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Carry Collaborations



GORUCK X Carryology | From GR1 To Guerrilla X

by , May 20, 2021

It’s Sunday, June 15th, 2008. Austin, Texas. I’m sitting in the hotel bar at the Holiday Inn on Town Lake, pushing aside a Budweiser longneck beer bottle to make room. The table is littered with notes, some sketches on cocktail napkins, and enough big ideas to fill every room inside the hotel and burst doors clean off their hinges. 

This gentleman, named Jason McCarthy, had found my industrial design portfolio online and we’d been exchanging emails. He’d just flown into town to chat about his burning idea and to hire me to create some concepts. Every string of words he mentions could be an epic quote in itself. He’s ex-military and an entrepreneur. In fact, even calling him an entrepreneur doesn’t seem correct. “Visionary” is more like it, mixed with that can/will-do attitude. His eyes are filled with the best kind of crazy… this wasn’t some pipe dream. This thing was going to happen, no matter what. “It’s going to be called GORUCK. And, at first at least, it will be available in any color, just as long as it’s black.”

GORUCK Jason McCarthy and Taylor WeldenGORUCK-napkin-designs-SKETCHES3

Napkin Sketches and Budweisers

In 2021, Jason and I are still friends, and that conversation and those emails sent back and forth was just the beginning for GORUCK. In the years that followed, GORUCK would become one of the greatest carry brands on the planet. And some of those early sketches would help shape what we now know as the icon of all rucksacks, the original GR1. 

When I visited Jason and his team at their Jacksonville Beach, FL HQ for a Carry Collective meetup in January of 2020, while slugging back Budweiser beers, Jason remembered our time in that Holiday Inn hotel bar. One thing had specifically stuck in his memory. As a design nerd, I’d mentioned The Golden Ratio (1.618:1), a mathematical ratio found in nature and used by the great artists of the past. I relayed how that magic ratio could be applied to design elements of the GR1, specifically the Velcro patch field.


He stood up, walked past the sewing machine stations in their workshop, over to the wall and pulled down a massive framed photo. To my disbelief, it was of those very napkin sketches from that Holiday Inn hotel bar from 2008. I recognized my own handwriting. These were erased from my memory, yet there they were. My mind was blown. Jason smiled. “Hey, we should work together again on something awesome. Let’s go BIG”.

I nodded in reply. “Damn straight.” 

Working on The Icon 

At Carryology, we’ve played with more packs than most people can fathom. Testing and reporting on hundreds over the years. But no one pack has ever had the impact of the GORUCK GR1, in popularity and longevity. It’s a pack we always recommend for its utility, timeless lines, and ruggedness and warranty that serve a lifetime. 

And let’s be straight: there’s never been a pack with such a cult following. The pack is field-tested and proven. Through deployments, through airports, through extreme GORUCK rucking events, and so much more. While they make many other incredible packs, it was no question that our first collaboration together would be the cult favorite, the icon, the GR1. In its ulta-clean, minimal and street-ready form – The Slick. 



Jason and I began brainstorming right away. How insane could we make this thing? No idea was too ridiculous. Let’s dream massive and deal with the consequences later. The codename “GR1000” was jokingly tossed around. It wasn’t a terminator reference. No, it was because we thought these might end up costing $1000 each. Don’t worry, folks, it was a joke and we wouldn’t do that to you. 

How about if we used X-Pac? What if we did a collaboration once a year? What if it was made of 100% reclaimed leather from military surplus fighter pilot jackets? Could we make the zipper coils out of titanium? Could we make the entire bag out of titanium? How far can we push this thing until it becomes absurd? We had a long list of wild ideas, which is exactly how ideating works. Now, let’s distill these ideas, put them into a barrel, and let them calmly mature beautifully. The goal was to release a GR1 that would be able to carry the weight of the GR1 legacy, handle the seriously aggressive abuse that a GR1 can casually brush off, and also carry the weight that a GR1 can already carry… maybe more? It’s not about making the GR1 better. It’s about making it special.


Guerrilla X

Every special project needs a spark. Something to be the inspiration from which all decisions branch off and grow from. Considering Jason’s history in the Special Forces, we began exploring the theme of ‘warriors’ of different places and times, some historical, some purely fiction. And then we began to imagine our very own. But who would this character be? For this, we wanted something to make an epic splash that would ripple the space-time continuum. 

So “the future” was chosen. And soon after, ‘Guerrilla X’ was born.

Guerrilla X is a fictional warrior from hundreds of years in the future. Their combat zone is a star field. Maybe from this timeline, maybe from another. Little is known of their origin. Or where their technology came from. But when the name of their battalion is spoken out loud, it echoes far across the galaxy. 

A Fabric from the Future

What’s the most futuristic high-performance material on earth… that we can actually attain today? Liquid nano titanium particles were obviously out. Of course, it had to be Dyneema. We hit up our friends at DSM and scheduled a video call with experts from their R&D laboratory. Driving home the importance of this particular project, we told them about the extreme demands that existing users of the GR1 expect from it. After careful consideration, based on a long evaluation of tensile strength and abrasion resistance test figures, we chose the Dyneema CT9Hw6/blkwov6, their most rugged offering – heavy-duty, light, space-age.  

Yes, you read that correctly… this GR1’s exterior is completely made from Dyneema. Of course, like Jason told me in our original design meeting, “It can be any color, as long as it is black.”

