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What Makes a Solid Review

Below you’ll find tips of what could be included in a review. They are not essential, just an optional guide to spark some thoughts. 

Review Goal

To help teach the reader why a product is/isn’t one they might want themselves.

At the end of the read, it’d be great if the reader could solidly say, “YES! This is for me.” or “Nope, not for me.” And if it’s a “No” – that they have some other model suggestions to check next thanks to some comparisons/suggestions in the review.

Length

Our goal is to be comprehensive in our reviews, and usually this means reviews naturally end up at least 600-800 words. The most exhaustive reviews on WeighMyRack are 1200+ words. We have no official word requirement. 

Some of the suggested things to cover below could be combined and answered in 1 sentence. Or an entire paragraph could be written. It’s up to you / your writing style. 

Describe the Product

  • First expectations vs current expectations (I was skeptical about… but…!)
  • What worked & why (pros)
  • What didn’t work & why (cons)
  • Anything unusual (especially compared to other similar products/brands)
  • Cool or standout features
  • Fit / sizing
  • Your favorite aspect
  • Something you would change if you were going to make it THE MOST AMAZING

Pictures

Ideally the post has 3+ photos, such as:

  • in use (in different locations or scenarios)
  • close-ups of mentioned features
  • comparison shots

More photos are always helpful! If you send 7+ we’ll likely pick the best of, including making one photo into the header of the post.

Try to Include [at least one] Comparison

Everybody wants to know: How does this product stack up to the competition?

If the reader finds they don’t like this product, where should they look? What other options should you consider? Help them through their indecision and narrow down the overwhelming amount of choices for them!

For example: If you’re saying a helmet isn’t breathable and that’s a downside, point to other helmets that are more breathable. 

  • Compare how you picked this item to want to test it
  • Mention items with a similar fit/feel — or how this one stands out as different
  • Compare other gear with similar/dissimilar features
  • Compare the price to similar options

Build Credibility & Trust

Establish who you are so a reader can relate (or not)
You’re sharing why you’re an expert and giving the reader a clue to the lens through which you see the world. You can certainly be an expert at being a newbie or a weekend warrior. 

  • I’m new to climbing and am in the midst of switching from indoors to outdoors…
  • I love the alpine, but mostly I climb sport/trad near my hometown crag of location.
  • I’ve been fully immersed in ice climbing for the past 4 seasons, with extensive trips to locationlocationlocationlocation, and location.
  • I’ve been climbing for 22 years and I am cranky. I don’t like all this new gear and still climb with ovals. Despite this, I was sent a product for testing and I’ve been feeling it.

More Examples

Explain how was this product chosen

  • Out of all the Five Ten shoes, I was most interested in model because…..
  • I was looking for a 9.6 – 9.8mm workhorse rope that features
  • I had been comparing modelmodel, and model harnesses…
  • I’ve owned the Black Diamond model, Grivel model, and Cassin model. I was really curious about the model because of this main feature
  • I’ve been a huge SCARPA fan for decades so when they announced model I knew I had to test it out…

Explain what the product was designed to do and if it succeeded (or not) in those efforts

  • The model is billed as a great description, and it exceeded my expectations. 
  • The manufacturer says it can be used for action and action. While it was great at action I could not get it to function well during description ….. 
  • Interestingly, the model is slated to do action flawlessly, though my experience is that it doesn’t work well while action but it performed better than expected at action
  • The model was designed for description climbers, and that’s where I spent the majority of the time testing. I did try it for action, which it is definitely not designed for, and understandably, I would not recommend it for that job because it description.

Explain where the product failed / performed poorly
We want to be 100% transparent about a piece of gear. If you didn’t like it, describe why. What assumptions or preferences do you make/have that made it a poor experience. 

Yes, helpful: I expected model to work flawlessly for description like the manufacturer claimed it would. Sadly, it doesn’t seem to because feature keeps getting in the way. It seems to be the pin is rubbing, which makes description …. 

Yes, helpful: The model didn’t work for description, but I didn’t expect it to either. I just wanted to test it for my own curiosity. It’s clearly not designed to description well, and the brand even warns you against using it this way. 

Not helpful: This model was totally disappointing. It didn’t work for me.  <– No description of why. Also helpful to add if it was supposed to work in this situation (not up to standards, or if it was a hopeful goal).

Explain your testing process (time, location, styles of climbing)

  • Over the summer season I put this through the wringer, from location to location to location
  • I only spent a few weeks with this product (the ice season ended early) but what I can say is ….
  • I’ve been testing similar gear like the product and product for the last year, and it was instantly clear to me that this product does ….
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