Having the right gear and equipment for your Duke of Edinburgh expedition is going to make all the difference. You want to make sure that every item you carry with you is comfortable and essential so you aren’t lugging around extra weight. This DofE kit list – suitable for Bronze, Silver or Gold – can be used as a guide to ensure you don’t miss anything important when you pack your bags.
You’ll also find my advice on the best DofE rucksack, arguably one of the most important bit of kit you’ll have with you. Not only will it be keeping all your supplies safely stowed but a sturdy and comfortable backpack will ensure you comfort and good posture when hiking.
Also make sure you check out:
- DofE Gold Expedition: ideas & tips from those who’ve passed!
- 30+ volunteering ideas in the UK
- 7 Tips for staying warm in a tent
- How to pack a hiking backpack like a pro
- 9 Ideas for your Gold DofE Residential
What clothes to wear for DofE expedition?
You’ll want to avoid materials that don’t dry easily if they get wet. That means no cotton and no jeans. Using a layering system means you can adapt easily to the weather. A basic layering system looks like:
Base layers: These are the layers you wear close to your skin. They need to be quick dry and you’ll want something for the top half and something for the bottom half (in summer you won’t need bottom half base layers for the day)
Mid layer: A fleece for the top half and quick dry hiking trousers for the bottom half. Hiking trousers with a zip that turn them into shorts are a versatile bit of kit.
Outer layer: This is the layer that keeps you protected from the wind and rain so waterproof jacket and trousers.
In addition to the above I’d also suggest taking a warm jacket to throw on if you take a break or have a chilly evening (a puffy jacket for example) and some extra items to protect the extremeties: gloves, hat and sunglasses.
Don’t take too many spare clothes. As a general rule I change my underwear daily but only have 2 sets of clothes, one for hiking in and one for the evening and sleeping in)
- Underwear x each day of the hike
- 2 pairs of hiking socks (I keep 1 just for the evening in case my feet get cold but these can also be a spare pair of hiking socks if the first get muddy or wet)
- 2 sets of base layers (1 for hiking in and one for the evenings and sleeping in)
- Fleece jumper
- Hiking trousers
- Waterproof jacket
- Waterproof trousers
- Warm jacket (like a puffer jacket)
- warm hat
- sun hat
Sleep is important on expedition. To ensure you have a comfortable and warm nights sleep you’ll need:
- tent (the Vango Nevis is the recommended tent for DofE and for good reason – it’s sturdy and reliable)
- sleeping bag (aim for 2 seasons for warm weather expeditions and at least 3 seasons for winter expeditions)
- roll mat (either a cheap foam roll mat or a more comfortable and warmer inflatable roll mat such as Therm-a-rest NeoAir)
Food supplies and gear
Check out my DofE food ideas to give you some inspiration for your expedition. Although you’ll need to carry your own food, if you are with a team you can share things like stove, gas and sleeping bags to split the weight.
- Stove/Trangia (My personal recommendation is the Jet Boil Zip)
- Cooking lightweight pot
- 3 Litres worth of water bottles (depending on where you are you may also need to think about water purification, either tablets or a filter, I like the Nalgene bottles).
- First aid (pain killers, blister prevention kit, personal medication, etc)
- Survival bag (it’s good practice to keep a survival bag with you when on expeditions, a cheap one like this will do)
- Pen-knife (A classic swiss army knife is perfect).
- Dry sacks to keep all your kit waterproofed in your bag (I recommend getting a set of different sizes and colours which will help organise all your different kit as well)
- Toiletries (I don’t like using baby wipes because they are un-environmentally friendly. Instead, I take a flannel, eco natural soap. You’ll also want a toothbrush, toothpaste and sunscreen)
- Map & compass (The Silva Expedition 4 is a fantastic compass!)
The best DofE rucksack
There are a huge range of rucksacks available for expeditions, all of which vary in prices. Depending on your budget, check out the below 2 options:
Max litre capacity: this bag comes in 2 sizes 50L (but can expand to 60L) or 60L (but can expand to 70L)
The bag is simple, comfortable, quick to adjust but most of all, it’s durable. The custom-fit design means it is suitable for a wide range of back lengths.
This bag is sturdy enough to last you from starting your Duke of Edinburgh all the way to Gold expedition.
Max Litre Capacity: 50L
If you are putting together a DofoE Bronze kit list though and you aren’t sure you will continue to Silver, the Vango Contour may prove too pricey and big for what you need. If budget is a big consideration than the Loowoko Backpack could be a good alternative to look into.
This is a great bag for the price. Easy to adjust and lots of features to help you organise your kit comfortably.
DofE expedition kit list
It can be confusing getting your head around the right gear to take on your DofE Bronze, Silver or Gold expedition. Hopefully this article would have given you some pointers. My top tips when looking at kit is:
- Hiking boots, rucksack, tent and sleeping bag are the bits of kit that will have the biggest effect on your comfort. Start with getting these sorted first
- Buy second hand! Look on eBay and on Facebook groups like Outdoor Gear Exchange UK. You’ll find amazing bits of kit going for a fraction of the price than if you bought them new. This is also more environmentally friendly!
- Don’t feel like you need to spend loads of money on fancy kit. Most of my hiking clothes are just basic sportswear that I buy from supermarkets or second hand.
- Do a test run of ALL your kit before your Dof Expedition kit before your expedition