It was 2 p.m. and my plane was landing in San Diego. The landing was incredibly rough as the Bert Storm was in the full effect. The wind was fierce, the rain was brutal, and there was something in the air. The weather didn’t matter though… we weren’t there for a weekend vacation but to participate in the inaugural GORUCK ABSOC event.
The ABSOC 001 AAR is going to be split up into two separate parts. The first part is a dual purpose traveling for GORUCK & the gear I brought for ABSOC 001. I’m going to apologize in advance that this post is so long. To remedy this I’ve provided a quick table of contents…just click one of the following links to skip to the corresponding section.
Packing For The ABSOC Trip
I had made a small list of gear that I needed to bring but I consider myself familiar to these events so I didn’t overthink it. Below is a list of the gear that I brought for the weekend. I wore my challenge gear (TAD Force 10 AC pants, dryfit shirt, Moab Ventilator boots, Tac Hat) on the plane so I would guarantee I didn’t forget it. The only part I seriously screwed up on was when I packed my water bladder but that is explained below.
I used the GR2 as my travel backpack because it’s big enough to fit everything I need and also fits under the seat in front of you on an airplane. Whenever I take weekend trips the GR2 is always the bag I reach for. It’s the perfect size to hold everything and then there’s no checking luggage involved.
- GORUCK GR1
- That’s right… I packed my black GORUCK GR1 inside of the main compartment of my GR2. I kept thinking that I would get stopped at security because honestly who makes a Russian Nesting Doll of backpacks? If you have a GR2 and a GR1 (and use the GR1 for Challenges) then I highly recommend going this route… it works so that I wouldn’t be surprised if GORUCK actually planned it this way.
- Something about travel makes me hungry and my wife knows this. She was nice enough to buy me some snacks for the plane :).
- Water Bottle
- Staying hydrated is incredibly important during the days leading up to any endurance event. If I wasn’t drinking 100+ ounces of water a day I would have been in bad shape for ABSOC. No reason to buy water at an airport… just bring an empty water bottle.
- Small Essentials
- Tooth brush, tooth paste, cell phone charger… all those things you shouldn’t travel without but more than often forget.
- Garbage Bags
- I knew I wouldn’t have time to wash my clothes or clean my ruck so I brought some extra garbage bags to bag everything up in. That way I could focus on traveling and just clean all of my soon-to-be dirty gear at home.
GORUCK 38L Gym Bag
Because the majority of my GR2 main compartment was taken up by my GR1 I needed to bring another bag to hold the rest of my clothing and gear. When I bought my 38L Gym Bag I never actually intended to use it as my gym bag. To me it seemed to be the perfect size for a weekend trip or all purpose duffle bag. Sure it would still make for a great gym bag but at this size it’s almost better for a travel bag.
- “Normal” Clothes
- These were the clothes I planned on wearing after the event and on the plane heading home. I packed a pair of jeans and a few t-shirts.
- Spare Shoes
- I knew I’d end up trashing my Moab Ventilators so I brought a spare pair of shoes to wear after the event. I ended up just bringing some gym shoes because I knew they were comfortable and because they don’t take up much space.
- Challenge Gear & Food
- I packed all of my extra gear and food in my 38L Gym Bag as well. I packed a decent number (5 or 6) Lara Bars and some of those Stinger Waffle Crackers.
Packing List For ABSOC 001
Here is a detailed list of everything that I packed and brought with me during GORUCK ABSOC 001. The only gear that I don’t recommend bringing (unless required, of course) is the snorkel and mask. Those items were required for this ABSOC event but there’s really no point to bringing them to a normal event (unless of course Cadre John AKA Big Daddy is your cadre… trust me he’ll love it).
- GORUCK GR1
- This GR1 is the same ruck I’ve used for 4 Challenges and 3 Lights. It has held up amazingly well so far and I couldn’t find any reason not to bring it for ABSOC.
- Brick Panel
- I still had the brick panel I had been testing from the Kickstarter campaign and I used that to secure my bricks. If you don’t have one of these (I only know of two in existence).
- Dry Bag (Food)
- I Keep all of my food in a Dry Bag becaues I don’t want it to get ruined. Nothing will kill your meal more than taking a bite out of a Larabar that tastes like salt water… trust me.
- Six Bricks
- I’m never to weigh under 150 lbs… that’s just a fact so six bricks it is for me. I had arranged in advance for the bricks to be available for me at the ruckoff. I’d highly suggest using this method if it’s available to you. If you NEED to travel with bricks I hear checking them is the best method but be prepared for them to be opened up during a search.
- Pelican 1120 Case
- I’ve owned this Pelican 1120 Case for probably a year now but never actually used it during an event. I was going back and forth on if I should or shouldn’t use it and I ended up bringing it. I kept my wallet, phone, and wedding ring in it for the duration of the Challenge. I wanted to keep them all with me because I was traveling and those were the three items that I knew I could not allow to go missing. I actually ended up using it in place of a yoga block (for supporting the bricks) which seemed to work pretty well. I chose the 1120 case over similar priced options because it’s one of the few that is good for complete submersion… which happened to it a lot during ABSOC.
- Water Bladder
- I brought the same Source water bladder I’ve used for the past 4 or 5 events. It’s a workhorse and I love it. I did, however, forget the valve that you use to suck water out of it. Somehow I was lucky enough to be able to borrow one but it didn’t work all that well unfortunately. Because of this I had maybe 4 – 5 sips of water the entire event but that’s life sometimes. The cadre were giving me a really hard time about my dysfunctional water bladder but it didn’t affect me much as I had been drinking hundreds of ounces of water the days leading up to the event.
- Snorkel & Mask
- These were required gear for the ABSOC event. My snorkel broke halfway through the event but that’s alright. Cadre John called it “the most f***ed up looking snorkel he’d ever seen in his life” but I guess that’s what you get sometimes.
- Dryfit Shirt
- I brought a generic dryfit shirt for the event. I think this time around it was a Tough Mudder one or something… I’m never too picky here it just has to fit.
- I generally bring the cheapest windbreaker I can find. My only criteria is that it blocks the wind and is cheap because I don’t want to ruin nice gear that these events. If it can block the wind and keep me from freezing it’s perfect for me.
- Triple Aught Design Force 10 AC Pants
- I’ve used these pants for so many events it’s crazy. I haven’t had to buy a new pair yet and I can hardly tell my current pair has been worn. They are amazing… if you want to know more about them you can check out the review I wrote on them.
- GROUCK TAC Hat
- I bring this hat with me to all my GORUCK events now. It’s great for wiping up the sweat and keeping the sun out of my eyes.
- Cheap Headlamp
- It has gotten to the point that I’ve ruined so many expensive headlamps that I just bring the cheapest (~$5) one I can find. I usually pick them up at a local drug store. They work for the event and that’s all I need them to do.
- Mechanix Gloves
- These are the same gloves I’ve worn for the past 4 or 5 GORUCK events. I don’t know how they don’t have holes in them yet… somehow they’re still working well. If you want to know more about them you can check out the review I wrote on them.
- ExOfficio Underwear
- Fox River Socks
- I use a ton of different socks but Fox River seem to be the best for my feet when rucking for long periods of time. I wore them the entire event and finished with no blisters so I guess you could say they work for me.
- Merrell Moab Ventilator Boots
- I’ve been wearing these boots since I completed my Heavy almost a year ago. If you want to know more about them you can read the review I wrote on them shortly after I completed that event.