In August of 2011 I received my first GORUCK GR1. It’s hard to believe that was over five years ago… time just keeps flying. Jason recently posted some changes that had been made to the GORUCK GR1 since it was released.
I finally found some time to grab my packs and photograph the changes he mentioned and the ones I had noticed. The goal of this post is two fold: to show the history of the GR1 and to inform people who are looking for GR1s on the secondary market.
There are three GORUCK GR1s in this post each from different production time frames: August 2011, December 2015, and November 2016. It should be noted that the GR1 from August, 2011 has been through maybe a dozen GORUCK events… it did not arrive this dirty.
It should also be noted that any color shade “differences” are due to dirt on the packs. All of the packs are black… or at least were black at one time.
The best way to illustrate some of the differences is using GORUCK’s Wire Dopp. The Wire Dopp was designed to fit in both the outside and inside large pockets and hold cords. If you’re curious about it you can check out our GORUCK Wire Dopp review or the product page at GORUCK.
Without any further rambling here are all of the production differences I was able to notice while looking over these packs. Did I miss anything? Has something else changed? Leave a comment and I’ll do my best to investigate.
Outside Pocket Size
The Wire Dopp is perfect for measuring the outside pocket of the GR1. You can see in the above picture that it fits nicely into the 2015 model. That version’s flat outside pocket went from the zipper down to about the middle row of MOLLE.
The pocket on the GR1 from 2016 runs even deeper and ends at the bottom of the pack. This is very similar (maybe identical) to the outer pocket on the Rucker.
The 2011 model was built with a smaller outside pocket than the newer packs as you can see above. The Wire Dopp needs to be folded slightly to even fit inside it.
Once folded and pushed to the bottom you can see that it doesn’t even fit in the entire way. The older GR1s have both a thinner and more shallow outside pocket than the newer ones. I’m not sure when those changes were made but they were at some point and I definitely prefer the newest version.
Outside MOLLE Sizing
This might not have been as much of a “planned” change but the outside webbing is definitely different between the packs.
The 2015/2016 packs are very similar as the width of the ruck is the same however the 2011 version is quite a bit different as shown below.
As you can pretty easily see there are six columns of webbing on each. The first and last columns are both the same size which differ from the widths of the four middle columns. On the newer GR1 (on the bottom) the first and last columns are both wider than the middle four. On the older GR1 (on the top) the first and last columns are both skinnier than the middle four. If you’re looking to attach something on the outside and use the first or last column then the newer widths are definitely easier to work with.
Sometime between the packs built in 2011 and those in 2015 the zippers on the outside were changed. The 2011 packs feature giant YKK zippers that are made in the US while the newer packs feature skinnier zippers that are from YKK and made in Taiwan.
Shoulder Strap Top Attachment Point
Sometime between 2015 and 2016 GORUCK started sewing their shoulder straps into the packs differently. Can you see the difference above?
Before, they used to sew the shoulder straps into webbing then sew the webbing into the pack. Now the shoulder straps are sewn directly into the backpacks. Jason touched on this recently on Reddit and wrote about it on the GORUCK blog.
It’s hard to tell that there’s any difference when looking at it straight on so, if buying on the secondary, it’s worth asking for a picture of the attachment point if that matters to you.
It’s easiest to get access to the laptop compartment by flipping the straps around.
Although the new attachment system still “flips” around it doesn’t sit nearly as flat against the pack as the others.
For a better view here’s the 2016 GR1 on the left and the 2015 GR1 on the right. The shoulder straps flare out a bit more on the 2015 pack.
Here’s a closer look at that flare action.
Then for good measure here’s the 2011 GR1 with its straps folded around the back.
Shoulder Strap Lower Attachment Point
GORUCK stopped sewing the shoulder straps directly into the base of the pack and started using a flap (they call it a batwing) to attach it.
Internal Mesh Pocket
From far away you can’t exactly tell that there’s a size difference between the internal mesh pockets.
