DofE – Are you ready

What is the Duke of Edinburgh Award?

The Duke of Edinburgh Award, more affectionately or commonly known as DofE, is an opportunity for 14 – 24 year olds to embark upon a journey of self-discovery by participating in some, or all of three, levels of DofE expeditions.
“Young people” as they are generally known these days, crawl out from behind their Xboxes, tablets and Instagram accounts to pull on their walking gear and march off to conquer the world (or maybe some challenging terrain in Wales).

BCH Camping and DofE

To be DofE-ready, participants need to be fully prepared with appropriate clothing and equipment.
BCH Camping are proud to have been providing kit and advice for the DofE Awards since it began. Most of our staff have completed the Duke of Edinburgh Award so fully understand the needs, anticipation and concerns of DofE participants. We work alongside all schools and organisations in the area local to our stores to provide a valuable service to their young people and their families.

Is there a list of what I need to wear and take with me on a DofE expedition?

Very helpfully, there is a recommended DofE Kit List for clothing and equipment which provides participants with a comprehensive guide of what will be required. The school/organisation conducting the expedition will be able to provide you with the kit list along with any additional recommendations. 

Tackling the DofE Kit List can cause more angst and family turmoil than the walking, rain, misbehaving tent or heavy rucksack. This is because it is imperative that participants are fully prepared and adequately equipped for the adventure that lies ahead.

Let us help you! At BCH Camping we make the process of acquiring the Kit List a more straight forward experience as we are suppliers of the DofE Approved Kit – these are items that have been specifically tested and therefore recommended by DofE. Whilst such items are recommendations only, not kit that participants MUST use, the DofE Approved Kit has been put together not by looking for “the most high end or expensive kit, but kit that is fit for purpose and represents good value for money.”

Do I need a different DofE Kit for each programme? How much will my DofE Kit cost?

DofE consists of three programme levels – Bronze, Silver and Gold. When considering which items you need, you should take into account which level you are about to complete as they are all very different. Being highly experienced in supplying DofE Kit, BCH Camping knows that not every participant is a budding Bear Grylls, so we provide kits to suit all programme levels and budgets.
The Bronze expedition provides young people with the opportunity to experience the outdoors and work as a team, and it may be the first time they have taken part in such an activity. They may want to progress to the Silver programme, they may not, so the kit purchased for Bronze is usually of a lower cost.
If they do progress to Silver and then onto the Gold expedition, the required kit develops accordingly. Gold focuses on “team work, self-reliance, isolation and risk management”. For this level, investing in lightweight, modern and durable kit is advisable.

What kind of clothing will I need for a DofE expedition?

The DofE recommended kit includes the following items of clothing which BCH Camping can supply (in addition to other items that may be considered useful):
Walking boots; walking socks; t-shirts; fleeces; walking trousers (not jeans); hat; gloves; waterproof trousers and waterproof coat.

What type of waterproof jacket will I need for a DofE expedition?

BCH supply a wide range of waterproof jackets. The DofE Approved Kit recommends the Craghoppers Waterproof Shell, Reaction Lite and Apex Jacket which was specifically designed for Duke of Edinburgh expeditions. BCH Camping provide this jacket in women’s and men’s sizes. The X-Small sizes are usually an appropriate fit for the younger DofE participants.

Size Men
X-Small/8 33-35" / 25-27" 32" / 25"
Small/10 36-38" / 28-30" 34" / 26"
Medium/12 39-41" / 31-33" 36" / 27.5"
Large/14 42-44" / 34-36" 38" / 29"
X-Large/16 45-47" / 37-39" 40" / 31"
XX-Large/18 48-50" / 40-42" 42" / 33"

What type of walking boot will I need for a DofE expedition?

A quick answer to this is “walking boots that you have broken in” so don’t buy them the day before your expedition! You need time to break in any new boots so wear them firstly around the house to make sure they are a good fit, and then several times outdoors before the date of their first expedition.
BCH Camping supply both men’s and women’s sizes in the Vango Contour II Walking Boot which is part of the Scout and DofE recommended kit. It is a great product for the novice explorer with a suede/nylon upper and a Protex waterproof membrane.
With 40 years of boot fitting experience, BCH Camping provide a professional boot fitting service according to the specific foot shape and budget for each pair of boots purchased for DofE.
For more information on appropriate footwear for different levels of DofE expeditions, please see our December blog in which we discussed the best type of footwear for particular weather conditions and terrain.

What kind of additional equipment will I need on a DofE expedition?

The obvious items needed for DofE that immediately come to mind are a tent, rucksack, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, food, cutlery, bowl, plate and so on, all of which BCH Camping can supply.

How do I know what type and size of rucksack I need for a DofE Expedition?

The DofE recommended kit includes Vango Contour or Sherpa rucksacks which are available through BCH Camping in varying sizes.
Rucksacks start at 45 litres and go up to over 100 litres so the size you choose needs to reflect how long you are away, what you need to carry and, of course, your own size. An ill-fitting rucksack can cause many problems during the expedition and afterwards, so at BCH Camping we provide a professional rucksack fitting service with any rucksack purchased.
We have rucksacks specifically designed for women and shorter people which have a shorter back system and slightly wider hips making it more comfortable to carry.
Once your rucksack is firmly and comfortably on your back you will need to know where you’re going! The DofE kit recommends the Silva Ranger compass and the Ordnance Survey Explorer Map.

Good luck!

Duke of Edinburgh expeditions provide a valuable experience and the memories stay with the participants for life. To make those good memories the correct kit is essential so it is time to convince the upcoming DofE explorer that the most important piece of kit is NOT their smart phone so that they can update their Instagram account whilst on the move!
Please see our website for the full range of products that BCH Camping can provide to help you on your way…