hope that gives you a bit more information for your question on how we operate.

    jason B

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