After my previous post about my adventures on DofE, I was inspired by the Spirit of Turpentine’s post to do a post about what to bring on DofE or hiking in general. I’m no expert on hiking, but having done 6 expeditions for DofE I have a pretty good idea what you should pack on your expedition (other than the stuff on the kit list). For those of you who’ve done DofE, I’m sure you can relate!
Bring a lighter as well as a box of matches – you only need a cheap one. Lighters are so much more convenient and easy to use for lighting trangias, especially in the wind and the rain. Bear in mind that sometimes they run out or stop working so have a box of Cook’s matches handy!
Really important if you’re a clean eater. Also important if you’re not. Nobody wants food poisoning!
Gum or Dextrose Tablets
Bring chewing gum. It keeps you distracted whilst you’re walking and stops your breath smelling awful. Also bring enough to share around – it’s great for morale! Dextrose tablets are basically blocks of tasty sugar and salt, which keeps your reserves topped up. Everyone loves them!
Lots and lots of them, especially if it’s going to rain. You can use them for everything – waterproofing, dry seats, rubbish bags…
Chocolate (& Other Snacks)
The best mood-lifter ever! If anybody’s grumpy, feed them. It always works. Another thing that our group loved were the honey roast peanuts from Poundland – they’re the most amazing thing to eat at the top of a hard climb. Sorry if you’re allergic to nuts (you’re missing out!)
Tabasco and Chocolate Spread
Continuing with the food theme, if some people in your group have a taste for spice, but others don’t, you can get mini tabasco bottles which are perfect for DofE. I got mine from the ration packs in CCF. Chocolate spread, like the small Nutella packets, are also ah-mazing for breakfast! Definitely recommend.
I know that these are on the kit list but trust me, you want to change out of your manky walking shoes every night. They’re also nice for travelling in, for the journey to and from wherever you’re going to do your DofE.
You have no idea how useful they are! If they come with your penknife, make sure that they actually work, because mine were useless.
So that you can get up bright and early ready for your next day’s walk 😉
If you have even just mild hay fever (like me), bring antihistamines. Even if it’s not noticeable in day-to-day life because you’re indoors, the great outdoors will definitely bring it out. If you’re definitely not allergic to pollen, it might still be a good idea to bring some antihistamine cream for that time when you get stung by a bee or nettles.
Luckily, I’ve never had a problem with blisters because I take care to break my shoes in well before I go. But if you haven’t had the time to do that, blister plasters save you from hobbling for a week after you get back.
Stuff breaks on DofE. String solves most of your problems. On my recent expedition to the Lakes, if you look at the picture of the single tent in front of Grisedale Tarn, you can see the added white string coming off in a Y shape from the front of the tent.
This was to stop the incessant flapping of the tent in the strong winds at the top of the mountain – however, it still sounded like an orchestra of flapping plastic!
Though small, they are mighty. Use them to seal opened packets (to stop stuff spilling everywhere in your bag) and dry things when you get to camp by clipping wet towels etc. onto your tent.
And half a piece of advice: if your backpack’s straps rub on your shoulders, bring sponges and put them underneath the straps. You look like a complete idiot (so does everyone on DofE, come to think of it) but at least your shoulders will survive!
So what did you think of these 13 and a half things to bring on DofE? If you’ve already done it, did you bring any of these when you went? Do you have any more essentials to add? Let me know in the comments!