Author Topic: Gear Reviews: dominated by the 'big boys.'  (Read 440 times)

gunwharfman

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Gear Reviews: dominated by the 'big boys.'
« on: 10:40:09, 21/05/20 »
I like to read Reviews of hiking and camping products but I'm aware that the 'big boys' (Berghaus, Salomon, etc) dominate so I find it quite refreshing when I can read about other companies products. For example, I've read a couple of Alpkit reviews recently, I've also read a bit about Katmantu products and I own some Decathlon clothing but I've never seen a review about them and of course, a company like Naturehike is online selling a large range of all sorts of products. How many times would we read about one of their tents or one of their rucksacks matched up to the more well know and more heavily marketed products? I assume, even though some reviewers have disclaimers suggesting that they do not get anything from the companies of the items they test, as a sceptic I'm not sure I would believe them too much??? Or maybe I have it all wrong and am just looking in the wrong place?

Bhod

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Re: Gear Reviews: dominated by the 'big boys.'
« Reply #1 on: 11:34:44, 21/05/20 »
The big boys have more of an advertising budget and can afford to send more products out to be tested.  More and more I rely on word of mouth reviews rather than those from magazines etc.  Impartial reviews can be had from many people on Youtube, people who have spent their hard earned on an item rather than being gifted one.
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forgotmyoldpassword

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Re: Gear Reviews: dominated by the 'big boys.'
« Reply #2 on: 22:11:56, 21/05/20 »
Impartial reviews can be had from many people on Youtube, people who have spent their hard earned on an item rather than being gifted one.


Exactly, you say that on twitter and the 'gear reviewers' go absolutely spare and blow a gasket.  Perhaps if you're an old timer who has a fair career behind you who can get away with firing a rocket up the backside of a gear company for a shoddy product - then sure.  But the vast majority of the reviewers who receive gifted items are getting them on the unwritten contingency of a positive review.


Youtube has been superb for upsetting this process mind you, really dislike 'gear channels', but outdoors youtubers talking through their gear choices and what works for them and what doesn't seems the most genuine approach.

pauldawes

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Re: Gear Reviews: dominated by the 'big boys.'
« Reply #3 on: 06:23:18, 22/05/20 »
A market trader near me used to sell walking magazines at a knock down price..so I’ve bought and skim read a fair few over the years.


Always used to turn to gear reviews first. Always enjoyed reading them...but the suspicion soon dawned that they were of limited value.


A couple of phrases that always made my eyebrows rise: “comfortable straight out of the box” (of boots or shoes) or “good fit” (for a jacket ). That always prompted the thought: “Who for??”


Basically reviewers rarely explained how the product was tested...how long for they had used the item, and in what range of conditions. Without doing that the reader really doesn’t know what reliance (if any) to put on review.


Fairly or not my impression was that reviewer tried on item, had a quick look at construction and materials, then moved onto next item. Such reviews...even from knowledgeable people..have limited value.

Bhod

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Re: Gear Reviews: dominated by the 'big boys.'
« Reply #4 on: 07:45:28, 22/05/20 »
Leafed through a copy of 'Trail' last night, can't believe the amount of unpaid for yet solicited adverts in there all under the guise of 'Gear Reviews'.  I'm so glad I didn't actually buy a copy and it's just reaffirmed in my own mind why I stopped buying it years ago.
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watershed

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Re: Gear Reviews: dominated by the 'big boys.'
« Reply #5 on: 12:27:47, 22/05/20 »
I try to read as many reviews as I can about something I intend to buy. Either in magazines or on the internet.
I ask fellow walkers about their favourite gear and any poor choices they may have made.
This forum I am finding useful. Either with Forum comments or reading some of their blogs. E.g.
https://wildwalkinguk.com/
This gives me a feel, rather than a definitive answer, on what to try.
As GWM says “everyone is different”
Ideally, I would then try on, or view a few of the recommendations.
Although coming from Shetland that is not always possible.
Some of the companies also give excellent descriptions of the product with their own verdict on its performance once they have tried it. One I have mentioned before is https://www.ultralightoutdoorgear.co.uk/ they will also give advice over the phone.
I find https://www.outdoorgearlab.com/ a very useful site. It is American, so is biased for what is easily sourced there, but I have found that I come to the same conclusions with equipment that I have bought and used extensively. This makes me feel that they have tested the gear over several months in real life use, as they claim.

I agree It would be useful if some of the magazines would do some in depth Cheap Chinese Versus Established brand tent reviews, as the Chinese ones certainly look as good, in images on the internet, as some of the dearer options from Europe or the States. Considering they have been making them a couple of years now, it is starting to look a bit suspicious that we have seen none.
Hopefully Trail, TGO and others will do some comparison tests shortly, even if it is only done out of the embarrassment of appearing biased.

I wont hold my breath on the outdoor gear lab testing Chinese gear though as they might get "Trumped" :)
« Last Edit: 12:36:17, 22/05/20 by watershed »

WILDWALKINGUK

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Re: Gear Reviews: dominated by the 'big boys.'
« Reply #6 on: 07:09:06, 23/05/20 »
Thanks for the mention and positive thoughts off my reviews on my website. It makes all the effort worthwhile.
You may be interested in the reasoning behind my reviews etc. I set the site up just over a year ago because I was about to walk from Lands End to John O'Groats and trying to wild camp all the way. Because I couldn't afford to stay in accommodation everynight, I work as a handy man in a carehome a few days a week. I had read many other blogs and learnt a lot from them. So I thought it only fair that I did the same to help others. It turned out that people were more interested in the gear I used rather than the walk. So I got into gear reviewing by accident and have spent so much on gear to review and the site, that I needed to get some money in to keep the site going. That's when I added the advertising and sent the odd message asking for free gear to review. There is also links to amazon on the site and I receive a small commission if you buy something. This hardly covers the site running costs but is appreciated and does make it possible to keep the site going. Most of the gear I review, I paid for because I want it for my hikes. I have been given some gear and always say so on the review and don't let it affect my review of it.
Hope this is off interest and I always welcome feed back to improve the site. Thanks again and stay safe. Mark Webb. WildWalkingUK