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Wed, Aug 27, 2008
The WildeBeat and BackpackGearTest (BGT) are redefining and strengthening our relationship in order to provide you more impartial gear reviews. This new relationship gives BGT more editorial control over our gear review editions.
Until now, the WildeBeat selected topics and BGT reviews for each gear review edition, grouping reviews of similar products. In future gear review editions, we'll present reviews of an assortment of products selected by BGT's moderators. The moderators will base these choices on the quality of the reviewers' testing and reporting, not necessarily on the qualities of the product.
Since the the WildeBeat was launched in 2005, gear reviews have been an important category of our programs. Steve wanted to provide listeners with impartial reviews. Independent from sponsors and advertisers, BGT could provide that impartiality, and could also benefit from the exposure the WildeBeat provides. So an understanding was arrived at that allowed Steve to regularly interview BGT testers. Steve's goal was to provide a wide range of opinions on a wide range of products.
BGT was created by Utah hiker Jerry Goller. Goller, according to About BackpackGearTest, "saw a need for impartial reviews in a world where most people got their information from publications that accepted money from the same manufacturers whose gear they were testing." He started a Yahoo group of hikers and backpackers willing to test and review gear. After successfully recruiting skilled reviewers and diverse manufacturers interested in receiving independent feedback about their products, the independent Web site, BackpackGearTest.org, was launched in August of 2002.
We plan to present the first of our new gear review editions at the end of September, with two shows each season. The new shows will typically feature fewer products that will be reviewed in more detail.
If you want to contribute gear reviews to the WildeBeat, you can do so by joining BGT. BGT is looking for qualified testers. To get qualified, you start out by writing reviews of gear you already own. After that, you could be offered free gear to review. Read: how to become a tester to find out more.
Tue, Aug 21, 2007
In this week's edition number 99, Andy Mytys of BackpackGearTest.org described the SPOT Satellite Messenger as a potentially cost-effective alternative to the Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) that Doug Ritter of the Equipped to Survive Foundation recommended in our edition numbers 78 & 79, titled Counting Up Essentials.
The SPOT Satellite Messenger, as well as a conventional PLB, are devices that are designed to summon search and rescue services in life-threatening situations. They're proven to be more reliable in remote locations where more conventional communication techniques might be ineffective.
Andy's preliminary impressions of the product, before actually having one to test, is that it promises to provide more user-friendly features than a PLB, for less than a quarter of the price. While it's too soon to tell whether this claim is true, or too good to be true, Doug Ritter has published a more thorough analysis of this product.
If you want to know more, you can read Doug Ritter's article, First Look, SPOT Satellite Messenger.
Sun, Aug 13, 2006
We noticed that the people at Backpacking Light magazine have started to post audio stories along with their usual text articles. We congratulate Ryan Jordan and his Backpacking Light company for adding audio to their publishing offerings.
Their first audio piece (that we know of) is a 23 minute, in-depth exploration of canister-style stoves, and about the manufacturers working on the leading-edge to make them more efficient. They include recordings of trade show marketing presentations and informal on-site interviews.
To hear the BackpackingLight audio piece about stoves, see Integrated Canister Stove Systems.
As we mentioned in out edition #17 titled, Lighten Your Backpack!, BackpackingLight.COM is a great source of information for the experienced backpacker seeking skills and gear for more ambitious adventures.