WHAT TO PACK FOR YOUR DofE EXPEDITION
If you’re planning a DofE expedition, it’s important to get to grips with your expedition equipment. Have your kit at the ready and ideally give it all a trial run before setting off.
Cotswold Outdoor is the Recommended Retailer of Expedition Kit to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, so to help you pick the right kit for you we’ve put together a handy guide on some of the vital pieces of gear you’ll need.
For a more extensive list you can download the full DofE Expedition Kit List and use it as a ‘checked it, packed it’ list for your personal and group kit. And before you head off, why not take a look at our Top DofE Tips.
Choosing the Right Boots
When selecting a walking boot the most important thing to consider is whether you have correctly fitting footwear, for maximum comfort and to help prevent blisters. If you have a pair of boots at home you can use our guide; ‘Do Your Walking Boots Fit Correctly?‘ to gauge the fit of your footwear or take your boots to one of our stores to receive a free boot fitting service. Remember to wear the socks you intend to use as they can change the volume of your feet.
You need to decide which material you prefer. Leather boots are more durable against abrasive terrain as well as being highly water resistant. Fabric boots are lighter than leather and although they are less durable most of them are re-enforced in key wear areas and often have rubber toe caps. Most fabric boots have a waterproof and breathable membrane on the inside which wicks the sweat away from your skin.
If you’re planning on using your boots for footpath walking, then you need to look for a boot which bends naturally and easily. But if you’re Hill walking you need a boot with a degree of stiffness and squared heels for stability when descending steep and slippery ground.
Choosing the Right Rucksack
When you’re looking for a rucksack, ensure you get one with an adjustable back. Most rucksacks have an adjustable back system or offer different sizes to fit your back length, as well as specific models for women.
A great feature to look for is side compression straps, these are designed to keep the load close to your back and keep everything stable and compact inside. They can also be used to secure tent or walking poles. Most rucksacks use durable fabrics in areas susceptible to wear and tear, with lighter fabrics used elsewhere to reduce the weight.
Look for a strong, well designed padded hip belt and shoulder straps that contour properly and offer a good degree of adjustment. The hip belt should carry 80% of the load so it is important that it fits properly, check out our rucksack fitting guide for step by step guidance on how to achieve the most comfortable fit or visit one of our stores for a free rucksack fitting service.
Once you’ve found your perfect pack, take a look at our handy guide on how to pack your rucksack correctly.
Choosing a Sleeping Bag
Firstly, decide on the ideal comfort rating you would like your sleeping bag to be and in what conditions you will be using it in. You can then decide which filling to opt for, synthetic or down.
Down is a great natural insulator and gives a high warmth-to-weight ratio. It packs down smaller than a synthetic filled sleeping bag, however it doesn’t perform as well when it’s wet, can be difficult to dry and is more expensive.
Synthetic fill consists of polyester microfibres that retain warmth when wet, it’s easy to maintain and it’s less expensive, however it’s heavier and doesn’t pack down as small.
Have a read of our sleeping bag buying guide to find out more.
Choosing the Right Waterproofs
You’ll need a waterproof jacket to keep you dry and comfortable in changeable weather conditions. Look for one that is lightweight and waterproof, with a minimum 1,500mm hydrostatic head rating. A breathable jacket will also ensure that your inner layers stay dry and wick sweat away from your skin when you’re working hard.
Often designed for walking, a longer waterproof jacket covers a larger body area, overlapping your trousers. Look for a jacket with an adjustable hood and cuffs to keep the wind and the rain out, draw cords that can adjust the fit of the jacket and control ventilation, and a hood that is large enough to accommodate a warm hat. For more information on choosing a waterproof have a look at our waterproof buying guide.
Our fun, hands-on kit talks inform DofE participants about the recommended clothing and equipment for their activities from our expertly-trained staff that have a genuine passion for the outdoors. Contact your nearest store for more information.
Your DofE Reward Card is in the Welcome Pack you got from the DofE when you started, the online discount code is on the back of the card. For Terms and Conditions visit the DofE website.
Don’t forget to download the DofE Expedition Kit List, which recommends the type of items you may need.
In Partnership With
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is is the world’s leading achievement award for young people. Its mission is to inspire, guide and support young people in their self-development and by recognising their achievements, aid the growth of more capable and successful individuals for the future.