Graham Thompson, Trail Technical Editor

GT's experience of outdoor gear is unrivalled – but what does he pack in his 'sack?

Graham Thompson, Trail Magazine's technical editor, displays the contents of his rucksack! Photo: Graham Thompson / Trail Magazine

Living in the Lake District and testing gear for Trail, Graham has different kit in his rucksack every day of the week – and with over 20 years of experience he knows what works and what doesn’t. With GT it isn’t about the branding, the colour or the latest technology, it’s about what’s going to do the best job.

Trekking poles
I always have a pair strapped to the side of my rucksack and use them as necessary. Black Diamond’s Trail Flicklock Trekking Poles are my long-term favourites – they’re real workhorses and have been everywhere with me for years.

Birdwatching kit
I often take a pair of Minox HG 8x43 BR binoculars on the hill for spotting birds, and if I see something I can’t identify then I grab my trusty Collins Bird Guide to Britain and Europe.

This is the Lowe Alpine Air Zone Pro 45:55. The Air Zone back system holds the pack away from the back to allow more airflow, and is perfectly designed for hillwalking throughout the year with a variety of gear.

Hats & Gloves
I always have at least two pairs of gloves and two hats when walking with groups, because someone else always appears to lose their own. I also like changing to a warm, dry pair if mine get wet. These are Marmot Work Gloves from 2012.

Safety kit
I’ve had a large survival bag in my rucksack for decades, but have only slept in it once, in the Alps. My main headtorch is a Petzl Myo RXP but I also have a Petzl Tikka. I have cobbled together a first aid kit myself and have some Smith snow goggles that I use in really bad weather.

I always pack at least one camera. This shot was taken on a tripod with my Nikon D200, but if I don’t want to carry that then I just take my smaller Nikon Coolpix P7000.

Maps & Guidebooks
In the Lakes I use the Harvey British Mountain Map at 1:40,000, but I supplement that with the trusty Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 Landrangers for trips to Scotland. A SatMap GPS receiver, Silva Type 4 compass and appropriate guidebooks are always in my pack.

Waterproof rucksack liners
All my kit goes into an Exped Waterproof Pack Liner, and I have various stuffsacks and clear plastic bags that are used to keep smaller items dry.

Spare insulation
I always pack some backup insulation; this is a Rab Generator Syncro synthetic insulated jacket. It lives in the bottom of my pack and is perfect for throwing on when the temperature dips.

Waterproof jacket & trousers
With waterproof jackets what really matters is: can I see with the hood up, and can I get my hands into the pockets when I’m wearing a rucksack? Few jackets meet this requirement, but the Mountain Equipment Firefox is one I really like. I also have a pair of lightweight Berghaus Vapour Shell Gore-Tex Active overtrousers.

Food & drink
I have the same food on the hill every day: oat cakes, Primula cheese, nuts and raisins, malt loaf and some kind of flapjack. I take a battered 1 litre Sigg bottle for my main drink and carry a second bottle, such as this Kleen Kanteen, in case my walking partner runs out of water.