For many, a Duke of Ed expedition is their first attempt at a multi-day hike, and for some carrying everything required for a two – four day bush walk is the biggest challenge of the whole Award.
While this Duke of Ed kit list may not look like much stuff, be aware that every gram counts when you’re walking for hours.
Knowing the essentials and working out what’s unnecessary is part of the learning process. This list is a head start.
This is our recommended Duke of Ed equipment list for participants on our Adventurous Journeys.
Read on for the full kit list, or click the heading to skip straight to that section.
- What to Wear
Duke of Edinburgh Kit List
- Hiking backpack. Maximum 60-70 litre capacity
- Pack liner (or heavy-duty bin bags) to keep contents dry. Rainproof cover optional.
- Sleeping bag. Very important to ensure this stays dry so should be inside your pack, not outside. You’ll pay more for warmer, lighter, smaller bags
- Sleeping mat. A thin foam mat (often blue-coloured) is the cheapest option. Yoga mats are also adequate but heavier. A self-inflating mat – e.g. the ThermaRest brand or Sea2Summit- is expensive but light and offers good insulation. A ¾ length is lighter and takes up less room than a full-length mat.
- Tent. Check poles, pegs and fly (outer waterproof layer) are all packed. Practice putting tent up prior to the hike
Share a 2-person tent between two; maximum 3-person tent with three participants. Most campsites are too small for a larger tent. (Post a message on the FaceBook group to see if someone will share with you, this will lighten your pack weight).
If there is any doubt as to how waterproof your tent is, apply tent seam sealant (purchased from an outdoors store)
Note that very cheap tents are adequate in good weather but often cannot withstand rain or windy weather.
Canvas bivouacs/swag are too heavy and not recommended. Hammocks are not recommended as not all campsites have adequate trees.
- Stove, fuel and lighter/matches in waterproof container
- Share one stove between 2 participants. (Post a message on the FaceBook group to see if someone will share with you, this will lighten your pack weight).
- 1 x cooking pot and lid (or piece of foil to use as lid) if not already included in your stove kit
- Gas stoves (1-3 burners) often used while car camping are too heavy and cannot be brought.
- Practice assembling, lighting and turning on/off stove prior to the hike
- We recommend Trangia-style stoves as they are more stable than butane stoves. They use methylated spirit as fuel, which is also more readily available.
- Bowl, mug, 1 x spoon, small serrated knife with blunt end (if required). A bowl is not required if the cooking pot in your stove kit can be used as a bowl.
- Scourer. Cut a full-size scourer in half (or less). If non-stick stove, use sponge instead (not scourer). Please don’t bring standard washing up detergent as it’s harmful to the environment. Water is adequate and you can wash the stove properly at home afterwards.
- Food (see food section)
- Water containers – 3L per day minimum is recommended. A hydration pack (water bladder) inside your pack works best. You should be able to access your water by yourself without taking your pack off.
If you need to purify your water, we recommend Micropur tablets. Boiling is the most effective way but requires more fuel for your stove and fuel is heavier than purification tablets. Here’s more on how to purify water while hiking.
- Lightweight torch with fresh batteries. Head torches are preferable as they are hands-free. Take spare batteries.
- Toiletries. Store in snap-lock bag rather than a toiletries bag.
Toothbrush and toothpaste – decant into small containers or use travel-size or near-empty full size.
A Chux cloth (very thin and light) or a face washer or a small travel towel. Don’t bring a standard towel.
Toilet paper in small snap-lock bag (don’t bring the full roll). Empty snap-lock bags for used toilet paper – unless you are burying it.
Hand wash or sanitiser – don’t bring soap. It’s harmful to the environment
No showers available. Use a baby wipe or face wipe to refresh. Bring only a few of the required amount in a snap-lock bag. Have another bag for used ones.
Sanitary items including snap-lock bags for used sanitary items
- Basic First Aid Kit – minimum requirements: Blister treatment. Panadol / Nurofen.
- Bushwalking trowel for digging toilet holes. Lightweight plastic is best
- Clothing (see What to Wear)
- Money for public transport.
- Sleeping bag liner. Cotton is heavy, we recommend silk as it’s light and warm/cool when needed. A liner will also keep your bag clean and in summer a liner might be all you need so you won’t have to carry a sleeping bag.
- Self-inflating travel pillow (not a full-size pillow). Folded-up clothes in your sleeping bag cover is even lighter
- Insect repellent
- Tarp for wet weather cooking shelter (cooking is NOT permitted in tents)
- Pack of cards
Please leave music players at home
Your Supervisor will carry
- Maps and compasses for everyone.
- SPOT Tracker for parents to track the journey.
- Personal Locator Beacon
- Mobile and Satellite phone.
- First Aid Kit.
What to Wear
Wear one set of clothes to walk in every day, and another to wear every night. Cool, comfortable and covered during the day and warm and dry at night.
Wool/merino, polypropylene and any ‘outdoors’ clothing have better temperature control, dry faster and are preferred over cotton and non-breathable synthetics. Cotton only works well in very hot conditions but stays wet a long time if it’s raining. Jeans are inappropriate.
