Announcing The 2019 Badger Sponsorship!

Calling all 2019 AT, PCT, and CDT thru-hikers!!!

The Trek wants to sponsor you!

It’s almost time to turn those 2018 calendars into tinder, which can only mean one thing: it’s Badger Sponsorship time, baby.  You know, that time of year where we give away more than $10,000 worth of gear, food, and resources to a dozen soon-to-be thru-hikers.

The Badger Sponsorship began seven years ago as an effort to pay forward some of the goodwill I received both before and during my thru-hike.  Each year since its inception, the giveaway has grown in scope, prizes, and overall banana-land-ness.

This year’s package is no exception.

Simply put, if John Muir and Grandma Gatewood had a baby and this baby developed a severe Supermarket Sweep addiction, said baby would be The Badger Sponsorship 2019.

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- videos exceeding this length will not qualify) 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 2019.
  2. Post this video to YouTube. Title it “(Insert Your Name) Wants to Win The 2019 Badger Sponsorship”. E-mail me the link to this video at [email protected] no later than 11pm EST on Sunday, January 6th.  Any entries sent after this time will not be accepted. Videos can be uploaded as public or unlisted on YouTube.
  3. The top 12 videos will be chosen as this year’s finalists and posted to on Tuesday, January 8th, 2019.  The winner will be determined by a combination of the Expert Panel and Audience Vote. The Expert Panel will determine 75% of the final score with the remaining 25% being determined by the Audience Vote.  The video with the highest combined score will be this year’s winner.  Voting ends at 9:00pm EST on Monday, January 14th.
  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 are some examples of good videos from prior years (all separate links).

Some more notes on the contest:

  • Only the top 12 videos will make it into the voting round.  Last year saw more than 100 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 7

  • Joshua : Dec 27th

    Is this only available for true Thru-hikers? I am working on planning a 2 to 2.5 month NOBO Section hike (life responsibilities will not allow me to truly thru-hike) but us long section hikers are in just as much need as full thru hikers. Any chance we are able to submit for this as well? Us long section hikers need some love too!

    • Zach : Dec 27th

      Hey Joshua- Although we <3 section hikers very much, the prizes are only for those attempting a thru-hike in 2019. We have to draw a line somewhere, and although any backpacker would be thrilled to win any of the above packages, those who carve out a half year to take on a 2,000+ mile hike will get the most use of it in the immediate future. Enjoy your LASH!

  • Gary Davis : Dec 27th

    I think you should add bicycle touring to this give a way . Like Pacific ocean bicycle tour or Continental divide or all the other long distance routes ???

  • Mark Stanavage : Dec 28th

    Since this is 7 years strong, I’m going to hope it is even better by 2023. I’m LASHing now, but waiting for kids to be out of the house for my wife’s sanity. Sooner or later, I have to come back- and a happy wife is a much better prospect! Keep it going. I’ll get my turn! I’ve had epic failures of rain gear, and it will be welcome!

  • Nate : Dec 28th


  • Laura : Dec 30th

    Hi, Zach! What an awesome scholarship! My sister and I are hiking the AT NOBO this coming year and are wondering if we can submit and go in for the prize together?

  • Tom : Jan 3rd

    How does a person vote for their favorite?


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