Product Review Policy
Backpacking Light publishes comprehensive gear reviews that are critical, honest, and founded on both sound technical analysis and rigorous field use.
We accept selected products for review. We are strict about the products we consider for review due to limitations on our reviewers' time and the level of interest among our readership. Thus, all proposed product reviews must be approved prior to submission of the product. Please contact us to propose a product to us for review.
Products submitted for review become the property of Backpacking Light. We strongly believe in both field and laboratory testing. Consequently, we may sacrifice the product after its field test to take a closer look at construction, or we may cut samples of the fabric prior to field testing to test laboratory performance. We use this stuff hard - many times beyond its intended limits. Give us a climbing jacket, and most likely we'll intentionally scrape it on water ice, granite, ice tool picks, or even glissade on it. We do our best to assure the accuracy of our review writeups and have no intention of criticizing your product unfairly if we abuse it outside of its normal operating limits. Having the product in hand for the final write-up, assures both Backpacking Light and the manufacturer of an accurate review that fairly represents the product. The opportunity for the reviewer to keep the product allows us to maintain a level of accountability in securing high quality reviews.
Review Reproduction Policy (Electronic)
Use of Reviews for Public Relations or Marketing. Our reviews are produced primarily for our readership, and we have designed our usage policy to accommodate manufacturer's needs for reliable, third-party product marketing without compromising the integrity of our review program.
Electronic Usage Terms:
You may quote up to 50 words in the review (not including contextual additions of your product name where appropriate - see example below), but you must provide a link back to the review's URL at the backpackinglight.com web site. The reason for this requirement is so that selected quotes are not taken out of their fair context. The format of the link should be as follows:
<a href="http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/url_of_your_product_review.html">Read the entire review of the [Brand Model Type] at Backpacking Light</a>.
Example excerpt with appropriately formatted link:
"The [GoLite Infinity] pack did an excellent job controlling loads and keeping us in balance while skiing some treacherous descents..." Read the entire review of the GoLite Infinity Backpack at Backpacking Light.
Review Reproduction Policy (Print)
Full reviews (PDF format) are available for printing and redistribution in print format (PDF reviews are never licensed for any type of electronic reproduction or distribution).
PDF Reviews may be printed, and duplicated and distributed in print format, free of charge, in either black and white or color formats. Backpacking Light provides full color (laser, digital, or offset printed, depending on quantity) assets, including printed reviews, for a nominal charge. Printed reviews may not be distributed in part. If you have special requests for printed assets requiring lengthy excerpts, single pages, etc., please contact us and we'll assist you in developing a custom print package that preserves brand integrity for both companies.
Logo Usage Guidelines (Electronic)
You may use the Backpacking Light logo in your electronic marketing materials. However, to preserve the long term integrity of our assets, you must link the image from our image server, so that if we change the logo, the change will be reflected on your Website. Further, the logo must be hotlinked back to the BackpackingLight.com Website, to the location (URL) of your product review.
The Backpacking Light logo can be found here: http://www.backpackinglight.com/backpackinglight/images/bplcomlogonew.gif
The code for displaying the Backpacking Light logo on your website follows:
<a href="http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/url_of_your_product_review.html"><img src="http://www.backpackinglight.com/backpackinglight/images/bplcomlogonew.gif" target="_blank" border="0" alt="Read the Review of the Brand Model at Backpacking Light Magazine"></a>
Logo Usage Guidelines (Print):
IMPORTANT! You may never use an electronic JPG or GIF version of the Backpacking Light logo in your print marketing materials.
We have a full suite of print assets available for you in vector formats, including Adobe Illustrator 10, Adobe PDF, and EPS. These assets are available on our Media FTP server. Please contact us to request a password.
Conflict of Interest Policy
Note: To minimize conflicts of interest between corporate subscribers and our product review staff, we do not disclose names or affiliations from our corporate membership list to our product reviewers or product review editorial staff.
How Do You Minimize Conflicts of Interest from Your Product Testers and Review Writers?
We do not provide gear for testing to employees of manufacturers, including their sales reps, or public relations firms in the outdoor industry. Also disqualified are employees of outdoor industry retailers that pay their sales staff on commission. Our other reviewer guidelines are extensive, to ensure the high quality and fairness of our review process.
Some gear available at BackpackingLight.com includes house brands that belong of Beartooth Mountain Press, the company that publishes BackpackingLight.com. These brands include Bozeman Mountain Works, AirCore, Ursalite, and Backpacking Light. In conjunction with our staff and readers, we design, develop, and distribute this gear to a very small fringe of the ultralight community. We make no meaningful or intentional attempts to compete with existing brands, and our primary strategy is to create gear that promotes ultralight hiking and backpacking in a positive way by attracting attention from the media and the public to our cause. Despite the motivations behind this philosophy, we recognize that some companies may perceive some conflicts of interest. Consequently, any gear we brand will not be reviewed through our own product review program process, nor will it appear in competition with other brands of gear in our formally published product reviews. Further, our product review staff has no financial interest or incentives whatsoever in promoting the sales or performance of our branded gear, and generally acceptable accounting practices are in place to ensure that our financial records maintain the highest possible integrity in separating the various activities of our company.
Other Brands in our Store: Other brands that may be sold at BackpackingLight.com (e.g., Aloksaks) (1) may have been previously reviewed and received the highest marks from our review staff prior to appearing in our "store", and/or (2) are not usually considered for future product reviews and/or (3) are reviewed by staff that has no financial interest in the sales performance of those products at BackpackingLight.com.
Our test reports AND review articles are ALWAYS reviewed and approved by both Alan Dixon (Product Review Editor) and Carol Crooker (Editor-in-Chief) prior to publication, regardless of who wrote the review or tested the product. Nothing gets published until it meets our standards of fairness, objectivity, and accuracy. Occasionally we make mistakes. But if brought to our attention, we do our best to rectify the situation ASAP to minimize the impact of distributing erroneous information.
Where Does My Product Go After the Review?
Our product reviewers have the option to keep the product after the review period as compensation for their time and effort required to test the product and prepare the review. Optionally, many of our reviewers have agreed to donate the equipment back to us for sale in our Garage Sale section. Our policy is to sell your product here at 50% of retail and then donate the proceeds from its sale either to our own grant programs or to one of the following local non-profit organizations that promote wilderness health and appreciation among children:
- Yellowstone National Park Foundation
- Teton Science School
- Montana Outdoor Science School
- Yellowstone Association