Your backpack and the equipment you bring on your DofE expedition play a crucial role, especially since you might be carrying them for extended periods. Taking the time to plan, review your gear, and practice packing during your expedition training can significantly enhance the overall experience.

To ensure effective packing, consider the following eight tips:

1. **Minimise the load:** Keep your backpack as light as possible. Consult the DofE Expedition Kit List to identify essential items and eliminate non-essentials. Rucksacks should not exceed 25% of your body weight for on-foot expeditions, and they must be weighed before departure.

2. **Practice packing:** Utilise practice expeditions and training walks to learn what to take, what to leave behind, and to ensure everything fits. There’s no substitute for actulally putting your rucksack on!

3. **’Last in, first out’ rule:** Place frequently needed items at the top of your rucksack or in the side pockets.

4. **Pack heavy gear closer to your back:** Enhance balance by packing heavier items, such as your tent, closer to your back. Packing them further out unbalances you by moving the centre of gravity backwards.

5. **Pack all expedition kit inside the rucksack:** Except for the sleeping mat, ensure all your expedition gear is packed inside the rucksack. Don’t have any carrier bags, bottles, or anything dangling!

6. **Waterproof your kit:**  Line your rucksack with a plastic or nylon rucksack liner to prevent items from getting wet. Pack things inside plastic carrier bags, even inside a rucksack liner.

7. **Consistent packing:** Pack your rucksack the same way each time after figuring out the most efficient arrangement for your kit. This saves loads of time.

8. **Where to pack your kit:** Strategically pack different items in specific areas of your rucksack for easy access when needed. You won’t need your sleeping bag in the daytime, but you will need things like suncream or your change of socks – so keep these near to hand so you don’t have to dig everything out to get to them.

**Kit Packing Guide:**

– **Sleeping bag:** Place it inside a dry bag for protection.
– **Spare clothes:** Fill the bottom space with items like socks and a T-shirt that can roll up small.
– **Sleeping mat:** If it doesn’t fit inside, secure it tightly to the outside. Consider Vango Trek sleeping mats for durability and comfort.

– **Tent:** Pack it vertically against the part of the rucksack on your back for better weight distribution.
– **Camping stove:** Position it against your back for easy carrying. Trangia 25 and 27 series stoves are recommended.
– **Utensils ** Opt for plastic or titanium camping gear for easy cleaning. 

– **Lunch and snacks:** Place them at the top for easy access. Use outside pockets for snacks on the go.
– **Waterproofs:** Pack them last for quick access if there’s a sudden change of weather.
– **Top pocket:** Fill it with items needed during the day, like a First Aid Kit, snacks, or sun cream.

– **Water bottles:** Keep them in side pockets for easy access. 
– **Fuel:** Secure fuel canisters in a sealable bag in your side pocket. Trangia Fuel bottles are a safe option.