Staff from each of our stores in Bristol, Exeter, and Taunton break down kit requirements from the event and let us know the perfect gear for taking part in Ten Tors.

With Ten Tors kicking off in May 2023, intrepid young folk from schools and walking groups across the south of England are hiking out into the cold, trekking and camping out in preparation for taking on the classic Dartmoor challenge. We’ve been kitting out participants for over 40 years and many of our staff themselves have participated in the event. Also among our staff you can find volunteers with scout groups who take on the challenge as well as a Dartmoor Search and Rescue volunteer who aids in keeping the event safe.

It’s fair to say that over years of supervising and nailing our customer’s Ten Tors needs, we’ve come to know a thing or two about the event and the proper kit required! Today we’ve compiled a list of the most frequent kit list questions and our staff from each of our stores will be giving you their best answer.

Please note:
We will be basing our answers on the event’s own guidelines for the specification of the required kit and equipment. Some schools and groups often have a more specific list of needs. We recommend that you bring the list provided to you into one of our stores where we can properly guide and take you through the best kit for the job in line with these expectations. Now, without further ado…

Bristol Shop’s Braam (left) has been fitting boots to Ten Tors participants for 13 years.

Bristol shop’s Braam answers…

With all the options out there, which walking boots are required for these events and what would you recommend?

I have been kitting out Ten Tors participants for 13 years and in my experience, the best boot for the job is the one that fits properly. Now that being said, with the amount of kit needed for Ten Tors, the budget is a big consideration. Keep in mind that we do a 20% discount for Ten Tors participants. I would recommend the following boots based on fit, suitability, and price. The Scarpa Terra and Mistral as well as the Keen Pyrenees and La Sportiva TX5 Boot are great options. All four of these boots have good grip, a reliable waterproof membrane, and good support. Each of these will fit a spectrum of foot shapes. The Scarpa boots suits an average foot shape, the Keen fits a wide foot and the TX5 suits a slimmer foot really well. We take several measurements to ensure we get as accurate a fit as possible. We would get you walking up and down an artificial slope as well as pacing around the shop floor, this gives you and us an opportunity to see and feel how you move in the boots. None of these boots need a long breaking-in period and, provided you had it fitted, should be good to go for 5-8 miles on your first walk. The ideal fit is a stable and supported heel and instep with plenty of room to wriggle your toes.

Exeter Shop’s Dave answers…

What sort of food would you recommend for these events and why?

At the Exeter store, we have mixed views on food. Wayfayrer wet pouch meals are an affordable and easy-to-use option, especially if you’re heating your water and cooking as a group. We stock a wide range of options catering to all tastes. They generally range from 300-450 calories per meal. Our favourites are the All Day Breakfast and the Salted Caramel Brownie! However, the downside of this is that they are only up to 450 calories, and during the first day of Ten tors you can be burning close to 4000 calories a day! Some staff believe that Expedition Foods are better, they are lighter weight, pack more calories for your pennies, and taste way better! The downside is, of course, the initial cost, some groups also recommend wet food as they can be cooked all together in one big pot rather than measuring out water for each meal which if it goes wrong too much or too little water can ruin a meal. Both types of meals have their benefits so take into account how much food you eat in an average day and translate that to how much you’ll need after a full day of activity, what cooking method your team will use and how important the extra weight of wet food is to you.

Taunton shop’s Connor recommends the Osprey Aura and Atmos packs for their sturdy build and trek-improving features.

Taunton Shop’s Connor answers…

What sort of rucksack is required for Ten Tors and what would you recommend?

When choosing from the many rucksacks available within our range, the main thing to prioritise is your comfort. You need to make sure that you are able to adjust the pack in a way that fits nicely with the shape of your back, shoulders, and hips. Our staff are trained to properly measure your back and adjust the pack to fit you, we’ll also make sure that YOU also know how to do it. The official Ten Tors kit list doesn’t specify litreage of the pack, but we would recommend at least 50L ranging to around 65L for those with heftier gear. Schools and walking groups are likely to also have this requirement. You are welcome to bring in other pieces of kit to see how they fit into our packs. If I had to give a recommendation, I’m a big fan of the Osprey Atmos and Aura packs for their solid build and premium features, it is certainly a pack that won’t let you down.

