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Drive By :: GORUCK GR1 Backpack

by , April 15, 2011

Over the past month or so there have been a lot of people searching for reviews on the GORUCK GR1 and getting directed to Carryology. We figured with so many people looking for it, we may as well oblige and give you the review!


Fortunately we found that one of our readers, Greg Nelson, has had a long relationship with his GORUCK via the ‘What backpack do you use?‘ post and Greg was able to offer us a very detailed review that should answer all your questions, so click on for a review of the GORUCK GR1.


Who It Suits

Someone looking for a military-tough backpack that doesn’t look overtly tactical. The versatile design will also suit someone after a multifunctional pack for everyday, travel and outdoor use.


Who It Doesn’t

For people who like bags with a lot of pockets and organization, there are better options out there. Price-conscious users may also want to consider a more affordable alternative – this bag offers great durability, but it’s pricey.


The Good

When the need arose for a heavy duty, solidly constructed backpack that could withstand the rigors of heavy loads and harsh environments, I began to research some of the larger military carry manufacturers. I even purchased several just so I could field test them personally. They were mostly well built, functional and strong, and despite the diversity of design and manufacturing standards, they all had one thing in common. They looked tactical. Which isn’t so bad when you’re out in the field, but not the most amazing look when you’re in a suit walking to your office.


Military bags are designed to be deployed in harsh environments. Unfortunately they are too overt for the casual carryologist. There’s no doubt they’re solid and bombproof; and they look it. Which is why the GORUCK GR1 caught my eye with its clean lines, sharp edges and simple colorway.


The GR1 was larger than I expected, but that’s a welcome surprise. Externally, the pack is about minimalism. No bottle holders or pouches, save the front drop pocket hidden beneath a zipper flap. The MOLLE webbing, betraying its military heritage, is done in a way that’s unobtrusive and subtle. The webbing on the straps serves a practical design purpose, allowing them to bend to the wearer. Lift one of the straps and open the 90-degree YKK zipper to reveal the laptop or hydration compartment. Versatility that’s yours to determine.


“Military bags are designed to be deployed in harsh environments. Unfortunately they are too overt for the casual carryologist. There’s no doubt they’re solid and bombproof; and they look it. Which is why the GORUCK GR1 caught my eye with its clean lines, sharp edges and simple colorway.”



I carry a 13-inch MacBook uncovered that slides in with ease and a 17-inch would also fit without trouble. The hydration bladder tends to bulge in the compartment when the pack is full but it’s not a huge problem, considering you will deplete the contents as you go.


The lack of external compression straps has not impeded the load-carrying capability. The zippers always close easily, no matter the bulge. Elastic cord or webbing can always be added to the MOLLE attachments too if needed.


The absence of a sternum strap is inconsequential. A protective and structural rigid sleeve inside the back panel means the pack rests high on the shoulders. Even when fully loaded it doesn’t pull on the straps. When running and cycling it’s comfortable and it stays put.

“Externally, the pack is about minimalism. No bottle holders or pouches, save the front drop pocket hidden beneath a zipper flap. The MOLLE webbing, betraying its military heritage, is done in a way that’s unobtrusive and subtle.”


In a nice touch, the top can be opened and folded halfway if you only want to access the top part of the bag – particularly useful when it’s leaning upright. The hard reinforced frame of the bag, while not padded like a dedicated camera case, still affords some protection and allows compartmentalised packing of gear.


“The absence of a sternum strap is inconsequential. A protective and structural rigid sleeve inside the back panel means the pack rests high on the shoulders. Even when fully loaded it doesn’t pull on the straps.”



This pack’s pedigree just demands abuse. It’s built to last and it dares you to prove otherwise. So how does it stand up? It’s been exposed to heavy rain for long periods and the contents have stayed dry. I wouldn’t call it waterproof in a literal sense but it holds up to unexpected downpours and sprays effectively. It’s been dragged over rough surfaces with nary a mark. I’ve stuffed it with heavy winter clothing and still found room for my boots. Cameras, batteries and other photography gear stay securely in place and emerge unscathed.


“This pack’s pedigree just demands abuse. It’s built to last and it dares you to prove otherwise.”


The Not So Good

When new, the pack showed some distortion of the 1000D Cordura fabric. Kind of like heat blisters, I believe this was just the material wearing in as I’ve not had a repeat nor has it compromised the appearance of the bag.

The weight of the unloaded pack is hefty too, topping the scales at 1.5kg, but that’s to be expected with the 1000D Cordura material used. For me the GR1 is simple, it’s low profile, it holds a ton of gear and it moves with me. It looks good, it doesn’t draw attention by screaming military or camera gear and it takes abuse without complaining. It has the military pedigree without the overt tactical appearance.

“When new, the pack showed some distortion of the 1000D Cordura fabric.”


Now for the crunch; the GR1 doesn’t come cheap. US$295 for the flagship of the brand, but to witness the thoughtful design, craftsmanship and attention to detail and the bag’s practicality and durability is to realize good value. I have no regrets about the expense as I feel confident the GR1 will meet a variety of needs for a long time.

“The weight of the unloaded pack is hefty too, topping the scales at 1.5kg, but that’s to be expected with the 1000D Cordura material used.”



Unlike other carry relationships and one-trip stands I’ve had, this ruck will go with me for life. I’m already coveting the GR2, but that’s another story. For more info, head over to the GORUCK website where you’ll find more information on the company and its expanding range in the news section.


The Breakdown

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Geek (Performance)

Space & Access

Style (Design)

Look & Feel
Build, Materials & Hardware

Stoke (Experience)

Warranty & Support
Brand experience
X Factor

Reader's Review

Be the first to review

All Reviews

  • http://www.bellroy.com ando

    Awesome review Greg. It’s great to finally get a Carryology review of what is considered a real classic in the backpack world.

    The bag doesn’t look that heavy. Is there a lot of hidden foam or structure, or is it really just some heavy fabric?

    • greg

      Thanks ando. Compared to the load it can carry, it’s relatively light. There is a hard thin foam sheet between the back panel and the laptop/hydration compartment and a thicker piece of solid foam in the base. Both inserts can be accessed and removed but I don’t see the need to ever do so. They both contribute to the structural integrity of the bags shape and don’t noticably affect the weight. Without them, I think the pack would lose it’s form and protection and not sit comfortably on the upper back.

      • Hadrien

        Yes the bag is made out of 1000D cordura which would explain the 1.4kg of weight. They could have done it lighter, but certainly not as durable. Goruck is about durability and ‘make it work’ type of design.

        • Ryan M

          Just to chime in on your comments. I am on the smaller side, 5’7 140lbs. I took the hard plastic liner out to have the bag form tighter to my back. Since I my torso is not as long as the average person I would say the upper portion didn’t form to my shoulders as well as others. Once I took that piece out it shapes my back very well. While still holding its overall shape. I would say this is the best ruck I have ever owned and highly recommend it.
          I agree there is no limit to what this ruck can carry. Also to add with the shape no articles inside shift either, which is a big bonus.

  • http://packlite.tumblr.com Uri

    Fantastic review Greg. GORUCK does indeed make fantastic gear. I’ve been using a GR1 for my traveling for several months already (and I am taking the GORUCK Challenge with it as well) and I can only say good things. I also own an Echo for my everyday, go-to essentials backpack and it’s awesome.
    I too am thinking about getting a GR2.

    I think these packs should be seen as investments since they will last for a lifetime.

    • Ernie Quintos

      your words encouraged me to buy Goruck GR1 this 2012, thanks.

  • http://www.twitter.com/mikepetrucci Mike P

    I came across GORUCK just a few months ago and have been lusting after a GR1 ever since. Well, this year for my birthday, my wife surprised me and gave me the green light to order one.

    I live in Northern Virginia but work in DC and noticed that Jason is from the Georgetown area. So I wondered if the GORUCK offices were also in DC. Only a few tweets and emails later, I found myself on my way to their offices to pick up my bag.

    And for those keeping score at home, yes, the bag I ordered online is on it’s way to my house but the GORUCK crew said that when it arrived I could just bring the new one to their office. How cool is that?! (Can you tell I was a ‘little’ excited about getting it?)

    While at the GORUCK office I got to meet some of their crew and most importantly, Java. What a great dog! I also was able to snag a couple of patches because I forgot to order them online. I wasn’t able to stay long because I had to get to work but it was pretty cool seeing all the bags from a past challenge that needed to be cleaned.

    I arrived with the Timbuk2 Hemlock (wich I liked well enough but it doesn’t even begin compare with the GR1) and left with the GR1. Actually, when I left, I shoved the Hemlock inside of the GR1 and it fit perfectly! And that’s with a 17 inch MacBook Pro, iPad and tons of other little doo-dads floating around in my gypsy camp of a bag (love that term).

    From the moment I slung the GR1 over my shoulders it felt amazing. I’m sure it only gets better as it becomes mine by both transforming and conforming to my body and my travels. It’s been less than a day that I’ve had ownership of this incredible bag (or should I refer to it as a ruck?) and I’m already blown away.

