It has been over a year since the preview post for the GORUCK Rucker went live but I really wanted to put it through hell before writing the full review. After using it for so long as my main training pack and taking it through over half a dozen GORUCK events here is the full review.
GORUCK Rucker Review
As previously mentioned I used the GORUCK Rucker for six GORUCK events before writing this review. Three of them were Tough events and the other three were Lights and all put some abuse on the pack.
The GORUCK Rucker is built tough. This pack is designed to take a major beating and keep pushing through to the next challenge… and you can see that in the quality.
The pack is made of 1000 denier Cordura and features more than enough stitching over those high-stress points. The bar tack is used on pretty much every stress point which has a much higher strength than the standard stitch.
The sewing throughout the pack is straight and even which is to be expected. Nothing seemed amiss during any of my adventures and there were absolutely no quality complaints.
Here’s a few pictures of the very much used pack sitting right next to a near brand-new one.
Can you tell which one has been through a half-dozen events and which hasn’t?
Honestly you might be hard pressed to figure it out without a hint or two…
… the answer?
New one is on the left.
The Rucker is… wait for it… designed for rucking. It really works as a great everyday backpack as well but since this is an event review I’m going to focus on how that aspect.
The Rucker features a thick framesheet (thicker than the other GORUCK packs) with the goal to make carrying weight easier. Unlike the GR1 the framesheet on the Rucker is sewn directly into the pack.
The shoulder straps are very thick and have more padding than most other packs out there.
The back of the pack is made of 1000d Cordura and features no breathable mesh. The idea there, according to Jason, was that it is near impossible to get sand, grit, and dirt out of that mesh fabric.
The front of the pack features the standard slant pocket (which runs to the bottom of the pack) as well as three rows of webbing. The webbing is great for attaching another handle to making those ruck workouts a little easier.
There’s a 3″ wide x 2″ tall patch area as well so you can attach your current favorite (or new favorite) morale patch.
Each side of the pack features three rows of two columns of webbing. These can be used to attach a side pocket, water bottle holder, waist belt, or anything else you can find with the right about of webbing.
The handle on the top of the pack is heavily padded so that it’s very comfortable to grab when the pack is weighed down. If you lose strap privileges during an event it’s nice to know you’ll still have some padding while you carry this.
Opening up the pack you can see there’s two pockets on the rear side. Both are zippered and the bottom is mesh so you can easily see where items are.
The other side features the “meat” of the pack. There you find the two sleeves for ruck plates as well as the water bladder holder.
One side note is that it would be nice if there was a way to keep the ruck plates raised up a little bit so that they don’t sit so low on your back.
Just above the water bladder holder is the hole that you can route the bladder’s house out of.
If you’re using this as an everyday pack you can fairly easily get a small laptop or tablet to fit within the ruck plate pockets.
If you’re using this for an event or training then you can fit some serious weight in there as well. Just avoid putting both weight and a laptop or you’re destined for a bad time.
This pack is designed for rucking and it truly excels in that aspect. Starting from the outside the deep zipper pocket is great because you can fit nearly whatever you need in there.
I’m a fan of spare gloves or food when rucking so that it’s easier to get to. One thing I noticed is that it’s ideal to only keep one or two types of items in there as it can be tricky to get something small out on the bottom if there’s too much.
The two columns of webbing on the side allow you to easily attach a waist belt.
For those longer rucks it can be helpful to switch weight between your hips and shoulders to stay fresh longer.
Even though I’m taller at a few inches over six feet I have a shorter torso and prefer the 20L rucker over the 25L one. It’s weird but there’s less rubbing on my lower back with the smaller pack.
If you’re trying to decide between the two sizes I’d look at your torso length more-so than your height… for what it’s worth.
The webbing on the shoulder straps is great because you can easily add a Grimloc or Web Dominator to secure your bladder’s hose.
There’s not much worse than a hose bladder flopping around during an event so it’s great to get that secured.
There’s also a ton of padding in those shoulder straps which does a great job of protecting your shoulders when carrying logs or other large objects. As I mentioned previously there’s the padded handle on top which is awesome if you lose strap privileges at an event. It feels a lot better in the hand than your typical non-padded backpack handles.
When I bought my first Rucker I started using it for training and events because I wanted to write a review for it. Since I’ve been using it I have not gone back to my GR1 for events… and not because I feel obligated to use it. I honestly prefer it that much more for training and events than the GR1.
It’s easier to secure ruck plates in it and it’s the same great quality. The frame sheet is thicker than the one in the GR1 which is great because the pack doesn’t collapse on itself.
If you have an issue with getting ruck plates to sit higher then there’s a cheap and easy fix for that too.
The GORUCK Rucker is a huge bang for its buck. At the retail price of $195 it sits a solid $100 under the price of the GR1. In addition, it’s only $100 more than the other go-to non-GORUCK packs for GORUCK events.
When the Rucker is on sale it is truly a steal. From previous sales we have seen these listed for as low as $99 (or free, with the purchase of a GR1) which is near-impossible to beat. If you are training for a GORUCK event and want a great pack then this is it.
