UK based hillwalking expedition

6 weight saving recipes to shave weight off your DofE expedition kit list

By Kenny Stocker

Learn how key gear investments can ensure your camping and cycling expeditions last a lifetime. Proper gear makes every adventure unforgettable.

Each year, thousands of young people venture forth into the great outdoors. Armed only with their wits and a backpack full of survival gear, adventure awaits. If you are one of these people, this series of articles will help you reduce the weight of what you have to carry without compromising your comfort or safety.

You can cut over 2 kg off the weight of your DofE expedition

We have cooked up 6 recipes to help you choose the best kit for your expedition. With these recipes, you can make intelligent kit choices with meaningful weight savings that will serve you well beyond your expedition until you too are old, crusty and schooling the young folk on what constitutes bad weather.

Lightweight expedition clothing drying in the wind

Clothing: Save 250 grams whilst dressing for uncertain weather

Part 1 in this series shows you how to save at least 250 grams by layering your clothing with dual-purpose waterproof, breathable, lightweight and fast-drying technical fabrics that work together to adapt to changing conditions.

Save weight on your expedition clothing

Expedition tents

Shelter: Shave 1 kg off your back and tame your wild camp

Part 2 helps you create your lightweight home away from home. With some of the greatest gains, ensure your good night's sleep with a lightweight 1 to 2-person tent, sleeping bag and sleeping mat.

Save 1 kg on your expedition sleep system

Expedition first aid kit

Safety: Save 200 grams and manage the unexpected

Part 3 in the series will cover what emergency safety kits you need for when accidents happen to either yourself or your equipment. Being prepared gives you the tools to react to and deal with unforeseen events.

Save around 200 grams on your expedition safety equipment

Expedition rucksack

Carrying: Cut 600 grams off the weight of your rucksack

Part 4 will help you save weight on your pack without compromising capacity, stability and agility you will need on the trail. Get ready to play Tetris, reduce fatigue, minimise disruptions and get to where you are going faster.

Save 600 grams on your rucksack

Expedition food

Nutrition: Save 250 grams and eat tasty expedition food

Part 5 is our tastiest recipe. Food is a great motivator, and you don't need to pack the kitchen sink to prepare it. With a lightweight camping stove and a well-thought-out menu that is lightweight, calorie-dense, tasty, simple and efficient to cook with minimal waste, you won't be going hungry.

Pack more calories for less weight

Expedition head torches

Light that weighs less and lasts longer

Part 6 lights up your camp with head torches that are durable, hands-free, energy-efficient and suitable for various outdoor conditions.

Light that weighs less and lasts longer

Ready to get going? Our first recipe covers the clothing you will need to take on your expedition.

What are D of E expeditions?

If you are in the UK, the chances are that you will be on a D of E expedition. The Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme is the most well-known organised outdoor adventure programme in the UK. Its expedition section is well supported by schools, scouts, guides and a whole tuck of approved activity providers to deliver camping, hiking, canoeing, and cycling expeditions.

Many of us know what a right of passage these programmes can be, kick-starting love affairs with the outdoors and founding friendships that last a lifetime. The experiences we find in these activities come to define us, and the stories we take away become more brazen and far-fetched with each telling.

What gear will you need for your DofE?

Activities like hiking, camping, canoeing, and cycling often require specialist kit. If you are new to these activities, the list of recommended kit can be mind-boggling, full of mumbo-jumbo and a hefty price tag to boot. Thankfully, the progressive nature of these programmes means you can often start with what you have and build it up as your experience and commitment increase.

There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing, is a patronising mantra often quoted by crusty mountain goats and the last thing you want to hear when you have made an effort to show up. Everyone has to start somewhere, and if you were to wait until you could afford the latest and greatest gear, you would be missing the point and much more beyond.

If you have a good activity provider, they may have a kit pool where you can borrow all or part of what you require. The Alpkit Foundation has provided essential funding to hundreds of scout groups, cadets and social enterprises, helping them replenish, build, or start their own Duke of Edinburgh kit pools.

366 Squadron received such an award and expedition leader Simon Tredinnick shared this report with us.

The award has helped to foster the spirit of adventure, teamwork and independence. With the 14 cadets who went on the expeditions between the 20th and the 22nd September, 5 are looking to take part in their gold award, which involves 4 days in remote areas where they will camp for three nights. Many are also taking an interest in overseas expeditions.

Often structured in progressive stages, the expeditions increase in difficulty and duration. Participants plan, train for, and execute their journey, developing navigation, campcraft, and first aid skills. They also learn to work collaboratively, often in diverse teams, to overcome practical and physical challenges.

The success of these programmes is down to the dedication and expertise of trained leaders, volunteers and parents. These experience makers give up their time and energy to deliver life-defining journeys to which we are all indebted.

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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