Save weight on your expedition clothing

Save weight on your expedition clothing

By Kenny Stocker

In this guide we show you what to wear on your DofE expedition and how you can save at least 250 grams with the principles of the layering system.

By embracing the art of layering, you can save weight and ensure you will remember your expedition for its awe-inspiring views and experiences rather than discomfort and inappropriate clothing.

This article is the first recipe in 6 weight saving recipes to shave weight off your DofE expedition kit list, a series of articles to help you save weight on your expedition kit without compromising comfort or utility, helping you to make more sustainable choices and invest in kit that will last a lifetime.

When you're on an expedition, dealing with changing weather and varying levels of activity can be tricky. You don't want to end up too cold or too hot. It's important to have the right kind of clothes to keep your body temperature just right, handle sweat well, and protect you from the weather, especially when you're on the move.

You will not be wearing all of your layers at once, so your clothes should compress down to fit in a backpack. By combining layers that are dual-purpose, waterproof, breathable, light, and dry fast, you can adjust to different weather conditions easily, save weight and stay comfortable, even if you get caught in sudden spring rains.

You can read more about the concepts of the layering system here. For now, let's jump straight into some solutions.


  1. Base layer (moisture-wicking material)
  2. Insulating layer (fleece or synthetic jacket)
  3. Outer layer (waterproof and windproof jacket)
  4. Quick-drying trousers or shorts
  5. Lightweight hiking boots
  6. Moisture-wicking socks
  7. Hats and gloves


  • Ensure your outer layers are sized to go over the top of your inner layers.
  • Play around with layers to create the most flexibility.
  • Garments with multiple uses will save you weight overall.
  • Put your outer layers through a tech wash to improve water resistance and breathability.


  1. Start with a moisture-wicking base layer to keep sweat away from your skin.
  2. Add an insulating layer for warmth.
  3. Top with an outer layer to protect from wind and rain.
  4. Adjust layers as needed for changes in temperature, rain, wind chill and activity level.

Chef's tips

Consider varying fabric weights based on climate, and explore natural fibre alternatives such as merino wool as your experience and budget allow.

Where you can save the weight

The DofE publish a recommended kit list which is a great place to start if you are kitting yourself out for an expedition for the first time. We do have alternatives, which we have listed below, to help you reduce the weight. Our recommendations are a guide – you should always check with your Leader that the kit you choose is suitable for your particular expedition.

Our choice DofE recommended kit
Cloudburst waterproof trousers Craghoppers Ascent Over Trousers
Waterproofness 10000 mm 5000 mm
Breathability 10000 g/m2/24hrs 15000 g/m2/24hrs
Weight 215 g (Save 60g) 275 g
Sustainabiity 100% recycled, 100% PFC free 47% recycled
Argonaut waterproof jacket Craghoppers Orion
Waterproofness 10000 mm 8000 mm
Breathability 10000 g/m2/24hrs 15000 g/m2/24hrs
Weight 385 g (Save 95g) 480 g
Sustainabiity 100% recycled, 100% PFC free 47% recycled
Teleki hiking trousers Craghoppers Verve trousers
Weight 250 g (Save 65g) 315 g
Construction 96% Nylon, 4% Spandex 65% polyester, 35% cotton. Part made from recycling plastic bottles
Mello tights Craghopper Velocity tights
Size range 6 to 20 6 to 20
Weight 171 g (Save 55g) 225 g
Construction 76% nylon, 24% elastane 92% polyester, 8% elastane. Part made from recycling plastic bottles
Trekkers Hiking Socks Bridgedale Midweight Merino Performance Boot
Fit Mid-Calf Boot/Crew
Moisture management Coolmax FusionTech
Construction 49% Cotton, 29% Polyester, 21% Polyamide, 1% Elastane 26% New Wool , 18% Merino Wool , 38% Nylon / polyamide , 17% Endurofil™/ polypropylene , 1% LYCRA® / elastane

Our next recipe covers which tent, sleeping bag and sleeping mat you will need to save an additional 1kg helping you to pack light and sleep soundly on your wild camp.

Outdoor Education Kit List

Long handled titanium spork (or foon?)
£9.99 £11.99
240 lumen head torch with a reactive lighting mode
£20.99 £25.99
Aluminium cook set which deserves a place on any extended camping trip
£24.99 £29.99
Titanium knife, fork and spoon set
Self-inflating sleeping mat: full length, 2.5cm thick, 630g
£50.99 £59.99
Lightweight friction fire lighter for quick and easy fire lighting
£7.99 £9.99
Orange single person survival bag; a safety essential
£6.99 £7.99
Thick and warm boot-length mountaineering sock
£13.99 £16.99
Spacious, backpacking tunnel tent: 2-person, 3-season, 3.2kg
£139.99 £159.99
Geodesic backpacking tent: 2-person, 3-season, 3kg
£119.99 £149.99
Spacious, backpacking tunnel tent: 3-person, 3-season, 3.9kg
£149.99 £179.99
Lightweight, weather resistant softshell hillwalking trousers
£67.99 £79.99

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