Expedition section – the basics

There are a variety of ways to fulfil the Expedition section, but in all participants will need to plan, train for, and complete an unaccompanied, self-reliant expedition with an agreed aim. Participants must complete the correct training for the level, mode of travel, and environment.

At Silver and Gold level at least one UK based practice expedition must be completed. All levels will undertake a qualifying expedition and a final presentation to complete the section.

There were, until November 2023,  ’20 Conditions’ for expeditions which outlined the basic rules and parameters. However these have been replaced by the ‘Expedition Requirements’.

The DofE have outlined the changes and reasoning behind them on the Expedition FAQ page here.

The aim of the Expedition section:

To inspire young people to develop initiative and a spirit of adventure and discovery by planning, training for and completing an adventurous self-sufficient journey as part of a team. Participants choose where and how they want to do their expedition.

Before an expedition – DofE Supervisors/Assessors must ensure the appropriate parameters are in place:

All participants must be within the qualifying age of the programme level and at the same Award level (i.e., not have completed the same or higher level of expedition).

There must be between four and seven participants in a team (eight for modes of travel which can be used by two people at once e.g., tandem bikes, open canoes).

The expedition must be of the correct duration and meet the minimum hours of planned activity.

  • Bronze: A minimum of 2 days, 1 night; 6 hours of planned activity each day.
  • Silver: A minimum of 3 days, 2 nights; 7 hours of planned activity each day.
  • Gold: A minimum of 4 days, 3 nights; 8 hours of planned activity each day.

All expeditions must be supervised by an adult (the Expedition Supervisor) who is able to accept responsibility for the safety of the team. Assessment must be by an Accredited Assessor. At Bronze level only, the Assessor may also be the Expedition Supervisor.

Participants must be adequately trained to safely complete an expedition in the environment in which they will be operating.

The main changes for November 2023 summarised: