How the 26L GORUCK GR1 Lives Up to the Billing as the World's Greatest Rucksack

A title is to be earned. Not given.

An almost primal feeling of accomplishment comes from completing a sweaty, hard-as-hell ruck. To paint an accurate picture, we’re talking about storming up the side of a mountain, hill, or steep incline with a weighty sack strapped to your back as every step feels more brutal than the last. It’s serious business, and in some ways, it’s become a microcosm of the toughness so many Americans look for in their respective gear. We demand products that don’t carry a quick expiration date, that’ll stand up to the rigors of travel, and that serve our everyday purpose. For all intents and purposes, these are all reasonable requests understood and met by the good folks at GORUCK.

With the GR1, the flagship pack of their collection, we decided to put their best through the wringer, tote it around town, and just see how well it holds up in the harsh San Diego sun.

Here’s what we learned.

GR1 — built to thrive under any conditions.

YEAH, YOU CAN RUCK WITH IT

That may seem obvious from the get-go, but it still deserves some clarification. See, the GR1 isn’t built with a ruck plate pocket like the long-range Rucker, in its place, it sports a strategically placed elastic sleeve capable of holding a 30-pound ruck plate. Combine this with the heavy-duty construction and thickly padded shoulder straps, and you have yourself a monster-level rucksack for whenever you want to get a session it.

IT’S VERSATILE ENOUGH TO SERVE AS A TRAVEL OR DAY BAG

This is America, if you want to use this bag as a gear hauler, then do it. The open-flat style of the bag makes it simple to load and unload everything you need in an accessible manner. Featuring a main compartment along with three internal pockets keeps everything neat and organized for an overnight or weekend trip. Throw in your EDC essentials (flashlights, water bottle, multi-tool) and carry out the day with confidence. On top of that, there’s a reinforced bombproof laptop compartment on the backside of the bag, which keeps your electronics safe, out-of-sight, and able to survive an untimely drop. Finally, the three rows inside and outside of MOLLE webbing increases the gear carrying capabilities. Oh yeah, and it’s TSA-compliant and small enough to be stuffed right under your seat.

IT’S NOW UPDATED WITH 210D HT (HIGH TENACITY) CORDURA® NYLON

After four years, GORUCK mastered the construction of a new form of fabric in 210D HT CORDURA® nylon and immediately put it to use for the back panel and underside of the shoulder straps. Creating a zero abrasion feel for both skin and fabric, this bag won’t cause friction burn if you choose to go shirtless and it won’t do any harm to your favorite hoodie or V-neck. While I put it through my own unique stress test of quick sprints and scrambles up hills, I never once felt any level of irritation. This is thoughtful engineering at its best. At the end of the day, this is Special Forces grade material, it’s meant to withstand the worst without compromising the comfort levels.

IT’S PROUDLY MADE IN THE USA

Or “Overbuilt in the USA”, as they so emphatically point out. Not to knock other brands, but when you pick up a piece of GORUCK gear it’s evident that there’s a high degree of durability and craftmanship that you won’t find in an imported counterpart. Arriving with a slick-looking black matte American flag patch on the front, this version of the bag immediately instilled a sense of patriotic pride from the jump. Made to meet the standards of Special Forces operators, this pack serves as a shining example of American manufacturing.

YOU’RE GOOD TO GO STEALTH

There's very few things as annoying as an obnoxiously loud zipper. It creates the opposite effect of ASMR, causing a cringe reaction and inviting everyone to direct their attention to whatever you’re pulling out or putting into your bag. GORUCK goes above and beyond by their YKK zippers unzip silently every single time with or without gloves on.

RAINY DAYS DON’T MEAN SQUAT

Though we’re presently smack-dab in the middle of summer, it’s nice to note that GR1 is rainproof (aka highly water-resistant). So even if you don’t have to worry about a deluge anytime soon, you can still take solace in the fact that if you get caught in a sudden storm, you’ll be in good shape.

YOU WRECK IT. THEY REPLACE IT.

That’s what GORUCK calls the “Scars Lifetime Guarantee”. In layman’s terms this means that any piece of gear you get from the ruck leader will be fixed or replaced in the event of damage or defect. No questions asked. No receipt needed. For the purpose of this review, it meant that we didn’t have to handle it with extreme care. Because honestly, we don’t expect you to.

Carry the day.

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YOU ARE GOVX – Jordan G.
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