So, you want to Thru Hike a long-distance trail?
But how the hell can I afford it!!!!
Well that was my thoughts too!
I began saving like crazy and all the junk in the attic began to appear on eBay or got lugged to the local car boot sale.
I began to jot down how much the kit was going to cost, plus the air fares and food for a 6-month trip. The amount of money kept growing plus I had to pay my bills whilst I was away Thoughts of despair began to grow.
It looked as my trip may be over before it had begun until
Whilst reading previous hikers blogs, I came across this great piece by Keith Fosset
Keith has some great tips on getting sponsorship and I followed his advice
I suggest you read his article
Basically, you are hoping that companies will sell you equipment at a discounted rate or in some circumstances give it to you free
The saving can be huge and money unspent helps with funding your hike
To be honest I did not really know what I needed
The above line was true and it led to me making some expensive mistakes ,
I received virtually all of my hiking gear at discounted prices which was totally amazing .
BUT :- I did not do enough research, I received a lot of top range kit, which would be fantastic for a weekends hike in wales , But not for a 5 month thru hike. As most of it was just too heavy This meant that several days in to my hike I ended up swapping it out for the right kit.
Water filter swapped
Sleeping bag swapped
Water reservoir Swapped
These items cost a lot to swap out and ate into valuable monies
DO YOUR RESEARCH!!!
I firstly wrote a list of all the equipment I thought that I would need then began visiting all the local outdoor shops to get a look and feel of the kit. I tried on numerous boots and packs, looked at dozens of tents and where possible set them up and put them away.
From my research, most hikers use a one-man tent or tarp. I looked at both options, but the one-man tents were too claustrophobic for me.
They were like sleeping in a coffin and some of them you cannot even get your pack inside, so it stays outside.
After a lot of looking and trying I decided that the Vaude terra Trio 2P was the choice for me, roomy and easy to erect
Once I was happy with my choices I began to use the advice of Keith’s webpage.
He suggests going to the Company webpage to find the contact details, so you can email the correct person. He suggests avoiding phoning although sometimes it necessary to get the name or email of the best person to send your request to.
You only get one shot make sure you use it, so you need to grab their attention. You can be funny if you like
This is how I headed my email to Berghaus “Hiking 2,000 miles in bare feet”.
They probably opened it just out of curiosity. It worked, and I received three pairs of heavily discounted hiking boots. Well, okay, after a bit of grovelling
Keith also suggest being specific in what you want
1) Don’t say I need a tent, state exactly what you need.
I need a seam sealed Tarp Tent Contrail with yellow, reflective spectra cord guy lines, integrated line lighteners and titanium tent pegs.
This makes you sound professional because you know exactly what you need and not just someone who’s making a half-arsed attempt to do a thru-hike (or whatever activity).
2) Provide details of what you are doing, not in 10 paragraphs, use one line. Don’t use words like attempting or going to try. Be positive and tell them what you are going to do:
I am going to hike 2,640 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail.
3) Make your trip sound immense and a true hardship, they love all that stuff.
It mixes remote desert with high altitude mountain ranges, intense heat and bitter cold.
4) Explain why you need the item you are asking for and make them feel good by saying you think their product is the best.
I will be camping for 95% of the trip and need a tent I can rely on. Your product consistently scores brilliantly in reviews and my friends recommend you as a company. You are my first choice.
5) If you are raising money for a charity include that as well.
6) Lastly, tell them what you can do for them
Gear companies are after one thing from sponsorship and one thing only – exposure. The more their brand is out there on the trail, or seen on an athletics track, or on the wings of a plane the better. The more exposure they get, the more products they sell and the more money they make. Tell them how you can do this
You should, and could, be able to do all that in a maximum of 300 words make it less if you can. Do not put in rubbish that is not needed. If your message is 150 words and you have included the above points and stated your case, then 150 words is enough.
To my amazement companies were brilliant and I obtained 75% of my kit this way I was chuffed to bits with and more importantly, it saved me a shed load of money which meant I had more funds available for the hike and, therefore, I had more chance of success