Product Review Guidelines

In addition to providing published itineraries and hundreds of free national park guides, I also review products for hiking and camping that many people who visit national parks might use. 

All product reviews are independent and based on extensive research and product testing. 

I start with a comprehensive review of the products sold on reputable websites, including Amazon and REI, who have great customer service, so you can feel comfortable buying from them.  I’m not loyal to any one specific retailer or brand.

All product and service recommendations are purely editorial and independent. I never accept a product in exchange for positive coverage. If you visit links from my website, I may receive commissions from your purchases (at no cost to you) but I never accept free products or receive any payment for reviewing, rating or recommending a product.  

Instead, based on my initial research, I create a shortlist. Then I buy the products myself so I can test them to help you help you make better purchases. 

Once I have the items, I use them in the same conditions that you would on a camping or hiking trip. If a condition doesn’t occur when I’m testing the product in the field, (e.g. if it doesn’t rain when I’m testing a tent on a weekend camping trip), I simulate this (e.g. by drenching the tent under a hose for a couple of hours in my backyard) so I can evaluate it properly. 

Before the test run, I determine what is important in the product and then evaluate each product on those multiple points. After rating each of the key product points, I come up with an overall rating for each product so it’s possible to compare them. I also supply pros and cons and give tips on who it is best suited for. 

If the product is primarily for women, I have a trusted colleague who can test it out, since I can’t. 

While my primary focus is on testing the products, I also evaluate customer service, reviews of other users, and warranty information, to give you a complete picture of the buying experience.  

I only recommend products if I think they’re really great – not everything that I test makes it into the final guide.   

I typically have half a dozen similar products so you can compare them and see how different brands and models measure up against each other. I know that not everyone’s looking for the same things when shopping, so I like to offer a few recommendations.  

I also consider value when making recommendations, providing options along various price points that I think are worth their price. 

Where a product I recommend is available on multiple purchasing websites, I provide more than one option for you to buy from. 

I also create how to use videos where that would be helpful e.g. how to put up a tent; how to set up binoculars, etc. 

After I publish a buying guide, I don’t just forget about it. I check every year for new products on the market and updated models so the list stays up-to-date. 

I also know how frustrating it can be to do your research on a product only to add it to your cart and see that it’s out of stock. So, I try to minimize this by regularly checking that it’s still available. If you notice that it’s not available, please let me know. 

Please note that all products, including those I review and recommend, may from time to time be subject to recalls or revised use recommendations. I strongly encourage you to monitor any official announcements from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) that may be related to products you purchase and it’s always best to register your purchases with the manufacturer so you can get alerted if a recall is issued. 

How I Make Money  

I receive an affiliate commission on some, but not all, of the products I recommend—but only if you decide to click through to the retailer’s site and make a purchase (there is no additional cost to you). I only recommend retailers that I trust and have a proven track record for service and dependability.  

Read more: About Parks Collecting