Over the years I have gotten a lot of support from several different companies, somehow along the way realizing that it really isn't about the free gear (or discount) but having reliable stuff that I am proud to wear/ride and recommend to others. See more at the bike & gear page for reviews/notes.
Then as to what keeps the wheels moving and the camera rolling... well, that's the viewers. Since 2016 I have been able to get by on single donations (via paypal or gofundme) and more recently the monthly recurring support via Patreon.
It was uncomfortable and rough at first but at this point I can more than comfortably cover food & maintenance expenses and have budget left over to edit movies on the run (often renting laptop/pc and a room). Although I inevitably end up buying a piece of gear and then barely making it till the end of the month :)
Big thank you to Jim from Johnson Outdoors (Eureka tents and Jetboil) for all the support and ongoing help. I used the Eureka camping kit for a whole year until I switched to ultralight bikepacking gear. I still use it when I go back to tree-plant in canada for few months every year. Although not the lightest, their products are rock solid.
SUMMER 2015, Blackburn Ranger contest
Through the Blackburn Ranger program bikepacked the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (GDMBR) and Continental Divide Trail (CDT) in July 2015. I rode a Niner bike, outfitted with Blackburn gear, SRAM components and WTB tires. Giro apparel and Bell helmets.
At around Ecuador/Peru my old shimano hydraulic brakes were faring very poorly with the bikepacking load and steep descends, with the help of Chris, I reached out to Magura and they were up for providing me with one of their 4piston MT7 brakes. It completely changed bikepacking along the trekking routes while the extra power did not hurt on the long descends either. So far the brakes have been working wonderfuly!
Lauf makes carbon suspension forks. I am using the Carbonara (40mm for fat bike) and along the fat tires this fork is perfect. Despite being carbon it is very tough and has survived many falls, scratches and hits on rocky narrow trails.
I got in touch with Chris Murray, a wheelbuilder from Colorado before starting my trip. He built my wheels at cost but also helped around the bike build both for my 26" and my Fatbike. As of 2018 he finally left his job and began working independently as a wheelbuilder and I cant help but recommend him for any and all wheel-related stuff!!!
In February 2017, after a good six months of saving for and collecting parts I was able to build a fatbike. Fatback (alaskan made brand) was kind enough to give me a Rhino FLT frame and I am looking forward to taking it through some rough places in the Andes!
A friend of Chris (elevation wheel company) had seen my videos and asked if I may be interested in his handlebar bracket system. I was going by "don't fix it if it ain't broke" mentality but after trying out the mount system, it makes the front much more stable (0 times that my bag has gotten lose) and provides an excellent platform to keep a drone box and literally throw anything you want on top!