I was interested in one of the links coming to my blog that was from the LFTO forum. Mutterings about biased reviewing are nothing new. If you think about it, all reviews are biased. What I like may not be what you like or suitable for you. “Hike your own hike” as a certain John Manning says.
I want to make it clear that apart from two items (a pair of HiTec boots and a Stickpic), I have not received any free gear. I have also only received one piece of discounted gear (a pair of Salomon Quest boots). Everything else has been paid for by my own hard-earned pennies.
You could argue that this introduces bias as, perhaps, I don’t want to admit that I’ve bought a lemon. Also my gear choices are selective rather than covering the market. However, I always endeavour to give an honest opinion in an effort to help others. Sometimes that opinion will change over time as I use a piece of gear and I find limitations or problems.
All I can say is that I am beholden to no manufacturer or retailer as I carry no advertising, neither do I receive any freebies (with the exceptions I’ve mentioned). The other thing I’d like to say is that, in theory, I don’t owe readers anything. Unlike a magazine or OM, I receive no financial rewards for doing this.
I do this for my own pleasure, but also have an altruistic motive in wanting to share my experiences so others can benefit from them. The Ultrahike reviews are a good example of this. This is a product that I purchased because it fitted a niche I wanted to fill. There is very little information elsewhere on it, so I thought an in-depth look at it was worthwhile and would interest others.
This is the way I want to do my blog. Others do it differently and that doesn’t invalidate them or make them worse. One of the good things about blogdom is the variety. Enjoy it. Remember it’s free!