Bristol shop’s Aiden answers…

What measures can you take to ensure maximum comfort for your feet over miles of walking on rough terrain?

Keeping your feet happy on or off trail usually isn’t too complicated. Outside of footwear choices, I would say that the two most important things you can do for your feet in rough terrain are to keep them dry and minimise friction. The one that is universally applicable is to keep your feet dry. Your feet being wet for sustained periods of time will lead to trench foot, which can have some terrible outcomes after long enough. Any friction is exacerbated, as your wet skin is easier to move and tear. This results in blisters forming more easily, getting larger faster, and ripping. Strategies to mitigate this are to wear a wicking pair of socks to get any sweat away from your feet and to make sure to take time to air them out at mealtimes, minimum at the end of the day. For socks, I’d recommend the Bridgedale Hike Ultralight T2 or the Hike lightweight, though the important part is to wear socks applicable to your conditions. You don’t want to be sweating in a thick winter sock during a 25-degree summer day.

The second thing to do is to minimise any friction present. This is also an important parameter to remember when buying footwear. If you walk across rough terrain, you’re going to get pressure on your feet from all sorts of angles. Even if your boots fit quite well, sustained awkward angles like traversing along the side of a slope for hours can cause your feet to move enough to cause problems. If you find that you have issues in this regard, a good strategy to try is to use a thin liner sock, like the Bridgedale Coolmax Liners, alongside an oversock. Essentially this can allow the two socks to slip and rub against each other, rather than your single sock rubbing against your skin.

Exeter Shop’s Sam (Far right) stands on the precipice of Ten Tors glory long ago. You may recognise Sam from our YouTube channel

Exeter Shop’s Sam answers…

Which waterproof garments are required, which would you recommend and why?

Ten Tors recommend “A jacket and trouser of good quality suitable for Dartmoor Weather”. What constitutes good quality varies from person to person. The main part of participating in Ten tors and DofE is enjoying it but being wet and cold can really ruin the experience, for parents the tough part can be the cost of all the equipment! We believe there are some bits of equipment you can skimp on and others you shouldn’t. Waterproofs can be a real make or break! Here at the Exeter shop, we have made some suggestions for waterproof jackets and trousers that we think are up to the task.

Rab Downpour & Downpour Eco Pants (RRP £115.00+£100.00) – Certainly the lightest jacket of the bunch, the Downpour range is perfect to carry with you in case of unexpected rain showers. Softer and less crinkly than many other traditional 3-layer waterproofs, this 2.5-layer Pertex Shield waterproof will still provide protection against rain. What you make up for in weight you do lose in durability and if you are buying longevity you might be better looking elsewhere.

Patagonia Torrentshell (RRP £170.00) – This 3-layer waterproof jacket from Patagonia provides exceptional waterproofness and breathable performance to provide all day comfort. It stuffs into its own pocket for compact storage when not in use, but its small pack size doesn’t limit the Torrentshell’s ability to withstand long-term exposure to extreme environments. By not using Gore-tex this jacket remains slightly more budget conscience without sacrificing performance.

Berghaus Hillwalker IA (RRP £170.00) – A 2-layer GORE-TEX Performance Shell keeps you dry in this Berghaus waterproof jacket. Its InterActive Technology allows you to zip in compatible Berghaus fleeces to provide further warmth and comfort, and its roll-away hood packs neatly away when not needed in windier environments this can be a blessing.

Mountain Equipment Makalu (RRP £270.00) – A great 3 layer Gore-tex jacket with hardwearing 75D shoulders but with a more breathable 50D around the body full complete with inside and outside chest pockets it’s a very good all-rounder and a personal favourite of the Exeter Store.

Rab Kangri Jacket and Pants (£300.00) – A Rab 3-layer GORE-TEX Performance membrane waterproof jacket optimises breathability and maximise protection for the wearer. It’s regular fit make it ideal for layering with other item of clothing, making this jacket and trousers suitable for year-round use. Check out our blog on the Kangri Jacket and Trousers.

