Announcing the 2018 Badger Sponsorship!

Calling all 2018 AT, PCT, and CDT thru-hikers!!!

The Trek wants to sponsor you!

That’s right- it’s that time of year. The page on the calendar where we give away thousands of dollars worth of backpacking gear, food, and resources; better known simply as The Badger Sponsorship.

The Badger Sponsorship began in 2012 as an effort to pay forward the goodwill given to me before and during my thru-hike.  Each year since its inception, the giveaway has grown in scale, rewards, and metric epicness. This year’s prize package is no exception.

Said differently, if Julius Ceaser and Robocop had a baby and this baby was raised by Laurie Potteiger and Miss Janet inside of an REI, resulting baby would be The Badger Sponsorship 2018.

Let’s dive right in.  The winners of this year’s contest will receive:

Grand Prize Winner

– Runner Up – 

– Third Place –

– Fourth Place –

– Fifth Place – 

– Sixth Place – 

– 7th – 12th Place – 

For those keeping score at home, that’s more than $10,000 worth of prizes.  Hot damn.

How can you win?

  1. Record a short video (no more than 90 seconds) explaining a) why you want the Badger Sponsorship b) why you’re embarking on a thru-hike, and c) why you’re going to successfully thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, or Continental Divide Trail in 2018.
  2. Post this video to YouTube. Title it “(Insert Your Name) Wants to Win The 2018 Badger Sponsorship”. E-mail me the link to this video at [email protected] no later than 11pm EST on Sunday, January 14th.  Any entries sent after this time will not be accepted.
  3. The top 12 videos will be chosen as this year’s finalists and posted to on Wednesday, January 17th.  The winner will be determined by a combination of the Expert Panel and Reader’s Vote.  The Expert Panel will determine 70% of the final score with the remaining 30% being determined by the Reader’s Vote.  The video with the highest combined score will be this year’s winner.  Voting ends at 10:00pm EST on Tuesday, January 23.
  4. The Finalist Videos and Winning videos will be evaluated on two criteria: 1) how well you answer the above questions and 2) creativity + effort!  Sitting in front of a webcam and saying that you really want to thru-hike will not get you through to the finals.  Here’s an example of a great video entry from a past contest.

Some more notes on the contest:

  • Only the top 12 videos will make it into the voting round.  Last year saw more than 50 video submissions. We will likely exceed that this year. Bring your A-Game.
  • To ensure that your email doesn’t go to SPAM (which has happened in years past), don’t assume that I have received your email until receiving a response from me, which I will try to do within 24 hours of receiving your message.
  • I have exactly zero say in who wins. A small panel decides the finalists. The readers and our Expert Panel decide the winners. Pandering is always a nice gesture, however, it won’t affect the final outcome.
  • Prizes will only be shipped within the lower 48 states in the US.  International pals, you may want to find a US friend who would be willing to hold your gear for you.

Last but not least, a GINORMOUS thank you to this year’s participating brands, who <3 thru-hikers very much.  Without you, there is no Badger Sponsorship.  Please take a minute to visit the below websites and consider buying their very high quality products. 


altra logo



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Comments 6

  • Avatar
    Retired firefighter Tim Andrew : Jan 2nd

    Nice thing to do-

  • Avatar
    John Dye : Jan 2nd

    This is awesome! I will have to apply for a 2019/20 effort when that rolls around.

  • Avatar
    Lucas : Jan 3rd

    Never knew this existed. And I have exactly one day off before the close date to learn how to make YouTube videos. I’m jealous. Luckily, I already own most of the gear.

  • Avatar
    Adrian Redgwell : Jan 5th

    Wow this is great and I do have one contact that can accept any winning goods if I get enough votes that is.

    Thank you for doing this and Happy Trails 2018 eh.

  • Avatar
    Roger Robinson : Jan 14th

    This is a great thing to do , the only thing id say is by this time, havnt most prople got all their gear sorted so maybe in the future it should be for the following year /
    But i still think its a fantastic idea



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