Through the years I’ve participated in many DofE expeditions, along with supervising lots too! Here are my top 5 Do’s and Don’ts you should remember on your next DofE expedition!
Do buy the right kit for your expedition. You need to buy decent waterproof jacket and trousers (whatever the time of year, you never know!) you also need to have suncream and a hat. You can easily be caught out, even if it isn’t hot, the sun can still be a risk. At the end of the day, there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad kit!
no such thing as bad weather, only bad kit!
Don’t take the bear essentials, but at the same time, don’t over pack! The key is to only take what you need for the length of your DofE expedition. All you need for Bronze and Silver is one set of walking clothes, a spare, full waterproofs and maybe shorts and a tee for the evenings. For Gold you can take the same, and either one extra set of clothes or if your clothes are quick drying, you could take travel soap and wash them at your camp.
2. DofE Kit
Do practice setting up your tents and trying to use your Trangia before you go on your DofE. The last thing you want is to have no clue what you are doing after a long hard day walking! You also need to take your time when sorting kit before you go. You should ensure your tent, Trangia and rucksack are all in working order with no damage.
Don’t rush and just grab what you think you need. You might forget something vital to your DofE, or end up finding out your kit is faulty whilst out on your expedition. Your rucksack can hurt your back if it is missing straps and clips. Your tent could leak – you and your kit will all be soaked (wet kit means heavy kit). And your Trangia could be dangerous to use if there is a problem, or impossible to cook on!
Do plan your route as a group – you all need to have an input into your route and navigation. Use your compass whenever you change direction on your path, to ensure you have the right one! (if you struggle to find a path with the right bearing, you might have gone wrong somewhere!) Write clear descriptions on your route card, so you can easily see where you need to go!
Don’t leave it all to one person to do everything. similarly don’t leave anyone out because they struggle to use a compass and map – help them to learn the skill. Work together if you aren’t too sure where your location is on the map – it is never one person’s fault if you get a little lost! Don’t rush to plan your route, and take silly shortcuts – like deciding to walk along a boundary instead of altering your route to find a proper path. Your supervisors and assessors will notice these and will get you to change your route!
4. Leave only footprints
Do appreciate your surroundings; you may stumble across historic monuments, wildlife and other people. Respect the environment, take photos and explore things as a team.
Don’t disregard the Countryside Code! Close every gate you open, be respectful to farmers and their livestock and leave no trace you were ever there – so do not leave litter behind!
5. Have fun
Do pick an aim everyone in your team has an interest in – whatever it is, it shouldn’t be boring. Your DofE can be a real bore if no one is interested in completing your aim.
When you find a pretty spot, take a rest or stop early for lunch – you may as well enjoy the view!
Don’t wait to have your breaks at your checkpoints, usually, they aren’t the best place to stop – they can often be close to roads and not very sheltered or pretty! Why not have lunch overlooking the countryside, instead of a road!!?
Do let us know how you are getting on with your DofE this year, by using #ProjectXDofE on Twitter. We love to see where in the world you have chosen to do your expedition, and what new and exciting aims people have thought up! If you need any advice or tips, leave a comment below, our team has years of DofE experience, both Participating and Assessing, and are happy to help!