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Trailspace Gear Review Rules and Guidelines

The Trailspace gear reviews are open to anyone who wants to review backcountry gear fairly, thoroughly, and honestly for the benefit of other backcountry enthusiasts.

When you submit a gear review on Trailspace, you agree to abide by the Gear Review Rules and Guidelines below, as well as the Community Rules and Guidelines and Terms of Service.

  1. Follow all Community Rules and Guidelines.
    The Community Rules and Guidelines apply to all content on the site, including gear reviews. That includes keeping it clean, legal, and non-commercial.

  2. Be honest.
    Write what you know about the gear from your experience—good, bad, and in-between. People will decide whether or not to use gear, based in part on reviews like yours. So, tell the truth in a fair and ethical manner. Do not hide relevant facts or information. Do not post any information that you know is false, inaccurate, misleading, or that you don’t have permission to post.

  3. Be yourself.
    Do not pretend to be someone you’re not. Do not hide or misrepresent your true identity. Be a trustworthy and credible reviewer.

  4. Divulge industry relationships.
    If you have any personal, professional, or commercial affiliation or relationship with a company, its products, or its competitors, clearly and fully disclose that relationship in all relevant gear reviews, posts, and your member profile.

    Relationships to the company being reviewed include, but are not limited to, being an:

    • employee
    • competitor
    • retailer
    • salesperson
    • sales rep
    • owner
    • board member
    • sponsored athlete
    • product tester
    • public relations or advertising rep
    • contractor
    • employee of a company affiliated or doing business with the reviewed company or its competitors
    • immediate family member of someone in such a role

    You can still write a gear review in these cases. Just be honest, upfront, and transparent about your relationship with the brand and product. For example:

    • “As a sponsored athlete with Brand XYZ, I’ve had a prototype of Brand New Tent on loan for testing for the past four months. Here is what I’ve found...”
    • “Full disclosure: While I do not work directly on the Brand XYZ account, the company is a client of the advertising agency at which I work.”

  5. Don’t misrepresent your Trailspace membership.
    Do not present yourself as a representative of Trailspace, or imply to brand representatives that you have a professional relationship with Trailspace or a review assignment from Trailspace. While Trailspace welcomes honest reviews from all outdoor enthusiasts, only Trailspace staff may request review samples on behalf of its gear testing program.

  6. Disclose all freebies, gifts, samples, and special deals.
    You must disclose in your review if a company or one of its representatives provided the product for the review free of charge. Such freebies, gifts, or samples given in exchange for review, are considered endorsements by the Federal Trade Commission and must be fully disclosed by the reviewer.

    If you have been provided a gear sample for testing, review, as a gift, or other special arrangement, please disclose that in both the review’s “How much did you pay?” field and within the review itself.

    In the review: Explain in your review if the gear was a freebie, loaner, or special arrangement from the company or its representatives for testing and/or review. Mention whether or not you kept the gear. For example:

    • “XYZ Brand provided me with a pre-release Brand New Tent for testing and review. I returned the tent to XYZ Brand after testing and the review were completed.”
    • “XYZ Brand gave me a free Brand New Tent for testing and review. I kept the tent after review and still use it regularly with my family.”
    • “While attending Big Trade Show, the PR reps for XYZ Brand gave me a Brand New Tent to try out and review. After testing and review, I donated it to charity.”
    • “I recieved Brand New Baselayer as free gift at a ‘learn to snowshoe’ event sponsored by XYZ Brand.”

    In the “How much did you pay?” field: Provide the price paid and/or how you acquired the gear.

    If you: Then enter: For example:
    bought it new the price you paid, and in what currency
    • “$140”
    • “140 EU (on sale)”
    bought it used "used" and the price you paid
    • “$70 used”
    bought it, but don’t recall its price any relevant information
    • “Bought at retail”
    • “Bought on sale”
    • “Bought in 1999”
    bought it for a reduced price through a "pro deal" program "pro deal" and the price you paid
    • “$100 pro deal”
    borrowed or rented it who you borrowed or rented it from
    • “Borrowed from a friend”
    • “Rented from outdoor store”
    tried it in the store wait to write a review until after you've used it in real-world conditions
    received it as a personal gift (but not from the company or its reps) the source of the gift
    • “Birthday gift”
    • “Hand-me-down from Dad”
    received it as a replacement under the manufacturer's warranty the details of the replacement
    • “Warranty replacement from Brand X”
    tested it for the manufacturer the nature of the testing, and whether you kept the gear after testing
    • “Brand X gave me a prototype to test and keep”
    • “Brand X loaned me a prototype to test and return”
    received a sample or freebie who gave it to you, and whether you kept it
    • “Brand X gave me a free sample to test and keep”
    • “Brand X gave me a free sample to test, which I returned”
  7. Do not write reviews in return for compensation.
    You may not write gear reviews in exchange for payment or other forms of compensation from the company being reviewed, its competitors, or any of their representatives.

  8. Post each review only once.
    Unless your review compares and reviews two different products, only post each review once, under the specific product you used and tested. Do not post identical or very similar reviews based on your experience with only one piece of gear.

  9. Only review relevant products.
    Trailspace is all about human-powered backcountry recreation, such as hiking, camping, climbing, paddling, trail running, and backcountry skiing. Please only review products (outdoor gear, apparel, footwear, and accessories) that are designed or used for those activities.

  10. Only review gear you have used.
    Even if a particular material, technology, or brand failed you, only review it under the specific product you used. Do not post identical or very similar reviews under numerous products that share the same technology, material(s), and/or brand, unless you have used and tested each one of those products.

  11. Review the product, not the retailer.
    Rate and assess the product, not the retail experience. If you’d like to recommend an outdoor retailer, please do so in the Outdoor Store Recommendations thread in the Gear Selection forum.

  12. Review the product, not the brand.
    Rate and assess the product honestly, not the brand experience. Do not use reviews for personal attacks, disputes, slander, or grudges against a company being reviewed, an individual associated with the company, or its competitors.

  13. Think before you submit.
    Your gear review will remain visible to Trailspace users long after you’ve submitted it. Consider how your words and opinion will reflect on you, and the product, in the future. Feeling especially heated—good or bad—about your gear experience? Wait to cool off before submitting your review.

Read “How to write a killer gear review.”

Revised July 30, 2018