Cabela’s Outfitters, a camping and outdoor supply company, has been outfitting nature enthusiasts since 1961. Cabela’s takes pride in the variety and durability of its equipment. The company often attaches field-tester comments to a product description on its website and catalog. According to Michael Prospero at Fast Company magazine, Cabela’s doesn’t rely on independently contracted field testers. Instead, it allows its employees and a few select customers to borrow equipment in exchange for copious feedback. To become a Cabela's field tester, you'll have to cross a few hurdles before signing out top-of-the-line equipment for your next three-day hike in the Rockies.
Apply for a job at Cabela’s. Employees of all levels can sign out equipment for periods of time in exchange for descriptive notes and an evaluation about your experience with the product.
Buy frequently. If you are unable or uninterested in working directly for Cabela’s, that’s OK. The company keeps records of customers who consistently buy large quantities or wide varieties of supplies.
Introduce yourself to the local store manager if you manage or guide outdoor expeditions, such as hiking or canoeing trips. Be prepared to give details about your areas of expertise, client base and trip structure, such as the duration and typical accommodations. Announcing at a Cabela's store that you are a white-water guide and asking to sign out $500 worth of equipment will not be effective.
Create a Cabela's network. Each branch of Cabela’s has a different manager and offering your testing services to more than one person will increase your chances of becoming either an employee or customer field tester.
As a field tester, you will also be expected to complete a feedback form upon return of the item. This information will be entered into a company wide “item note” database.