To walk in
- 1 x sleeved shirt. Short sleeves are adequate, long sleeves with collar are better sun protection in summer and warmer in winter. Singlets are not permitted. They offer no sun protection.
- 1 x pair of shorts, long pants or exercise pants
- Long pants minimise scratches and sunburn.
- 1 x pair of ‘daytime’ socks. Hiking socks preferable over cotton. Change infrequently and wear more than once.
- Broad-brimmed hat
To wear at night
- 1 x pair of ‘nighttime’ socks.
- Thermals – long johns and a long-sleeved thermal top. (NO COTTON, wool or polypropylene only). These can double as your pyjamas. Buy from outdoors shops and sometimes places like Target have good quality thin merino wool thermals. Even in Summer, a thermal top is a lighter option than a jumper and takes up less space in your pack.
- Fleece top (NO COTTON)
- Long pants (if walking in shorts during day)
- Beanie and gloves in winter (NO COTTON)
To have in your pack
- Raincoat. A disposable poncho is inadequate and will not keep you dry
- Underwear for each day
- Spare pair of ‘daytime’ socks
- Thongs, very light sandals or plastic shoes (like Crocs) for camp at night
Hiking boots are preferable, but trainers are OK. Wear your most comfortable shoes. Please ensure they are ‘worn-in’ before this hike by wearing them around the house, the street, to the shops. New shoes can cause blisters which can ruin your hike.
Your feet may get wet and cold during the day so it is essential to keep them warm at night. If your trainers get wet during the day you will need to wear plastic bags between your socks and trainers at night to stop your dry socks getting wet.
Put everything inside your pack in either a pack liner (purchased from an outdoors shop) or a heavy duty garbage bag used as a pack liner. Ensure everything will stay dry if it rains.
You don’t need clean clothes every day. Duke of Ed is not a fashion parade. Clothes are heavy and take up too much room in your pack. It’s always a good idea to walk in lightweight clothing during the day and save the warmer gear for the evening. This will also ensure it’s dry. Have one set of daytime clothes and one for at night.
The key to a great hike is great fuel. Here are some tips to consider and some food suggestions.
- A balanced hiking diet includes more fat and sugar than a normal diet.
- Buddy-up and share as much as you can – you don’t need more than one container of anything.
- Remove as much packaging as you can – re-pack in snap lock bags, they’re light and reusable.
- Label the snap lock bags (eg Lunch day 1).
- Canned food is too heavy, bottles and glass jars are heavy and may break and you have to carry out the empties.
- Pack breakfast and dinner in one big strong stuff-bag, and lunch and snacks in another of a different colour – it makes it easier to find what you want when you need it
- Do you really need a bowl? Can you eat from your pot? Do you really need a fork and a spoon?
- There are no garbage bins at campsites or on trail so you’ll have to carry out all the packaging you carry in.
- Bring the lightest food that takes the shortest time to cook. Everything has to survive without refrigeration – please don’t bring a cooler bag. Here are general camping food safety tips .
- Cereals: muesli or instant oats. Add long life (can be found as poppers) or powdered milk (MUCH lighter and only needs water).
- Liquid Breakfast: Up and Go, Fast Start and Vita Go are quick (but heavy) options
- Hot Breakfast: Baked beans or spaghetti provide great protein but are heavy.
TIP: Measure out the amount of cereal per day and put in a snap lock bag with powdered milk.
- Crackers: Ryvita, Salada, Vita-weets provide the best carbohydrate
- Bread & Wraps: Are ok for day 1, but can quickly go stale
- Cheese: Laughing Cow, Dutch Edam or Babybells keep well
- Dried meats: Salami, jerky etc are great forms of protein and salt. It will keep fresher if whole, not pre-cut (so remember a knife). Fresh meats are not recommended
- Vegetables: Carrots, cucumber, capsicum
- Spreads: Peanut butter, vegemite, hommus, sun-dried tomatoes
TIP: It’s better if you don’t have to cook lunch as we may not have time.
- Packaged pasta/rice: Good options, although rice takes longer to cook.
- Add tuna or tinned ham or chicken to get protein and add freeze dried vegetables for nutrition. These are cheap and easy meals.
- Freeze dried/dehydrated meals from outdoors shops (like Paddy Pallin or Kathmandu) are perfect but more expensive.
- Fruit: Apples are great, mandarins a bit heavy and go soggy. Dried fruit are your best option
- Trail mix: Make your own with a selection of sultanas, dried fruit and chocolate! NO NUTS,
- Packaged bars & snacks: Muesli bars, LeSnacks, biscuits are good snacks and are generally light (just strip the packaging and put together in a couple of ziploc bags).
- Soups: Packaged soups, particularly if cold can be great. 2-minute noodles are not so good (Please do not bring six packets of 2-minute noodles for six meals, ensure you have variety and good sustenance.)
TIP: Sugary things are OK but not for every meal.
You need more calories and protein than most snacks provide.
Hot drinks: Cup-a-soups, hot chocolate, milo, tea or coffee – just remember to measure the quantities rather than carry the container.