Author Topic: Long term Gear tests and reviews  (Read 1417 times)

watershed

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Long term Gear tests and reviews
« on: 06:19:44, 10/06/20 »
Hi,
    Can anyone recommend a site that does a comprehensive test of outdoor gear, done over a reasonable period of time, including different terrain and weather conditions rather than the more usual first impressions test. Ideally done by a range of testers.
I am thinking of Boots, jackets and tents in particular.
other than, but not excluding outdoor gear Lab.
https://www.outdoorgearlab.com/about.

Thanks

gunwharfman

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Re: Long term Gear tests and reviews
« Reply #1 on: 11:59:24, 10/06/20 »
I tend to use 'outdoorgearlab' and 'The Great Outdoors' as my baseline starting point when I'm thinking of purchasing and item. From then on I just tend to Google in 'hiking boot reviews' or 'tent reviews' etc to get a range of views on each subject. To get actual user views I tend to go to Google page 2 and beyond because usually Page 1 is already 'owned' by the big manufacturers or stores like Amazon, etc. Sometimes YouTube is useful as well. It would be nice to view others and less well know companies' products easily but I find that I have to make the effort to search. For example, I have only seen an Alpkit product (their Gravitas jacket) reviewed once recently.

Bigfoot_Mike

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Re: Long term Gear tests and reviews
« Reply #2 on: 18:32:12, 10/06/20 »
WildWalkingUK on this forum does some longer term reviews on his longer walks.

richardh1905

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Re: Long term Gear tests and reviews
« Reply #3 on: 07:52:10, 11/06/20 »
Took a look at the 2020 tents in OutdoorGearLab - not much use to me, to be honest - mostly American models with far too much mesh, and not representative of what is available here in the UK.


Is there a UK equivalent, I wonder?

watershed

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Re: Long term Gear tests and reviews
« Reply #4 on: 09:47:53, 11/06/20 »
Took a look at the 2020 tents in OutdoorGearLab - not much use to me, to be honest - mostly American models with far too much mesh, and not representative of what is available here in the UK.


Is there a UK equivalent, I wonder?

Thanks Richard.
you are right that is what I was hoping for.
I have found a few sites that have some information but have not found anything as comprehensive and Northern Europe based.
here is another one I found, but still not perfect.
https://www.switchbacktravel.com/backpacking-gear-reviews

As Mike commented our own wildwalking.uk has some great reviews. We would need another 2 dozen men and women working with him and compiling their findings
I also read the Blogs from the TGO challengers and world hikers and find that they can be useful, but I would love to find a site for Europe/UK that does a more comprehensive testing of equipment.
Peoples personal blogs I suspect can drift towards justifying why they have bought something rather than looking on it with a fair critical eye, that they would have if they were trying out, say ten tents over a year or two, to find their Pros and Cons.
Maybe there is a Foreign language site that I am not picking up on


SteamyTea

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Re: Long term Gear tests and reviews
« Reply #5 on: 09:56:38, 11/06/20 »
if they were trying out, say ten tents over a year or two, to find their Pros and Cons.
Quite often the manufacturers change the design or specification of equipment after a year or two.
Makes it hard to do a long term report when the item becomes unavailable.


One way to review equipment is for a group to get together for a week and swap equipment.
Could become an interesting social gathering, think 'Carry On Camping'.
Or the small adds
'Wanted: Tent for husband'
"Can he hang shelves?"
I don't use emojis, irony is better, you decide

richardh1905

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Re: Long term Gear tests and reviews
« Reply #6 on: 12:47:10, 11/06/20 »
Big Agnes Copper Spur keeps cropping up as best tent on American sites - so much so that it makes the cynic in me wonder whether people are just copying other people's reviews, or are at least being influenced by them. Or maybe it really is a great tent? Not what I want, either way.

richardh1905

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Re: Long term Gear tests and reviews
« Reply #7 on: 12:49:30, 11/06/20 »
Peoples personal blogs I suspect can drift towards justifying why they have bought something rather than looking on it with a fair critical eye, that they would have if they were trying out, say ten tents over a year or two, to find their Pros and Cons.


Personally I would place more value on a good personal review than on a "Top 5 best tents for backpacking" type site. Although perhaps you do have to read between the lines, and look for more than one review.

astaman

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Re: Long term Gear tests and reviews
« Reply #8 on: 13:43:11, 11/06/20 »

Peoples personal blogs I suspect can drift towards justifying why they have bought something rather than looking on it with a fair critical eye, that they would have if they were trying out, say ten tents over a year or two, to find their Pros and Cons.


Yes, they need to be viewed with caution. Do you think that negative reviews can be more useful as indications of possible problems than positive endorsements are as indications of what to buy? I've also seen reviews on YouTube that make you wonder about the reviewers competence.

Jac

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Re: Long term Gear tests and reviews
« Reply #9 on: 13:45:51, 11/06/20 »
I love the 5 star reviews which say 'wonderful item, arrived on time, just what I ordered. Haven't had time to try it yet 
So many paths, so little time

vghikers

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Re: Long term Gear tests and reviews
« Reply #10 on: 14:30:03, 11/06/20 »
Quote
Big Agnes Copper Spur keeps cropping up as best tent on American sites - so much so that it makes the cynic in me wonder whether people are just copying other people's reviews, or are at least being influenced by them. Or maybe it really is a great tent?

For me it is - apart from the 20D groundsheet that I had replaced with a better one. It's far and away the best I've had for most usage cases, only the winter scenario of windblown spindrift would make a tent with a lower-cut fly more suitable.

Quote
To get actual user views I tend to go to Google page 2 and beyond because usually Page 1 is already 'owned' by the big manufacturers or stores like Amazon, etc.

Good point, the poisoning of search results is relentless. It always involves a lot of work trawling through many sites, noting their particular slants and gathering details pertinent to you.

Quote
I love the 5 star reviews which say 'wonderful item, arrived on time, just what I ordered. Haven't had time to try it yet

Yes, and the one-star reviews that say 'wrong item delivered' or 'took a fortnight to arrive'.

Also the famous(?) XKCD cartoon on the problem with average star ratings  :)

Jac

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Re: Long term Gear tests and reviews
« Reply #11 on: 15:27:01, 11/06/20 »

Also the famous(?) XKCD

I realise now - not all minds work alike :-
So many paths, so little time

watershed

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Re: Long term Gear tests and reviews
« Reply #12 on: 17:26:26, 11/06/20 »
Big Agnes Copper Spur keeps cropping up as best tent on American sites - so much so that it makes the cynic in me wonder whether people are just copying other people's reviews, or are at least being influenced by them. Or maybe it really is a great tent? Not what I want, either way.

Ha ha! I know what you mean.
Although I actually have a Older 2016 version of the Copper Spur 2😊
Which I have found to be excellent for what I needed.
To achieve the light weight for the large space, means it hasn’t got the same water head as a tent like a Hilleberg.
I have never had water ingression with the fly but have twice found a “sweating” coming through the floor when camped on water logged soil. I use it as a huge solo tent and have never had condensation issues. I haven’t winter camped but have wakened with frost on it a couple of times in the Cairngorms in May.
I think the reason America likes it is the room to weight ratio, 2 doors, simple to put up, its inner is free standing which is easier to secure on American trail camp stands.
I routinely look for a sheltered spot for a camp site, so can’t comment on how it would stand up to direct heavy wind.
My gut feel is I wouldn’t get a better similar combination unless I went for Dynamo material.
If I want a more solid tent the same size it will be heavier, or smaller.
This is the only tent I have used though, which is the point of this thread, in that I have nothing to compare it with except the previously mentioned comparison sites, which I think don't seem to include the type of tents more often used in the UK.
Boots are another thing. Recently I saw a few people on this forum had trouble with a boot that consistently comes top in the ratings in these sites.
It wasn't clear if their favourite boots had been tested on these sites.
There are some easily attained information on best cars, best cameras, best telephones etc, but as yet the only sites I can find that do a reasonable comprehensive test are the ones mentioned in this thread.
I feel that considering how much we can spend on this "specialised equipment" we are not very well served.


richardh1905

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Re: Long term Gear tests and reviews
« Reply #13 on: 17:38:55, 11/06/20 »
Boots are a bit of a special case as people's feet are so different - I would never buy a boot without trying on first. Same applies to rucksacks.


..of course, during the pandemic, that may not be possible.

Bigfoot_Mike

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Re: Long term Gear tests and reviews
« Reply #14 on: 18:16:38, 11/06/20 »
All the best of sites are limited, even if they are not distorted by marketing. The person reviewing may be doing so from a different viewpoint than me. I like cameras and lenses, but find recommendations for these are affected too much by a specific frame of reference. If you get your car reviews from Top Gear, then you will get an opinion very biased towards power, performance and speed, which may not be that useful if you are looking for a people carrier for a big family.