One of the most often asked questions asked to me is about a cheaper alternative to a GR1 for GORUCK events. Everyone wants a bag that is tough enough for a GORUCK event but not everyone wants to pay $295 for one. The Shadow rucks were released in October, 2013 and were priced from $95 (for the SD15) to $125 (for the SD25) depending on the choice. GORUCK has since reduced the price of the Shadow rucks to $60 to $70 ($48 – $56 if signed up for an event) making them even more affordable now.
Over the next few months I’m going to use the SD25 as my everyday carry bag and then at the end of February I’m going to use it in the GORUCK Light portion of the ABSOC down in San Diego. I’ll try and write this review out in two separate sections so that people who want it for a traveling pack and people who want it for a Challenge pack can get the information that they need out of it.
Shadow Ruck SD25 Everyday Carry
My first impression of the SD25 was that it is incredibly light and very easy to fold up and store away. I went and picked it up from the GORUCK warehouse and was able to fold it up and stuff it into my GR1 for transport home. The SD25 weighs slightly less than two pounds (1.93 lbs) and you can really tell the difference between this and the similarly sized GR1.
Right off the bat the major difference I noticed is that there is no internal or external webbing. This gives the ruck a slicker, more work-appropriate, look which many people have liked.
The same internal and external pockets present in the GR1 are also present in the SD25. The main difference between these two rucks in the area of pockets is that the SD25 has no dedicated pocket for a laptop. However, if your laptop isn’t too large, you can utilize the internal magazine folder area for it… which is what I’ve been doing for my work laptop.
The zipper pulls all feature the heat shrink over paracord which is standard with the GORUCK packs. I generally don’t like to leave things as they are for too long so I may be changing out some of these pulls but I’m still glad they came standard.
I’ll continue to post up my thoughts on the ruck as I keep using it for my EDC.
Shadow Ruck SD25 For Events
My first thoughts when deciding to use is for a GORUCK event was that there is no internal or external webbing. This means that you won’t have webbing on the shoulder straps to tie your bladder hose down… which will be a pain. I’m going to work on a carabiner setup so that the hose doesn’t go flying all over the place so hopefully that will help. The webbing also poses an issue in that you won’t be able to attach your bricks high up in the ruck. Keeping your bricks high in the ruck makes the GORUCK experience much less painful… something you’re not able to do with this ruck.
In addition to the lack of webbing the carry handle is not reinforced like the GR1. You can expect that during some point in the event you’ll lose strap privileges (which means you can no longer wear your ruck) and the lack of the reinforced handle makes me think that the SD25 will not be much fun to carry during that.
There’s also no holes at the top of the ruck for your hydration hose to come out of. If you’re going to use this for an event you are most likely going to have to run the hose out of the zipper area which means you won’t ever be able to fully close the main compartment.
- Spot on sewing and stitching
- Standard (excellent) GORUCK quality
- Looks great, visually appealing
- Made in the USA
- Due to lack of frame backpack won’t stand unassisted
- No laptop pocket
- Doesn’t hold shape when full
Used For: Every Day Carry (EDC)
Tested For: One Month
Conclusion: Great book bag and budget piece of GORUCK gear. However, we found ourselves wanting to grab our GR1 instead.