The GORUCK pack used in these pictures is essentially brand new. The old review had pictures of my original GR1 after it had been through a ton of events. GORUCK has made some minor modifications to the pack since I bought my first GR1 so I figured the images should be updated so that you’ll know what the current gen GR1 looks like.
Why the GORUCK GR1?
There are a number of great quality gear making companies out there. I suggest the GORUCK GR1 because it is the ruck that has served me well for my challenges and for life. Many people also enjoy the Kifaru X-Ray or the Mystery Ranch 3 Day Assault Pack. I’m sure these are amazing packs as well but I have no experience with them and therefore cannot comment.
What I do have experience with is the GR1. The GORUCK GR1 is built incredibly tough and double stitched in all the right places… which is almost everywhere. The carry handle is double layered (as seen above) with padding sewn in between the Cordura to make it more comfortable to pickup and carry (doesn’t sound cool but trust me you’ll be thankful 8+ hours into a GORUCK Challenge when you lose strap privileges.)
The front of the ruck is slim and lacks anything flashy which makes it not overly obvious or standout. There’s a 2″ by 3″ patch area and a slim front pocket but that’s it. The front pocket is great for slim items like a map, protein bar, pencils, or paper. If the ruck is stuffed (and I mean STUFFED) then it can be difficult to get anything in or out of that front pocket.
Both sides of the GR1 are the same sporting 3 strips of MOLLE webbing. Although I don’t have anything on there now there are tons of attachments that can be hooked on. The most popular are pouches for extra items or Nalgene water bottles. A simple search for “MOLLE compatible pouches” will turn up more results then you ever dreamed of.
The back of the GR1 has nine slightly padded panels sewn with stitching lines. The padding helps in the comfort department and the stitching lines helps a little in preventing the dreaded back-sweats. However, know that if you are prone to sweating and take a black GR1 out on a 80+ degree day there’s a chance your back will start sweating… mine does at least. The shoulder straps are incredibly comfortable and curved in a way that somehow makes carrying a heavy ruck easier. I’m not sure how they do it but they do. There’s a good deal of padding in the straps and it holds up even after countless events and washes.
The back of the GR1 also also features a laptop/water bladder compartment in it. When heading to work I keep my laptop in there and when doing events I sometimes keep a water bladder in there. If your bladder is too full then it can sit weird on your back which is why I only sometimes utilize that pocket. In the above picture you can see the Velcro compartment in the laptop pouch which holds the plastic frame. This frame gives good definition to the pack and prevents it from collapsing in on itself.
Inside the GR1, on the outside portion of the ruck, there is a mesh zipper pocket on the bottom and a concealed zipper pocket on the top. The inside mesh pocket is great for things that need to be kept separate but are not necessary to have at a moment’s notice. Ideas for this are phone/laptop chargers, lunch, or other accessories.
The top pocket is perfect for things that you want to get out of the ruck quickly. I will often keep pencils and Field Notes in there for easy access. It also has a GORUCK logo (the only one on the pack) sewn into it. This is also a great place for a protein bar or other small food item. It’s incredibly easy to just open the ruck slightly then get your stuff out of that pocket.
The inside of the ruck has the folder pocket which is perfect for storing documents, magazines, or books. It also has three rows of MOLLE webbing at the top which is great for attaching the GR1 Field Pocket or other similar admin pockets. During a GORUCK Challenge it is a great to strap the bricks up there to keep the weight high on your back making the rucking a lot more comfortable.
The top of the inside ruck area contains the holes that the hydration hose can pass through. You can see the small cutout area that the hose can flow through from the hydration area to the main chamber then again from the main chamber out of the top of the pack.
The hydration hole at the top of the pack is Velco shut so it only opens when you want it to. There’s just enough room to fit the hose through then you can use something like an ITW Web Dominator or ITW Grimloc on the shoulder strap webbing to keep the hose from bouncing around.
I have used the same GORUCK GR1 in the following events:
GORUCK Challenge 053
My first GORUCK Challenge… boy was I nervous as shit. I remember getting my GR1 a few days before the event and having maybe a week to train with it. That was not long enough to break it in but after the Challenge boy was it feeling good. The backpack gave me no problems during this Challenge and I was glad to have a nice ruck. This was back when GORUCK was still bringing bags to their events. I remember some people received bags that were too small for their gear which made things VERY interesting.
GORUCK Challenge 161
This was the first Challenge that I did where the brick rule had been increased. Back in 053 it was 4 bricks for my weight and here it was 6. I tossed my bricks in the bottom like I had done in 053 and it was here I realized that having your weight higher is better… much better.
GORUCK Challenge 224
Back in Seattle my GR1 got another taste of delicious salt water. The bag continued to hold through this event like a champ. My friend (who I didn’t even realize was signing up) brought a bag from the Mil Surplus store which broke on him. Glad again to have my trusty GR1 with me.
GORUCK Challenge 516
Seattle again! What more to say… I’ve been using this bag for crazy events for the past two years and it continues to shine. It was here that a few beers broke in my ruck and I had to toss it in the washing machine a few times to get that smell out. Eight hours of beer stains with sweat make for an amazing smell.
GORUCK Light 067
Light was not easy but having the GR1 made it bearable. I can’t wait to see what this thing looks like after another 5 GORUCK events!
GORUCK Light 108
This was the sixth GORUCK event I’ve taken this bag through and I swear it just keeps getting better and better.