Our GORUCK GR3 pre-order showed up a few days ago and we’ve been having a great time with it since. We hope you enjoy our picture-filled preview of this pack!
Here’s our first look at the GORUCK GR3 which covers multiple aspects of the pack. Please note that we are holding as many of our thoughts as we can on it until we have had time to use and abuse it.
The pre-order package included the GR3, the leather Velcro patch, a sternum strap, and we pre-ordered the GR3 Tough Bag as well. None of these items are “limited edition” so expect them all to be available on the GORUCK website at some point.
The patch is Velcro-backed which is something we’ve come to expect from GORUCK. Goodness… we would be shocked out of our mind if they sent an iron-on. The GORUCK GR3 patch was a bonus for people who pre-ordered… it most likely won’t be coming with the next run but it will probably be available on the website.
Honestly the GORUCK GR3 looks like an over-sized GORUCK GR1 (our review). We opted for no webbing on the front because we weren’t sure we’d ever use it and because we figured GORUCK wouldn’t ever offer this variant again. GORUCK said that they would mass-produce the most popular version (webbing on the front and side handles) so there’s a chance this run of GR3 packs with side handles but without webbing will be the only run of them.
Speaking of side handles they’re sewn directly into the side of the pack and are nearly flush with where the side of the pack meets the area that touches your back.
The side handles are sewn in identically to the top handles on GORUCK’s packs and they work great. Don’t want to get too much into a “review” but when taking off a fully loaded GORUCK GR3 the side handle is amazing for lowering it to the ground.
You probably noticed already but the GR3 does indeed have compression straps. We’ll get more into those in a little bit but there are two on each side.
The top compression straps are sewn in right below the zipper slant on the right side.
GORUCK is going with the USA Duraflex buckles which are the same ones they used in the original GR2s that had compression straps.
The other side of the compression straps are sewn into where the back of the pack meets the side of the pack.
The compression straps have stretchy bands on them so that you can fold up the excess webbing and securely store it. These come in very handy when you have the pack cinched up tight.
Speaking of excess webbing there’s a generous amount of webbing on the sides so you won’t have any issues trying to compress a stuffed pack.
The zippers are the same zippers used in the recent versions of the GORUCK packs.
The front pocket is deep. Not only is it as wide as the pack (which is very wide) but it extends to the very bottom.
There is just a ton of space in this front pocket… it’s probably perfect for a Wire Dopp (our review) and if you tossed a bunch of loose stuff in there there’s a good chance you’d have difficulty fishing it out.
The compression straps on the sides of the GR3 can compress the majority of the pack down to nearly nothing.
Clearly, the bottom of the pack does not compress at all. The bottom is slightly padded and stiffer and doesn’t fold in when the rest of the pack compresses. Other packs (like the Tom Bihn Brain Bag) combat this by including compression straps and forgoing a padded bottom.
If your goal was to buy a GR3 for everyday use and compress it when you don’t need all of the extra space then you’ll want to be very wary of this. That bottom isn’t going anywhere.
Speaking of the bottom there’s two rows with four columns of webbing sewn right in there.
Moving to the back of the pack you’ll notice it’s designed the same way as the rest of the GORUCK packs. There’s 7 padded areas however there is a difference in the lowest padded area.
As you can (kind of) see there is spacing between the bottom pad and the back of the pack which is there to slide the belt through.
Speaking of the belt it’s a fairly standard style of belt that’s designed to integrate with packs.
There’s elastic webbing on each end to tie in the excess webbing which is very helpful.
The webbing in the middle of the belt is sewn directly into the belt while the webbing on either side is loose. I’m not sure if attaching a pocket there would be a good idea or not but there’s a chance that it’s possible.
Flip the belt over and you can see how it attaches to the GR3. There’s a nice rectangle of hook Velcro which attaches to the loop Velcro on the inside of the lowest pad on the back of the GR3.
Sliding it in is fairly straightforward just slip the buckle through and pull…
… and it’s in place! Simple as that.
Unzipping the laptop zipper leads to a very cavernous area that you can *most likely* fit any laptop in. I’d nearly argue if you can find a laptop that doesn’t fit due to length or width then it probably shouldn’t be considered a laptop.
The GR3 does have a removable frame sheet which is good to know. However, if replacing it is anything like replacing a frame sheet on a GR2 then you might want to stay away :)
Fortunately the frame sheet on the GR3 is a good deal thicker than the ones included with either the GR1 or GR2.
If you have any of the GORUCK leather patches then you know how thick they are. This frame sheet is thicker than one of those.
Jason said he hated the compression straps on the GR2 because he never used them and they got in the way. One thing to note is that to fully open the pack you will need un-buckle the four buckles that make up the compression straps.
Once you do get it opened you’ll see a backing that is currently unique to the GR3. It’s a combination of the GORUCK Shooter Ruck (our GR1 Shooter Ruck Review) and two rows of MOLLE.
The top of the bag features a D-ring as well as an exit hole for a water bladder.
You can see on the side where the side handles are sewn in.
And there are two stretchy pieces of webbing sewn directly across the bottom of the pack.
Honestly haven’t spent too much time thinking up use-cases for them yet but you can use them to strap in your belt if you don’t want it attached to the pack.
The other side of the pack features three zipper pockets which are reminiscent of the ones on the other GORUCK packs. It seems like going with three pockets here will be better as there is a ton of space to fill. The one downside is that you’ll most likely need to keep your Wire Dopp on the outside pocket as it’s doubtful it will fit in any of these three.
The first run label is a nice touch and is interestingly the reason why the packs were delayed. There was a screw up on the labels so GORUCK had to hold on shipping these for a few weeks as they waited for the first run labels to show up. The next run of packs will have a traditional label and obviously the difference is just for looks.
The clam shell opening is one of my favorite parts of the GORUCK packs. After using packs that fully open it’s near-impossible for me to go back to packs that only open part of the way.
Side note… I love the Triple Aught Design Transport Cube Protectors but they are never in stock. Definitely my favorite way to carry a camera in a pack and I’ve actually held the review for those cubes because no one can ever buy them.
In addition to the GR3 I also pre-ordered what was called the GR3 Tough Bag.
I say, “…what was called the GR3 Tough Bag” because the internal labeling mentions nothing of the GR3. This means either there was a labeling issue with this bag OR this Tough Bag will be replacing the current Tough Bags on the website… OR there will just be two different products with the same internal labeling which would not be confusing at all. Only time will tell on that one.
The new Tough Bag features two sets of buckles running vertically across it with buckles on one end for closing it.
Closing this Tough Bag works the same way you’d close the current GORUCK Tough Bags or any other compression-style bag. Roll a few times then snap the buckles together.
As you can see the two sets of vertical straps match up with the bottom webbing on the GORUCK GR3.
Just slide them through…
… and you’re set!
The GORUCK GR3 is a huge pack and time will only tell how it works itself into the current lineup of GORUCK products. Hopefully you enjoyed this first look at the GR3 and we’ll continue working on the review as we continue to use and abuse our GORUCK GR3. Although the GORUCK GR3 is not available for sale Blayne has stated that they have them at the warehouse and are just waiting for all of the pre-orders to arrive before they’re on the site. When they are available you can grab one here.