Ruckin’ The Newb – After Action Review (AAR)

Spencer and Jack_The Newb_02

Spencer builds it and if you’ve never done this like I haven’t trust me it takes decades of practice and a full day to execute one single solitary ruck that you’ll be judged on, in this case a version whatever prototype and when it’s not perfect 6 hours in you’re furious but you can’t start over that’s more delay and nothing now is worse than maybe perfect later. So welcome to the next 6 more hours of an imperfect build on a Friday no less despite your rage because Jack says he thinks there’s somethin’ to it so pretty please with sugar on top build the ruck.

And I understand more every single day why people quit hard things because this is really not nothin’ to do well but we’re lucky to have something to care so much about but really we’re lucky to care so much about each other.

And back up to what it should do and listen to Spence and then back-up in your mind 24 hours lemme help take you there to a 2 hour jam session with me, Spence, and Jack on how the world in our universe should bend. Meaning how the newb will conquer all and this transitioned nicely to 27 fist fights and a lot of everyone else listenin’ in that’s known as eavesdropping where I come from and I hadn’t even worn the ruck yet and neither had Spencer – the latest one anyway since he hadn’t built it yet but you shoulda seen his face when I brought up the ALICE pack and he was like hey don’t take my word for it google it anywhere that’s a.n.y.w.h.e.r.e. it’s the worst carry system in history that’s h.i.s.t.o.r.y and fact dictates that history is a long time and I had not even a yeah but.

So. Welcome to life at GORUCK R&D where the wild wild west is still alive and well.  Jack plays peace keeper a modern day Wyatt Earp in Montana USA and everyone loves him or else chaos would ensue and our shop would burn to the ground. It must be exhausting drinking chai with everyone all day every day because feelings find people and people find Jack I could not do what he does and the folks out there woulda quit long ago without him.

Spencer's Work Station_GORUCK R&D_01

But the hard makes it worth it because peaceful and empty never seem right around here it’s the chaos theory at its finest. Spencer’s work station doesn’t come to life by the things on his desk, it comes to life as he’s using and abusing all of his tools and all of his mind to exhaustion and then he finishes something to praise and criticism and a pointing Jack and a sniping me and welcome to the life of a creator where the people around you can’t do what you do and yet they judge.

And nobody loves criticism. Nobody. But sometimes when we know something’s not perfect or when we know we don’t know as I don’t know what it’s like to haul an elk or to even care about a hip belt we need other people. I digress lest Jack feels his work is done it’s not and never will be, though there is ultimate satisfaction in the collaboration, in the process of you’re wrong and I’m right leading to I’m wrong and you’re right I deserve the black eyes and when that happens over all the characteristics at hand it takes a long time and it ends up better than if you’d done it yourself especially when you’ll fight to the death for all of them until you won’t because…. wait for it… you’re wrong.

The Newb_Prototype_04

So I rucked the newb this go round and had a few notes, some born of ignorance and assumptions, others born of pain and experience. But what it wasn’t was the commentary on nothing because something was created and the creator’s name was Spencer Metzler and I’m the critic and he’s the creator make no mistake where the credit lies. Lest I’m accused of riddles, the credit lies with the creator, always.

The Newb_Prototype_Jason Rucks it_05

My review which I shared with them both. Disclaimers are for cowards but they help manage expectations since we’re not face to face on this thang called the Internet and the full review was pages and pages after hours of conversations because I only used the newb once and I have my perspective think GR1 and I hate hip belts and always have. I also hate sternum straps even though both have their place and when we’re ignorant we use the word hate make sense? That said someone’s gotta take a stand so here ya go guys:

  1. Love the simplicity/aesthetic 360 degrees. It looks like a GORUCK rucksack.
  2. Function: this ruck tore my body up more than any ruck ever has – military and otherwise. Shoulders crushed, massive welts on my hip bones. It was not sized correctly (too small). That said, user error is something we have to help prevent.
  3. Due to hip belt sizing problems I tried to do a full shoulder carry, and 50 lbs. is not a lot of weight for me. The newb’s shoulder carry is not as good as GR1’s. Montana men like Spencer enjoy arguing that you don’t need shoulder straps with padding when carrying an elk off the mountain, that you only need hip belts for the load. Military ruckers have an indoctrinated belief that the weight is meant to start on the shoulders because it’s better for movement and it frees up your torso for things like ammunition. For loooooooong heavy rucks, you engage the hip belt when you must aka when your shoulders get tired. Where these two worlds and perspectives collide to find the best of both is where this ruck will need to end up.
  4. Hip belt was too difficult to cinch down, can we do it more simply while still keeping it stable. Friction from this is a big problem for your skin over time ask me I’ll tell you.
  5. Weight distribution – this part felt good, meaning I felt like with the right size it would have worked well. The weight was stable and even though the ruck thrashed me somehow I felt like it should be working – this is indicative of a sizing issue.

Of all these notes the only most important one at this point is #3 about the collaborative nature of everything we’re doing, fist fights and all. No doubt Spencer will get mad reading this again as he got mad when he read it the first time because when it comes down to it the ruck isn’t perfect yet and he knows it and I know it and yet is the right word and perfect means perfect collaboration with all sorts of compromise and yet also means it will be. Perfect that is. And welcome to GORUCK and the crashing worlds of military rucking and carrying elk in Montana and snipers and fist fights and feelings and chai and peace makers and Wyatt Earp and we gotta get back to it we’ve been licking our wounds for far too long.


  1. KO says:

    Curiosity, will you have a smurf crew (5’3″ and below) try it out? I loved the GR2 but as a smurf, it was just to big for me.

    Or will be making different sizes once you get the design correct.

  2. jason says:

    Hey KO, the newb will definitely come in different sizes. Based on my AAR, that’s one of my main take-aways is that it has to be sized correctly. Spencer and Jack 100% agree, too. As for GR2, we’ll have a smaller version of that one, too. Eventually …

  3. Willie Bivins says:

    MOLLE on the hip belts and along the sides of the main compartment for attachment pouches will be a great idea or pockets built in on the sides that can hold a Nalgene. And possibly a way to attach ice axes/hiking poles (ice axe loops) for the GORUCK mountaineers.

  4. Cana says:

    A couple things: I used the GR2 every single day for 7ish months with lots of sand beating it up and it still looks like the day I got it. Awesome quality. There is hardly any wear on the ruck whatsoever. So worth the money.

    Do any rucks have a primary compartment that does not fully unzip? Also, will you ever make name stripe velcro an add-on option? This would be very helpful.

    Thanks for building quality gear and putting on great events!

  5. William says:

    My 9 year old daughter says she will give the $40 she has saved including the $5 she just got from the tooth fairy for that black bear in the back so that he could be friends with her Titus(bear) and Big G(he is a gorilla) and Bob the Anaconda.

  6. callum davenport says:

    As long as it has more volume than a GR2 and gets some molle webbing to attach stuff to it this thing looks perfect. Can’t wait to take this thing to another GORUCK Navigator.

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