Classic Java and Ruckin’ a New Ruck AKA the Newb in Bozeman

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The royal we which means Spencer has been working on a new ruck let’s call it the newb and it’s really close in a way where we think we have the 95% solution and yet when it comes to building the best gear around we’ve always spent 95% on the last 5%. And my job is to find any fault and that’s why nobody likes me much in Bozeman or anywhere else for that matter and I’m only welcome there twice a year don’t smile I’m not kidding.

OK a little bit kidding and what I love about our team is they’re embarrassed by imperfection Spencer I’m talking about you, big guy. But some imperfection reveals itself only once the shot has been fired and welcome to life where plans based on theories require lots and lots of reality to become valid no matter how good of a theoretician is that even a word you are.

The exterior being the easiest to love or hate at first sight, it’s also not the point of early prototypes. The first most important goal is the function meaning how the ruck carries a load comfortably yes or no. But thankfully Spence humored me with a simple aesthetic to go along with it and I became the first tester of the whatever nth sample which means I became the first dose of reality to counter the heavily refined theory of what the ruck should be and do.

The wait what it’s not perfect for everything? GR1 on the left and the newb on the right – yes it has a hip belt and yes it has aluminum stays. And it looks KISS Keep It Simple Stupid not just because simple and clean is our preferred aesthetic but for two main other reasons:

  1. Rule #1 Always Look Cool and form follows function and we’re into simple things that just work. Less is More and More is Lazy.
  2. Complexity is the enemy of quality and the enemy of affordability. We have to pare everything down to its essentials so that we’re able to keep costs as low as possible. Kind of like how when you have a budget it forces decisions in reality even if not in your dreams. It’s a law of the universe that says higher price, less demand. Lower price, more demand. Yeah yeah making things better costs more and USA Manufacturing reigns supreme and I believe that stuff. I also know that price still always matters and we have to compete with a lot of manufacturers whose overseas labor costs 1/10 what American labor does, so we do everything we can to keep the cost as low as possible. Except skimp on quality, we don’t do that.

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So I got my first look-see at this round, my companion for the night, and then we chatted about it with Kevin D and Sam after Spencer fled from his 12 hour workday Friday, exhausted and furious for its imperfections (hint: you can’t see what he’s referring to) in a kind of world where the best artists give you work to judge. We talked behind his back about how much he cares and how close it seems but when you’re in the moment with some things you can’t see the good only the bad and in so many ways Spencer and I are soul mates like that and I love working with the guy.

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Two hours later the Challenge started. I typically don’t carry much weight, only what I need, but I weighed the ruck down with 50 lbs. in preparation for a 12 hour, 15+ mile route.

The ruck wore on my soul all night and eventually sunup greeted a bad convergence of timing as the class went from hero to full blown implosion preparation mode which is unusual considering how motivated they were all night.  When your chips are down what better time to gamble with something called let’s make a deal where the likely outcome is more pain for everyone.

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We reached the high ground too slowly and with horrible attitudes and I found two large logs (not pictured) and said my main pet peeve is when you fight each other I’m not in the mood for it right now cause Bozeman has a lot of memories for me specifically with Java and on this high ground I’m really not in the mood I mean it’s a perfect morning in God’s country it could be so much worse and it’s about to be.

So check it out. Those two logs are yours for the rest of this Challenge and your Challenge won’t be over till the Light is over, I’ll just combine both classes if you all don’t turn it around F-A-S-T but I have one alibi does anyone read the news blog and a couple folks raised their hands.

OK good start. If someone can point from right here to where I took my favorite picture ever and hint hint Java is in it, no logs and we’ll go down and y’all can drink beer at the end and watch the welcome party for the Light and have a grand ol’ time. Or…you can do two hours of Log PT, then drag the logs down to the welcome party for the Light because you’ll be doing it with them and it’ll be the first merged class in history and who doesn’t like firsts?

And someone knew with a huge smile and the lesson is if you’ve got a meeting or an interview or whatever with someone, find out what and who they love because you never know when it’ll come in handy but it always does.

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Morale now through the big sky as avoidance of sure pain does for all of us, down we went for pictures and smiles and some nostalgia.

