At GearJunkie, the primary goal of our buyer’s guides and gear reviews is to help you find the right product for your outdoor pursuits.

Whether you’re looking for the best tent for a summertime backpacking trip or the perfect pair of trail running shoes for the Leadville 100, our team of experts has you covered. That’s because, yes, we have hiked those trails and even run those 100-mile races.

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Adam Ruggiero, GearJunkie editor-in-chief, testing backpacking gear with The Real Hiking Viking

Although finding the best products is a fairly complicated process, our review guidelines are simple:

  • We never accept payment for a favorable review. Period.
  • Be fair to both the customer and the brand.
  • Use the most knowledgeable experts in the field to assess products.
  • Write our buyer’s guides to pair consumers with the products that will work best for them.

GearJunkie Reviews: How We Do Them

GearJunkie’s review process is ongoing and constantly evolving. But at the outset of 2021, this is how we choose the products we recommend, and how we evaluate new products coming to market.

Writer Mallory Paige testing the Merrell Pace Glove Shoe in Acadia National Park
Mallory Paige, GearJunkie commerce content managing editor, testing the latest canine gear in Acadia National Park with her dog Baylor

Every GearJunkie buying guide starts with a thorough research phase. We spend hours seeking out the newest and top-rated products. This includes reading customer reviews, scouring the web for trustworthy gear reviews, and reaching out to brands for intel on the newest releases.

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Sean McCoy, Lola Digital Media editorial director, finishes a half-marathon as part of a T-shirt stink test

From there, we whittle down the potential candidates to the final 10-15 products for testing. To qualify for the list, a product generally hits one (or all) these factors:

  • Readily available to buy
  • Highly rated by customers and online reviews
  • New to the market

Once we have the gear in hand, testing begins. We start by laying out the key testing considerations. These vary based on the particular piece of gear (packed size is important for backpacking sleeping bags whereas comfort is king for the best slippers). Once we’ve agreed on the key considerations, it’s time to take each item into the field.

Our experts put each item to the test looking at durability, value, and overall ease of use. We also factor in things like sustainability, recycled content, and labor practices. When possible, we test for months on end to truly get a feel for how well the piece of gear lasts and performs. We then rate and review each item and decide how it should rank.

Basically, we’re looking for the standout gear — the stuff that we rave about and recommend to our friends and family. And we promise we’ll do our best to recommend only the products we love. Because ultimately, we want you to be able to enjoy the outdoors with the right gear. We’re here to help you find it.