This page is about the KIT you need for RGS DofE expeditions.
On this page you will find a KIT LIST to download and information on what kit you need and what can be borrowed from the school DofE kit store.
Scroll down for detailed advice on kit such as TENTS, WATERPROOFS AND BOOTS.
If you are not sure about what kit you need then please ask.
Remember that RGS participants must carry their own equipment on expeditions. This is a strictly applied policy to ensure expeditions operate safely.
If injuries or illness mean you are not able to carry your own kit then you are not in a condition to do the expedition and will compromise the safety of the expedition for you and everyone else. Transporting of kit for ill or injured participants is not provided.
Please get in touch with staff as soon as possible if you are ill or injured before an expedition.
What kit do you need?
There is no need to buy expensive kit, especially for Bronze.
As you go through the awards and the expeditions get more demanding you may want get better equipment. For example, a decent waterproof jacket and well fitted walking boots are essential for Silver and Gold.
There is a kit check before most expeditions. Please bring the following to be checked.
The kit list download below applies to all DofE groups including GOLD groups going into the mountains for several days. Shorter Bronze and Silver trips will not need all of the items.
- Download the kit list. Tick what you have got and note what you need to get.
- Talk to your group about who is carrying what e.g tent (this should be split), stove, gas and food.
- PACK LIGHT.
- Check all your KIT works before departure: pitch your tent and light the stove (outside and well away from your tent).
- Get a compass with a long base plate (these are not issued). Silva are best. A few compasses per group are OK at Bronze and Silver. Get one of your own for Gold.
- Pack your rucksack properly: avoid sharp bits in the back, double wrap your sleeping bag in dry bags or strong bin liners and pack everything inside your rucksack. Nothing should hang or be tied outside, except a sleeping mat (wrap in strong bin liner or dry bag). If it doesn’t all fit, then chuck some things out.
- Put EVERYTHING in dry bags (compulsory for Gold – plastic bags not allowed). Dry bags are available here
Pack as LIGHT as possible. Anything over 15kg is getting too heavy for most people and approaching 20kg is too much. Try throwing stuff out to reduce the weight. Staff will weigh your rucksack before departure on Day 1.
Adjust your rucksack straps and waist belt properly: this can make a big difference to how comfortable you are hiking. We can help you do this on the first day if needed.
Bring any personal medication / medicine. Report any illness or difficulties to staff.
Mobile phones policy:
- Bring your mobile because they improve safety and communication with supervisors and assessors.
- Do not play music over speakers or wear headphones during hikes!
- Conserve batteries. Switch one phone on per day and use that.
- Text staff when you reach check points or for emergency calls to staff.
- Do NOT call or text home or other groups. Do not use social media.
What kit be borrowed from RGS kit store?
You must personally visit the DofE kit store a week or so before your expedition to sign out any kit you wish to borrow. The following kit can be borrowed:
- Stove and gas
- Sleeping mat
Return your kit clean and dry after use.
When is RGS DofE KIT STORE open?
- Every weekday most lunchtimes and for a short time after school. With new split lunches please email to check we will be there.
- You can start to collect kit about a week before each expedition. Leave time to check it thoroughly. Do not leave it to pick up kit the day before hikes.
Do groups have to provide their own tent?
- Yes. Please see information below.
Please return school kit dry and in good condition directly after the trip, for use by others (lost or damaged kit can be billed). You must provide all other kit, including tents.
There is no need to rush out and buy everything on the kit list.
Avoid buying expensive kit for Bronze, much of it can often be borrowed from friends or bought quite cheaply.
Adequate kit can be bought cheaply from various shops or online, though it is advisable to get your walking boots properly fitted at a specialist shop like Cotswold Outdoors (Horsham or Guildford) or Mountain Warehouse (Horsham) or similar. A popular online shop for buying dofe kit is Go Outdoors.
The key kit to spend money on is your walking boots and a waterproof jacket.
Do not to wear too much cotton and certainly do not wear jeans. This is because cotton clothing soaks up moisture and stays wet increasing heat and energy loss and discomfort and possibly speeds up the onset of hypothermia in the worst conditions.
Groups must provide their own tents. These should be 2 or 3 or 4 person back-backing camping tents. No larger than 4 person max. Family tents are not suitable.
Families or friends or relatives often have tents they are happy to lend out.
Do NOT bring a POP UP TENT
Any 2 or 3 or 4 person sized tents will be suitable. However, check the weight and practice pitching them as cheap tents can malfunction and break easily. They also are often impossible to put back in the same bag!
