Adventurous Journey

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The Duke's Rule of Thumb:

"Glamping" is not considered an Adventurous Journey!

The Adventurous Journey is all about getting out and going on an expedition or exploration in an unfamiliar and challenging environment with a clear purpose. More than any other section of The Duke of Ed, the Adventurous Journey is about team work and social connection with both the team members who will undertake the journey, and also the volunteers who instruct, supervise and assess the journey.

At the heart of the Adventurous Journey is the opportunity for you to engage in activities that require determination, physical effort, perseverance, problem solving and cooperation. It is hoped that when undertaking this section of the Duke of Ed, you will be rewarded with a unique, challenging and memorable experience.

 Things to know: 

  • All journeys should involve travel by personal effort without motorized assistance. In order to get to the departure point or from the completion point, motorized transport may be used. Your Adventurous Journey starts after you leave the motorized transportation. 

  • There are three types of journeys:

    a) Explorations (A purpose with a trip)
    An Exploration is a purpose with a journey. In an exploration, the primary focus is to observe and collect information relevant to the purpose. Participants may make use of a base camp, and their purpose involves some aspect of the natural environment (e.g. flora, fauna, land forms), or is historic in nature. In an exploration, at least one third of the minimum hours of planned effort should be spent on journeying. The remainder of the time is to be spent on the approved investigation or special activity. An Exploration must involve pre-journey research or study into the topic, an on-site study during the journey, and a report on the findings contained in the log.

    b) Expeditions (A trip with a purpose)
    An Expedition is a journey with a purpose. In an expedition, the primary focus is journeying, where participants stay at a different campsite each night. If obtaining different campsites proves to be impossible, participants may use a base camp. This journey may have one of many purposes. For Expeditions, the required hours of planned activity are to be spent on journeying, navigating and route finding, setting up and striking camp, and on tasks related to the purpose of the Expedition

    c) Adventurous Project 
    The Adventurous Project is a journey that does not quite conform to the specific requirements of an expedition or exploration, although the aim and ethos remains the same.  It tends to require more innovation, creativity and challenge than an expedition or exploration. It is often significantly more demanding than a standard expedition or exploration. Before commencing an Adventurous Project, Participants must be adequately prepared, trained and experienced prior to departure to ensure they can complete the Adventurous Project safely.

    The Adventurous Project requires pre-approval from the Division Award Office. All Adventurous Project proposals must first be approved by the Award Leader (on behalf of the Award Unit). Adventurous Project proposals are then submitted to your Division to determine suitability prior to departure.

  • All Explorations, Expeditions, and the Adventurous Project must have a clearly defined and preconceived purpose which may vary from the successful completion of a demanding journey to the satisfactory conclusion of a practical investigation.

  • The duration of the journey, and the required hours to be spent on planned activity, will depend on the level of the Award you are working on. Refer to the chart below to see the days/nights you will need to spend out for your Award section.                                                                                                        

 Practice Journey

Qualifying Journey 
                           Bronze          1 full day out 
            (spending a night out is optional*)            
2 days, 1 night 
                           Silver  2 days, 1 night 

    3 days, 2 nights 

                           Gold ​2 days, 1 night  ​4 days, 3 nights

*Please Note: This is a Canadian national dispensation only, International rules state that all practice journeys must include an overnight stay.
  • During your expedition you we have suggested distance required to be covered depending on your Award level and mode of travel. Please refer to the chart below.  
                             Mode         Bronze                  Silver               Gold      
                             On Foot - Hiking        20 km  40 km 60 km
                             Nordic skiing  35 km 65 km 95 km
                             Horseback  50 km  100 km  165 km 
                             Cycling  85 km  165 km  250 km 
  • This list is only a guide and is not intended to restrict the choice of mode of travel. It is recognized that other modes of travel such as canoeing, sailing, kayaking,  rock climbing and dog-sledding are best measured by duration rather than distance. Leaders and assessors should also take into account the nature of the terrain and climatic conditions.
  • Other Adventurous Journeys, which may be described as expeditionary or exploratory, may be allowed provided that prior approval has been obtained from an Award office.

  • The environment chosen must be appropriate to the purpose of the journey. For Silver and Gold participants, the environment chosen must be unfamiliar.

  • During the qualifying journey, the team needs to be no fewer than four and not more than seven young people, operating independently of others.

  • In the planning / training stage for each journey, each individual must undertake a share of the general organization of the journey, including submission of the planned route to the assessor for approval. It is imperative that, for trips into unfamiliar territory, training for each participant be completed prior to the journey. Examples of appropriate training include safety precautions, map reading, map and compass use, first aid, cooking, and wildlife awareness. An outline of the training to be under taken and of the practice journeys must be submitted to the assessor at the same time as the plan for the qualifying journey. Due account must be given to seasonal and terrain conditions. Any assistance given to participants should be appropriate to the Award level.

  • For all journeys including practice journeys, suitable clothing and footwear must be worn and equipment and spare clothing appropriate to the nature of the journey must be carried. Participants should  be knowledgeable in the proper use and care of all items of equipment. Note: A detailed Route Card outlining the planned route and time table of the journey, as well as an alternate emergency route, must be submitted to the assessor before the journey. Relevant medical information on each participant should also be given to the assessor prior to any journey.

  • Nights away should be spent camping but, where appropriate, participants may make use of youth hostels, huts, barns or similar accommodations.
    Tents should be isolated or on small sites. Hostels and huts should be relatively remote. 

    For Expeditions
    each night you should aim to camp at a different site if possible.  
    For Explorations - you can camp at the same site which will be your base during your exploration.

  • When camping, food is normally carried by participants but fresh produce may be purchased during the journey. At least one hot cooked meal must be prepared each day.

  • Practice Journey(s) - Prior to their qualifying journey, all participants are required to carry out practice journeys which may be accompanied by experience adults. Practice journeys need not be of the same duration and must not be over the same route but conditions should otherwise approximate as closely as possible those anticipated for the qualifying journey, and should include at least one night out (except Bronze). Requirements for practice journeys vary depending on the level (see chart above in #3)

  • Reports are required and are to be submitted for assessment along with their Record Book, on completion of the Award level. We recommend the use of the Guidelines, outlined in this chapter, in   preparing Adventurous Journey reports.

  • All journeys will adhere to the Wilderness Code of Behaviour as outlined.

Note: Speak to your Award Leader for more information. If you do not have an Award Leader, please speak to your local Award Office.