What Not to Bring on DofE

So after my post on what to bring on DofE, I had been talking to a couple of my friends and they said that a post on what not to bring would be more useful – the kit list is full of random and useless things that you probably won’t actually need!

Well, some of the stuff on there is pretty important if you ever find yourself in an emergency. Here’s the list of ‘personal kit’ which you only really need a couple of between your group. However, if your school is crazily strict, follow their rules! If you can get away with unloading a few more kilos, follow my advice 😉

Survival Bags

You probably won’t need this, unless you’re hopelessly, hopelessly lost and have to stay somewhere remote overnight. So only bring one in your group, if you can get away with it!

First Aid Kit for Everyone

The most useful things in a first aid kit are blister plasters and the scissors. You might need the burn plasters if you’re really clumsy, but that’s about it – only bring 1 between 2 or 1 between 3. Bring extra blister plasters though!

Excess Clothing


Don’t bother bringing any of these on DofE. It’s not a fashion show!

Go through all the clothes that you have and ask yourself if you really need them, or if they’ll only be helpful if there’s a freak bout of sunny/stormy weather. For example, if it’s going to be sunny all week, you won’t need a warm hat, gloves or a scarf, and very few long-sleeved layers. If it’s likely to rain, you could probably skip on the sun cream (unless you’re really prone to burning) and borrow someone else’s when it does get sunny.

Trust me, you want to get rid of as many clothes as you can because they’re bulky and heavy – especially if your bag is tiny. If worst comes to worst, you can wear some of your t-shirts again – I know, they’ll be manky and smelly but everyone will be manky and smelly!

Rucksack Liner and Sleeping Bag Liner

Get two tough rubble sacks for your rucksack liner to make sure it’s waterproofed inside. You don’t need to shell out for a special rucksack liner. And a sleeping bag liner is probably a good idea if you’re going to Norway or somewhere else cold, but you can survive in England with a couple of extra layers instead.

Toilet Paper

You can always nick extra paper from bathrooms or take a small pack of tissues. A roll of toilet paper is just going to get crushed. However, if you’re camping wild, toilet paper is a must!

Camelbak Water Bottle

If you haven’t already got 1-litre bottles, then I do recommend you buy a Camelbak. They are quite convenient, and they easily keep you hydrated. However, they’re so annoying to fill up and put in your bag, and the nozzle thing swings everywhere so if you already have some functioning water bottles that are big enough to hold 2 litres of water, use those instead.

Most of the Stuff on the ‘Additional Optional Kit List’


These will leave an awful panda eyes tan line

  • You can use your tent as the storm shelter.
  • Pre-packed expedition food can be horrible, get proper food instead (I recommend rice with the chicken korma that Tesco does in a handy tin).
  • Don’t bother with bringing after-sun unless you’re really prone to burning: it’s already a bit late by then! Focus on covering up instead.
  • Sunglasses are bulky and I never used mine, despite it being really bright.
  • Waterproof bags can be replaced by sturdy plastic ones unless you’re going kayaking.
  • Trowel and water purifying tablets – unless you are camping wild, in which case you will definitely need them.
  • Mosquito net – it won’t stop bugs from crawling in and onto your face. Just deal with it and spray some insect repellent.
  • Emergency lightsticks – use your torch instead.
  • Security pouch – you won’t get mugged: you have your team with you, and you have penknives.

However, I do recommend that you bring string and insect repellent (as I mentioned before), playing cards (you will have free time, I promise), a tin opener if you need one, and a charger with a plug for your phone if you’re bringing it. We got to use our phones to contact our assessor on our Gold expedition, but that was because he knew that we were a “really good group” and trusted us! Score 🙂

Hopefully, I will have helped your pack become less of a burden to carry! What do you think of my list? Did you ever need any of these items? Let me know in the comments!


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