How to get ready for your first Duke of Edinburgh expedition

Young adventurer Sian Nolan on how to get ready for your Duke of Edinburgh Bronze award

Early in 2014 I signed up for my Bronze Duke of Edinburgh award. Later that year I’d be walking about 15-20 miles with a heavy pack on my back for the practice expedition, but first thing was first: training. Over three sessions my team and I were thrown into the world of DofE: triangas, guy ropes, First Aid and all. For anyone else thinking of doing DofE, here’s the kind of thing you cover before doing your first expedition


Sian perfects her tent-pegging skills


First training session:

First aid – how to deal with;

– Cuts

– Unconsciousness

– Cardiac arrest

– Asthma attack


– 999 / 112 (recap of emergency numbers)

Registering with EDofe

– Signing up

– Selecting activities – Dof E is more than just an expedition. At Bronze level you’re also required to do a minimum of 3 months activity for each of the Volunteering, Physical and Skills sections. I signed up for;

  • Gym Work (Physical)
  • Circus Skills (Skills)
  • Mencap (Volunteering)

Second training session:

Getting to grips with the tents

Getting to grips with the tents

This was about the all-important skill of pitching tents. Fortunately I’ve gone camping since a young age with my family, so our team managed to put the tent up in just 10 minutes and take it down again in the same time.  Other teams were struggling with theirs so I went and helped them. However, it was still important for us to practice at a team in case we arrived in dark or bad weather.

If you’re not feeling confident about this aspect of the expedition, take a look at OAG’s top tent pitching skills.

3rd training session:

The dreaded trianga - watch your eyelashes!

The dreaded trianga – watch your eyelashes!

This was all about cooking on the expedition, where we’d be using trangias with liquid methane gas, not an easy skill to master – I singed my eyelashes on the flame and had to receive first aid. But I’ve learnt my lesson: Don’t lean so close to the flame!

The night before the expedition

Practice makes perfect, so the evening before our practice expedition I practiced setting the tent and trianga up in my garden, packed my rucksack (it took a while to work out where to attach the tent!), practiced walking around with a heavy load and then went to bed for a good night’s sleep.