Wednesday, February 13, 2013

GORUCK GR1 Review

I'm very particular when it comes to knives and packs. Those are two items that I will not settle for substandard quality. Humping a ruck in the Marines taught me that a quality pack can make or break your back, shoulders, and spirit.

I've been carrying the GORUCK GR1 for about 6 months now. Prior to that I had purchased a pretty expensive pack from a popular tactical pack company. I'll keep their name to myself. I carried that pack for about 5 months and got beyond fed up with it. For a few reasons- the shoulder straps were extremely uncomfortable, there were too many straps/pockets/clips, and it looked overly tactical. Looking overly tactical was my main issue. I don't want to look like I'm about to kick in doors in the 'Stan when I'm walking down the street.You see after serving in the military where everything is "tactical", you kind of associate that sort of stuff with work. I don't enjoy being reminded of work. With that said I tend to shy away from overly tactical gear.

If your unfamiliar with GORUCK, they are a company founded by a former SF operator. They decided to make a ruck capable of enduring the stresses of war and that would be just as comfortable carrying your Macbook to the office.

In their initial testing GORUCK sent GR1's to SF soldiers operating in combat zones to get feedback and tweek the rucks as needed. Another ingenious marketing concept known as the GORUCK Challenge; where these rucks get tested over a period of 8 hours. Those 8 hours of fun are based of the Special Forces Q-Course. Basically men and woman meet up throw 30 lbs of bricks in their GORUCK's and train like an SF Operator would. The GORUCK Challenge started off as a testing platform for their ruck but has evolved into a new fitness challenge craze.
After seeing that these rucks could stand up to combat and GORUCK Challenges, I decided to give them a try. The GR1 is a very understated and sleek design with some tactical features. Just enough tactical features that serve a purpose and nothing extra.

The GR1 comes in Black, Multi-cam, and Sand (featured here). It's constructed of 1000D Cordura. Cordura is a super tough material that has some water resisting capabilities. The ruck offers 26L of space.

All GORUCK's are handcrafted here in the U.S. At one of my favorite places to visit- Bozeman, Montana. With that you have to decide if you need a pack that comes in right at $300. It does have a lifetime warranty, however I know some of you may not want to drop that kind of coin on a pack.

My way of justifying the GORUCK price- weighed on the fact this ruck would eliminate many other packs I normally use.  I've used the GR1 for weekend vacations, wilderness survival excursions, and daily back and forth to the office. With that its a very versatile companion.

Something else I can appreciate with GORUCK products is  there lack of logos on their gear. Giving it a minimalistic look. The pack features a 2" x 3" velcro on the front allowing you to personalize the pack. GORUCK sells their reverse flag patches that look pretty unique. One I like is the leather flag patch shown on my GORUCK. Giving it a not-so-tactical look.

There is a snatch handle at the top of the pack as with most. This one is constructed to be very durable. I can see dragging a grown man with it without problems. The shoulder straps are really heavy duty with a thick padding, making for a comfortable ruck. The shoulder straps doesn't have a sternum strap. I thought this would be an issue initially. But after using the pack I've seen no need to have one.

The exterior of the pack features 3 rows of MOLLE webbing. Great for attaching pouches, carabiners, or other gear. There's also a slanted pocket across the front to keep essential items at hand.

All zippers have paracord lanyard pulls wrapped in shrink wrap tubing. Making a very quiet pack that can be opened rapidly or accessing the zippers in the dark much easier.
The GR1 has a "clam shell" type opening. Fantastic when organizing, packing, or getting to gear inside the ruck. As you can see in the picture above there is another 3 rows of MOLLE webbing. This also helps with internal organization. GORUCK also sells small pouches that can attach to these rows of webbing.

There are two zippered internal pockets and one elastic pouch pocket. The larger zippered pocket is a mesh style. Making identification of items or better yet finding them easier. The smaller pouch is at the top of the opening side. Most of the time I dig items out without opening the entire pack from this pocket.

Not pictured is a 17" padded hydration/laptop pocket. This pocket is next to the wearers back and can be accessed without opening the pack. It is bombproof and will protect a laptop very well. The only problem that I can find with the GR1 is that it is designed to be used with a hydration bladder, but doesn't have a clip to secure the drinking hose. So unless you secure it with 550 cord or some other method your drinking hose will flop around. I think that with the cost of the pack this should be standard and I shouldn't have to "jerry rig" anything. Check out our DIY hose retainer article.

Some may have a problem justifying the purchase of a $300 ruck. I did because of the GR1's versatility as I stated above. This pack can be used for almost all my applications where a pack is needed. The fact I use it everyday also plays into that equation. I will say that I have no buyers remorse and I'm completely satisfied (in love) with the ruck. Actually I can say its probably the best I've owned. I know this ruck will last a long time and if it doesn't? GORUCK offers a Scars Lifetime Warranty on all their products. I also enjoy spending money on American made products.

Check out GORUCK for the GR1 as well as their other products.

4 comments:

  1. I own the GR1 as well and have been using it for over a year. It is the best pack for the money and military personnel do get a discount.

    The low profile hydration bladder is a perfect fit and the drinking tube is not an issue for me. I put the end of the tube through one of the loops on the harness in the front. It holds just fine and I can send you a picture.

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    Replies
    1. Yes I too love the GR1. I have the Source Hydration Bladder and it fits well. I'll try looping it through the MOLLE webbing and see how that works. Thanks for the tip.

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    2. Eric - do you carry the low profile bladder in the hydration pocket or inside the pack? I've found the regular WXP 3L bulges against my back and isn't comfortable in the hydration pocket. And, since I've attached a fairly large admin pouch to the internal PALS webbing, it doesn't really fit in the internal pocket either (it's too tall and pushes up against the bottom of the admin pouch).

      Anyway, just curious if the low profile design is less noticeable against the back or maybe (being 3" shorter) it could fit in the internal sleeve without stealing space from the PALS webbing above it.

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  2. I've found that as well Blaine. When doing GRCs I usually have some bricks in the webbing and end up tossing the bladder below. Would love to see if the WLPS would fit better.

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