DofE – it’s all in the prep!

It’s that time of year again. The time when intrepid explorers look forward to an amazing challenge, and the not so intrepid do the obligatory eye roll and mutter something under their breath about cold, wet conditions that are better suited to polar bears and ducks.
Yes, it’s time for the Duke of Edinburgh Award, more affectionately known as DofE.
If you are one of the thousands of 14 – 24 year olds who are planning to take on this fantastic opportunity to find yourself (and later your fingers and toes if conditions really persist), or you’re a parent not used to seeing your beloved offspring in anything other than a hoody – this guide to being prepared for DofE is definitely for you!
How can BCH Camping help with DofE preparations?
AT BCH Camping we’re extremely proud to have been helping DofE participants, and their parents, since its inception. We supply an extensive range of clothing and equipment to ensure that DofE is a positive experience.
Quite simply, DofE is an award which has to be earned. It’s not designed to be easy, it is an intensive challenge which may be overwhelming at times, but once it is achieved the award is held in high esteem with great pride and a huge helping of “I did it”!
What makes DofE a positive experience? Preparation.
What do I need to take on a DofE expedition?
Regardless of whether you are undertaking the bronze, silver or gold award there is a recommended kit list which the school/organisation conducting the expedition will be able to provide you with, along with any additional recommendations.
The kit includes clothing, footwear, a suitable rucksack, bedding, cooking utensils, walking accessories and more. It includes a list of specific products that meet the required specifications, many of which we stock in our stores and online.
For general information on the DofE kit, see our previous blog.
How to avoid getting lost on DofE
The first thing you need to know is where you are going. Secondly, once you have a plan, you need to ensure you don’t get lost whilst executing it! You will be given a map for your expedition but to be successful in the navigation process you will need a compass you can rely on, particularly when the group arguments start (lots of hands on hips and more eye rolls).
The Silva Ranger Compass is used by defence forces around the world and has a built-in magnifier for detailed map reading. This is ideal for all hikes, including DofE.
What kind of rucksack is best for DofE?
Whilst it’s important to consider the expedition itself and the kit you need to carry, you should also be mindful of whether the rucksack will be used as a one-off, or if it will get repeated use – either for progressing to higher levels of DofE at a later date, or for hiking in general. This puts into perspective the price point you should work to.
We would recommend the Vango Sherpa 60+10 litre rucksack as a good, value for money all-rounder. It is on the DofE and Scout Association recommended kit list and has been a favourite at BCH Camping for some time. It’s easily adjustable, padded, has a water resistant zipped compartment, and the Airmesh straps keep you cool and comfortable.
How do I protect my rucksack and its contents in the rain?
The rain is all part of the fun. Honestly. Don’t let it spoil your experience of the great outdoors. The Snugpak Aquacover 70 Hi-Viz Yellow Rain Cover fits snuggly around your rucksack, providing 100% waterproofing. It not only keeps the contents of your rucksack dry, it also prolongs the life of your rucksack and the hi viz keeps you visible to fellow walkers in fading light.
What kind of walking boots do I need for DofE?
Don’t underestimate the importance of quality, strong footwear for DofE expeditions. This is not the territory of the bewildered trainer!
You will need a walking boot, rather than a shoe to keep feet dry, and to contend with the challenging terrain. BCH Camping supply Berghaus Explorer Trek boots for both men and women. The GORE-TEX® technology prevents water entry, but at the same time allows moisture to escape so your feet are kept dry against weather and sweat. The Berghaus engineered TPU PLANTAR PLATE™ provides protection, stability and comfort.
For more detailed information about choosing the best walking boot for you, see our blog from last year about leather and fabric boots.
There are so many jackets to choose from!
Your choice of jacket is one of the most important aspects of your DofE preparation. Of course, it must be waterproof but what else should you consider?
You need a jacket that is lightweight, comfortable to wear and packs small (for when the sun shines!). Only then can you decide whether you like the colour!
As part of the DofE recommended kit list, we supply the Craghoppers Apex Jacket for both men and women. This jacket was exclusively designed for the DofE approved range. It performs extremely well in wet weather and ticks all the DofE boxes.
Fine dining for DofE expeditions
Well, maybe not, but BCH Camping supply a wide range of appetising ready meals, not just main courses but also breakfasts and desserts. The evening meals include pasta dishes, hotpots and various items with the all-important baked beans!
If you don’t prepare adequately for meal times whilst on a DofE expedition, you may be forced to eat with your hands which is possibly a step too far in getting closer to nature!
BCH Camping supply items from the Lifeventure Ellipse range, all of which are DofE approved. The mug, plate and cutlery are lightweight, plastic items that are essential for any DofE kit bag.
Let BCH help with your DofE preparations
There are many more items that BCH Camping can provide to ensure that you are fully prepared for your expedition, helping you to avoid drama. Unfortunately, we can’t help you to avoid other people’s dramas, nor would we advocate that you look on with a smug expression. Just be safe in the knowledge that you prepared well, and you’re ready for the challenge! Good luck.
For more information on DofE, or any of our products and services, please do not hesitate to contact us. We’d love to hear from you.