Backpacking Light publishes comprehensive gear reviews that are critical, honest, and founded on both sound technical analysis and rigorous field use.
We both solicit and accept unsolicited products for review. Submission of an unsolicited product does not guarantee that we will be able to publish a formal review about the product – often, unsolicited products are handed over to one of our staff members and they are under no obligation to publish a review.
Important: if you submit unsolicited products requesting a review, we normally do not track these products in our review pipeline and are not able to provide you with updates about whether or not we are going to review your product (due to the volume of product we receive).
If we decide not to review your product, we either donate it to a nonprofit (e.g., Scout group) or use it as a raffle/giveaway for either online or live events. We are careful about the products we consider for our most comprehensive reviews due to limitations on our reviewers’ time and the level of interest among our readership.
Product exposure may take on a variety of different forms (e.g., photos and notes found in article types other than product reviews) including more formal product performance and/or feature/spec assessments as found in Flash Reviews, SpotLite Reviews, Rated Performance Reviews, Gear Guides, and State of the Market Reports. Please review Information for Authors to learn more about these types of editorial coverage.
What’s the difference between the different types of product reviews we publish?
In a nutshell, it has to do with the extent to which your product is subjected to controlled testing and field evaluation.
- Gear Spotlight – articles that are meant to let readers know about your gear and aren’t necessarily subject to performance evaluation. These will typically be published as a short blog post of less than 1,000 words, and are not reviews.
- First Looks Review – reviews based on preliminary testing and field use.
- Performance Reviews – reviews of gear based on extensive field testing in a variety of environments.
How Do I Submit a Product for Review
Important: Unsolicited products shipped to us for review are not guaranteed to be reviewed. We will consider them for review, and if we decide not to review them, we will donate them to a local nonprofit organization.
Please ship your product(s) for review to the following address:
514 E Grand Avenue #165
Laramie WY 82070
Will My Product Be Returned to Me?
Generally, no, but we are willing to work with manufacturers on a case-by-case basis.
Otherwise, 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.
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 the 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://backpackinglight.com/url_of_your_product_review/”>Read the entire review of the [Brand Model Type] at Backpacking Light</a>
Complimentary Subscriptions for Product Brands and their Reps
We do not provide complimentary memberships to manufacturers who provide products for review. We serve primarily a user community, and not advertisers, public relations firms, or product brands. Before you consider asking us for a complimentary subscription, please consider asking yourself the question, “Can I support the BPL user community and its objectives to share and learn about backcountry stewardship?”
Conflict of Interest
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.
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 partial 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, where we either sell it in our annual Garage Sale, or donate it to a local non-profit organization that promotes youth participation in wilderness activities.