It’s phrases like this that endear me to The Trek: “if Ghengis Khan and the Terminator had a baby and this baby was raised by Oprah and Miss Janet inside of REI, said baby would be The Badger Sponsorship 2017.”
We’ll get to the Badger Sponsorship at the end (read: chance to win a ton of free gear), but first a quick introduction to this useful and increasingly robust resource for all things related to the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and long-distance hiking in general.
The site was created in 2012 by Zach “Badger” Davis after he 1) successfully thru-hiked the AT in 2011 without ever having gone backpacking before in his life and 2) wrote a very well-reviewed book about developing the mental toughness needed to complete the trail—Appalachian Trials: The Psychological and Emotional Guide to Successfully Thru-Hiking the Appalachian Trail.
Created to help promote the book, the site initially trafficked in the same seemingly misspelled moniker—AppalachianTrials.com—but over the ensuing months and years it evolved into a much more comprehensive resource that extended beyond just the AT. This in turn led to a wholesale redesign, relaunch, and rebranding of the site in early December 2016, which included changing the name of the site to The Trek.
Today The Trek provides a blogging platform for more than a hundred expert hikers; offers gear list recommendations for the AT and PCT; and has a ton of articles on everything from gear to inspiration to thru-hiking culture. (Sign up at the top of the page to receive daily or weekly emails recapping the latest, greatest content.)
I would definitely add this go-to thru-hike website to my previous round-up of the Best Outdoor Gear Blogs.
The Badger Sponsorship gives away thousands of dollars of gear to aspiring thru-hikers, including ultralight tents, backpacks, sleeping pads, and more.
You’ve got to move fast to enter, though—submissions are due by 7 p.m. EST on Monday, January 16—and you’ll need to create a short (no more than 90 seconds) video “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 2017.”
Good luck and happy hiking in 2017!