Affordable Duke of Edinburgh Expedition Gear
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) has been running since 1954. The programme is created to support the social and mental development of young people, through a range of community and outdoor experiences. It’s become so popular that by 2026, one million young people will have participated in Bronze, Silver or Gold DofE. But adventuring is expensive. The combined cost of purchasing new equipment (tent, sleeping bag, hiking boots, etc.) can easily cost over £1,000.
At Firepot, we’ve put our heads together to make a list of resources for second-hand, affordable equipment. By planning ahead, exploring your options, and being resourceful, you can assemble a reliable set of gear without compromising on quality.
For advice on the items you’ll need for your expedition, you can find the official DofE Kit List on their website here. (They also offer useful instructions on how to care for your equipment - see the section on 'Making your Kit Last'). Remember, safety should always be the top priority, so ensure that any gear you borrow or buy meets the necessary standards and requirements for the expedition.
BORROW: Borrowing second-hand gear is a great way to share the costs between friends, family and neighbours, saving you money on items you may not need long-term.
RENT: Outdoor gear rental shops such as Expedition Kit Hire offer fairly priced, high-quality equipment. For transparency’s sake, they’ve created a list which compares the cost of renting over 20 of their items vs buying them brand new. A seven-day rental, for instance, of their whole list of essential articles including waterproof trousers, an expedition rucksack and walking boots — as well as less obvious things like a head torch — costs £320, roughly ten percent of buying everything from scratch.
COMMUNITY SUPPORT: Check with your local outdoor clubs, schools and community programs to see if they have any stockpiles of second-hand gear, or funding opportunities. They may have partnerships with outdoor gear providers, offering participants discounted rates.
DISCOUNT STORES AND SALES: Keep an eye on discount shops and seasonal reductions. Outdoor retailers such as GoOutdoors, Trespass and Mountain Warehouse all sell quality expedition clothing and camping equipment. TK Maxx also has a wide range of heavily discounted outdoor clothes and shoes. Subscribing to newsletters or following social media can give you an inside track on flash sales and limited-time offers. Student Discounts can often be used in high street brands and DofE-approved outdoor retailers offer 10-15% off with a DofE discount card. These include Blacks, Millets, Ultimate Outdoors and Tiso.
SECOND-HAND ONLINE: Online platforms can be a treasure trove of affordable expedition gear, with the added environmental benefit of giving a new lifespan to second-hand cast-offs.
We love Kitsquad, a small organisation that takes on second-hand gear, tests its quality and condition, then redistributes it.
The British Military Surplus Shop sells a variety of second-hand, army-grade, affordable equipment such as boots and jackets.