11 DofE expedition tips
- Check the weather
We all know weather in the UK is unpredictable, but checking the forecast in advance ensures you pack the right clothes, equipment and sleeping bag. Don’t start out wearing all of your layers, once you get moving you’ll warm up and then add a layer at a time until you’re comfortable. Come prepared for the worse, but hope for the best.
- Dry your boots
Walking in wet boots is miserable. But putting on damp boots the next day can be even more demoralising. So push crumpled newspaper right down to the front of your boots overnight, and they’ll be dry by morning.
- Eat well and often
Food is one of the biggest motivators, so plan your recipes in advance with your team. You’ll be on the move pretty much all day, so you need to keep your energy up and consume more calories than usual, but only bring food that you like to eat! Food is fuel for both physical endurance and team morale.
- Sharing equipment
You will likely have to share expedition equipment within your team, so pack smart; is it necessary for you all to bring cleaning bits to wash your portable stove?
- Buy quality kit
Kit doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does needs to be quality. Rain protection is vital, so consider the four ‘Ws’: wicking, warming, waterproofing and windproofing. The right expedition boots and socks are imperative as no other kit will have a greater impact on your enjoyment of the expedition. Expedition boots should be fitted, and spend time wearing them-in to help reduce blistering. Download a DofE voucher to save at least 10% at five outdoor stores.
- Respect the Countryside Code
We all have a responsibility to protect the countryside for other users and for future generations. Stick to the pathways, leaves gates as you find them, respect livestock and protect our environment by leaving no litter behind.
- Pack your bag correctly
Learn how to pack your bag in advance and don’t overload yourself, less if often better – and we suggest keeping your waterproofs at the top of your rucksack! Use our kit list to tick off as you go and you won’t forget anything.
Every person needs to carry enough water on expedition to see them through the day; in general this means two litres per person, and more on a hot day. By the time you feel thirsty it’s too late. Drink little and often. If you find water too plain, take some fruit squash to add.
- Stay positive
The mood of the group will fluctuate throughout the day depending on the weather, terrain, if you’re lost, and distance from the campsite. But staying positive through adversity will help keep the mood buoyant and the end goal won’t seem so impossible.
- Prep hot drinks
Make up zip lock bags with the correct amount of tea/coffee/sugar/milk powder for a single cup, empty the contents of the bag into a mug, then simply add hot water at the camp site and enjoy. For hot chocolate take single serving sachets.
- Enjoy it
Make sure to take regular breaks, stop for lunch in a sheltered area, enjoy the views, take photos or vlog, and enjoy the time with your teammates. Sing, play games, learn about each other, or tell stories. Tough but rewarding, you will remember your expedition forever.