    I can’t wait to see what adventures are in store for my GR1 and I.

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  • http://inthesmalltowns.tumblr.com Rick

    I have a GORUCK Radio Ruck for sale. It’s about two months old and is in great shape. I want to upgrade (GR1 or GR2) but I have to get rid of this one first. Small apartment small budget you get the idea. Any ideas where I could post it to get some hits? I’m thinking $180 including shipping. Thanks

    • http://www.bellroy.com ando

      we don’t have any sort of second hand carry market set up. I know ebay and Craig’s list get lots of carry action. And if any of our readers are interested, they’re welcome to get in touch and we’ll forward your email on to them…

      • http://inthesmalltowns.tumblr.com Rick

        Hey Ando
        Could forward my email to Aaron below. Thanks so much. Great work on the blog.

  • Aaron

    Hey Rick!

    You still got that Radio Ruck!? I’m really interested! How does it handle on your back? to wide? why you getting rid of it?


    • http://inthesmalltowns.tumblr.com Rick

      Hey Aron
      I do have it. It handles great, actually better than some bags I’ve used with more complicated suspensions systems. I initially thought I’d add a sternum strap but it’s not needed at all. I’ve used it for overnight trips with my laptop, for daily office carry, and for a few fly fishing road trips. I’m 5’9″ with a 40 inch chest and it fits fine. The main reason it’s up for grabs is that with my new job I don’t carry as much stuff (way less stuff actually), and I think I’d prefer to get the GR2 for longer trips. If you’re interested I’ll have the site admin send you my email.



  • Aaron

    “First name”ruff @ gmail

  • Aaron

    Hey Rick,
    I definitely am very interested and ready to make a move on your radio ruck.

    Once you email me I will promptly send you my number.

    Thanks, Aaron

  • theo

    hey rick

    is the radio ruck still for sale?



    • http://inthesmalltowns.tumblr.com Rick

      Sorry but the gentleman above ended up buying it.

  • Aaron

    Hey Theo,

    I’m seriously thinking about selling my radio ruck to get a gr1. I am a biology (premed) major, soccer coach, father of 3(4 any day now)… This bag is superb, but I am really thinking I need a bigger bag! Get my email!


    • theo


      i am interested. could you give me a shout via my email? it’s heavydoom@gmail.com



  • pu

    would love to buy one, but not keen on paying US$140 for shipping -.-

  • Kan

    Does anyone happen to still have a GR1 they would be happy to sell? Looking to buy one! Email me at kan.huang@live.com.au

    • Ryan M

      check the goruck website. I think they are selling used bags from goruck challenges.

  • Sean Rorie

    I am also after a radio ruck or the GR1 email me at seanrorie@hotmail.com

  • Ernie Quintos

    I’ve been comparing lately the GORUCK GR1 to it’s new “arch-rival”: TAD Fast pack litespeed, will anybody here compare these 2 bags on durability, versatility, comfort of use, “toughness”, water-resistance, lifetime -warranty,,,etc…Thanks for anyone who will comment. I’m gonna decide next year which will i get.

    • jeff

      did anyone ever answer this guy? i’d love a comparison of the 2.

      • AA

        Oh, you’ve probably decided by now, but sod it, this page still shows up on Google after all.

        I’ve had endless problems with my GR1. Quality control, stitching failures, etc.
        The customer service has ranged all the way from outstanding to OH MY GOD WHY MUST YOU MAKE THIS SO HARD?

        Got my FPL before my GR1. Zero issues. TAD’s warranty and service isn’t as good on paper mind, but they are quick on responses. They’re just a bit…tight fisted compared to GR.

        Which bag do I recommend?

        GR1. I know. It’s been a total pain in the ass for me but I always choose it over the FPL. It’s easier to use in every way and is lighter. The only times I find my FPL bearable is when I ditch the beavertail, and stow the two side compression straps by plugging them into each other. Then, it’s a pretty good bag.

        Shame the GR quality isn’t there. I’m having such a headache dealing with them again now.

        • AA

          GR made it right, like they do. Go with the GR1

  • Sean

    These look like great bags, but shipping costs for International are ridiculous

  • theo

    i agree. the shipping to canada alone was $40 via usps and this was not a very fast service. for $30 i got a bag delivered within 3 days from the states from another company.

    • Ernie Quintos

      you’re referring to the Goruck GR1?

