GORUCK recently moved most of their backpack production to Vietnam. I bought one of the 25L Ruckers from that first Vietnam batch because I was curious how GORUCK would distinguish it from their USA made packs. It’s confusing enough that the packs don’t have their sizes labeled so I was definitely worried that changing the manufacturing location would add more uncertainty to the mix.
If you’d like to see the unboxing video for the GORUCK Vietnam Ruck then check out the video below.
Don’t worry… there’s a comparison video coming soon as well :)
From the initial inspection there are a few distinguishing features that will help you tell the difference between the USA made GORUCK packs and the ones made in Vietnam.
The Internal Label
Check the internal label. Thankfully many secondary market sellers include the internal label in the post so this one should, for the meantime, be a dead giveaway. The internal label on all previous GORUCK rucks has said BUILT IN THE USA. Obviously the packs made in Vietnam can’t say that so I was curious what they would end up saying. Turns out GORUCK has changed the BUILT IN THE USA label to LIFETIME GUARANTEE.
Only time will tell if the labels on any of the new USA made GORUCK packs sport the lifetime guarantee label or if they get the built in the USA label. Right now this is a distinguishing factor but we’ll see how long that lasts.
New Bottom Label
There’s a brand new label sewn into the bottom of the GORUCK packs that I’m personally very excited about… at least as much as you can get excited about labels. Never before has the size of the GORUCK pack been noted on any label and we finally have it. RUCKER 25L. In addition to the size we also have the country it was built in. If you’re buying a pack on the secondary market ask for a shot of the inside bottom and you should be able to see the tag there.
The USA made packs have very small tags sewn into the bottom but they aren’t nearly as descriptive. This one says “L” which I would imagine means large? A “25” would have made a lot more sense since this is a 25L pack. Needless to say I’m much happier with the newer labels and I hope the USA made rucks get them as well.
There’s been a lot of discussion over in the comments on the YouTube video I shot regarding the labels GORUCK used on the packs. Some people think it’s enough and others wish there were more differences between the packs.
Personally I’m happy with the labels and markings GORUCK chose. There won’t be any confusion on the secondary market which is all I could truly ask for. Could there be a bigger difference? Sure… but I don’t really see the point in that.
PS: The new Ruckers from Vietnam all come with drain holes in them while the USA made ones do not. I did not include this as a distinguishing feature because you can request that SCARS add drain holes to your pack. There are plenty of drain holes on GORUCK rucks that were officially added by GORUCK so that’s not a clear giveaway that the ruck is from Vietnam.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on it either in the comments here or in the discussion over on that YouTube video. It’s always great getting additional opinions even if (and sometimes especially) they don’t mesh with mine.
Will Todski says
Appreciate the article! I have a USA made GR3 and just acquired a Vietnam GR1 and GR2. Only because the cloth I wanted was not in the US made category. I exchanged some emails back and forth to the [email protected] and was assured the quality was the same. I brought up some customers responses that the black was a little different in certain lights, a “purple” hue, and they stated that there can always be variances in dye color US or otherwise within a lot of fabric. I find that answer completely reasonable. So, on to the quality inspection between the rucks of differing origin. I went through them pretty close, looking at the seams, stitching, fabric, and I can see NO difference. Of course I would have preferred to spend the extra $ on US bags but the fabric options weren’t there. At least they are not made in China!!! I can understand Vietnam although I would have preferred maybe South Korea if that was even an option. Anyways, on the Goruck site, JM laid out the reasons why the move with some product. I’m sure it was NOT an easy decision. Bomb proof packs though and I take issue with one Blogger who claims to be involved in marketing and travel, and claimed that the Vietnam made pack were far less superior, not worth it, and containing many issues. Guy looks like he’s never done a push-up, ever. Appreciate the VETERAN discount from them as well! Hoooah!
Brian ADR says
Appreciate you taking the time to leave this comment! As someone who has bought a lot of Cordura in the past for projects I agree that there can always be color variances. At this point I own 3 or 4 Vietnam made packs and I agree there’s no difference in the quality… I’ve used them at events and they’ve all held up. So glad to hear yours are working out for you as well!
I decided to buy a 25L Vietnam made Rucker go with my 20l after watching your unboxing (unbagging) video. I received it a couple of days ago. I am pretty impressed with the quality and the size. I’ve been wanting to buy a 25L but couldn’t justify the spend for the USA Made ones. As I mentioned the quality seems great, just finished a 5 mile Ruck with it loaded to 58lbs and feels great. Time will tell, but I don’t see any appreciable difference in the construction of the ruck from my 20l USA Made one.
Brian ADR says
Thanks Brian! I agree… the quality is there in the Vietnam made bags. I’ve put a fair number of miles on mine and will continue to do so but I don’t see it breaking any time soon. Glad yours is working well too!