Being a former Army tank crewman, (19K), I know a thing or two about rucking.
Rucking is the act of hauling an enormous amount of gear on one’s back, similar to hiking, except usually on concrete. Nothing is more satisfying than completing an undetermined amount of miles with 100+ pounds resting on your shoulders. When I got out of the Army, I was more concerned about forgetting everything I knew about rucking, rather than buying an overpriced rucksack and spending more money just to be around a bunch of veteran jocks and military has-beens/coulda-beens.
I first picked up an Alice pack from my local military surplus store; that gave me copious amounts of nostalgia from my Army days. Unfortunately the pack still wasn't trendy enough for me to fit in with the other civilian ruckers.
About a year ago I came across Goruck’s civilian style rucksacks. Their ownership appeared to be comprised of all veterans (woot!), and they also boast to have special forces backgrounds (BADASS!).
What caught my interest in their product was the claim of “special forces” grade materials, whatever that means. A simple Google search revealed the definition: “Special forces grade material consists of 1000D cordura and silent zipper pulls.” So for their absolutely insane price (the GR1 model nearly $300) you get sturdy construction, and stealthy function.
I'm always ballin on a budget, so I snagged a deal on the 10 liter Bullet ruck. Normally $125, marked down to $105, and their sick veteran discount of 25%, got me a steal at around $80.
After receiving my Goruck, I immediately stuffed it with as many bricks as I could find (about ten). Literally any backpack could handle this, but for the sake of internet stardom, I decided to ruck a good mile (most people can only do a quarter).
My strenuous ruck revealed that the bricks didn't fall out of the bottom, and as advertised, the ruck sat high on my back.
I was never brutish enough to do a Tough Mudder, so I'm definitely not brutish enough to do a Goruck event. If you're unfamiliar, a Tough Mudder is an obstacle course in the mud...nothing to get excited about. With that being said, a Goruck event assembles contestants into a team to complete a certain amount of miles with a weighted ruck, in addition to other military style exercise punishments along the way. This is a good place to encounter the guys who are stuck in their military glory days or that single parent trying to be fit and trendy.
My testing revealed that special forces grade material isn't bulletproof. One shot at 25 meters proved that the Goruck Bullet could not withstand a 9mm blast; I blew holes through it front to back. So much for it being called a “Bullet” ruck.
They also claim that the “opens flat” design is a feature of special forces medical rucks, a feature they promote for being helpful in finding items in a rucksack. My test revealed that the Goruck provided no advantage over a common backpack. Whether you open a backpack like a suitcase, or reach into it like a sack, you will still be forced to rummage for what you need.
In reality, that sick Jansport from high school will suit you fine for rucking, but if you're at a Goruck event, you won't fit in. Your best option would be to scribble “Goruck” over the Jansport logo, in hopes that none of the elite cadre from the Goruck staff call you out for being a poser and make an example out of you.
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