    • Sean

      @theo I see your $40 and i raise you $70 ($140 is you want it “faster”) to Australia. I ended up getting a different backpack from http://www.layerxlayer.com/ for $12 shipping

      • Ernz

        This is a good quality backpack, handmade or handcarfted in the USA & less cost/price as compared to Goruck GR1 but i still like the GR1

  • Aaron Ruff

    what do you GR1 owners think about the the gr1 for a student. I am now a bio major, and my radio ruck is just to small. Do you think that the GR1 can handle a bunch of heavy books, or should I go for a gr2?

    all thought appreciated

    • hodor

      the gr1 is the perfect choice. it would take your books and your laptop and a light jacket very easily. the gr2 is too big for your needs as a student. the gr2 is perfectly suited for traveling or a week of traveling with room to spare if you pack light.

      • Ernie Quintos

        Your opinion really help me decide what will i buy this 2012; the GR1, thanks hodor

        • Ryan M

          +1 to @hodor comment.

          • Aaron

            I also ended up getting the gr1, it’s awesome. definently the best value in my book.

  • Aaron

    what is the width of gr1 in the top half of bag?(trying to figure what
    I can fit in the top part of bag which I will need to fill with books etc.

    • Ernie Quintos

      i got the GR1 too & it seems very sturdy & worth the money to last a lifetime

  • hodor


    the gr1 from top to bottom starts narrower than the bottom. it’s a very slight degree but i can say that the width of the top of the bag and the bottom of the bag is not the same.

    • drobo

      The stated width is 10″ across but I find the bottom can expand to around 12″.

  • Thom

    Does anyone know where to buy good quality (preferably the same cordura as Goruck) MOLLE accessories? I’d like a phone pouch to attach to the straps in the front, and maybe some slightly larger pouches for the back and sides.

    • Ryan M

      goruck.com has pouches for sale now. Both bag and pouch have MOLLE for easy attaching.

  • hodor


    go here and ask where to get cheaper molle attachments for the goruck bags :


  • Aaron

    I WILL buy your GR1, or if you need to downsize i will trade for my Radio Ruck + $$. I love it but it’s a little to small because I am back in school(premed with many big books…)

  • http://www.dynamicpositioningnews.com Sean

    You guys really need to do a head to head comparo with the TAD FastPack EDC! I was ready to pull the trigger on the TAD when the GoRuck caught my eye. Its a bit cheaper & seems just as versatile & bombproof.

    The only thing stopping me is the lack of chest & waist straps, as I plan to run with this bag as well. I understand that people do run with it, ala goruck challenge, but how much movement does it have? How could it be as stable as a pack with the 2 straps?

    Thanks for a great site!

  • Matt

    Hi, I am going overseas this summer for a six weeks and was wondering if the GR2 could pass as a personal item on a plane? I have a Red Oxx PR5 for my main carry on, and right now i’m trying to decide if the GR1 or GR2 would be my best supplemental luggage and daily pack?

  • Aaron

    Definently go with the gr1 if your primary use of it will be as a daily pack. The “airplane” part of your trip is only a few days, the gr1 holds a lot of stuff but is also very lean and agile. What will you be doing on the trip? I hear the GR2 is huge anyways, if you were only bringing one bag, then bring a gr2!

  • hodor

    you should get either the echo or the radio ruck as your supplemental luggage. other goruckers put the echo or the radio inside the gr2. this is the perfect combo. you are lucky if you get the radio or the echo packs : they are now larger than the older versions.

    i would look into either patagonia or tom bihn if you want to have a day pack that you can stuff inside the gr2 that is also very light and packable. patagonia has the ultra light bag systems and tom bihn make bags using the very strong and light dyneema fabric specifically made for tom bihn in japan.

  • Aaron

    So I have used my gr1 for 2months now and it totally fills my pack needs…

    So I am looking to sell my Radio Ruck for $200, including shipping.

    • David Jonathan W

      Hey Aaron is your radio ruck still available? You can send me an email if it is. My email is “name”@gmail.com

      • http://kyledreger.com/about Kyle D

        Hey David,

        I’ve got a RR that I’m looking to sell. Shoot me an email – you can find it on kyledreger.com/contact.



  • David

    Hey guys,

    I’m a college student that often bikes to class and I like to go rock climbing, hiking, trail running, etc. I’m looking for a pack that wouldn’t be too much of a burden in day to day school use, but would also be useable during my rock climbing sessions that’re on the slightly more extreme side.

    I’ve narrowed it down to the TAD Fast Pack or a Goruck Radio / GR1. Any chance any of you could point me in the right direction or tell me which they think would be better for my needs?