It’s not until you grab a Wire Dopp and try to fit it in that you notice they fit very well in the newer (pack above is from 2015) packs…
… and not nearly as well in the older (2011 pack above) packs.
Above you can see the Wire Dopp fitting nicely in the 2016 GR1 and below you can see how it looks completely shoved into the 2011 GR1.
Internal Webbing Columns
The GR1 from 2011 only has five columns of webbing across the three rows. The newer versions all have the full six columns that you see in most pictures. You can also see that the shoulder strap attachment point is a bit cleaner on the newer packs.
I haven’t heard it mentioned anywhere officially but I strongly believe the original GR1s were not 26L packs. Above we have a GR1 from 2013 on the left and a GR1 from 2011 on the right. Right away you can see there’s a slight height difference in the packs. In addition it’s important to note that there are nine panels on the back of each pack (which means GR1) and that the panel sizes vary a little between the two packs.
Opening them both up to prove that both packs are indeed GORUCK GR1s.
The 2011 GR1 fits nicely inside of the 2013 Ranger Green GR1.
One could argue that due to the rigidity of these two packs (frame sheet, bottom Cordura) if both packs were identical in size this should not be possible. Add this information to the notes above about the mesh pocket size, different internal webbing columns, and what you can see with the back panel sizing and I think there is some question as to whether these two GR1s are the same size.
Bladder Hose Hole
There were a number of people upset that the bladder hose hole was removed from the inside of the GR1. Based on the comments you would have thought that the GORUCK removed the hole for the hose to exit the GR1 instead of from the laptop area to the main pack compartment. The 2011 and 2015 GR1s are on the left while the 2016 GR1 is on the right. As you can see the cutout from the laptop area to the main compartment is no longer present.
Here’s a quick picture comparing the 2011 and 2015 GR1s… you can see that the quality of the hole is a lot better on the 2015 version. Likewise you can also see the extra column of webbing and how they get that in there.
Above you see the 2015 and 2016 packs… only difference is no cutout on the newer ones.
Cordura Used On Bottom
The older GR1s have a 1050d Cordura bottom while the newer packs have a 1000d Cordura bottom. Here’s a quote from GORUCK on the change.
NOTE: over the last years, we have seen limited but still too many problems associated with using 1050D on the bottoms of the rucks. It’s bulkier than 1000D and therefore harder to sew, kind of like trying to eat a sandwich that’s bigger than your mouth. Yeah, you’ll figure it out, but it’s messier than usual. We do not and have not seen any problems from our Scars Department with the 1000D bottoms (which have been on the colored GR1’s since forever), so we made uniform 1000D Cordura bottoms on all black rucks as well in 2016. All still come with our Scars Lifetime Guarantee, and offer all the abrasion resistance you’ll need, and then some.
Honestly I haven’t noticed a difference between the 1000d and 1050d and neither have failed on me.
The 2011 GR1 will not stand on its own (even when full) while the 2015 and 2016 packs have very little issue as long as there’s some gear in them. At some point between 2011 and 2015 GORUCK must have changed the way the bottom of the packs are cut to allow for that.
Length of Shoulder Strap Webbing
The GR1s all have different lengths of shoulder strap webbing with the 2011 and 2015 being very similar and the 2016 being a bit shorter.
The webbing from the 2011 GR1 measures about 16.5″ from the buckle to where it’s sewn directly into the pack.
The 2015 GR1 measures approximately 15″ to where the strap is sewn into the batwing and about 17″ to where it’s sewn into the pack.
The 2016 GR1 measures about 13″ to where it’s sewn into the batwing and 15″ to where it reaches the pack… which makes it 2″ shorter than the previous version.
Hopefully you found this post informative and somewhat useful. If you’re looking for a GR1 on the secondary market then you should be able to use this to figure out which version you want or are going to receive. If you’ve read reviews of the GR1 in the past then hopefully this will help you identify differences between the reviewer’s pack and the one you will receive.