Everything You Need To Know About Getting Sponsored For Your Thru-Hike.

 

Sponsorships

A very popular questions lately has been, “Say, what?! I want to get sponsored. That is awesome. How did you do that!?” Yes, I was able to get close to 3K in gear that I needed from my incredible sponsors. As well as some food sponsorships.

Let me first address the fact that there is nothing wrong with getting sponsored and is also not for everyone. It’s a fantastic opportunity and is a tremendous help for those looking to complete a thru-hike. As you know, completing a thru-hike is not an inexpensive endeavor so let’s start with the costs involved in doing so.

You will find a lot of information online about how much a thru-hike costs. I have seen estimates ranging from $2-$3 per mile to $10k (with $5k alone for gear!). Everyone hikes this hike differently which means each hiker’s cost will be different. Some choose to tent the entire way while others mix in hostels and hotel stays. When planning your thru-hike costs, consider your personal preferences and budget to establish a detailed breakdown of your own estimated costs. Items to consider:

1. Food

2. Hostel/Hotels. This ranges from $10 bunks in a hostel to full on rockstar suites at the Hilton for $150 bucks a night.

3. Transportation, including airfare, bus fares, and shuttle services.

4. Emergency funds for those “shit happens” moments when you’ll be glad to have something set aside.

5. Gear.

6. Hiker Insurance.

7. Resupply funds (Are you doing preplanned drop boxes or resupplying in town).

These are the main expenses to consider. You need to then expand on each one of these areas based on your personal preferences. Personally, I am a frugal chick and have no shame in my game. I refuse to pay full price for anything, ever. Others might enjoy throwing away money on full priced items. I do not.

If you are like me, here are some suggestions for how to avoid paying full price.

1. ALDI. This is the cost-saving mother load when it comes to food. 

I can literally walk into ALDI with $100 bucks cash and walk out with an overflowing shopping cart full of food. Bring your own shopping bags and a quarter. ALDI sells items so inexpensively because they have cut everyday costs by having you put in $.25 for a shopping cart (you get it back when you return the cart) and making customers supply their own shopping bags.

By getting your food ahead of time and setting up drop boxes, you will save a ton of money. If you hit a town to resupply, you could pay triple for something that otherwise would’ve cost much less with some careful planning. Hey, if you have money to burn, go ahead but I like making my money work for me and keeping as much of it as possible.

2. Hostel/Hotels. My apps will get you 5 star swag for Motel 6 pricing!

I think everyone should do it up once or twice a month. A nice dinner and a comfy hotel bed can be a balm to your tired spirit. But there’s no way I pay full price for my meals or hotel rooms while I’m splurging.

Download these apps: Groupon, LivingSocial, and Booking.com. I have stayed in 5 star hotels for $69 bucks a night. I have wined and dined at amazing restaurants for $15 bucks. Thank you, apps!

Some hostels will offer “work for stay.” If you are not afraid to do some dishes or paint something, this can help you score a hot meal and a warm bed. You can also get a bunk for as little as $10 bucks.

3. Sponsorships – The money saving mother load. 

This is where landing sponsorships can be a huge deal for you and your wallet.

Sponsorships are similar to bartering back in the day. Listen, you hook me up with some apple pie moonshine and I will hook you up with some ginseng root! What can you barter? What can you offer the companies in return for their sponsorship (especially since they no longer accept moonshine or ginseng root…)?

A sponsorship is a win-win situation all around. The companies’ products get exposure and you get free items you need. My skills that I had to offer were the following:

1. Product Photography

2. Writing

3. My experience as an entrepreneur and a marketer

4. A Passion for Backpacking.

Think about what you have to offer and create a compelling email. I have created a template you can copy to help you get started.

Hi There,

I wanted to reach out to your company in hopes of establishing a beneficial partnership.

My name is and I am embarking on an incredible journey. I will be thru-hiking the entire Appalachian Trail. For anyone who does not know, this is a journey of 2,185 miles from Georgia to Maine.

