The ruckoff generally occurs either one or two nights before the GORUCK event and it’s where the team gets together to socialize and get to know each other. A lot of people have families, commitments, and other reasons why they don’t make it out to the ruckoff. It’s for this reason that I am writing this post… I think the ruckoff is a very important part of the GORUCK experience and should be planned for.
The typical ruckoff (at least in the Seattle area) starts around 6 pm or so at a large restaurant with bar. In the past we’ve gone to Elysian Brewing, Pyramid Brewing, The Ram Brewing, and Henry’s First Ave Tavern. Notice a theme between these places? That’s right… they all serve beer. What’s more though is each of those places is great at accommodating large groups and each serve non-alcoholic drinks. Don’t worry you’re not required to drink at a ruckoff. There’s no pressure and it’s a great way to relieve stress before the event.
Generally the ruckoff will last around 3 hours with many people coming and going throughout. There’s no obligation to stay the entire time and even if you can just show up for 45 minutes that’s still great. People talk the entire time about everything ranging from brick and ruck layouts to what they do for a living and what they like to do for fun. The goal is to get to know the people you will be spending the next 5+ (Light), 10+ (Challenge), or 24+ (Heavy) hours with.
In addition you’ll also get lots of pointers and tips from people who have done these events before. GRT (at least in our area) love helping out people who have no idea what is going on and need advice. We go so far as to set up Q&A sessions before GORUCK events so that newbies can get any of their questions answered. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard people ask if gloves are really necessary. Yes they are… for weeks you will regret not bringing them. Get your questions answered at a ruckoff.
Why I Feel It’s Important
When I’m leading up to a GORUCK event I always think about the physical aspects of it. Am I trained up enough? Can I push the distance and be an asset to my team? After the events I rarely think about the physical side and instead think about the people. My biggest regret is always not talking to more people and getting to know who they are and what possessed them to sign up for this. When the event is over what you’re left with is the patch, the experience, and the friendships you’ve forged.
The only ruckoffs that I regret are the ones that I was unable to attend.
In addition to meeting the team if this is your first GORUCK event then you will get so many important tips. Show up, talk to some GRT, and figure out if there is any way you can improve your planned load out. If you make a mistake like not bringing gloves, food, or cash for a cab you will regret it immensely. At the time of writing this I’ve done 7 GORUCK Good Livin’ events (2 Lights, 4 Challenges, and 1 Heavy) and even I usually learn new things at the ruckoff.
The ruckoff is an important aspect of the GORUCK experience and I highly suggest that you try and attend yours before each event. With that said if you are unable to attend don’t worry… you’ll have plenty of time during the event to meet everyone. The Cadre will make sure of that.