How I got sponsored, and how you can too!

Sponsors, Sponsors, Sponsors.

For most people, this word brings thoughts of boxes upon boxes of free food and gear. They imagine there journey as a film viewed on a big screen with a list of sponsors at the end, or some fancy expedition to another country. For a lot of you, when you hear AT sponsor, you automatically think of the Badger Sponsorship (Good Luck to the Final 12!) or the thru-hike syndicate. However, even though I did not receive either of these, I still got sponsorships. Some were big and some were small. No matter the size or price though, it all helps!

So What Did I Do?

My method for receiving sponsorships was simple: ask, ask,ask, then ask again. Between emailing and calling companies, I was able to contact each one in someway or another.  I contacted about 70 companies explaining to them what I was doing (My AT Thru-Hike), when I was doing it, and if they would be interested in helping me for some sort of return (media shoutouts, reviews, etc.) Overall, about 55 companies said “No”, or that they didn’t offer sponsorships, or that they were not interested.  However, about 15 companies said “Yes!”. While there will be a lot of “No’s” there will most certainly be some that reply “Yes”. There are many people and businesses that absolutely love helping thru-hikers and people like ourselves.

So who helped me?

I was lucky and am thankful to have received some very generous sponsors.  They are some very awesome people and you should check there stuff out!

  • Solo Stove
  • Goose Feet Gear
  • Fish People
  • RutaLocura
  • Blackrock Gear (Seattle)
  • Giv’r
  • Heather’s Backpacking Meals
  • ZPacks
  • NW Alpine
  • Cache Lake Camping Foods

All of these companies, with the addition of several others offered me gear, food, or discounts.  They are all amazing people and companies and you should look into them!

The Most Important Thing To Remember

While the class of 2017 (including myself) will begin our hikes in the next few months, future thru-hikers you should look into asking companies for help or advice.  While not all companies offered discounts or gear, several of them offered fantastic advice and help form past thru-hikers including Megan from Hyperlite Mountain Gear and a guy named Sasquatch.  When talking to companies about possible help, there is something very important to remember: There will be many “No’s”, way more than you would expect.  However, there are many companies out there that want to help thru-hikers in any way they can. There will be people from all over the country that are very interested  in your journey. For me, I had packages from Alaska to Seattle to Denver, and I live in the southeast!

So ask away and see who wants to help!



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Comments 2

  • Stephanie McClellan : Jan 24th

    Hi Caleb,
    It’s Mrs. McClellan from good ole Mitchell High School. I was talking to Ben in class today and I asked how you were and he told me about your this adventure. After reading your blog post and hearing Ben talk about this, I can imagine how excited, nervous and fearful you may be. I just wanted to let you know that I think this totally AWESOME that you have decided to spend this season of your life embarking on such a tremendous journey. I would love to have you trail name and send some care packages to you along the way. My prayer for you is have the most spectacular time enjoying God’s creation and learning more about yourself, the Savior and all of His creation. I also pray for your safety and lots of good weather. 🙂
    Stephanie McClellan

    • Caleb Bonner : Jan 24th

      Mrs. McClellan,
      Thank you so much for your kind words! I am so very excited to start! I would be so thankful for those care packages! I will contact you over Facebook to talk more about it. Hope you and your family are doing great!


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