The Rucker also features GORUCK’s SCARS warranty which has been detailed a number of times on this site. It’s tough to find a pack built like this with a warranty like that for much less.
Simply an awesome pack to take to your next GORUCK event. They’re a great deal at $195 and a steal when on sale. Save your GR1 for everyday carry and abuse the crap out of a Rucker during training and events. It has the same SCARS warranty that GORUCK is known for is sewn just as well as their other packs. When they first came out people looked at the Rucker as a less worthy GR1 but I don’t think that’s the case at all… it serves a different purpose brilliantly.
The GORUCK Rucker can be purchased direct from GORUCK for $195.
- Spot on sewing and stitching
- One of the toughest packs available
- Incredible deal
- Amazing for training and events
- Wish ruck plates sat higher
Used For: GORUCK Events
Tested For: One Year
Conclusion: Phenomenal pack. Designed to excel at GORUCK events and it does not let down.
[email protected] says
I have had my Rucker for 3 years now I think and I would say it is more of a tool than just a pack. I use it for everything, school, training, vacation and more. Its the first bag I go to when I am loading up and most often the only bag I need.
Brian ADR says
That’s a great way to describe it! The fact that it seamlessly changes between a training tool and a great everyday carry bag is awesome. One of my favorite packs to travel with… ruck with it in the morning then use it for a work bag. It’s awesome.
Anthony Smith says
I just sold my GR1 and purchased a Rucker as I didn’t need the laptop compartment. The one I bought is 5 liters smaller than the Rucker ( first generation I’m assuming) I bought for my brother a couple years ago; it seemed to be closer to the GR1 in terms of capacity. It’s still just as fictional in the smaller size.
Brian Lohr says
Glad to hear it’s working out! My guess is that you had the 26L GR1 and purchased the 21L Rucker. GORUCK did make 25L Rucker packs (which were much more comparable to the 26L GR1) for a while but stopped about a year ago. Not sure why they made that decision but the new Rucker is still a hit.
You mention there’s a fix to get plates to not be so low – what’s the fix? Mine rub on the bottom. After lots of rucking I’ve worn a hole thru the bottom.
Brian Lohr says
Here’s a link to the post with info on what I do. Hope that helps!
Love you website and your reviews!! Recently purchased a rucker on the secondary market. Seller said it was a 20L, but I think it is a 25L. Any idea how I can find out which I have? Thx, Jeff.
Brian Lohr says
I just threw this new post together which should help you determine which size pack you have. Thanks so much for the comment and support brother!
Good article Brian! Have been waiting for your review on this.
I got mine during the promotion in June: Buy GR1 free one Rucker. My initial plan was to use Rucker for the abusive rucking activities while GR1 for traveling and work, like commuting from home to work and back carrying laptop.
However I had to send off the Rucker after checking on it. Initial plan was to ruck using brick, weight plates (round type) or any heavy compact weights but there’s no internal molle for weight attachment. The two internal pockets only allowed about 10lbs and 5lbs of my round weight plates. I don’t like the idea of letting all the plates sitting at the bottom of the pack stressing the stiching points whereby not designed for taking all the heavy weight; which is also not an ideal weight set up when all weight and placed near lower back not at the top. The round plates will wobble inside the pack as they can’t be secured in place by only the elastic band of the pockets without using the dedicated Velcro belt over the top pockets.
I am staying in Malaysia, so definitely too costly to order and ship the Goruck weight plates from USA.
Thought of sourcing local steel plates and cut them into ruck plate sizes but it’s difficult to get one welder willing to customise it at affordable price.
My 16′ laptop is a tad too big for the pocket. So it can’t be my working rucksack.
Other than this limiting factor, the pack is as good as the GR1 in terms of quality and workmanship. I likes the hard plastic sheet at the back giving firm support. The shoulder padding is as think as GR1 26L if not more.
I would have keep it if there are 3 rows of molle above the internal pockets like GR1. Understand it’s cheaper & easier to produce this without the laptop compartment with the main purpose as rucking bag. I trust it’s not too difficult to stitch the 3 rows of molle there, making it more versatile to serve more functions.
I hope the new Rucker can support different weight beside ruck plates.
Thank you for reading.
I absolutely love my rucker too. My 20# plate actually feels great in it (I’m 5’3). When I put the 10# plate in it for lights, it does sink to the bottom. Just being 10# it isn’t a big deal. That’s as close as I get to a complaint about it!
Since this is the “event” back pack, I’d love to see a quality handle stitched into the bottom. Only other thing I’d like to see is an interior molle, but doesn’t have to be crazy, even 1 row would really help if you wanted to secure your weight higher.
I have a Rucker and I don’t regret the purchase at all. Really like it.
Brian Lohr says
I agree that would be really nice. I believe Jason mentioned that there would be a newer version of the Rucker coming out… something to differentiate it more from the GR1 other than Laptop = GR1, No Laptop = Rucker. Hopefully he has something like that in mind.