Wrapping Bricks Explained

The military has all the best stuff. Equipment etc that costs too much if you had to pay for it. But lucky for military types Uncle Sugar has deep pockets to buy the best. And you get paid to use it in (sometimes) cool places, doing cool things with cool people. Weapons, vehicles, and (almost) all the gear you ever wanted. And even though everything is ‘mil-spec,’ you learn fast that you better take care of your gear. Because nothing is indestructible.

Bricks are required for the GORUCK Challenge, and back in the early days of the Challenge I found out from peoples’ smiles and a couple stickers I saw (got bricks?) that rucking with bricks is kind of our thing. But bricks are really, really abrasive so you have to wrap them up. The fabric and the zippers that we use in our rucksacks are the best on the market, period, but they won’t stop bullets. Or raw bricks shifting and moving around for 12 hours of the Challenge. You probably don’t want to earn the nickname Raw Dog, either. Trust me.

You’ll have 4 bricks if you weigh under 150 lbs, 6 bricks if you’re over 150. Occasionally, life tries to be fair. One of these Challenges, we’ll bring a scale out. Till then, like most of life, it’s the honor system. I recommend wrapping them in pairs. This lets you test out different ways to put them in your ruck – and it also lets you train in increments. More on the training stuff later. For this post, Chris (don’t call him Donnie he hates that) is wrapping sets of 2 bricks using red, white, and blue duct tape.

Red, White, and Blue were the only best three colors we could think to use. Every set of two bricks gets three layers of duct tape. Just start rolling the tape over the two bricks short ways (above), then tear it and do it long ways (below).

Above, make sure there is no exposed brick. Add enough wraps until you don’t see any.

The first layer complete above, in red. The second layer is in white. It’s a repeat of what Chris don’t call him Donnie he hates that did in red. Naturally, you could do all three layers it in one color, but I thought doing three different colors would make it easier for people to follow. The people I’m talking about are my friends, who always tell me they hate reading what I write and just want to see pictures.

Here’s the random plug to have a good time prepping for the Challenge, including wrapping bricks. And if you’re hanging out, drinking beers with your buddies while you do it, experts abound when you’re not doing it perfectly. Chris don’t call him Donnie he hates that never could have done this alone without Lou there to drink beers I mean manage.

Second layer in white, almost complete above, then the third layer in blue, starting below.

Above: the corners matter most, so make sure they’re covered up.

We take quality control very seriously. Pictured above is the big dog QC manager: part Adonis, part Ares. Less focused on beer like Lou and more on results. And get back to work Chris don’t call him Donnie he hates that.

Once the third layer in blue is complete (above), you need to reinforce the corners. To make it easier to follow, Chris don’t call him Donnie he hates that is using a strip of white tape to reinforce the corners of the brick present.

Above, each corner gets reinforced, the next strip of tape is red and you fold it down sort of like wrapping a present.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. But it does have to have 3 layers of duct tape, and in my opinion, if it’s got some red, some white, and some blue, it doesn’t get much sexier than that.

So, two more sets of bricks. Chris don’t call him Donnie he hates that on the left, Lou getting in on the action on the right after Java thugged him out for being lazy. So red, white, and blue are beautiful, but they also happen to go well with Army OD (olive drab) green. This tape (below) is known as 100 mph tape because it was thought that it could hold a Jeep together doing 100 mph. Then like most things, the name stuck and guys started calling it that. This is the tape you deploy with, the tape you trust for any problem tape can solve. It’s tough, sticky, and it lasts forever.

Lou has 4 great kids and, above, you can tell he wrapped a few presents in his day. Nice corners, good folds, reinforced. Well done. Now be less lazy next time and you won’t get thugged out.

So the 6 bricks are all wrapped, three presents of 2 bricks each. I recommend training with a weighted ruck to prepare for the Challenge. But if you’ve never rucked with weight before, it’s something you should ease into. Start with your first present the first week and increase over time in preparation. Do not train for the Challenge by running with weight. Walk at a good pace but no running unless you want Army knees (trust me you don’t). When 2 bricks get easier, take it up a notch to 4 and then get to your full 6 bricks.