Berghaus Deluge 2.0 Waterproof Trouser (RRP £60.oo) – In our eyes, there is no better option suitable for Ten tors and DofE. A great balance of price, fit and durability. Coming in short, regular and long leg lengths, everyone can get a great fit. Their tough AQ2 2-layer fabric isn’t as breathable as Gore-tex but with poppers and a long zip, breathability can still be achieved.

Montane Pac Plus Pants (RRP £140.00) – Using Gore-tex’s Paclite Plus membrane these are well-fitted and a very breathable trouser that is easy to carry. Additionally, due to a ¾ leg zip, easy to don over boots in a downpour. As with all lightweight membranes and a 30D outer fabric, what you lose in durability you make up for in breathability meaning you can leave them on all day.

Taunton Shop’s Dom answers…

How do you keep yourself happy and motivated in rough conditions outdoors?

Warm. Dry. Fed. Hydrated. Maintaining these 4 needs will keep you going with a spring in your step, the right kit will help you with all of them. Good team spirit is also essential to staying happy and motivated, with a good team, you’ll all be able to support each other through thick and thin. If you have met the 4 needs, help others get theirs, and don’t forget to rest occasionally while on the trail. Though it is additional weight, a pack of cards won’t make too much difference and is a spectacular way to end each day before bed.

Bristol shop’s Lily learns not to mess with bogs while taking part in Ten Tors herself.

Bristol shop’s Lily answers…

What layers should you keep under your waterproof jacket to ensure maximum comfort in wet, harsh conditions?

The item I would pick for doing Ten Tors, along with a Merino underlayer from Icebreaker, would be the Rab Nexus full-zip. The importance of layering is often overlooked, but in the wind and rain of Dartmoor, the Nexus offers crucial warmth, mobility and breathability. Weighing just 237g, it is the perfect lightweight fleece. It is made with Thermic stretch fleece with an oval-grid backer, which allows easy mobility without restricting movement, and as an extra feature, has double cuffs for extra warmth around the wrists. It has just the right balance of packability, low weight and durability, along with being warm and comfortable. Pair it with a Merino underlayer from the Icebreaker Oasis range for cool temperatures, free of microfibres and synthetics and renewable, recyclable and biodegradable.  The right coat is important for Ten Tors, but it is nothing without the correct layers.

Exeter Shop’s Dave answers…

What should somebody look for in the correct pair of walking trousers and what do you recommend?

Most teams recommend two pairs of trousers. The main thing to look out for in a good pair is the fit – you don’t want the trousers to be dragging on the floor catching muck but you need something that will allow good flexibility throughout the day. Along with the waist and leg length, it’s worth noting whether they can synch in around the boot. Some groups say leggings are not allowed however some brands such as Mountain Equipment and Rab have created leggings that are as tough, warm and suitable as trousers. Another important consideration is that they are quick-drying. The last thing anyone wants is to get wet and stay wet all day! Of course, there are so many options out there but some features that you could think about, Zip pockets, zip-off legs, DWR (durable water repellency) coating, and the ability to tighten the bottom.

Taunton Shop’s Martha recommends Snugpack’s Softie Expansion 3 as the ultimate Ten Tors bag, combining solid reliability with a good price.

Taunton shop’s Martha answers…

What level of sleeping bag is required for these events and what would your recommendations be?

Ten Tor’s rules require a sleeping bag with a comfort limit of at least -2 degrees and that it is stored within a waterproof bag. As far as the temperature stipulation is concerned, we have a good range of sleeping bags that achieve this. When considering which to pick, think about the body length required. Taller people may need a longer lengthed bag. As far as weight and packability are concerned, down-insulated bags tend to perform better in warmth for their weight, however, please note that due to down’s poor water resistance, it will not keep you warm if it gets wet. For this reason, many schools and groups ask for synthetically insulated bags. I would recommend the Snugpack Softie Expansion 3. It is a decent weight for a synthetic bag which works nicely in cold temperatures and is a superb price for its capabilities.

There we have it! For those who still have big questions to ask regarding the event’s required gear, we thoroughly recommend either popping into store or giving us a ring. We love chatting about outdoor gear!

Until then, best of luck with your training and happy hiking.