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Five Acres High School

Expeditions and Kit

For your Expedition section, you will need to plan, train for and complete an unaccompanied, self-reliant expedition with an agreed aim in a group of 5-7 students. Your expedition must be completed by your own physical efforts with minimal external intervention and without motorised assistance. There will be a Practice Expedition and a Qualifying Expedition on separate weekends in the summer term.
Although students will have lots of supervised practice, the end goal of either their Duke of Edinburgh Expedition or Ten Tors Challenge will require them to navigate and travel independently. It is therefore important that students are adequately prepared and have the correct kit.
Below is some information about the recommended equipment.
Equipment does not need to be expensive, you can get kitted up in sales and even keep an eye in the middle of Lidl for some specialist equipment. DofE participants also receive discounts at some stores.


Use multiple layers to provide insulation and allow temperature regulation by adding or removing them. If clothing becomes wet it cannot insulate and so waterproof outer layers are necessary to protect from rain. 

Think about the material of the clothing - synthetic fibre often provides insulation, wicks moisture away from the skin and are less heavy when wet. Cotton is a poor choice as it absorbs lots of water.

Outer layer (small quantity to loan)

Waterproof coat, must have a hood. The best coats are waterproof (avoid "resistant") windproof and breathable to allow sweat to escape. Some coats have a double zip for ventilation. 

Waterproof trousers must be carried at all times. They are worn over the middle layer and are only put on when it is raining or particularly muddy. This may be mid-walk if the weather changes. 

Middle layer 

Fleeces are the most popular choice of mid-layer as they absorb little moisture and remain lightweight. In hot weather loose fitting long sleeve tops keep students cool and provide protection from the sun.

Lightweight trousers are preferable to shorts as they provide protection from the sun, insects and nettles. Jeans or joggers NOT permitted as they absorb water.

Inner layer

The inner layer needs to draw sweat away from the skin - synthetic fabrics are best. Cotton t-shirts must not be used as an inner layer as it absorbs sweat and stops insulating the body.


Headwear must either retain heat or protect from the sun. At certain points in the year students will need both a woolly hat and a cap for changing weather conditions.


Gloves should be long enough to tuck inside a sleeve. They may also be worn at night in colder conditions. 


Socks must cushion feet, absorb perspiration and provide insulation against the cold. Proper walking socks are best, particularly wool as it continues to insulate even when wet. Look out for seams which could cause blisters if they rub against areas of the feet. 


Walking boots must have ankle support - no walking shoes. Ensure correct fitting prior to training to prevent blisters. No trainers are allowed. Avoid borrowing boots from other people or family as they can cause blisters as they will be moulded to that person's feet. It is important to "break in" your boots by wearing them around the house or on small walks before any large hikes. Cutting toenails short is also a top tip for hiking as it prevents them rubbing against other toes and against the boot.

Students are advised to carry flip flops with them for the campsite so that they can air out their feet, give boots and socks a chance to dry.


Ten Tors students may choose to re-wear normal clothes. 

Personal Camping Equipment

Rucksack (small quantity to loan)

Needs to contain all personal equipment and some group equipment - tent/mess tins. It is essential that there is a paddled waist strap. Get the bag fitted at purchase by a member of staff, they can be adjusted to different heights. 65 litres

A rucksack liner (or bin bag!) is also needed to keep contents waterproof. Rucksack covers are also useful and some bags come with them.

Sleeping bag (small quantity to loan)

A new sleeping barge may need to be purchased if you only have a thin one previously used for indoor sleepovers as students will be camping in low temperatures overnight. Check the "season" of the bag is appropriate - this will be different for Ten Tors or DofE expeditions as they are at different times of the year. 

  • 1 Season – Ideal for warmer summer nights where temperatures above +5°C
  • 2 Season – Bags designed for cooler nights in the summer or spring with a temperature range of 0 to +5°C
  • 3 Season – Designed for colder nights without frost (0 to -5°C). Many people use a three season sleeping bag as an all-rounder for year round use.
  • 4 Season – When the temperature drops to around -10°C with light snow a four season bag is ideal.
  • 5 Season (may also be called 4 Season Mountain) – Expedition quality sleeping bags for sleeping in snow and at temperatures from -10 down to -40°C

Sleeping mat (small quantity to loan)

A sleeping mat insulates the sleeping bag and stops you from feeling the cold ground. Roll mats (similar in look to a yoga mat but not the same!) are inexpensive, you can also buy inflating mats which are usually more comfortable, but these are also more costly.   

Eating utensils

Lightweight mug, knife, fork and spoon and something to eat from. Students may want to carry a flask as well but consider the weight this adds to their pack.

Wash kit and towel

Essentials only: soap, lightweight (usually microfibre) towel, hand sanitizer, toothbrush, toothpaste, toiler paper and wet wipes. Ensure you have a plastic rubbish bag for used toilet paper outside of the campsite toilets. One person in the team could bring a shared toothpaste to save weight.

Suncream is also incredibly important - students often forget and burn on expeditions. 

Team Camping Equipment

This equipment is not required for each person, but between the members of a team.

Cooking stoves and fuel bottles (provided by school)

Students do not need to bring cooking equipment, the school provide gas and gas stoves for students to cook their hot food for their breakfast and evening meal.

Washing up materials 

  • Pan scourer
  • washing up liquid
  • Small tea towel
  • Plastic bags for rubbish

Watch and stop watch

An important tool to support navigation to check timings and pacing.

Other items

  • Sharpie pen
  • games - a pack of cards or a blew up ball

Personal Emergency Equipment

Compasses and maps (provided by school)

Compasses and maps will be provided by school, although we welcome students using their own compasses if they own them, as long as they are good quality and accurate.

First Aid Kit

Blister plasters are an absolute must! While we do have group first aid kits, students are required to carry their own personal first aid kit in case they are separated and so that it can be tailored to their individual needs. There is more information on First Aid Kits here.

Emergency Rations

Rations carried separate to the main food, for an emergency and often enjoyed at the end of the expedition. Chocolate bars, nuts, dried fruit, jelly, mint cake and cereal bas all work well. 

Spare clothing

Kept waterproof and dry to change into if students are soaked to the skin.

Water bottle

Other items

  • Notebook and pen
  • Torch
  • Survival bag/group shelter
  • Emergency whistle
  • Matches or lighter