- Buyer's Guide
Hall of Fame | Carry Awards VII
Our Seventh Annual Carry Awards welcomes an iconic backpack into the Hall of Fame…
GORUCK GR1 Backpack
If you’re into backpacks or you’ve read Carryology, it’s pretty darn likely you’ve heard of the GORUCK GR1. A pack we’ve recommended more than any other. And a pack that has stood the test of time, unchanged, and inspired so many.
And whether it’s your pack of choice or not, it’s hard not to respect its origin story. Because really, it’s not just the origin of the GR1. It’s the origin of GORUCK itself. The brand and the pack are intertwined. One wouldn’t exist without the other. And it all started with a Green Beret looking to bridge military and civilian life.
Green Beret and GORUCK founder Jason McCarthy was transitioning from serving to civilian life after his time in the Special Forces. And to help him do that he decided to design a pack and a business that would honor his military life but allow him to look forward and embrace the future. A bag that was tough enough for demanding Special Forces use (almost tank-like), but clean and low-key enough to step onto city streets.
The clamshell design was inspired by military medical backpacks that allow quick access to gear. But Jason had no idea how to design backpacks and bring his ideas to life. So he placed an ad for a backpack designer, fortuitously answered by Wookey Design Studio. They understood Jason’s requirements for military-grade quality and efficient functionality. And following a number of iterations, a workable prototype was created. A prototype that would go on to be carried by thousands, and when paired with the GORUCK Challenge, would propel GORUCK into more than a brand but a movement.
Today the GR1 is available in two sizes, 21L and 26L. You’ll find an extra-padded top handle and shoulder straps, a false bottom in the laptop compartment for added protection, and a removable hard plastic frame sheet to add stability to the laptop compartment and increase weight-carrying functionality.
Still built according to Jason’s demanding level of quality. It takes four hours to make each GR1 by hand in the USA. The pack is made with rugged, weatherproof 1000D Cordura and backed by GORUCK’s Scars lifetime guarantee. Overbuilt to endure demanding use. The kind of bag that will take a beating and just keep on going.
GORUCK’s original backpack was born through hard work, perseverance and a refusal to quit or lower standards. A pack with exceptional versatility and durability. And a bag that’s won over legions of fans with its ability to “embrace the suck” as GORUCK would say. Does it have a cult-like following? Like no other. And it’s well deserved. We salute you, GORUCK.