Kit List

This page is about the KIT you need for DofE expeditions.

Pupils and students participating on Drapers’ Academy DofE expeditions must have the correct kit to operate independently and safely. Groups turning up poorly equipped can be deferred from an expedition and required to repeat it at a later date. They may even be stopped from proceeding on an expedition completely if they lack critical safety equipment because it would be dangerous to continue.

If you are unable to provide the equipment on this kit list, we are able to loan you a full kit in exchange for a £30 deposit. The deposit will then be refunded at the end of the year in exchange for a complete, undamaged and clean kit.

Walking boots can also be hired for a deposit of £10. However, we do strongly encourage you to purchase your own walking shoes to ensure they are comfortable and fit appropriately. You should allow enough time before your first expedition to walk your shoes in (see below for details).

All pupils will be provided with tents (2 or 3 man), cooking stoves, pans, fuel, matches and maps.

Interactive DofE kit list: tick what you’ve got! DOFE KIT LIST

Kit Advice

Print the kit list off and read the “Big 20” listed below.

  1. Write a kit list of what you REALLY NEED. Talk to your group about who is carrying what – eg, tent (these should be split up), stove, fuel and food. Share items that you don’t all need to bring – ie, washing up liquid, tea-towels, washing-up sponges, shower gel, toothpaste, etc
  3. Check EVERYTHING works before departure
  4. Pack your rucksack properly: avoid sharp bits in the back, double wrap sleeping bag in plastic and pack everything inside your rucksack.  Nothing should hang or be tied outside, except sleeping mat (wrap in plastic bag).  If it doesn’t all fit, then chuck some things out.
  5. Wrap EVERYTHING in plastic bags so that, in theory, your rucksack could be thrown in a river and items would survive!
  6. Make sure you bring spare plastic bags with you for rubbish.
  7. Make sure that one of you has a waterproof pot to place your matches in. If they get wet they will not be replaced as they are your responsibility!
  8. Pack and then re-pack – there will always be items that you realise you don’t need when you go back through your bag!
  9. Read the advice below on different items of kit.

Don’t forget the BIG 20!

These 20 items are the basics of your kit.

  1. Waterproof jacket and waterproof trousers
  2. Watch (many forget theirs!): for navigation timing distance.
  3. Silva compass with long base plate (Bronze: try to get one or two per group; by Gold: all participants must have one)
  4. Torch – fresh batteries – but one between two for high summer
  5. First aid kit (small – put it together yourself, include antiseptic, plasters)
  6. Whistle
  7. Pen/pencil & emergency card (issued by Drapers’ Academy)
  8. Spare jumper/sweater / fleece: including in summer
  9. Full water bottle: simple plastic one is best; 1 litre at least; platypus/ hydration systems are not necessary.
  10. Mobile phone (charged & in a plastic bag) & Emergency staff contact numbers: use for photos of course!
  11. Sun hat / warm hat; gloves; warm fleece; sun-tan lotion
  12. Food! breakfast: must be more than just a cereal bar.
  13. Stove & fuel & matches (sealed to stay waterproof)
  14. Tent: check it check it check it check it check it check it!
  15. Sleeping Bag: wrap it in bin bag/s: MUST be kept dry, always in rucksack
  16. Sleeping mat: wrap in bin liner/s
  17. Walking boots (buy decent waterproof boots and decent socks – get advice in store)
  18. Rucksack – correctly fitted.
  19. Wear REFLECTIVE GEAR: slap-wraps, reflective tape, bright clothing etc.

Bring any personal medication / medicine.  Report any ailments or difficulties to staff and parents should add this to consent form.

Mobile Phone Policy

  1. Bring your mobile because they enhance safety and communication with supervisors and assessors. Keep them waterproof in a sealed bag; do not wear headphones during hikes: safety!
  2. Conserve batteries. Switch one phone on per day and use that.
  3. ONLY for essential emergency messages to staff. Do NOT call or text home or other groups.  Do not use social media. 

Kit - FAQ

1) What can be borrowed from the Drapers’ Academy kit store?

  • Survival bag
  • Rucksack with liner
  • Sleeping mat
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Torch (head)
  • Plate/bowl and mug
  • DofE recommended compass

2) Do groups have to provide their own tent?

No. The school provides tents, stoves, fuel and cooking pans to all pupils as standard. Tents are either 2-man or 3-man depending on numbers.

3) Do participants have to carry everything themselves?

All DofE participants must carry all their own equipment on expedition. This is a strict policy.  Transporting of kit for participants is not provided as it compromises safety. If injuries or illness mean you cannot carry your own kit then you are not in a condition to do the expedition safely for you and everyone else.

