I spend a lot of time researching different ways that people have packed their rucks for these events. When Looking at the GRT Evolutions site I came across a method that used pipe foam to create a barrier between the bricks and your head. I decided to give this method a shot in my most recent GORUCK Light (class 116) to see if there was a noticeable difference between that and my current method.
To re-create this setup you’ll need the following:
- Yoga Block
- 2 or 3 Nylon Straps
- 1 6′ tube of pipe foam
- Scissors/knife (to cut foam)
Below you can see everything laid out. I ended up buying 2 6′ tubes of pipe foam ($1.19 each) but only used one.
The set up follows the same method that I normally use with just the straps. Run the 2 or 3 straps through all of the top webbing.
Once they’re through then put the bricks over the webbing and strap them right into place. Secure them tightly so that they won’t fall around.
Next step is to toss your yoga block in below the bricks. Put it either horizontal or vertical… whichever fits best. Don’t worry if there’s a little bit of space as long as it’s 3/4″ or less.
Put the pipe foam around the bricks starting with the foam at about even level with the bottom of the bricks.
Cut the pipe foam (used scissors) so that the bottom of the pipe foam on both sides aligns to the bottom of the bricks.
Once that has been cut make a second of equal length to the first. Then put them in your ruck on top of each other so that all sides of the bricks are protected.
With the leftover foam you can cut two strips to go between the yoga block and the bottom of the bricks. This will ensure the bricks have something to rest on.
If you are going with six bricks then you can still put the four in the top and put one brick on each side of the yoga block so that they’ll all fit.
I had some interesting feelings about this set up. First off having the foam takes up a lot more space than not having it. I actually didn’t have any room for a dry bag with socks/shirt so I ended up leaving those at home. There’s room for the water bladder on top of the yoga block and part of the bricks so I was able to get water in there at least. I put my ID/cab fare in the top pocket of the GR1 and put my food in the outside pocket. Overall the only disadvantage was that I wasn’t able to get any extra clothes in there.
The goal of this set up was to reduce the pain of bricks on your head during bear crawls and to give casualties a more comfortable ride. As for the bear crawls the foam did help a bit. We only had to do maybe 30 yards of these so it didn’t matter too much but some classes have had to do over half a mile in the past. In that circumstance I’m sure this would come in very handy… but there’s no way to tell in advance. I carried a good number of people throughout the event and none of them were in more pain than normal. Buddy carries are never comfortable but in my first Light my wife bruised a rib when I was carrying her due to there being nothing between her and the bricks besides the ruck. I thankfully did not bruise anyones’ ribs during this so I think I can assume this made it a bit better.
I’ll probably give this set up another try at my next Challenge or Light but overall it seems solid. If you’re looking for a new way to position everything I’d say at least give this one a chance.