Let us put the need for adequate equipment into perspective. Firstly the standard of equipment required for training on Dartmoor and for the event is set by the army. This is to ensure that all participants have equipment adequate to cope with the worst weather that Dartmoor can conjure up. If anyone was found not to have equipment to the correct standard the whole team would be escorted from the moor and our team eligibility for this and future years would be in jeopardy.
Secondly as leaders we expect the same high standard of equipment on all overnight hikes, not just those which take place on Dartmoor. This not only enables walkers to get used to dealing with zips, pockets and ties and the principles of layering, but the same standard enables us as leaders to operate safely.
Thirdly we will not expect the standard of equipment required for the day hikes, which are in relatively non hostile terrain, to be to the same high standard except for boots; waterproof jacket and waterproof trousers. This then should enable everyone to participate safely but without parents/guardians needing to engage in lots of expense as both the waterproof jackets and waterproof trousers can be borrowed from us. This also then allows more expensive items to be purchased as Christmas and birthday presents.
- We have a stock of waterproofs, rucksacks, microfleeces, softshell jackets, sleeping bags and gas cookers which are available on loan at a small returnable deposit.
- Boots – we have only a few pairs of boots to loan out.
- Contact Rich (firstname.lastname@example.org) to arrange to borrow equipment.
The standards required
The standards required for the day hikes are lower, refer to the day hike kit list. However, for weekend hikes your equipment must meet the standards listed below and detailed in the weekend hike kit list.
- Boots – these must have vibram type sole and support the ankles. Fabric boots must have a strong midsole –if they flex too much they will cause the arch of the foot to drop. They must be high enough to support the ankle. Also ensure you have good socks and insoles, really good boots won’t do much if you only have some old thin socks underneath!
- Waterproof jacket – New from 2018 must be “drenchproof”; have taped seams, water resistant zips and/or double storm flaps, waist and lower hem adjustments and a securely attached, stiffened/wired hood. Avoid the “high cut” jackets which end at the mid-drift –these do not meet the Army rules. The jacket must be long enough to cover and extend beyond the trouser pockets.
- Waterproof trousers – must also have taped seams. If possible buy a pair that have knee length zips. This will greatly assist ease of use and avoid your performing some ritual hopping dance out on the moor. The trousers must be robust and not ripped or torn in any way.
- Thermal Layer (Outer/warm Jacket) – A good insulating layer (thick fleece or equivalent). In the terms of a thick fleece this would be 200 grams or equivalent. Fleeces come in different weights, different qualities and different functions. A microfleece (sweater type with a neck zip) (usually 80-140 grams is not a fleece which meets the rules- but it might be useful. Polyester fleece is usually better quality than acrylic fleece. Our preferred alternative is a soft shell jacket, with the following features; long sleeves, polyester rather than acrylic, full length zip, adjustable wrist hems, no hood (although not essential) and zipped outer pockets. If outer fabric is described as DWR (Durable Water Repellent) its a bonus
- Gas cookers must be of the sealed cartridge type which enables the gas cylinder to be safely removed from the cooker unit. Following a number of accidents across Europe there is now a move to ban the sale/use of cookers that use pierced cartridges. Once attached to the burner unit they cannot be removed until the gas cartridge is empty. The Scout Association has banned the use of this type of cooker.
- Rucksack – No more than 65 litres with external pockets – Avoid the thin nylon bags –they will simply not take the abrasion over time. The back system must be FULLY adjustable – you will grow so make sure your bag grows with you. Also ensure good back ventilation. Pay more for a long term investment. It may be worth looking at ladies bags which have slimmer backs if you struggle to find one that fits.
- Sleeping bags – New from 2018 – must be certified under EN 23537 or EN 13537. If the sleeping bag is rated under EN13537 then the lower limit needs to be -2C or lower, if it is rated under the EN23537 standard then the limit needs to be -2C or lower. The rating limits are normally printed in the outer stuff bag, if not you must retain the swing tag with the ratings stated as evidence – don’t lose it! This sleeping bag must be stowed in a water proof bag. Our sleeping bags page can be found at https://www.cabottentors.org.uk/information/sleeping-bags/
Buying new kit
The standard of retailer knowledge in Bristol has generally declined so before you invest in inappropriate OR poor standard equipment please do contact us. We will either direct you to retailers who will give you sound advice OR give you a considered opinion as to which items to buy.
Buying cheap often means buying unserviceable goods. In order consider:
- Boots – we do not supply; they will be key to your success; but your feet will grow!
- Sleeping bag. If you can afford to spend £80-£100 then the bag will be warmer, lighter, pack into a smaller space AND will last for 20years. A wise investment. A synthetic bag will keep you insulated even if it has got damp whereas a down bag will lose some of its insulating power.
- Waterproof jacket – It doesn’t have to be Gore Tex to be good. Look for end of line bargains at TK Max from quality names like “Sprayway” , “Tresspass” or “Crag Hoppers”. Do not buy a ski jacket or “3 in 1” outer jacket/fleece combinations, these are simply not up to standard.
- Waterproof trousers – as per jacket. Again keep an eye on TK Max for end of lines.
- Retail Outlets such as at Swindon or Street often have excellent markdowns on top quality products. However it is often luck as to whether or not they have your size.
- By producing evidence of doing Ten Tors (the Handout) or of being a scout, you should get at least 10% from most outdoor shops.
- We will try to keep you posted via the web of items you may wish to consider.
- We have previously organised a post day hike private evening shopping session with a retailer with guaranteed 15% discounts on everything. Watch the website for details.
- You can sometimes save money by finding what you want and what fits in a retail shop but then buying it cheaper online. It’s best not to buy items on line (especially boots) without first testing them though!