I will be sharing all of my gear, food choices, sponsorship, and trip details via the following outlets:

  • • Website/Blogs
  • • Social Media Outlets

Side note: If you have large followings include the number of followers.

I wanted to see if there are any opportunities to represent your company with a brand ambassadorship or product donation.

Of course, in return I will provide your company with:

  • • INSERT YOUR OFFERS
  • • OFFER 2
  • • OFFER 3
  • • OFFER 4

Some of my outdoor photography has been featured by:

  • • XYZ
  • • XYZ
  • • XYZ
  • • XYZ

If this is something your company would be interested in, I would welcome the opportunity to discuss it further. I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you,

Once you have this email completed, compile a list of what sponsors you want to reach out to. I personally would never sponsor anything I have not used. This is entirely up to you. Here is a list of sponsorships programs to help get you started:

1. The Badger Sponsorship

2. Thru Hike Syndicate

3. ENO (they do not offer thru-hiker sponsorships but will give discounted rates for thru-hikers)

Once you have your completed your list, begin sending emails. I suggest you begin this process early. Businesses will only allocate X amount of dollars per year on marketing, sponsorships, and so forth. They might offer sponsorships but have already utilized all available funds for the year.

Most importantly, do not get discouraged if you hear “no”. Not every brand will offer sponsorships. However, you don’t know unless you try.

Lastly, if for some reason you are not feeling the whole sponsorship vibe, no worries. I understand it’s not for everyone.

4. eBay, Craigslist, and GoodWill – Major Gear Savings!

Do not be afraid to get thrifty. Ebay and craigslist always have gear. The best part is you can bargain!

GoodWill- you can find everything from tents to lightweight jackets. This is going to be a lot more work than eBay or Craigslist. You will need to make frequent trips to find what you are looking for. But if you have time and are willing to check in once a week, I have no doubt you can score huge on the cheap.

GearTrade.Com: https://www.geartrade.com This is kind of like eBay for gear only. Take your time and bargain. You will save a ton utilizing sites like this.

Hopefully this is a great starting point for you. Get creative and don’t let anything get in your way of pursing your dreams of a thru-hike.

Happy Adventuring!

Jess

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Comments 1

  • Avatar
    Robyn : Mar 21st

    from your kickstarter…

    “Some advantages:

    I have been sponsored by the #ThruHikeSyndicate, Hoo-Rag, and Go
    Macro. This means a lot of my gear, and some of my food, is taken care
    of.

    This is a HUGE advantage in my eyes. These sponsors, and outdoors
    communities of people following my journey, will motivate me to keep
    driving forward.”

    after all your hype and build-up …all your well packaged pleas for sponsorship based off your “extensive section hiking experience” after all this:

    you bs’d your way through most of this thru-hike prep up to now..but the trail does not care… male or female everyone makes it the same way to Katadin …one step at a time… you had been given way more chance of success than most attempting a thru-hike this year and you failed in the first week…. You really should just chill on offering advise for inexperienced dreamers on getting sponsorships ..so frustrating….

    ITS REALLY SAD FOR THOSE OF US THAT WORK EXTREMELY HARD TO EVEN ATTEMPT A A.T. THRU-HIKE…YOU QUIT IN THE FIRST WEEK AND ABANDON THE TRAIL AND GO NORTH SEVERAL HUNDRED MILES TO PET PONIES…

    YET ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF WHY FOLKS NEED TO JUST HIKE…NOT RAISE FUNDS , GARNER SPONSORSHIP , MAKE BOOKS, BRING NOVICE GUESTS, START ON THE BUSIEST DAYS, CARRY 35+ POUNDS AND ON AND ON…. or quit and get in car and drive north to pet ponies in the sunshine which requires no sponsors…

    oh and BTW from one woman to another… chill on the us/them male/ female sexist stuff..It does nothing but set women’s right back… equality needs no disclaimed.. we are all the same..male or female when it comes to the trail..we all get through this the same way ..one foot in front of the other… the trail cares not what sex you are silly…. only you seems preoccupied with the distinction and limits of what sex you are….. good luck!

    Reply

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