Red Wing, MN - Appalachian Trail thru-hikers depend on quality gear to help them succeed in their quest for completing the iconic 2,200 mile trail. After many years attending the Appalachian Trail Days in Damascus, VA, the team at Vasque footwear kept hearing the stories from thru-hikers talking about their gear, what brands they felt were the best or worst in the industry and often hearing about which retailer was best for returns. Seeing a need for brand support, Vasque decided to collaborate with other outdoor industry influencers to support these hikers and help them reach their goal of completing the Appalachian Trail in its entirety by forming the Appalachian Trail (AT) Ambassador Program. This program includes well-known outdoor industry brands, Vasque, Osprey Packs, NEMO Equipment, Leki Trekking Poles and Darn Tough, who will offer product support, VIP treatments and a platform for sharing the thru-hikers tales from the trail with the general public.
As an ATAmbassador, the thru-hikers will receive products and support from all of the brand partners. Once candidates have been selected, brands will hold educational sessions with the thru-hikers to ensure they are on brand message when speaking about the brand on the trail and can answer questions from other thru-hikers about the products. In addition, the brand partners will have a VIP lounge at the Appalachian Trail Days event that will be for the AT Ambassadors only. The lounge will include free massages, food, drinks, music and more. As a special treat, the brands will pull together one additional VIP treatment further along the trail to show support for the ambassadors.
‘As we talked with these thru-hikers, we realized the brands were not getting the representation they needed on the trail,’ states Vasque Director of Sales, Chris Miller. ‘By collaborating with some of the top names in the outdoor industry, we are able to give these hikers the support they need to complete the trail while also giving the brands an authentic and informative voice on the trail.’
Upon the success of the partnership, the brands involved in the AT Ambassador collaboration hope to expand the program to include thru-hikers attempting other long distance trails throughout the United States in the coming years.
“The Appalachian Trail Thru Hiker puts a lifetime of use on their gear in a single season and they have long represented one of Osprey’s most important sources of product feedback as we strive to make the best packs available to withstand the challenges of the trail,” says Sam Mix, Osprey Packs Outdoor Marketing Manager. “Osprey Packs is excited to team with these exemplary outdoor companies and the AT Thru Hiker themselves on the launch of the AT Ambassador Program in 2014.”
The hunt for the perfect candidates began last month on the brands’ social media pages. Applications will be accepted up until December 15, 2013, at which point the brands will begin evaluating candidates to narrow the team down to a predetermined amount of thru-hiking representatives. Final candidates will be announced on January 14, 2014 and the general public will be able to track the stories and adventures of all the AT Ambassadors via Vasque’s new website, www.findoutwhatswithin.com, which will be live in February 2014.
Thru-hikers who would like to apply to be part of the AT Ambassador Program should visit: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NSDLDZ5. For more information on the AT Ambassador Program, please contact Angie Houck at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vasque footwear was established in 1964 in response to a need for performance hiking footwear in the US market. With a passion for performance and fit, Vasque’s mission to this day is to bring the latest in technology and design to outdoor enthusiasts by making quality, rugged footwear for all types of trail conditions. Every shoe in Vasque’s collection of backpacking, performance hiking, insulated and trail running shoes are designed to give adventurers a perfect fit for all day comfort on the trail.