Our Product Reviews Explained
Do We Really Review Everything in Real Life?
We’re proud to say that we’ve actually reviewed every item that we mention on our site in real life.
We don’t want to mention any names, but there are a lot of outdoor sites that recommend products that they really know nothing about. For instance, if you’d search for “Best Trekking Poles” on Google, you’d find that 8/10 of the sites haven’t actually tested any trekking poles in real life. They just find some trekking poles online, read the customer reviews, and then make an article based on that.
And even if some sites actually do purchase the products, a lot of them haven’t tested the products for a long enough time. Their reviews are essentially comparable to unboxing/first impressions videos on Youtube. The problem there is that after a few weeks, some issues start to pop up that they didn’t notice in the first impressions.
If we link out to a product, you can be sure that we’ve actually tested it out in real-life hiking conditions. We aim for at least two weeks of use, but that’s not set in stone, as some products don’t need that much time.
We don’t stop there though. After the initial testing period, we continue using the products. We update our reviews every 6-12 months with all the issues and problems that popped up after the initial testing period.
Are Our Reviews Sponsored or Influenced in Any Way?
We never accept sponsored articles or videos. We believe that our reviews should stay genuine and that they shouldn’t be influenced by anyone.
We do accept free products from manufacturers, but it doesn’t influence our reviews in any way. This means that the manufacturer can’t tell us to “edit” or “unpublish” our reviews. If the product is bad, then we say the truth. Though, most of the products mentioned on the site have been purchased with our own money.
What Does Our Rating Mean? (1-100 Points)
We rate every product that we review on a 100-point scale. This gives our readers an easy way to understand how good the product is and compare it with similar alternatives.
0 – 30 Points: Incredibly Low Quality, Avoid Like It’s The Plague
It’s rare to find a product this bad. Products in this range are either unusable, scammy or somehow else incredibly bad. If we’ve rated a product in this range, don’t even think about purchasing it. You might as well take your money and burn it straight away because that’s how bad these products are.
31 – 50 Points: Low Quality, Avoid
Products in this range are generally bad, even if they’re affordable. There are some major durability issues with them, they’re priced way too high, or there’s something else wrong with the product. We wouldn’t recommend getting products in this range.
51 – 60 Points: Would Work, but Not Exactly Great
A lot of products in the affordable range fall in this category. They usually aren’t too durable, come with a useless warranty, and are made by an unreliable brand. They’ll do the job for a while, but generally, we wouldn’t recommend getting products in this range.
61 – 70 Points: An Okay Short-Term Option
Products in this range are generally okay to purchase if they’re affordable. Sometimes, you just can’t or don’t need to invest in something well-made. For instance, a headlamp in this range would be okay to use for weekend hiking, but don’t be surprised if it breaks after a few months.
71 – 80 Points: A Solid Option for the On-And-Off Hiker
Most of the products that we review fall into this category. If you aren’t doing long-distance hiking, and aren’t too tough on your gear, then products in this range will be a solid option. They should last at least a few years of moderate use.
81-90 Points: Well-Made and Reliable. Great for Long-Term Hiking.
In this price range, you’ll usually find products in the higher price range, made by well-known and reliable brands, such as North Face, Patagonia, Marmot, and others. Getting an item in this range is a well-informed choice, and the product will likely last years or even decades, even if you’re doing long-distance hiking.
91-100: Made for Rough, Long-Distance Hiking.
It’s rare to find products over 90 points. They’re very well-made, backed up by a great warranty, built by a reliable brand, have all the features that you’d ever need, and they’ll likely last decades of heavy use.
How Is Our Review Rating Calculated?
Our 100-point rating is based on several factors, that we’ve explained below. More important factors, such as Durability & Materials are weighed in more points compared to, let’s say design.
We come up with these scores after our initial testing period (1-2 weeks.) While testing the gear, our editors look for any issues and imperfections, and then sit down and write a very detailed review of the product, covering all the good and the bad.
Durability & Materials (35-45 Points)
Usually, the most important part of any outdoor gear is the durability, which is why we give a maximum of 35 points in this category. We look at all the materials that the manufacturer has used, such as fabric, any molded parts, zippers, stitching, e.t.c. In addition, we also test the product in rough conditions and see if anything breaks or comes loose.
Features, Lightness, and Practicality (20 Points)
Another important factor in outdoor gear is the practicality of the product. We look at how well it’s organized, check out all of its features and how they compare with the features on similar products and look for any innovations. This category also covers the lightness of the product, and how easy is it to use.
Value (20 Points)
We don’t just look at the price and base our rating on that. To determine the value score, we evaluate whether it’s a good deal or not. For instance, you can find a lot of overpriced gear that doesn’t perform that well. In that case, the value rating would be on the lower end.
Warranty & Brand Reliability (15 Points)
In outdoor gear, the warranty and brand reliability is a somewhat important factor to consider. If you’d invest 400$ in a lightweight tent, you’d want to know that, for instance, if one of the poles would break, you’d get a replacement. In this category, we go through all of the warranty terms in small letters, find out what experience other customers had with their support when something was defective, and research how reliable the brand is.
Design (0-10 Points)
We actually don’t include the design score when reviewing some products. For instance, you wouldn’t really care if your water filter looks good. On these products, the 10 “design” points go into “Durability & Materials”, and the maximum points there are moved up to 45 points.
But design is still somewhat important in some categories, such as backpacks, tents, some accessories, and especially wearable hiking gear, which is why it’s included in our rating system.