  • Travis

    recently bought a gr1

    absolutely awesome. the pack just feels bullet proof and it holds all my work gear with ease. fits very comfortably on the back and i feel helps support better posture with the straps tightened. the pack does not shift and with the slanted bottom the weight is distributed closer to my pack as opposed to sagging out.

    the only downside i have noticed is there is no hook for the hydration bladder. this was an easy fix with some paracord.

    the price set me off at first but it was totally worth every penny. being a us made product i couldnt complain that much.


    • Ernie Quintos

      @Travis, great review since i recently purchased the GR1 too, thanks for the positive comment.

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  • Jonas

    Sad thing that GORUCKs are not distributed in Germany. $70 for shipping from the USA + taxes… :-/

    • M.S

      I feel you mate..

      I used this http://www.dutycalculator.com/ and calculated that after shipping and taxes to Europe (Netherlands/Finland) the total costs would be around 370€ which is ~462US$. Now that is a lot of money for a backpack even though as good as Goruck. So with these prices i just cant justify it..

      I honestly don’t know what is the legal take on this but i really think they should help us poor Europeans and mark the package’s as a gift so we don’t have to pay the ridiculous taxes! Also i don’t know where they get the international shipping rates…

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  • Adam

    Anyone have one of these rucks for sale? I’m looking for an Echo, RR or GR1.

    onebadwagon @gmail.com

  • Shaz

    I’m very undecided on if I should get a Radio Ruck or a GR1

    I’m only 5’6″, 145 lbs, so I am wondering if the GR1 would be too big for me for daily use / commuter bag to keep gym clothes and laptop, etc in, or if I should stick with the RR.

    • buster

      The GR1 is roomy and looks fairly large, but in real life it is pretty slim. If you regularly carry things like clothes, laptop, books, and lunch, I would say it is the right size for that regardless of your height. In real life it is about the size of those ubiquitous LL Bean Monogram backpacks that every other college kid has owned at least once.

      The Radio Ruck is more of a half-day excursion size. I know people who used it for school but it is large enough for only a few things, such as a laptop and a few books, but then you wouldn’t be able to carry a change of clothes, etc.

      Basically, GR1 is the standard size pack. It is not too large.

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  • Shu

    Would my thick 15″ Thinkpad fit the laptop compartment of the GR1? It is about the same thickness as two 15″ macbook pros.

    • 8OOlbGorilla


  • Dan

    Hey Guys, I a few back packs but was looking for something specifically for tough mudder coming up later in the year.

    I am 6’4 and 100kg (Aussie so not sure on pounds) and am torn between the GR1 and GR2, im thinking the GR2 might be a litte big to use during the event….any thoughts?


    • Aaron

      GR1 all the way.

      It is the flagship Goruck for good reason.
      Perfect size for almost everything.
      It’s lean, strong and when you need to you can pack the hell out of it.

    • 8OOlbGorilla

      Your question doesn’t make sense (recurring theme in these comments) – what are you using a ruck for in Tough Mudder?
      If all you want is hydration along the way (they have water stations..) then a Camelbak or similar is what you want, not a large GoRuck rucksack. You could go with a smaller GoRuck hydration bullet and Source hydration bladder or similar, but they are bigger profile and will hinder you while negotiating obstacles at Tough Mudder.
      If you’re looking to make it more difficult by rucking with weight (bricks, steel, otherwise) then yes, the GR1 is likely your best best although being 6’4″ the GR2 will fit you as well. Again, the question doesn’t have enough information to explain what you’re trying to do with the ruck.

  • walt dockery

    Anyone know if the GR1 could pass as a “personal item” when travelling? I know someone asked about the GR2 earlier, but that definitely sounds too big for me.

    • Mica

      @Walt – it is well beneath most if not all carry-on luggage specs, but you should check the individual airline guidelines to be sure. Some in Europe are more strict and have smaller requirements. It fits just fine beneath the seats on a plane even when full; I doubt you’d ever be asked to check it. It is only a 26 liter pack after all.

    • AA

      Am considering selling my GR2 cos it sees so little use. Go with the GR1 and don’t look back.

    • 8OOlbGorilla

      A little research would have answered your question.
      The GR2 fits within the Worldwide Carry-on Policy size, with inches to spare in all dimensions. As such, the GR1 and smaller models wouldn’t be given a second look. If you go to the website, there’s a photo of it inside the size checker, at an airport.

      • Foo

        You’re the least helpful person in the entire comment section, just stop answering questions in the future.

