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You be the judge: Rate gear reviews

One lucky reviewer will win a Byte headlamp, courtesy of Princeton Tec, among other gear prizes.

We sometimes caution community members not to be judgmental in the forums. It's far too easy to rush to a verdict about others online from the distance of a computer screen.

Well, here's the exception — the gear reviews.

If you're a member of Trailspace go ahead and rate any user gear review on the site as helpful or not helpful.

Just click on "Was this review helpful? yes | no" at the bottom of any gear review.

As part of our 20,000 reviews contest, we'll be giving away prizes to the reviewers with the most helpful gear reviews. Help us reward the best reviewers and determine who should win gear prizes by rating reviews.

It doesn't end with the contest. You can rate reviews (and forum posts) as helpful or not at any time. Your input eventually will determine which reviews get higher status on the site too.


Gear Reviews


I try to make it a point to look through the most recent several reviews and rate them whenever I'm on the site. It's amazing what a little positive or constructive negative feedback can do. That said, I'd still love to be able to comment on reviews.

Thanks, yock. I try to click on the best reviews as well and give them some good feedback. Eventually this will allow us the option of giving higher status to the most useful reviews.

As for comments on reviews, I just got the same comment minutes ago via email from another member.

We will add comments for reviews, as well as a way for people to ask questions or comment on a product outside of writing a review. It's on the to-do list.


I have been trying to go through 5 or more of the gear reviews every time I am on here, and I am sorry to say, but there are a significant number of reviews that are severly lacking in actual data.  A lot of them say "I love this -item-, it is my favorite, it rocks".  I am diappointed that more people have not visited the article on how to make/write a good and thorough review.  Mine (especially in the past) are not perfect, but I looked at how to write a better review and have worked hard to incorporate the good stuff.  I have noticed that a large number of the reviews are by guests, and I fear that we are being flooded with a number of sub-par or useful gear reviews.  Sorry but this is just my opinion.

Thanks for the opinion, and for writing good reviews!

For anyone wondering, the article D&G is referring to is How To Write a Killer Gear Review. (I've actually just rewritten it as a step-by-step how-to article, so the expanded version will be going up soon.)

The reason we've added review rating ("is this review helpful?") is precisely to highlight the best reviews and give them status above the more basic ones. I always rate the best ones as helpful myself, though I reserve a not helpful rating only for the most unhelpful of reviews and let the well-meaning but not best ones fall in the middle.

Today we'll put those ratings into effect and start sorting reviews on product pages by how well they were rated by other members.

As for the rate of reviews being written, while there's been a slight uptick due to the contest, we're on track to be fairly close to my projected date for the 20,000th review based on past rates. (FYI, I go through and delete any commercial ones and ban the user.)

It's not unusual to have a number of guest reviews either. For the contest we only made members eligible for certain prizes precisely to reward them over one-time guest visitors.

Thanks for the feedback and for writing informative reviews, D&G.

Sorry, I should have put the thread/link on for the review writing article, but I had just gotten home from my day hike, so I was a bit tired.  I wasn't trying to sound negative but just pointing some stuff out.  I know there have always been a number of guest reviews, but maybe now that I have been reading them to rate them, I have just noticed more of the guest appearances.

Thanks for the saying that I write informative reviews...blush...I could still do much better, but I am working on it.  There are many people here who write reviews that do a fine job!

No, apologies. Feedback is always a good thing, especially when it's thoughtful and constructive.

We have some ideas of how to convert more guests into members. At the same time, we don't want to construct barriers to people sharing their gear reviews, so being a member isn't a requisite to writing a gear review on Trailspace.

I think we all share the same desire for high quality gear reviews from reputable reviewers. Allowing members to help highlight the best reviews (and forum posts) is part of that effort.

I'm pleased to note that as of today the reviews on product pages are sorted by how helpful members have found them, for example:


We will add comments for reviews, as well as a way for people to ask questions or comment on a product outside of writing a review. It's on the to-do list.


Brilliant. If I may, I have some unsolicited suggestions on how to differentiate review comments from forum discussions. Read and/or discard at your leisure. =)

It may make sense to limit the length of review comments. Perhaps you coudl set an arbitrary limit on the number of characters permitted in a review comment, something like a Tweet. Or perhaps you could get more creative, not allowing review comments to exceed the length of the review, or some percentage of the review length. Perhaps reviews that are obviously unhelpfully short could prohibit comments altogether, cutting down on the inevitable "This review needs more detail" comments that are bound to be repeated several times per review. Perhaps also a user cannot comment on their own review, preventing review threads from becoming forum discussions.

Thanks for the suggestions, yock. We'll certainly keep them in mind. You raise some good points.

Like you, we want to increase the opportunity for discussion and sharing info, but want to keep people on topic.

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