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I drove down and met them there rewind a couple years ha ha.

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I always seemed to be in the right place at the right time with Java around and above is my personal fave and it’s framed all big in my bedroom, java forever style. Two summers ago, we’d just come from the creek to do some product shots and low and behold no product just Java was my fave and now it steals my heart every time.

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Lost in nostalgia and useless wishes for how everything went a year ago but oh yeah, the newb. It’s small on me the hip belts should be a little lower and no Spencer, that’s not your fault it’s just how God made me and he also made me stupid enough to wear jeans and a leather belt. Additional imperfections.

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Challenge over it’s best to soak your feet in ice if need be and my dogs were hurtin’ and no water in Bozeman isn’t cold so it’ll do. Especially since it’s the spot of the  Java Effect and more nostalgia.

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And then came the Light and no more ruckin’ for me this go round you all get to test ‘er out you’re welcome and most of the R&D team did it and it was a blast not just because they got to carry the newb even when the others had shoulder straps disappear from use.

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Bozeman as a classic magical kind of place still has classic magical kinds of beers with classic magical kinds of cans and what tastes better than cold beer after rucking for 18 OK actually just 12 hours I didn’t even carry a ruck during the Light the answer of course is nothing.

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And they help the aches more than ice of course, though all was necessary on this Saturday night but truth be told Motrin fixed me right up so I could ditch the ice and better enjoy the ice cold beers and the people and of course Jack and I ended up talking about the newb and my condensed bottom line: it’s really close. Spence did a good job, I’m thrilled I got to ruck it, I’ll see ya in 6 months when I’m allowed back, send me the next one for Cadre abuse when it’s ready.

Fuller AAR on the newb next week or so and a pre-emptive strike on the timeline for release questions: best guess 2015 (as opposed to 2016). Lots more buildin’ and lots more ruckin’ between now and then and I think this one is a game changer but there’s only one way to find out and we won’t get the only final say, you will.




  1. Jeff Rentz says:

    The answer to your first “Let’s make deal” gave us hope in a dark place. The answer to your second “Let’s make a deal” should give us all inspiration. Thirteen hours into the event we ran the Mogadishu Mile back to GORUCK HQ. You asked us to name one winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor who earned it in Somalia. The answers are Master Sergeant Gary Gordon and SFC Randy Shughart. Here are the stories:

  2. DG says:

    Jason. Love your gear, but I’ve gotta ask this. When your bags were getting a lot of attention, most of the flack was around the cost and how “simple” your bags are. People complained that you didn’t even include hip belts or sternum straps yet cost so much. Counter arguments were made by some of your big fans who asserted they were unnecessary and that the fit was good enough to not require them (which I definitely agree with – to a point).

    But now you’re making a bag with a hipbelt, your selection winner even had to fix up his own hip belt and you sell sternum straps separately. I hear you’re even making waist straps.
    I get that it is for rucking as a sport, but what do you say to those people who said your rucks should have had stuff like this all along?

    Is this new ruck going to be adjustable at all? Or will you make different models for different heights?

  3. DG says:

    Just as a follow up, I know you’re trying to keep it simple, but MOLLE inside and out would be useful, especially as you’ve got bottle holders out now. Lots of ventilation too. People would be willing to pay the premium.

  4. ratracegrad says:

    I am holding off buying my first GoRuck backpack (mainly due to the price) but also because I demand a hip belt and sternum strap if I am going to pay that price. Heck the backpack I will be using to climb Mount Everest has those features and cost less than 1/2 the price of your bag and it is 3 times bigger in size. Stop milking the loyalty of your followers by overcharging for a backback with basic functionality missing. Until you release a lower priced backpack that has everything that a backpack should have I will stick to my $45 REI Flash 18 backpack.

  5. Alicia says:

    I’m a GRT who has yet to buy a GR bag (probably a minority on here, I know). I want to, but I don’t think the bag for me is out there…. yet. I need something that works well for a female frame and the feedback I’ve heard from my friends is that the GR0 isn’t the best for shoulder/strap width when it comes to how us ladies are built. I hope that may be something this bag is taking into consideration….

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