- Buyer's Guide
Ever heard the motto "less is more"? Well, the 21L GR1 Slick could be a definition of that. It’s less; what makes the GR1 Slick a perfect GR1. And it’s real. I used to have the original GR1 years ago and Huckberry's Slick variant is absolutely my preference. I like its simplicity and low profile.
- Name: GORUCK x Huckberry GR1 Slick (21L)
- Brand: GORUCK, Huckberry
- Format: Backpack
- Measurement: 12" x 20" x 6¾"
- Capacity: 21L (26L also available)
- Zippers: YKK
- Material: 1000D Cordura
Who It Suits
Anyone looking for a general EDC / commuting / short trip pack, that looks good and is as bombproof as a backpack can be. Minimalists will love this thing!
Who It Doesn't
If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck...well, maybe this is not your best option. Mainly due to the "buck" part, which is $295 in this case. Also if you like a bit of color in your life you may want to know that the GR1 Slick comes in three colors only: black, black and black - so yeah, the choice is yours.
The GR1 is a timeless classic. And I really can’t find a major flaw in the overall design of it. Its squarish silhouette makes it easy to pack, store and carry. Compared to a regular GR1 this "Slick" variant has no MOLLE attachment points on the outside, which makes it... yeah, slick! It blends perfectly into an urban environment. I’d say this is a tough "tactical" pack just without the tactical look. The gray man’s dream daypack.
It has a full clamshell opening that GORUCK is famous for and the result is unrestricted access to the main compartment. The back panel hides a semi-lined laptop compartment (my 15.4" Dell fits fine). The straps are stitched into the top part of the pack so you need to play a bit with them to open the laptop section. But that is done on purpose - it’s a significantly tougher construction than attaching straps to the back panel, which would transfer all the pack’s weight to the laptop pocket zipper. So yeah, GORUCK made it right. And darn tough too. The slick look means there are no attachment points on the shoulder straps.
Materials and Hardware
As with the standard GR1, this Slick is made of 1000 denier genuine Cordura fabric - that makes it as tough as an EDC pack can get. YKK zippers contribute to the overall strength of it. A pair of high-strength polymer webbing adjusters are the only hardware on the GR1, and they just work. What I really like about GORUCK packs is how strongly this thing is stitched together - it's a tough overbuilt piece of pack, no doubt. That's how a pack should be made.
The whole idea of the GR1 "Slick" was to reduce the number of features to a bare minimum, and all of them hidden inside. So there are no MOLLE attachment points, which is fine for me - the pack looks very elegant and blends nicely on the street. There's no patch panel - on this kind of gentleman's GR1 the lack of Velcro is obvious. Custom paracord and heatshrink tubing zipper pulls have always been GORUCK's signature. They work great (also with gloves), look good and remain silent while wearing the pack. I really dig this design - I had my first GORUCK years ago and since then I've changed zipper pulls to GORUCK-style on most of my packs. A multi-layer big and beefy Cordura grab handle - check, it's there. And the last one, that stunning internal leather label with collab details! It may be a small thing but it's like a cherry on a cake - nice and classy.
Space and Access
Easy access is in the DNA of the GORUCK brand. So you can lay your GR1 flat on a table and rip open for full unrestricted access to any part of it. Easy to pack, easy to find stuff inside. The regular shape helps to make full use out of the 21 liters of the main compartment. Take my word for it, you'll really use each single cubic inch of that pack! There are some other 21-liter packs out there but there's just one GORUCK 21L. BTW, it comes in a 26-liter variant too (same price, just make your choice). I also had it with me on a couple of day hikes and it worked better than I thought it would. I could pack some photography gear, a rain jacket, some food, water and an extra insulating layer. Plus a map, knife, flashlight and a couple of other small EDC items.
Pockets and Organizing
The internal book/tablet pocket is just genius! Whoever designed that rubber elastic lip system did a most amazing job. All small items like keys, a multitool, flashlight, etc. I keep inside the two zippered pockets on the inside of the flap. The bottom one is just made of Cordura, while the top one is sort of mesh. As with any GORUCK, the front pocket with canted zipper works only really well for flat items (documents, minimalistic wallet, maps, etc.) and it's definitely not a speed-access pocket. On the other hand it also protects items quite well against pickpocketing. And last but not least...the bombproof back laptop compartment, which just shines in EDC / office use!
It's an EDC pack so it's not been optimized for the most comfortable long-time cruising in the outdoors. The harness system is quite simple, just two shoulder straps (albeit very good ones). The straps are nicely padded and surprisingly comfortable. Interestingly you won't find a sternum strap nor a waist belt on the GR1 Slick. Did I miss them? No, absolutely not! At a 21L volume there’s no real need for either of them. I could purchase a sternum strap, sure. But it'd ruin the super-clean look of the pack and considering the size of the GR1 I don't think I'd see any potential benefit. The back panel of the pack is semi-rigid, which ensures superb protection for the laptop inside. However, just a regular 1000D Cordura on the back is not the most comfortable material, especially during hot summer days (and they will come). Mesh would be better, but not even half as durable as 1000D Cordura. Again, it's an EDC pack so it's fine for me as it is.
Cordura is tough and will shed light rain for some time. Still, this pack is rather water-resistant (to a certain degree) and not fully waterproof. But it'll easily handle most weather conditions...except heavy downpours naturally.
Alternatives to Consider
PDW Shado 24: Clearly an outdoor oriented pack, not as clean as the GR1 Slick but for outdoor adventure it'd be a great choice.
Fjällräven No. 21 Large: Old-school at its best!
Arc'teryx Arro 22: Probably the closest thing to the GR1 Slick. If you prefer a more rounded overall shape this could be a good alternative too.
VANQUEST ADDAX-25: A functional pack with a similar philosophy, and a less expensive alternative at $150.
It's tough as nails, that's for sure. Also the regular shape helps a lot in packing and navigating inside. It looks clean and classy, at home anywhere you take it - both in a forest and urban jungle. It's quite comfortable for an EDC pack and the size is spot on for me. Plus that small "Built in the USA" label inside, yeah!
Not So Good
$295 could be considered a bit steep for some - but it's one tough pack. Buy once, cry once - and enjoy an awesome US-made pack for the rest of your life (probably).
It's really hard not to like this pack. If you're a GORUCK fan, or just looking for a no-frills US-made EDC pack, the GORUCK x Huckbery GR1 Slick is easily one of the coolest choices available today. It's not cheap, but you get what you pay for...and the GORUCK legend comes for free.
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Space & Access
Look & Feel
Build, Materials & Hardware
Warranty & Support