4) How heavy should a bag be?

It is recommended, and quite possible, to keep the weight of your rucksack as low as possible by sensible packing of appropriate kit. Your kit should weigh no more than a third of your body weight. If you arrive with a kit that your leaders deem to be too heavy you will be asked to leave behind certain items. 

5) When will participants be issued with kit?

For those who have opted to hire kit, a date will be given to pupils to collect kit at some point during the spring term.

6) When will participants be required to return their borrow kit?

All pupils will be asked to return their borrowed kit (and any tents, stoves, and pans issued as standard) shortly after their last expedition. A date will be provided to pupils at the end of their assessed expedition and a letter sent home.

7) How should kit be cared for after each expedition?

After every expedition, all kit needs to be cleaned and aired. Tents need to be unpacked when participants return home and hung out to dry – failure to do this will result in the tent becoming mouldy and unusable! Any walking boots that have been borrowed also need to be cleaned and aired before being returned.

8) If I’m buying kit myself, where should I buy it from?

There is no need to rush out and buy everything on the kit list from expensive outdoor stores.  Much of it can often be borrowed from friends or bought quite cheaply from various shops or online. We use Go Outdoors for our kit as they offer the most competitive rates with the purchase of a £5 member card which is valid for a year. It is advisable to get your walking boots properly fitted at a specialist shop like Go Outdoors or Mountain Warehouse or similar.  The videos below have some good advice. Wearing SHORTS is great in hot weather, but please be aware that they leave you more at risk from ticks or injury from sharp bushes, etc.

Requirements for Personal Items on Kit List (PLEASE READ)

Waterproof Jacket and Trousers

Waterproof jackets and waterproof trousers are essential on DofE expeditions. They can be life savers in extreme conditions.  They need not be expensive but must be durable, robust material and have decent integral hood which can be drawn over the face in bad weather.

Regatta, Sprayway, Karrimor and Berghaus are all brands which, in rough ascending order of cost, will do the job well. Try them on.  Breathable fabrics like goretex are almost universal now. These allow sweat to breathe out and keep you drier.

Try not to rely on thinner cheaper “waterproofs 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 over several days.

Waterproof trousers can be bought more cheaply because their main job is to be windproof in the utmost foul conditions when you are probably wet already.  If you’re on a budget, save money by just getting a simple durable pair of waterproof trousers.  


Walking Boots are compulsory for expeditions. Poorly fitted boots will give you blisters and these make expeditions extremely painful experiences so make sure they are fitted properly at a suitable outdoor shop. Leather boots and fabric boots have pros and cons, either can be recommended for various purposes.  The main plus of fabric boots is that they are usually lighter weight than traditional leather boots which is a significant consideration but do check they are waterproof.

Other Items of Clothing

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.

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.

Apart from this advice, pack and wear layers of clothes to suit the different conditions you will encounter.

Packing It All

  1. The standard advice is to pack waterproofs, food and other essential items needed during the day at the top (last).
  2. Sleeping bag should be double wrapped and packed first at the base.
  3. In between, pack items to maximise comfort and stability: heavier stuff near the bottom and near your back often helps with centre of gravity.
  4. Avoid spiky hard objects digging into your back.  Pad these out where possible.
  5. Careful picking it up, adjust straps to fit you once it is on.


  • Hanging stuff on the outside of the rucksack because it apparently doesn’t fit: it will fit and it should go into your rucksack; only sleeping mats should be strapped to the outside, nothing else.
  • Too many clothes (what you WEAR leaving the house is probably mostly what you’ll still be wearing on your return … except underwear and socks of course … yugh!!)
  • Over or under-estimating food: go for filling CALORIES! Check on packets. Avoid pot-noodles and cereal bars as “meals”, these are NOT sufficient for long hikes.
  • Having hard stuff sticking into your back: pad out the back with clothes etc
  • Wearing any-old socks with boots: buy GOOD quality walking socks to go with your walked-in boots: avoid blisters by taking care of your feet during the hike – see the videos below.
  • Pack waterproofs at the top of your sack so they are easily retrieved.

What NOT To Bring

  • KNIVES – it is illegal and dangerous to carry large knives. A small eating knife is permitted
  • Alcohol
  • Cigarettes
  • Electronic devices (phones allowed, wrap in plastic bag)
  • storm shelter: you have a tent

Useful Videos

Do I need to buy everything on the kit list? - VIDEO

Choosing a Suitable Waterproof - VIDEO

Choosing Suitable Clothing - VIDEO

How to Fit a Rucksack and Pack it Correctly - VIDEO
Thank you to Reigate Grammar School for their assistance with our DofE webpages.