It’s important to train as you fight. You know you’re going to have weight on your back for the Challenge, so you need to train with weight on your back. Back in my Q-Course days, we had really long patrols — up to 4 days — with really heavy rucks, but I never had 4 straight days to train. So my thought was to train with a ruck that was heavier than my patrol pack would ever be. Bad for the body but good for the mind type stuff. I felt ready when it was go time because I had put the work in. I think the Challenge is kind of like this. You can always just gut through it, but if you feel ready, you’ll do better and give more to your team.

I’ve seen a lot of designs on brick wrapping over the years. Some guys have honored fallen buddies, others have honored kids with cancer, that kind of stuff. I’ve seen US Flag designs, stars and all, and I’ve seen all different colors of duct tape. You don’t have to do anything like this and your bricks don’t have to mean anything to you, but it’s kind of cool if they do. It adds a little more value to your full Challenge experience. Which by the way is about more than just you, and the more reminders of that, the better.

Chris don’t call him Donnie he hates that had to take the Challenge before he could become Cadre. His brick configuration in his GR1 was to put the three brick presents directly on top of each other, then secure them together with 100 mph tape. This reduces shifting around.

And don’t forget the sticker. Any sticker you like, of course. Chris don’t call him Donnie he hates that chose the GORUCK sticker because it was the only one lying around, but otherwise he probably would have picked some Special Forces war sticker or something. Maybe a machine gun or a grenade or some bullets. Man does he love talking about that stuff. Sort of like Bubba talking about shrimp in Forrest Gump.

Almost done, but for the Challenge we recommend bubble wrap in addition to the duct tape. It gives the big package less tendency to shift around and it’s additional protection. Sure, the duct tape, 3 layers of it will work just fine on its own, but what we’ve seen over time is that your bricks will sit better and shift around less with bubble wrap. You guessed it, 3 is the magic number of wraps.

Ultimately, it’s your system. Your bricks, your ruck, and you gotta pack it how you like it. If you take anything away from this post, let it be this: test it out before you show up.

Above is a system for the Radio Ruck. Below is the GR1. Each has a Source hydration bladder and the 6 bricks in the main compartment. I recommend putting your bladder in the main compartment because it will lie flat against your back. Again, though, everyone’s bodies are different and you gotta see what works best for you.

Sexy. I love red, white, and blue, with the Army green and the GORUCK sticker. And I had a blast doing this post from a backyard in Bozeman. Everything is fun when you’re in good company. As for the Challenge and bricks and stuff, embrace the suck and, like always, look cool doing it.


  1. Cardinal says:

    Make sure you use lots of bubble wrap. Lots and lots of it. You never know if your bricks may speed toward a buddy’s head during buddycarries. Derp.

  2. Chuck says:

    I think if Jason took pictures of paint drying and wrote a few paragraphs I would still read it twice. Keep them coming Jason.

  3. James Schipper says:

    I’ve been going with the train heavier than my ruck will ever be mentality too. Hope the 6 bricks feels light by the time I do the Challenge.

  4. Mark Webb says:

    Nicely written, and always good to have more fuel on TinTin 😉
    I have a different philosophy on training with bricks and wrapping them but I recognize that my philosophy is also slightly stupid. Now when people ask I can point them here for something much less stupid 🙂

  5. Guennael Delorme says:

    Sweet, exactly how I set my bricks up (except that my wrapping has them look like gipsy bricks, you know). Also been doing the “go heavier now, it will feel lighter then” thingy. Nice post, keep’em coming!

  6. Chris says:

    Another quality post that makes it seem like every day in Bozeman is a good day.

    Carrying the hydration bladder in the back compartment helped ease some of the stress on my head when we lost strap privileges, at least until I drank all of my water. A happy accident, since I didn’t consider that usage scenario when I packed my bag for the challenge.

