We assign formal review ratings to all products subjected to a comprehensive review. Ratings are not assigned for First Looks Reviews. A description of the different types of reviews we publish, and how they are written, can be found here.
The highest possible rating for a reviewed product. The minimum requirements to qualify for this rating are:
- Exceptional quality in materials and workmanship;
- Outstanding field performance based on sound design principles;
- A performance-to-weight ratio reflects the ideals of carrying out the Backpacking Light Mission: “to promote multi-day, self-sufficient (“backpackable”), backcountry travel in lightweight style,”; and
- The product offers significant advantages over the next best competitive products.
A Highly Recommend Rating requires consensus by three entities: the review author(s), independent reviewer(s) assigned to review the author’s work and recommendation, and the Editor-in-Chief.
Solid performing products that provide good value for the money, quality materials and workmanship, and acceptable performance that should meet or exceed consumer expectations. Minor improvements in design or materials may be required to allow this product to be considered optimal for lightweight backpacking and thus warrant a rating of Highly Recommended.
Products that should meet consumer expectations, but against which other products of similar performance should also be considered.
Products in categories where better performance:weight and performance:value can be realized in several other competing products.
Products with performance:weight and/or performance:value ratios that would not meet the expectations of most consumers and are neither worth the weight nor the money for the vast majority of users.
Bias and Conflicts of Interest
Backpacking Light makes no effort to remove “bias” in reviews. Indeed, we hope not only that the reviewer’s personality and experience come through as part of the review, but also that the reviewer communicates positive bias for products that offer unique capabilities, durability, quality manufacturing, and high performance – at a light weight, of course. Likewise, we expect products that do not meet acceptable standards in any one of these areas will be reviewed with some degree of negative bias.
Backpacking Light & the FTC
Backpacking Light adheres strictly to FTC Endorsement Guidelines (Title 16, Chapter I, Subchapter B, Part 255) and does not accept paid product endorsements that are not clearly marked as either Sponsored Content, Advertising, or otherwise include a disclosure of a reviewer’s financial relationship with the product manufacturer, if one exists.