what is the deal with outdoorgearlab?

10:26 a.m. on September 12, 2018 (EDT)
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it's another site that hosts reviews; i occasionally check it as a reference point, though i prefer trailspace.

recently, have noted they show a stronger preference for the larger name brands. for example, they reviewed mountaineering backpacks recently and ignored cold cold world, cilo, and wild things, all excellent options in this space. is the site somehow captive to the larger brands (sponsors no doubt)? 

i think their reviews are generally sound - on par with our review corps.  just seem a bit confined to mainstream products.  

3:33 p.m. on September 12, 2018 (EDT)
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From OutdoorGearLab's website ("About Us" page):

  1. We select the top products in each category.
  2. We buy the products we review ourselves, at retail just like you, to help assure complete objectivity and independence in our ratings. We will not accept free evaluation units from manufacturers.

(Bold and italics are original from their site)

4:36 p.m. on September 12, 2018 (EDT)
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So that makes item selection something of an editorial choice. Someone or a group of someones is deciding what gets reviewed. The nice thing about TS is that the reviewers decide what to review, other than TSGRC items. It means you can get ten reviews of the same item or reviews of unusual items that most folks haven't seen before.

7:25 p.m. on September 12, 2018 (EDT)
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Well I’ll just say this about them. I was using their site along with backpacker mag almost exclusively until I found TS. And their reviews I found to be spot on. They really appear to do intense trials on gear And it is the same people so it makes the comparisons credible to me anyway ( I still check it out myself before purchasing). So I would listen to them if they have tested gear I’m interested in.

The real difference with TS is the interaction whenever I have questions. I never received a responce from them like I do on TS. And the biggest draw back here is figuring out who is credible. Phil kinda alluded to this problem in a previous post about all the 5star ratings.

outdoorgearlab is a very valuable resource if you looking for that product , however the TS gang blows them out of the water once you figure out who knows what their talking about.

you guys rock. I’ve learned a lot from you and avoided many mistakes. 


7:30 p.m. on September 13, 2018 (EDT)
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A few years ago they gave the Tarptent Double Rainbow top marks with a glowing review.

So I asked Henry Shires about it, it turns out that indeed they bought the tent retail and TT was not aware of them reviewing it till it was published.

( they should now do another one for the updated version . That would be nice) 

8:42 p.m. on September 16, 2018 (EDT)
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Well based on Francos post they occasionally review small shop products, but I stopped looking at that site due to the dame focus on big brands that Andrew noticed. Their articles about "The Best X for 2018" etc are less valued without evaluation of cottage industry manufacturers.

1:57 p.m. on September 18, 2018 (EDT)
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1,436 forum posts

Outdoorgearlab always seems to have high marks for Hilleberg tents and so I guess I like them. 

But gear reviews in general are for the most part woefully inadequate.  Why?  Because to really do a thorough review of say a tent requires a full year with about 150 nights out AND THEN you write the review---at least a year after that model comes out.

The point is to use a piece of gear (or a tent) until it fails in differing aspects---then you write the review.  If someone writes a review of a tent, any tent, even a TarpTent, and doesn't mention its weaknesses and failures---then it isn't a review I'm interested in reading---and often it's just a shill report of someone pushing the product.

7:59 a.m. on September 19, 2018 (EDT)
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In fairness, I dont think that site hosts only positive reviews and appears reasonably independent. Just seems focused on big brands to me.  

9:38 a.m. on September 19, 2018 (EDT)
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I have never checked them out, but from the comments here, I would suggest this: 

If you have a review site, your first goal should be to review those respectable companies and items that are most likely to be found in wide distribution.  That way, all of your readers can benefit from the reviews.  If you cover those bases, then it might be time to review more obscure products that are harder to find.

I work in the world of wine, and many of the reviewers in my world tend to take great delight in telling people about amazing wines that the rest of us will never taste.  eh.

Admittedly, in this world of e-commerce, it's easier to find things on line than in your local store, but the point is still basically valid.  If you purchase every piece of gear you review, you are going to have to draw the line somewhere in terms of how many different products you review.  Their system seems to be an honest one.

1:34 p.m. on September 19, 2018 (EDT)
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The thing I do like is that they review direct competitors against another, lightweight down jackets for example. I feel it gives them a broad base of comparison- jacket A was the warmest, but also the heaviest. It gives the reader (and ultimately buyer) a chance to narrow their search in a world of never ending similarily designed products. 

Its a different review model altogether than here. And to be fair most of the review corps stuff is from the big brands, the little guys have to rely on word of mouth marketing. 

February 24, 2020
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