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?
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
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)
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
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
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.