GORUCK x Carryology

Space-Age Morale

If a ‘future warrior’ was our inspiration, then the ‘Guerilla X’ morale patch had to scream from the stars. So we called upon close friend of Carryology, and a force of nature when it comes to design, the legend, Dan Matsuda. Dan has a long history of designing products and patches for Triple Aught Design and now for himself. We worked with him on a collaboration pair of patches last year. Essentially, anything this gent works on is magic. So we asked him to bring the ‘Guerrilla X’ to life. The mysterious intergalactic star-jumping warrior. 

Dan dreamed deep into the cosmos and presented the artwork: it was an instant “YES” across the board. The plan was to take it to a high-quality embroidered patch maker and have them whip up some prototypes. But Dan messaged me at the 11th hour with an idea. Being that this GR1 and Guerrilla X are from the future… an embroidered patch didn’t fit. What if… what if the patch was laser engraved titanium?

Mummert, Titanium Wizard

Dan connected us with Marc Mummert of Mummert Knives. Marc is a legitimate beast when it comes to making hardgoods. His knives, Ti Eyes / patches, and other products are masterpieces. Bonus, Dan has worked with Marc in the past, so he would be able to “communicate” with his fancy laser machine. I hopped on a call with Marc while I was standing in an airport parking lot in Bozeman, Montana. Marc was immediately in. The only issue… he had never done a 2″x3″ patch before. Though it might sound simple, it’s not that easy. And it simply had to be 2″x3″. Because it is GORUCK and that’s their iconic size.

After some number crunching, some material sourcing (titanium is very difficult to find right now), and some prototyping, Marc called me up. We could do it. Marc brought Dan’s artwork to life. Via an expertly laser-etched, laser-colored, and laser-cut titanium Velcro-backed patch, a very first for both GORUCK and for Carryology. Guerrilla X and his glowing orange eyes would be a reality! 

LoVis HiVis

GORUCK and Carryology are both massive fans of black exteriors. It’s the colorway that can go anywhere. But here at Carryology, we’re always talking about bright high contrast interior spaces. The play on the muted black exterior and screaming bright interior is always fun, but it’s also a functional benefit – the bright lining provides you with more visual contrast to find items inside a dark pack while in the dark. So we opted for the brutally tough and brutally bright 500D Cordura nylon in blaze orange.

GORUCK x Carryology


Additionally, the GR1 has a unique feature that occurs inside… it’s that contrasting paracord zipper puller in the upper accessory pocket. Normally, it’s the only coyote colored cord, while the rest remain black. Since it’s a Carryology collab, we swapped it for orange, paying homage to this iconic little hidden feature that we’ve always loved.

GORUCK x Carryology

Additional Pocketing

Here’s one thing many don’t know about GORUCK. They’re slow to innovate. That sounds like an insult. It’s not. Jason has told me about some wild design changes, tweaks, and ideas for many years. GORUCK HQ is littered with innovative prototypes. But just because they can doesn’t mean that they will or that they should. Every single change, even if it’s moving a seam over 1cm, requires an absurdly long testing evaluation.

Right away, I asked Jason if we could add a quick-access zipper “sunglasses pocket” up near the grab handle. He started off by telling me how long it would take… however… by some stroke of luck they had already been developing and going through their rigorous testing of this exact feature. If you remember, the recently launched Heritage GR1 collection offered this feature. Because of this, we were just able to sneak this incredible additional feature in. Quick access for sunglasses or whatever else you carry and need to access on the fly, good to go.


Proudly Made in the USA / SCARS Warranty

Like the very first bags that GORUCK produced, these will be made entirely in the USA (and covered by their SCARS warranty). While we appreciate manufacturers and brands located around the world, for this collab to really hit home, having it MIUSA really felt like the right decision.

Cordura Where it Counts

It wouldn't be a GORUCK without some Cordura. So the pockets are lined with Cordura and the pack is reinforced with it where it counts.

500D Cordura lines the inside of the shoulder straps, so there's grip, and a gentler touch on your garments. 

It's also wrapped with Dyneema to form a a cushy grab-handle, for strength and comfort. 


GORUCK x Carryology

Different size humans, different missions, different size backpacks

The GORUCK GR1 iconic size is the original 26L version, which is a super sweet spot for a lot of us here at Carryology. However, there are a lot of folks who are sized differently, where a 21L backpack fits their frame better. And sometimes, you just don’t need 26L for an EDC pack. So this collaboration, it’s so nice… that we made it twice. Available in both 26L and 21L!

Custom Internal Label

GORUCK doesn’t like adding a bunch of labels or words on the exterior of the packs… we absolutely love that. The iconic interior label needed some tweaks for the collab to make it unique and special. You’ll notice the product number “GRXC1” (on the 26L only), a curious combination of letters. What does it mean? GORUCK x Carryology, number 1. The first of many.

GORUCK x Carryology label

Presenting, the GORUCK x Carryology GR1 “Guerrilla X”

We are honored to introduce our very first GORUCK x Carryology collab.

For EDC, for travel, for rucking, for futuristic battles in other galaxies.

The GR1 “Guerrilla X” is here.


The GORUCK x Carryology GR1 “Guerilla X” releases on 25th May, 4PM, New York Time, exclusively to Carryology readers for 24 hours.

The 'exclusive release article' will be published to Carryology.com, and will the include the hidden shop link to purchase. 

This is a one-time only release, in limited edition.
Once they're sold out, they're gone forever.

GORUCK will ship internationally.

And we have three select partners, releasing one small batch each, a week following this release. Good luck!



Keus (EU)


Suburban (HK)



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