You’ve made it, you’re ready for your expedition! Whether you’re starting at Bronze, or tackling a longer Silver or Gold expedition, a completely self-sufficient multi-day hike may seem a little daunting. But not to worry, you’ve got a team to get through it together! Who you’re completing your Award with, and your method of getting from A to B will determine how you know your team members and how many of you there are.
From pre to post expedition, teamwork is the most important skill you’ll utilise.
It’s totally up to you and your team where you complete your expedition. Prior to your qualifying expedition, you’ll have completed a practice expedition, extra training and planned your route. This is a great chance to meet your group (if you haven’t already) and learn from each other. You and your team members are there to support each other, and great communication and preparation prior to the expedition will go a long way.
Tip 1. Split up equipment
Your expedition should be a challenge, but multi-day hikes of up to four days require a lot of kit. Splitting up your shared equipment and dividing it between the group makes sure everyone is carrying their fair share and saves valuable rucksack space. Try to divide up various parts of the tent (poles, pegs and material), and the Trangia, so you’re all carrying even weights.
Tip 2. Plan your meals
The entire duration of your expedition involves you being totally self-sufficient and that means carrying all the food you’ll need too. Your food is your fuel, and what will get you through the last few miles. Organise what food you will take and meals to cook prior to the expedition, you could cook and eat your evening meals as a group. A good meal at the end of the day will really boost team morale. Don’t forget, your cooking kit will need cleaning up – plan who’s responsible for bringing washing up liquid, a sponge and a tea towel.
Tip 3. Communicate
Communication is just as vital on the expedition as it is in the run up. Speak up if you’re struggling, and equally, support your group members if they need it – a few words of encouragement or praise will go a long way after your mileage creeps into double figures. Most importantly, if you think you’ve gone the wrong way – say something. Team spirit might take a hit when you find out you’ve walked 2 miles east instead of 2 miles west.
Tip 4. Be mindful of others
Each of you will have different fitness levels and walking experience, and inevitably some will find it harder than others. Nothing says Duke of Edinburgh like my old Geography teacher echoing “Walk as fast as the slowest walker”, but it’s a great piece of advice to follow. Stick together, this way no one will get lost, and if someone gets hurt you can get help whilst staying safe.
Tip 5. Give everyone a chance
If you find reading a map as easy as reading the alphabet or consider yourself an outdoor Gordon Ramsey it’s easy to take the lead. Everyone will have their strengths and weaknesses but remember DofE is about challenging yourself and developing new skills. It’s important that everyone in the team gets a chance to try everything.
Tip 6. The presentation
After your expedition you’ll be required to make some form of presentation about your aims and outcomes of the expedition. There are several different ways you can present the outcomes of your expedition, and whatever way you decide on, make sure everyone in the group is happy with it. A theatrical rendition of the different types of birds you spotted may not be for everyone, so make it a group decision.
Tip 7. Keep in touch!
Your Duke of Edinburgh expedition is a totally unique experience, chances are you’ll never do something similar again. Even Bear Grylls makes mistakes in the wild, but it wouldn’t be DofE if you didn’t come away with great memories to look back on. Keep in touch with your group and reminisce about the time your teammate set the hedge alight (accidentally)