  • Zakalwe

    I am lost regarding the infatuation with these packs. For a tactical style pack they leave a lot to be desired and don’t match up remotely with similar products that say, Mystery Ranch or the Arc Ter’x LEAF line, don’t know any one in that community that would objectively pick the GR pack over those too if price were no issue. For casual civilian pack too expensive for what it offers, and not nearly as comfortable as much lower priced packs OR pricier packs like Black Diamond etc. The insides are well designed, I grant them that but the lack of adjustment on the external features is poor design. Uncomfortable for any real physical work. Tested extensively for a friend as she asked my thoughts. For what its worth, over 15 years experience in tactical environment and decent recreational climber (5.11 or so range at present) plus alpine experience. To me these packs just scream “wannabe” operator when I see them…..

    • http://randomfoo.net/ lhl

      As someone who doesn’t want the tactical pack look, but who’s been looking for a good all-weather underseat/day bag for global travel, I can give some feedback on why the Gorucks might appeal to “civilians.”

      Arc’teryx makes great stuff and their LEAF line, from the videos, looks great for their target market, but on the Khard 30, but it doesn’t really come w/ much of anything for organization (laptop sleeves etc) – you’d have to spend a couple hundred extra in LBX/KHARD hook and loop accessories to get what most people need. The Gorucks internal MOLLE straps is a better compromise (lots of cheap options) and gets you most of the way there w/ the padded laptop and front pockets.

      Mystery Ranch’s 3-day Assault looks like a great tac pack, but it’s not something that really looks right for a commuter/regular user. It has the same problem of requiring extras for carrying laptops/electronics, although yay for internal MOLLE. The 3-Day Assault is 5.1lb bare (probably 7lb once you add organization – not so great bag/stuff ratio if you plan on carrying 10lb of stuff).

      While the tac bags you mentioned that look better for tac use, they aren’t necessary better for regular uses (EDC etc) and end up being twice the price once they’re built out and they’re a lot more heavy/fiddly/techy and are way conspicuous (much more wannabe if you weren’t using them for their primary purpose IMO). In the tac space there are maybe a couple other options – the TAD bags which have like 15 buckles and are also heavy, and maybe the 5.11 bags which aren’t weatherproof at all (ick grommets and drainholes) and also look terrible.

      In terms of non-tac bags, I took a quick look at Black Diamond’s line and they didn’t impress me – I have Deuter and Granite Gear technical packs, but those again are very different than bags for commute/travel/EDC – they are good for carrying heavy loads but lack organization and generally are too fidgety for regular use.

      IMO, the biggest competitors to the Gorucks for commuter bags are messenger/bike-heritage packs. I’ve been looking at the Mission Workshops Rambler, Chrome Soyuz and Bravo, that usually have better weathersealing/waterproofing, but they’re sadly deficient on organization (the internal MOLLE’s are probably the Goruck’s biggest strength – being able to to hook on extra organization on top/out of crush zones). The Gorucks flat/full opening is definitely also much more convenient than having to stick your whole arm into big buckets to find stuff… Timbuk2 has some better organization but the build quality (Especial excepted?) seems to stink these days. T-Level bags look really interesting but seem to also be pretty unavailable in the US (also the Infinity has that ridiculous logo plastered on it and I can’t find any info on the internals of the Challenger…)

      I’ve been doing some research for the past couple weeks trying to find the “perfect” bag to carry about 12lbs of mostly electronics (laptop, tablets, camera, power, accessories and a few EDC items) for extended travel and it’s been much tougher than I would have thought…

      Although it’s the most expensive option (as the MW Arkiv system doesn’t appeal to me) the Goruck G1 is actually on the top of my top-3 list (the relatively clean outside btw is a bonus for since theft prevention/pickpocketing is also a vague secondary concern).

      Also it’s rather surprising how terrible most bag sites are. You think it’d be common sense to show what the insides of these bags look like, rather than having to scrounge around for YouTube videos/forum postings…

      • AA

        Excellent response there. They’re brilliant all rounders, with enough organisation to beat out straight hiking packs yet cut down enough not to stand out too much. It’s just a shame their build quality is so so (speaking from a lot of personal experience here).

    • 8OOlbGorilla

      Interesting perspective. You do realize GoRuck was founded by a Green Beret, and their design staff are all Army/USMC Special Forces? And if you aren’t familiar, the rucks have endured the physical work of humping anywhere from 15 to 45 pounds of steel and bricks through 5, 12 and 24-hour endurance challenges that include forced marches, PT sessions, dirt, sand, rain, and nearly every other environmental factor you could list.

