5 THINGS WE WISH WE’D KNOWN BEFORE DOING DOFE EXPEDITION

Spring is officially here and that means that DofE expedition season is upon us! Whether you are doing your Bronze, Silver or Gold expedition, you are probably about to step outside of your comfort zone, learn new skills and be challenged.

Rest assured though, you are not the first person to do this, so we thought, why not share with you what our intrepid team member Kate learned from doing her Gold DofE expeditions.

So, strap that bag on your back, tie those laces nice and tight,  take a deep breath of fresh, country air and make sure you’ve read these 5 things Kate wished she’d known before doing her DofE expedition…

 


1. DO NOT OVERPACK

Trust me.

This is the most important thing to remember.

You already have to carry a lot of kit, so keep anything non-essential to a minimum. You will not have time to read a book; you will not have anywhere to charge your phone; you do not need any makeup. When you’re packing your bag at home you might not realise how heavy all of these things are, but they add up and when hiking up a mountain, you will regret having weight that you can’t throw away.

 

2. MAKE SURE YOUR SLEEP EQUIPMENT STAYS DRY

There is nothing nicer when on expedition than getting to camp and being able to change in to clean, dry clothes and snuggle into a warm sleeping bag. Keeping one set of clothes just for in camp will make you feel good and give you time to let the clothes you’ve worn in the day dry.

Also, make sure all of this stays dry even in the rainy UK by using rubble bags. These are an inexpensive alternative to branded waterproof bags, but they are a lot more durable than bin bags which are not recommended for keeping kit dry.

 

3. TAKE SOMETHING TO FRESHEN UP WITH

After a long day’s hike it’s good to get clean, but most of the places that you camp will not have shower facilities and you might not fancy stripping off in the nearest river! Popping a tiny Shower in a Can in your bag will give you up to 20 full body washes with no need for water or a towel, meaning you can get fresh in the privacy of your tent.

If you want to reduce weight and space even more, you could share one Can between your expedition group. Also, the Can is made from aluminium and is fully recyclable, so you won’t be damaging the environment, unlike with most wet wipes which don’t biodegrade.




4. PLAN YOUR MEALS WISELY

You have to carry all of the food that you are going to eat on expedition, so you are going to want to plan your meals carefully.

Firstly, if you are going to take heavier items like tins, plan to cook with them on your first night, so that you lighten your load quickly.

Secondly, don’t make your dinners too complicated. You want to cook something that will be ready with minimum preparation (no chopping!), using a maximum of two hobs and that you will be able to eat within 20 minutes. When you have walked all day and it is dark and potentially raining, the last thing you want is to be cooking a complicated dinner.

Finally, take food that makes you happy, but that is also full of good calories. Crisps are a terrible idea as they will crumble and contain almost no useful energy. Nuts, on the other hand, are full of slow-burning fats that will help keep your energy levels steady. My favourite snack was a homemade trail mix in a bag which we kept in our pockets. It was full of nuts, dried fruits, M&Ms and jelly beans and it kept us going all expedition long.

5. MAKE SURE YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHERE YOUR CAMPSITE IS

When booking camping spaces with local farmers, find out where the actual campsite is rather than the farm house. The disappointment when you’ve walked for hours and think that you’ve reached your camp for the night only to be told that it is actually a mile back up the road you’ve come from is not worth the pain!

 

We hope that you’ve found these tips useful and wish you lots of luck on your expedition! If you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it on social media and we’d love to hear any tips that you have too!

Written by Kate MacKellar-Still