By: Blonde Two

On Friday night, the Two Blondes plus the very lovely (and full of DofE madness) Julia had a most exciting expedition packing session. For once none of our weekends in the great outdoors were going to include young people but even so, we had food to divvy up, warm clothing to pack and rucksacks to fill within an inch of their lives (we also, as the packing involved a sleepover chez B2, had some wine to drink and some cheese to eat).

It was all very ‘DofE pre-expedition’, there were piles of things everywhere, the rucksacks looked like they were about to burst their seams and (as the trip involved Wales) we were waterproofing everything within an inch of its life. The only thing missing was a DofE expedition leader to tell us important (and probably annoying) things like,

‘Yes you do have to take it, it is on the list.’
‘Your assessor will want to check your kit.’
‘That roll mat is going to get wet.’
‘Your bag is too heavy.’
‘Your bag is too light.’
‘Let me see your waterproofs. Well, why have you put them at the bottom of your bag?’

We had done everything right and ticked all the ‘how to plan your expedition’ boxes. We knew our route, had an Ordnance Survey map each and had planned out how we were going to do ‘sharing’, for example, who was going to take a stove, who was going to bring the light and which food we needed for the shared catering (I use the word ‘catering’ here in the loosest of senses). We had written a lot of lists, so many lists in fact, that we had ended up with a confusion of notebook lists, phone lists and strange mind maps. Ju, thankfully, had sorted out this list nightmare and created a shared spreadsheet (thank you Google and thank you Ju!)

Everything had been found from cupboards, bought from ‘the camping section’ of the supermarket (there isn’t one but should be) and assembled on the lounge floor. We had wine and cheese and a lot of excited chatter.

But then we had to fit everything into the rucksacks!

It was at this point that I started to realise how our youngsters must feel when we are telling them to carry more and more stuff in their burgeoning bags and why they look a tad grumpy when, on response to, ‘There’s no space in my bag.’ we respond, ‘Well find some!’

The good news is, that after a lot of head scratching, laughter and compromise we did manage to pack our bags, including the fire parcels (a bag each containing, coal, logs, kindling, firelighters and matches – weight 3.6kg) and the face packs (a bag each containing some gooey stuff with a strange smell – weight 3.6 g).

You want to know where we are waking up this morning, don’t you? Well, you will have to wait and see, we are cosy in our sleeping bags, warm from our fire and have lovely complexions from our face packs!

Incidentally, looking back through our back packs about expedition packing and rucksack weight, we don’t appear to have learnt how to travel any lighter… yet!

If you are interested to read the current DofE expedition kit list… feel free!