The following thoughts have been rattling around in my head for a couple weeks. I haven’t put them to paper until now because I struggled to find the words to convey what I’ve been thinking. I realize once this article is read there will be gear reviewers who will not like what I’ve shared and may even get a little ticked. I get that and you have just as much right to express your thoughts and opinions as I do mine. But I ask you read on completely with an open mind and give it some thought.
Let’s talk about outdoor gear reviews for a moment. We’ve all seen them whether it be a written review or video. With technology offering various ways to create, produce, and edit video even for the most novice of users visually watching a review has become more popular than reading a review. Over the past year I have created several video gear reviews. Particularly for two brands I am loyal to based on my personal usage and opinions of the gear. Of the gear reviews on video I have put together and shared on my Youtube channel none of the brands paid me to give a review. I am not employed by these brands and the opinions of their product have been my own.
When it comes to video gear reviews it has been my intention to film the review outside. I mean, I am reviewing and testing gear for the outdoors. Before I film the review I actually use the gear and put it through a test to see if that piece of gear lives up to what the brand claims. Once I’ve tested and used it I stop for a moment to take a break and shoot my review where I discuss the gear, how it stood up to usage and testing, and then give my personal opinion and honest review. I also take a minute to show viewers “how” to use the gear I am talking about.
Here is what I “don’t” do and I find some reviewers doing most of the time. Disclaimer; if you’re reading this and you create video reviews in the way I’m about to share, be aware I tend to bypass these reviews and my guess is I’m not the only one.
Gear reviews I tend NOT to watch are the ones filmed from your kitchen table showing the gear still in its package. Also, if you give me all the specifications and pricing, but can’t show me how it works the chances of your gear review being watched are slim. Here’s why. If you create video gear reviews this way, it brings some questions to mind. Can I trust their opinion of the gear they are reviewing since I’m not sure they have even used it? Also, why are they giving me specifications and pricing of the product when I have already seen this information most likely from either the brands website or Amazon from social media posts?
I also want to be careful in my criticism and not come to a complete assumption. There are those I know personally who have put together video gear reviews from their kitchen table or workshop and are well done and informative. They have taken the time to use and test the gear outside, but have chosen an indoor setting to film either for lighting, comfort or weather. How do I know they have used it? For starters, the gear is NOT in it’s original packaging AND it clearly appears to have been used and tested. Also, they tend to share their outdoor experience at the time they tested the gear.
Here is what I’m trying to get across. If you’re creating video reviews for the outdoor industry the likelihood of myself and others watching your review from beginning to end will be based on your knowledge of the gear from actually using it. If your video shows the gear still in its package with you removing it from the package all shiny and new, and then you proceed to give specifications and pricing, for which anyone can obtain from the brands website. Well, all your doing is creating a commercial, not an honest review. And you’re not representing the brand well.
These days the internet is flooded with information on the latest outdoor gear. As a community of people passionate about the outdoors if we’re going to inspire people to get outside we need to give them our honest opinion and reviews of the gear we carry, use and trust. Because, of all the gear I own…I did NOT purchase it based on a video review giving me the specs and pricing all shiny and fresh out of the package. I bought it because someone took the time to share their own experience of the gear and gave their honest feedback. It was their knowledge of the gear and brand they represented that helped to influence my decision on purchasing the gear. As well as why I’m grateful and honored to have the brands we have sponsoring #LHX2017, because of the quality reviews and influence.