      One could just as easily look at somebody with a pack made for climbing (to carry and deploy rope, to store carabiners and camlocks, etc.) who doesn’t climb, and say they are a “wannabe” climber. Or somebody with a spotless showroom-clean Jeep and call them a “wannabe” off-roader. Fact is, you don’t really know what those people do, and if they like the thing, who are you to judge them or how they choose to use it? It’s their money and their style. Keep it movin’.

      I do agree that there are some elements missing that you would find on MR, ArcTerx, etc. This is intentional; GoRuck has distinguished itself by not directly copying those designs, not adding any elements that aren’t absolutely necessary, and focusing entirely on the details of a minimial design. There’s a concept called running “slick” that they adhere to, and they do it extremely well. No, it’s not for everybody, but then again neither are their challenges, and neither is a career in Special Forces.

  • Francis

    Not sure about the build quality issues – but I just received 2 GR1’s (wife & I are doing the challenge in April), but as an EDC junkie, I am blown away with the build quality of these. I have never seen anything as bomb proof as the GR1. My freshman high schooler saw it and loaded his 35 lbs of books into it, and it’s obvious it could get him through graduate school – this bag will last forever. He blew out a nike bag his first week, and his North Face isn’t looking happy shelpping around all his books and junk.

    I looked over every seam, pocket and weld, and it’s perfect (they both are, black and coyote). I still can’t believe how well put together and designed this thing is. Going to load them up and start breaking them in over the weekend.

    Seriously, if you want a bomb proof pack, this is amazing. I am a Tom Bihn fan, and have a synapse 25 for work. About the same size, but completely different bags… Love both. The synapse is incredible for an urban work EDC. Could carry my work stuff (I’m in IT) in the GR1, but would never carry 40lbs of bricks in my synapse.

    Will never get rid of either. And black is still the new black.

    • AA

      As an update, I’ve had a mixed experience but GR made it right and I have a new GR1 once more (fourth time lucky!). Just annoyed I’ve had to trade in my original, narrow one for the newer wider ones but you can’t win them all. Just glad they replaced it and did right by me as a costumer.

      I still think other companies have better build quality (although this is up there) but it’s still my favourite ruck.

      • Ernsky

        Any idea whats the difference between a rucksack and backpack & a daypack?

      • 8OOlbGorilla

        Check out the GoRuck Bullet.

  • Valter

    Goruck is very cool, do not get me wrong, I would love to have one of the smaller daypacks but it’s almost impossible for us in Europe to get one due to the final price after the taxes and the shipping, I know other people in Europe that have the same opinion. After all, the materials are the same as many other bags US made, the quality of stitching and manufacture is not really superior to other US produced quality bags, I’m sure that if the bags where a little less money it would be beneficial to Goruck and it’s European costumers.

    Until then, for you guys that after the shipping and taxes cannot justify the cost for a GR1, I leave you a good alternative (very GR1 inspired) that I’m sure will serve you well.


    • ERNZKY

      Thanks for sharing the link this “Night Shift” daypack from Seagull, made in Ohio, USA looks like Goruck & more affordable !

      • Valter

        The night shift is very cool, and it has everything to compete with the GR1, 26L, 1000D cordura and most important that great minimalist style.

        And the 140$ are overseas customer friendly.

        Glad I’m helping!

        • ERNZKY

          @Valter, there are bag maker in Europe that makes excellent bags like Mixed Works(Poland); Seil Marschall & Laderware (Germany); although i buy American-made because i live in the USA too; Tom Bihn makes bags in Seattle, WA, USA & it’s affordable too like TOPO Designs in Colorado , $139

          • Valter

            I know these, I have products from Topo and Tom Bihn. The bags from Poland I dont know them, will definitely check them.


      • andyang

        dear Ernzky,

        thanks for the suggestion.

        i manage to contact Seagull and they are willing to custom made for me.

        same design as the Night Shift.

        just need your comment.

        seagull material are the same as Goruck as well?
        durable nd toughness?


        • valter

          Yes they use 1000d cordura.
          Qualitywise, I would trust them, they are in business since 2003 and for a small operated custom bag company it’s certainly a proof of quality.

          • Andyang

            Thanks valter. Both u and ernzky.
            Both of u really helps me a lot here. Hopefully I can get Ye custom pack soonest.

          • Ernzky Quintuvzky

            I’m an avid bag collector esp American-made bags: I have GORUCK GR1, Topo Designs, LayerXLayer, BillyKirk, BLKPine workshop etc..

