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Guide's Gear Award


Backpacking Light awards two types of honors for products that meet stringent criteria for performance. The first type is recommended by our editorial staff as they conduct product reviews. These awards include the Highly Recommended and Recommended Awards.

The second type is the Guide's Gear Award. These awards are nominated by the public-at-large, and reviewed by our Wilderness Trekking School instructors.

The difference between our editorial awards and our Guide's Gear awards is that the standards for editorial awards are a little looser - we may honor a product with a Highly Recommended or Recommended award if that product is relatively new to market, or particularly innovative in terms of its performance to weight ratio. However, the Guide's Gear award is reserved for those products that not only exhibit a very high level of performance, but do so at a low weight and high level of durability - thus providing good value to the consumer. Guide's Gear products constitute the best of the best, and they reflect our recommendations for ultralight enthusiasts who demand outstanding performance over the long term with an eye towards the cost of owership.

Guide's Gear Award Criteria

Performance and Weight

When evaluating performance, we more specifically look at the performance:weight ratio of the product. Guide's Gear Award are given to products with the highest performance:weight ratio when compared to products of similar weight.

Durability and Value

Durable products provide good long term value and are easier on the environment. They should also be expected to last for several expeditions, and can be relied upon not to fail in the field. Consequently, Guide's Gear Awards are given to products that provide an exceptional durability:weight ratio, and an exceptional durability:value ratio.

Award Logo Use

Use of the Guide's Gear, Highly Recommended, and Recommended logos is subject to restrictions and requires express written permission from Backpacking Light. Please contact us for more information.

Use of these logos may be accompanied by a quote from the article or review in which the award was published, not to exceed 50 words. If the usage and quotation is online, please link back to the article or review. If the usage is in print, please reference

Nomination Form

Guide's Gear nominations are accepted from the general public. Please nominate a product using the form below.

Backpacking Light Gear Awards Program