By: Blonde Two

During any DofE expedition, it’s not just the young people the manager needs to find accommodation for, it’s the adult leaders as well. Luckily most outdoor instructors are happy to sort out their own shelter but an important question is always one of the first to be asked.

Where are we going to sleep tonight?

Be an adult volunteer with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

Many of us would admit that, at the end of most busy long outdoor days, our own cosy beds would be very welcome. However, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Expeditions require 24-hour commitment and we leaders need to be on hand if not in exactly the same field as our expeditioners. Depending on the level and experience of the youngsters involved, being on hand doesn’t necessarily mean camping in a tent (or indeed not in a tent), but it does mean being available as soon as you are needed.

So, which is the best leader accommodation on a DofE expedition?

Over the years (I’ve lost count of how many but definitely more than ten) I’ve tried a few different DofE leader accomodation options. Some more successful than others. I thought I’d give you the low down and let you know how I got on. Consider this a review of camping accommodation, DofE style!


Option one – the traditional backpacking tent

Backpacking tents are good for – speed and simplicity, warmth (small spaces take less warming up) and privacy

They’re are not so good for – getting dressed, storing gear and nighttime leader chats


Option two – the camping pod

YHA camping pods

Camping pods are great for – speed (no erection time), space, and shelter from most elements

They’re not so good for – flexibility (no moving to new fields with this one), waking up on time, and warmth (pods can be colder than you might imagine)

The Alpkit Hunka breathable bivvy

Option three – the bivvy bag and mosquito net

The bivvy bag/bug net combo is great for – spying on your youngsters, spotting marauding cows, and summer fresh air

It’s not so good for – keeping out the dawn light, rain protection, and privacy (there isn’t any)


Option four – the family-sized tent

Camping in a bell tent

Family tents are great for – rainy-day team meetings, your own decent-sized space, and kit storage

They’re not so good for – speedy pitching and striking, and drying after a wet camp


Option five – the camping hammock

Ticket to the Moon camping hammock review

Camping hammocks are great for – a comfortable night’s sleep, feeling at one with nature and pack-up speed (hanging a hammock is never the same twice and can take a while)

They’re not so good for – keeping dry (unless you have a tarp) and fields without trees


Option six – the van that isn’t a campervan

Van’s that haven’t been converted are great for – hiding, storing gear, and breakfast in bed

They’re not so good for – any sort of view, early wake-ups (no daylight) and warmth


Just in case you’d forgotten. Although campervans are welcome on Dartmoor, camping in car parks or lay bys in any vehicle on Dartmoor isn’t permitted.

But wild camping in the right place in your backpacking tent is.

We have another of our popular wild camping workshops coming up on August 6th and 7th. We always have a lovely time so feel free to get in touch if you want to experience this wonderful way of visiting Dartmoor.

Dartmoor Campsites