  • Ernzky

    @Valter, which bag do u like better , Tom Bihn or Topo? , I’m a bag collector too, I got a bag from Topo, Goruck, BLKPine workshop etc..

    • Valter

      Well, they serve different purposes.
      The Tom Bihn is large and intented to travel (I have a Mei Voyageur too) and the Topo is the light daypack.
      Love them both and recommend them.

      The materials are different, the Tom Bihn is made with the really good american sourced 1050D ballistic (not the asian 1680D thing) and the Topo is made with pac cloth. Construction wise, they are very quality oriented.

      Tom Bihn has a very fast shipping for Europe but unfortunately a little expensive, and since it’s a private shipping service, no usps option, you can bet the bag will make to customs 100%

      The Topo, in regards to shipping a don’t know since I purchased in a UK online store, the very good https://www.facebook.com/urbanhunter.shop/, sadly not in business anymore.


      • andyang

        hello there Valter and Ernzky,

        saw all the info that both of you both. is really helpful.

        but now i am looking at something which is similiar / very Goruck SK40/GR2 inspired.

        looking at 40L.

        can both of you help out here.


        • ERNZKY

          Try IGNOBLE bags, or SEAGULL bags , TOM BIHN backpacks or SPIRE USA in Colorado

          • andyang

            thanks ernzky for those brands.

            will check them out later.

        • Valter

          Hi Andyang,

          With 40L and very Goruck inspired but cheaper, I will have to research a little more, But here are some bags that I think look good in black and have that stealth looking.

          Also I like roll top in backpacks grater than 30L that are not intended for hiking, but more for travel or city dwelling.

          Topo Travel Bag in black 30L
          (absolutely want that one, even if I’m a little bit tired of the whole heritage thing)

          Topo Roll Top

          Arc’Teryx Khard 45L, not cheap and not in black, Arc’Teryx doesn’t believe in black for urban tactical.

          Chrome Industries BLCKCHRM Bravo 40L

          I will try to enrich the list.


        • Valter

          Hi Andyang,

          With 40L and very Goruck inspired but cheaper, I will have to research a little more, But here are some bags that I think look good in black and have that stealth looking.

          Also I like roll top in backpacks grater than 30L that are not intended for hiking, but more for travel or city dwelling.

          Topo Travel Bag in black 30L
          (absolutely want that one, even if I’m a little bit tired of the whole heritage thing)

          Topo Roll Top

          Arc’Teryx Khard 45L, not cheap and not in black, Arc’Teryx doesn’t believe in black for urban tactical.

          Chrome Industries BLCKCHRM Bravo 40L

          I will try to enrich the list.


          • andyang

            thanks as well

            will check them out later.

            but the topo travel bag is only 30L. a bit too small for me.

            wish to have at least 35L-40L. 🙂

            but still will be in my wishlist..LOL

  • andyang

    dear Valter,

    thanks again for the webpage and info.

    but some are too big for me.

    i am just looking for 35L-40L backpack.

    and very important that i don’t want any waist/hipbelt.

    few of ur suggestion have that.


    • ERNZKY

      Try TOM BIHN BRAIN BAG backpack at 36 L capacity, made in Seattle, USA.

  • andyang

    actually..i have a question to ask.

    1) is a 26L of backpack can fit for 3days 2 night stuff?
    i usually will bring 1 toiletry bag,1 pair of sandal,1 long pants, 3 shorts pants 2 pair of stocking, and 4 shirts.
    will put all these stuff into 1 pack.

    hope you all can comment. thanks.

    • valter

      Definitely, I use a Gravis Metro (24L) in my last trip to Madrid and Paris, You just have to think more on packing strategy.
      Women tend to prefer bigger bags, my girlfriend took a 30/40L expandable roll top from Trash Mensenger Bags (recommended) for that same trip.

      Take a look at this site

      you will change the way you travel.


    • 8OOlbGorilla

      You can fit 3-days of stuff into a ziplock sandwich bag, if you don’t need to carry water. Question doesn’t make sense. What are you doing those three days?

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  • Oscar


    I like Goruck and I have several items from Goruck, but I’m not happy with something about GR1.

    My GR1 with light. Rain gets wet inside so it’s not as promised at Goruck website that GR1 matches military specs about water.

    You can try by yourself but Goruck confirmed that I was absolutely right and now I have to carry with me a rain cover.

    For the cost of GR1 I think is a lot money taking into account is not waterproof.

    Thank you for the review


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