Cheap Tesco tents are just adequate for Bronze if looked after. Other than that, no particular tent style is necessary but a porch is useful for kit storage, while two entrances, fly-pitching first, geodesic dome design, and light weight are attractive features but more expensive.
Groups can organise their tent arrangements to suit. Some groups buy them jointly and share ownership. Other groups may have one person who is a keen outdoor person and willing to own a tent outright. Look after your tent and dry it out after every expedition. Put it up when you get home outside on a dry surface in a sunny position and it will dry in no time at all. Never store a tent wet, it will rot and have to be thrown away.
Waterproof jacket and waterproof trousers
Waterproof jackets and waterproof trousers are absolutely essential to bring on ALL DofE expeditions, regardless of the weather forecast. They can be life savers in extreme conditions.
They need not be expensive but should be a durable, robust material and have an integral hood which can be drawn over the face in bad weather.
Regatta, Sprayway, Berghaus and Karrimor and Rab are brands which, in rough ascending order of cost, will do the job well. Try them on.
Do not rely on thinner cheaper “waterproof in a bag”. They are inadequate for all but Bronze and will not keep you dry and protected in the worst conditions on extended expeditions in wild country over several days.
Here are some waterproof jacket bundles from GoOutdoors
Waterproof trousers can be bought more cheaply because their main job is to be windproof in the most foul conditions when you are probably wet already. On a budget, save money by just getting a simple durable pair of waterproof trousers. However, avoid pack-a-mac style thin waterproof trousers especially for Gold.
Here is an ideal pair of waterproof trousers for DofE purposes.
Your entire expedition experience rests on your FEET! Well-fitted and comfortable waterproof walking boots are essential items for DofE expeditions.
Boots aren’t cheap but they should last a long time if you look after them. It is a good idea to ask shop staff to help you get them fitted at an outdoor shop like Cotswold in Horsham or Guildford, if you are lucky you will get a helpful member of shop staff who will spend time getting the right boots for you. Poorly fitting boots can give you blisters and make expeditions painful and uncomfortable experiences.
Leather boots and fabric boots have pros and cons, either can be recommended depending on your own preference and purpose. At similar prices, leather boots tend to be more robust and, if treated properly, can remain waterproof and last longer than fabric boots because they do not rely on a vulnerable Goretex membrane which can eventually leak. The sole on leather boots is often more durable so leather boots can last longer than fabric.
The big plus of fabric boots is that they are usually lighter weight which is a significant consideration on trekking expeditions. However, do check they are waterproof because many cheaper fabric boots are not waterproof.
If you buy cheap non-waterproof boots then these might be just OK for Bronze but will NOT be at all suitable for Gold expeditions.
Here is a link to more advice on expedition boots from the official dofe website.
SOCKS are often overlooked as unimportant items of kit. Sometimes people just wear any old socks. This can be a mistake! Good quality hiking socks that are the correct size can make an enormous difference to your feet. Good hiking socks will protect your feet and keep you comfortable and blister free after hours and days of trekking. The best advice is to buy a few different walking socks from outlets like Millets or Blacks or Cotswold. Socks come in foot sizes and styled for different types of walking. Buy a few different ones to find which suit you best.
Some people like to wear TWO socks: one thick, one thin, against the foot. There are pros and cons to this. You’ll need to try on your boots to make sure they fit your sock system. Never wear socks that make your boots too tight… this is a fast way to get blisters.
Do pack and wear layers of clothes to suit the different conditions you will encounter.
No jeans! You can wear more or less anything BUT avoid overloading on heavy cotton garments, thin T shirts are OK, especially in summer, but NO JEANS! They stay wet and are wholly inappropriate for extended outdoor expeditions.
No! Cotton hoodies and sweatshirts are not recommended because they stay wet and make you cold and are a waste of space when considerably better insulators are available that will keep you warmer and drier for much the same cost. Polycotton and artificial wicking fabrics will keep you more comfortable, especially for base layers near the skin.
Packing it all
- The usual advice is to pack waterproofs, food and other essential items needed frequently and quickly during the day at the top (i.e. pack last).
- Sleeping bag should be double put in a dry bag or wrapped in strong bin liners and packed first at the base.
- In between, pack items to maximise comfort and stability: heavier stuff near the bottom and your back often helps with centre of gravity.
- Avoid spiky hard objects digging into your back. Pad these out where possible.
- Adjust straps to fit you once it is on.
Finally, please do NOT TO BRING...
Please do not bring the following items.
- KNIVES – it is illegal and dangerous to carry large knives. A small penknife and / or eating knife is permitted.
- cans of spray deodorants – roll ons and washing are better
- storm shelter: you have a tent