Reigate Grammar School DofE

Expedition Training and Preparation

Preparing for your expedition is essential to have a safe, successful and enjoyable time (and also pass!).

This page has lots of advice and videos on how to plan and what you need to know. Scroll down and have a read, it’s all useful!

You can read sections from the RGS Expedition Handbook by clicking on the heading links below.

Download expedition final instructions here…

RGS Expeditions Final Instructions (2)

Important parent and participant information:

The safety of everyone on RGS DofE expeditions is the top priority. Expeditions are necessarily risky adventures but the risks are acceptable and easily outweighed by the benefits of the challenge if groups are prepared and have attended training.


Look at the videos and information below to get essential advice on planning a successful expedition.



DofE for dummies: this is fun AND with some good advice for novice groups!


Always stay together. Walk at the slowest pace of the group.

Look after your feet!



It’s not a Geography lesson … this is the real thing… navigating properly saves time and distance and frees you up to enjoy things much more because you are in control.

Compass and map techniques: buy a Silva compass with a LONG base plate.

More videos on map reading and compass navigation from Ordnance Survey and Steve Backshall here (8 more videos available)…


Advice on HOW to CAMP successfully.  Includes tips on tent siting, what to pack and some cooking advice.


freezer bags for disposing of rubbish


Food and cooking

Getting your meals together is a skill.  Check the photos below to see what not to do and how to cook properly at camp.

Read these handy tips on food for expeditions


The video below is about what food to take on a canoe trip (we offer canoeing for dofe at RGS).  It’s a Canadian movie, so some brands are obscure to us in the UK but the presentation of what food to take outdoor camping is still spot on.

How to deal with your waste

Buy large clear freezer tie-handle bags to use for disposal of your rubbish (these are also useful for clothing and packing other items because you can see through them).

Consider the amount of packaging and reduce it before the expedition.


Your aim is to pack out ONE bag per night.  YOU may have to carry this out IN your rucksack until you can dispose of it responsibly in a public bin or to school staff or even once you get home.


This group has one bag of rubbish to carry out after a camp.

Well done them!

Always do a litter sweep before leaving your camp: pick up every item of litter, even the tiny plastic wrappers.



Choosing the right BOOTS and SOCKS to avoid blisters:

Choosing a waterproof:

Packing your rucksack


Safety and emergencies


How to STAY SAFE: learn to navigate, start early, plan routes & carry survival equipment… avoidance of accidents is the best idea…


First rule of safety… stay together! This means you can look after each, keep an eye on anyone struggling and inform others of tricky bits. 




There are weather hazards that must be avoided too… hypothermia and heat exhaustion / stroke.  Simple measures can be used to avoid these potentially fatal conditions.  Read about them here:


Carry your emergency card top pocket plus short blunt pencil download: Emergency Card 2017

find out more on planning for your mountain walk in this video:

What to do if your team is involved in a helicopter rescue on the hills:

Advice on TICKS: don’t panic but DO wear long trousers, tuck socks into trouser bottoms and be vigilant for ticks on each other!

Final Preparation

How to pack your rucksack:

Leave NO trace: the number 1 rule of all outdoor activities:

kit list dofe colour V2 (4)

The two documents below are good reading for GOLD participants seeking further tips and advice on light weight backpacking equipment. Many thanks to Peter Wallace for allowing us to publish his notes here, copyright free! Peter is a very experienced mountaineer, who has helped train many of our GOLD expedition groups.  He has packed a tremendous volume of high quality advice into these pages. Gold groups and anyone planning an expedition in the British mountains would be recommended to read on!

RGS dofe code of conduct


NOTE: posting anything on or using social media will also mean you can be deferred from the expedition.  Social Media is not allowed on expeditions.

Food Tips for Gold Duke of Edinburgh Hikes

MORE Food Tips for Gold Duke of Edinburgh Hikes 260910


Advanced Expedition tips

3 thoughts on “Expedition Training and Preparation

  1. Pingback: Silver practice expedition | Reigate Grammar School DofE

  2. Pingback: Gold qualifying 2013 Mid Wales expedition: departs Saturday | Reigate Grammar School DofE

  3. Pingback: NEW TERM DofE schedule: happy new year! | Reigate Grammar School DofE

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