Updated April 6, 2020
Backpacking Light publishes two types of Gear Reviews (Performance and Limited), as well as a First Looks (consider it like a blog post) that’s not a review:
- Performance Reviews – comprehensive, long-term reviews of gear based on extensive field testing.
- Limited Reviews – gear reviews based on short-term, limited field testing.
- First Looks – these are not reviews – they are based on inspection and observation of how the product might perform based on one or two days of use in the field.
If you’re wondering how any of this relates to the gear reviews published by others, keep in mind that our Limited Reviews are often based on more experience and expertise than other website’s so-called “in-depth” reviews and that our Performance Reviews are like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Want some context? Read our disclosure letter.
Here’s a general comparison:
|Type of Review »||First Looks||Limited||Performance|
|length (words)||Less than 500||1,500 to 2,000||3,000 to 10,000|
|field testing environments||none to 1-2 days||narrow range of locales, environmental conditions, and seasons||wide range of locales, environmental conditions, and seasons|
|# authors/reviewers/testers||1||1||2 or more|
|technology discussions||very limited||limited||extensive|
|quantitative experiment data from lab/field||none||limited||extensive|
|market category analysis||none||limited||extensive|
|# comparisons to other products||0||1||2 to 7+|
|membership required to access performance analysis?||no||not usually||most of the time|
|review rating awarded?||no||occasionally||yes|
- A recent Performance Review: Arc’teryx Proton LT Hoody Review
- A recent Limited Review: Enlightened Equipment Visp Rain Jacket Review
- A recent First Look: REI Flash Air 1 Tent
Other Reviews (Historical):
In the past, we’ve published other types of reviews that have been variously recognized as “Flash” or “Spotlite” or “First Looks” reviews (we know, it’s inconsistent with our current standard, thanks for your patience with us changing our mind over the past 20 years!). They are most representative of the current format of Limited Reviews as described above. However, some historical “SpotLite” reviews have been very comprehensive in nature and offer some information more commonly found in a Performance Review.