D of E Kit List

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Recommended Expedition Kit List

A question asked by so many people doing their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. What kit do i need to carry?

Here is our recommended kit list for DofE.

We have stripped it down to help you pack lighter and smarter.

  • Adequate footwear – Boots either leather or Gore-Tex/ Synthetic. Make sure it has a good sole- Vibram and provides ankle support and are broken in.
  • Waterproof jacket with a hood – This needs to be windproof and waterproof. Not showerproof- look for taped seams.
  • Waterproof Trousers with taped seams.
  • T-shirts –  This must NOT be cotton. Acceptable examples include ski tops, thin fleece, Helly Hanson or other specialist makes. These are also lightweight.
  • Fleece or soft-shell – Not cotton. Primark and Mountain Warehouse sell them. Soft-shell are more expensive but great pieces of kit.
  • Trousers – They must be quick drying. NOT jeans! Zip off trousers are worth considering as they can be used as shorts in the right weather.
  • Hat and Gloves – (inc sun hats) Ideally fleece or windstopper for a hat. Waterproof gloves make a huge difference if its wind at wet. If its forecast to sunny, we highly recommend a sun hat; you will have long days exposed to the sun.
  •  Socks and underwear – We recommend you buy walking socks that are NOT cotton. TOP TIP- Waterproof socks are also extremely good but are quite expensive. Make sure you carry at least one spare pair of socks
  • Rucksack and liner – 65 Litres is a good size for a rucksack. Make sure it is fitted to your back (or can be adjusted) as they come in different lengths. Liner should be a thick plastic (NOT a bin liner), rubble bags are ideal. Rucksack covers are not waterproof.
  • Sleeping bag and mat – A 3 season sleeping bag should be fine. These should be in either a dry bag or a sealed plastic bag (not a bin liner. If your bag gets wet you need to keep your sleeping bag DRY! Sleeping mats can be either foam or inflatable.
  • Water bottle – At least 1 litre.
  • Watch – A cheap digital one is best, especially if the face lights up. It is very hard to navigate using a watch that has hands.
  • Wash kitSoap (or dry soap), toothbrush, toothpaste, loo roll in a plastic bag. NOTHING ELSE. No makeup or deodorant- its added weight you just don’t need!!!
  • Torch and whistle – Head torches are best don’t forget spare batteries.
  • Mug and spoon – Plastic is best, you can buy combined forks and spoons- Spork
  • Plastic Bags – Big freezer bags! Dry socks- wet boots solution for camp only!

Optional Extras – think about weight and space. Do you REALLY NEED it?

  • Nightwear – Pyjamas or cotton top and bottoms, preferably NOT a onesie as they are bulky and once wet are hard to dry.
  • Trainers or Sandals – Optional for use at campsite. We like Crocs as they are lightweight and easy to slip on and off.
  • Gaiters – Waterproof and can be either ankle length or mid-calf.
  • Leggings – Thermal leggings are worth considering as additions to normal trousers rather than as an alternative
  • Bowl/plate – If your mug is big enough use that, but think about what you are going to eat and then decide if you need a bowl or plate. You can use the pans in Trangias and boil in the bag foods can be eaten out of the bag.
  • Towel – You can buy trek towels, or alternatively bring a normal towel or bring a small flannel or tea towel.

Emergency Equipment

  • One COMPLETE change of clothing – This only to be worn in the tent or in a real emergency. It must be ruthlessly packed to ensure it remains bone DRY!!!!
  • Survival bag and Emergency rations – Big orange plastic bag £3, some spare food and drink sachet- hot chocolate is good!
  • Pen and Paper – For message writing and making notes about your journey. TOP TIP- waterproof paper notebook £2.50/£3
  • Personal First Aid Kit – Personal medication (ibuprofen, inhaler etc.) and blister plasters. Alfresco Adventures provide a group first aid kit.
  • Money – For emergency use or if need to use a phone.

Group Equipment 

This equipment should be shared amongst the team. As an approved activity provider of the DofE Expedition section, we provide free use of our tents, stove (inc gas), compasses, maps and bag covers.

  • Stove and Fuel – Can be liquid or gas. Trangia stoves are popular as they come with pots as part of them. They need to be big enough for the group and the fuel needs to be stored in a safe container.
  • Tent – Can be 1, 2 or 3 person tents. Depending on the make and model of the tent some pitch inner first some pitch outer first and some are integrated. In all cases you need to know how to put them up before you go on expedition and that they have a good ground sheet to keep moisture out/ to a minimum.
  • Food – This should be organised as a team. Eat lots! Please see our DofE meal suggestions page.
  • Matches and washing up kit – Small bottle of washing up liquid, a green scrubber thing and some plastics bags for rubbish. Matches need to stay DRY!
  • Maps – Usually 1:25,000 or 1:50,000. Laminated maps are good otherwise bring a map case as well.
  • Compass – Silva compasses are the best on the market.
  • Toilet paper – For when there is no toilet and you need a wild wee or poo!!!
  • Mobile phone – For emergencies only!! NOT for texting your mates!

Extras to consider subject to weather 

  • Sun cream and aftersun – For the lovely British summer days!!!
  • Sunglasses – Make sure they have UV protection and bring a hard case.
  • Insect repellent – Spray on is good, avoid anything stronger than 40% DEET. Smidge is good but expensive.


Duke of Edinburgh's Award Recommended Kit
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