Update: The Kickstarter was not successful but Todd (Gear N8tion) has made some for sale in the ADR Store. If there are any available they can be found here.
Todd Forkner has designed a way to easily and conveniently strap bricks into your GORUCK pack. I got in contact with him and was able to secure a prototype version to test out. He’s running a Kickstarter campaign to get funding to have this produced by professionals which is exciting. I’m a huge supporter of anything that people who are GRT (or soon-to-be GRT) are trying to create so I backed it right away.
The day the prototype brick panel arrived I threw my bricks in my ruck and went for a four mile ruck. I didn’t strap them in with anything and just let them float around. This is typically how first timers secure their packs and what I did at my first (053) and second (161) events. My goal here was to remember how terrible it is to let the weight float low in the pack and slam into your lower back.
The following day I strapped in the new brick panel, secured the bricks, and went out for another four mile ruck. My lower back was actually still giving me some issues from the beating I gave it the day before when I carried the weight low in the ruck. After this ruck I rested for a day (got some pull-ups in for the Pull-Up Challenge) then rucked again the following day.
Each day I was out I threw in some pull-ups, push-ups, lunges, bear crawls, crab walks, and anything else I could think of that consistently happens at GORUCK events.
What Does It Come With?
The Brick Panel comes with itself (a 1000d Cordura panel) and six straps to hold bricks in. I’m sure if/when the Kickstarter is funded Todd will sell you some extra straps if you think you need more than six. The front side features the area where you can strap the bricks in and the back side has the straps that attach to the GORUCK bag’s webbing.
Strapping It In
The Brick Panel connects to your ruck just like the GORUCK Field Pockets do… through a series of straps that run through the webbing. Once they’ve been run through you just snap the button and they stay securely. The Brick Panel is built to fit in a system that has six columns of internal webbing. I have one of the original GR1 bags which only has five columns (unlike the current GR1 which has six). I can confirm that there was no issue strapping it in what-so-ever as I just let the right panel stay unconnected and it worked out great.
Once the brick panel is strapped in you just need to figure out how you want to strap your bricks in and you’re good to go. There’s tons of different combinations you can do which is nice because you can better accommodate the gear that you’re bringing with you. I ended up going with three in the top and three in the bottom which worked great for me. When I went out the second time I chose four in the top and two below which was even nicer.
Brick Panel In Action
Most people know that I keep my weight high in the ruck because it’s so much easier on the back. The Brick Panel accomplishes this just as well (if not better) than my current strap setup. The days that I rucked with it (as opposed to letting the weight float) were so much better. They were actually enjoyable trips as opposed to being slightly painful for my lower back.
One of my favorite parts about the brick panel is that it utilizes all available rows of internal webbing. My current strap setting uses three vertical straps so it only utilizes half of the webbing available. By utilizing all of the webbing the Brick Panel is distributing the weight of the bricks and saving your webbing from any potential damage.
I really like the Brick panel. It was originally a pain finding straps that would work well for rucking and I had to order a few different ones until I found some that worked. Most GRT who have done more than one challenge have found something that works for them… whether it’s straps and a yoga block or something else.
This product will be especially useful for people who have never done an event before or don’t know how to strap in their bricks. Don’t get me wrong, this is incredibly useful for a GRT, but for people who are lost and confused starting their first event this will be a life saver. I know it would have saved me a lot of recovery time after classes 053 and 161.
As a GRT I’m going to be using this instead of my current setup when I head down to San Diego for the first ABSOC… that’s how much I trust it and prefer it over my current setup. I’ll be posting an update to this review once the ABSOC is over and I’ve been able to test it at an actual event.
Todd currently has a Kickstarter campaign running to raise funds to get these produced. If you want to support him (like I did) then you can do so there.
Do you have any questions about this piece of gear? Feel free to leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer them. Todd is a very nice guy and I’m sure he wouldn’t mind answering any questions that were asked as well.