  7. jason says:

    Brick selection is easy. No holes in them, that’s where the cheating yourself begins. Other than that, they should be the size of a brick and weigh as much as a brick. 🙂

  8. Joe Lewis says:

    I went with the tape/bubble wrap/tape layering…2 sets of 3 bricks..made ’em look like i had some special “Columbian bricks” 🙂 Named them “Fear” and “Loathing”…good stuff.

  9. DB says:

    I wrote about bricks on our event page for the Berlin Challenge (http://www.facebook.com/events/195043907237001/)

    It appears “they should be the size of a brick and weigh as much as a brick” isn’t a very good metric. I tried to fit 6 standard swedish bricks in my GR1 and could barely close it, let alone trust the pack to stand the load for very long (we’re talking 49.1 pounds of weight). German bricks are larger still than swedish ones. This seemed wrong (to the point of risky) so I just decided to check in on things.

    At least, for the international challenges, I’d like to have a target weight instead of a set number of bricks. Not as a point of fairness, I just don’t want people to kill themselves or destroy rucks.

    (Just to take overthinking things to the extreme, concrete “bricks” can have significantly higher density than the clay ones. Something to think about when choosing.)

  10. jason says:

    Interesting point, DB. An American brick weighs 5 lbs, which is about 2.3 kilos. So, for 6 bricks let’s call it 13.8 kilos. Might as well call it 14 then. Have fun in Berlin, it’s a great city for a Challenge.

  11. jason says:

    Short answer, Filip, is no, that’s significantly heavier than our intent. We’ll post a policy for you all across the pond since the bricks weight so much more. Standby, and thanks for asking.

  12. Aaron says:

    Great post! I will be using some Athens Block bricks from my hometown. They still pave some of the streets around southeast Ohio. They are quite old so I’m not sure if they weigh the same, but the dimensions are a bit larger than bricks you’d pick up at Lowe’s or Home Depot. It is a small price to pay to be packing a little sentimental piece of home during the challenge. I’ll check back in on the post when I weigh and measure all my presents. Keep up the good work!

  13. Dan says:

    Just wrapped my bricks. I wrapped them individually so I can add one brick at a time as training progresses. Lots of work to do before Chicago

  14. Cameron says:

    Please excuse the typo in the previous comment. I guess that just goes to show just how distracted I was by his good looks, right? 😉

  15. Cameron says:

    haha alright then yeah, don’t tell him! Thanks for the article by the way – super excited for my first GoRuck Challenge in February!

  16. Greg says:

    So 6 bricks x 5 = 30 pounds…

    2 x ESAPI plate = about 31 pounds…

    About the same as two ESAPI plates. How does GORUCK feel about that as an option?

  17. frank says:

    Very well done and easy to follow instructions. I’d like to share two suggestions based on my own experience. I suggest reinforcing the corners after the first layer of tape (red) but before the white and blue layers. My thinking is that this will offer more protection to the relatively smaller pieces of tape used for corner reinforcement. I do this after the red layer, though, because the red tape layer offers a better foundation for the corner reinforcement tapes than the brick itself. Secondly, I need to work up to the full 6 brick load more slowly and systematically than some GORUCKers. I got 8 total bricks and wrapped them in 3 sets of two bricks each and two single bricks.I then combined two of the 2 bricks into a 4 brick configuration before bubble wrapping each set. The resulting set of one 4-brick, one 2-brick, and two 1-bricks allows me to adjust the weight to be rucked in one brick increments from zero to 6, or even 8, total bricks.

  18. Greg says:

    Meant to type 5 x ESAPI plates is roughly equal to 30 lbs above, not 2.

    So six bricks at roughly 5 lbs each is 30 lbs, 5 ESAPI plates could be another approach.

  19. Steven says:

    We are doing the challenge in Sydney in April. There has been some confusion about brick weights.

