Ruck Plates are compact and easy to slide next to your back in your ruck, which is the preferred technique no matter the weight or your rucking experience. Over time and distance, you’ll also come to really appreciate them more if they’re stable. Less shifting and moving around is better for your body while you’re on the move. You want the resistance from the weight on your back to hit your shoulders (be one with your ruck!), you don’t want it shifting around with every step. If you have shifty weight in a floppy bag, you’re a lot more likely to torque your lower back. Stable weight for the win.
So here’s a Do It Yourself (DIY) solution to stabilize the Ruck Plate in the bombproof laptop/Ruck Plate compartment of your GR1, next to your back. Yes, it involves a pool noodle – those ones that cost $1 or whatever at the grocery store check-out. For the benefit of science and all the ruckers out there looking for a good tip, and so I don’t have to go to the store, I’m sacrificing one of Jack’s ten. And hoping it won’t be missed next time we hit the pool.
Eyeball the length and cut it a little longer than the width of your Ruck Plate. Having a little extra width will prevent the Ruck Plate from shifting side to side while you move.
Slide your piece over the handle.
Use duct tape or 100 mph tape – but whatever you use, cinch it down hard.
One more layer and make sure to tape the noodle all the way through to the edges of the Ruck Plate so that it won’t shift around.
Test it out in the laptop compartment of your GR1. If there’s a little too much overhang, cut it. But don’t cut more than you have to. Having a little overhang is good because it puts a padded buffer between the Ruck Plate and the zipper (and keeps it more stable). The less wiggle, the better. If you plan to do PT (Physical Training) or even a GORUCK Challenge with your GR1 using this setup, you don’t want to crush your zipper if you (accidentally) drop your ruck upside down. We use the best zippers in the world, but a Ruck Plate will crush them if given enough time to partner with gravity on a collision course for the ground.
The more stable the Ruck Plate is, the better it’ll feel, and the more you’re setting your gear up for success, too.
If you’re using the GR1 21L, you only want to pad the top part of the 20LB plate, otherwise your plate will be too tall for it to close (good news: it’s super stable). The 30 lb plate does not fit into the laptop compartment of the 21L GR1 with a pool noodle wrapped around it, even on just one side. See above. The upside is that it’s already almost a really snug fit, which is ideal. You’ll need to use something thinner than a pool noodle, like that yoga mat in your garage that’s too long for you. (Random plug for yoga – it keeps you flexible and reduces the chance of injury in life’s most awesome activities. When I was in Special Forces, I did it all the time).
If you’re using a GR1 26L, the wrapped 20 LB and 30 LB both fit great. Once you have the top handle covered, do the bottom as well. Once inserted, you may notice a slight bulge at the bottom of the ruck where the pool noodle rests, more so depending on how thick your pool noodle is. Give it a spin around the block before you show up for a GORUCK Challenge or anything. You may prefer it with just the pool noodle on the top. It’s up to you.
No matter what, you want the weight stable and next to your back while you’re on the move. And nobody has to know you stole your kid’s pool noodle to get it done.
Just get it done.