    I have been training with three bricks – 17kg in total (37.5 pounds). That means 6 bricks would be over 60 pounds. Heavy! And also won’t fit in the ruck 😉

    I saw Jason’s comment above where he says the average American brick weighs about 2.3kg, so I have been pointing other Aussie ruckers to this as a guide.

    But I don’t want to be giving bad information. Maybe you could provide official advice for Australians?

  20. George Tseng says:

    This probably has been pointed out elsewhere, but the packing list says a brick should weigh 4-6 pounds.

  21. Matt says:

    Got my 6 bricks in a GR1 and there’s not much room for much else. Weight comes in at 14kg, which is about right. In NZ, which has the same building supply chain stores as Australia, the building centres tend to stock landscaping blocks and not building bricks. The difference in weight is significant. You may have to go to a brick supply company to get building bricks. On the positive side, the brick supply companies have websites where you can order a sample boxes of 3 bricks, delivered to your door for your next “building” project.

  22. John says:


    “Bricks – four if you are under 150 pounds, six if you’re over. Life isn’t fair. Each brick should weigh 4-6 pounds.”

    I went brick shopping and came across some pavers at Home Depot. They are solid, 1 3/4″ x 3 7/8″ x 7 3/4″ and weigh 4.2 pounds (4 lbs 3.2 ozs).

    Would any of the cadre have an issue with a participant over 150 pounds using 6 of these “pavers” in the challenge?

  23. jason says:

    John – no Cadre will fault you for that, it’s more about the spirit of it than the specifics. Have fun and train hard.

  24. Win says:

    Looks pretty tough (not enough room) to strap in or secure the (6) bricks into the interior webbing holds of the GR1. (4) bricks – yes, (6) bricks – no. Either they can be supported by the “yoga” block to sit up higher or either they sit sown lower. Each has it’s pros/cons when carrying significant weight in a pack.

  25. John says:


    “…probably being the oldest in upcoming GRC…”

    Care to share what challenge and what age?

    I’ll be 59 at the Austin challenge on 5/4/13 starting at 22:00. 🙂

  26. Win says:

    You have me beat…am 47. GRC will be in Philly soon. Good luck…you’ll do great. Very inspiring…

  27. John says:


    I’m sure that you will “rock” the GRC at Philly as well. Should I have said “ruck” instead? 😉

    “Pops”, me, will be doing the Austin GRC with his soon to be 29 year old son.

    Good Livin’ 🙂

  28. Matt says:

    Perhaps GoRuck could start selling standard weight bricks as well as sandbags 😉

    As George above pointed out, the guide is for bricks weighing 4-6 pounds. That’s fine in the States but, as I’ve found in Australia the bricks (in Melbourne at least) START at over 6 pounds. The ‘lightest’ ones I could get are 7 pounds a piece and its a struggle to get them to fit in a GR2.

    19.8kg = 43 pounds, no ruck and nothing else.

    There is a common Australian expression “built like a brick sh*thouse”, to describe someone who is built. I’m thinking carrying these 7 lb bricks is the way to get to such a physique. For reference, two weeks ago my 6 pack o’ New Zealand bricks was 16.7kg for the GRC there.

  29. jason says:

    Matt – sandbags are in the very near future, and we’re working on the brick thing, which is tougher than you might believe. We’re on it, though – anything for you good folks Down Under. Who doesn’t love you guys? 🙂

  30. Frank benevento says:

    Why would you package rubber covered dumbells – I even have some ankle weights? obviously not as rough on your equipment…

  31. Ian says:

    Based on the packing list, I went with sand bags weighing 6#. I followed the ITS tactical method of wrapping my ‘pills’ with 100 mph tape. Based on my size of 190#, I’ll be carrying 24# of sand in my pack.

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  33. Jill says:

    Great read and even better pictures! In some ways glad I have a little over a month left before the GRC in Chicago, yet your posts are so enticing I wish it were sooner! 🙂

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