GR1 Explained by Jason, GORUCK’s Founder

A simple black bag, comfortable in any and every environment imaginable.  And while I started GORUCK to be so much more than a gear company, we’re proud to build the best, and to do it right here in the USA with American workers and American materials.  GR1 took us a year and a half of prototyping and field-testing to get right, and we started selling it when it was ready and not a day sooner.  My background is not in sewing or even in product design; my background is as a Green Beret well versed in how gear holds up, and more importantly, how and why it fails in the harshest of conditions. A few of us started work on GR1 in 2008 (yes, including sewers and product designers), and our focus was to take the best features of the different military rucks I had in Special Forces (SF), but to simplify everything to the essentials and let people customize it from there.  Because buddies of mine now use our rucks in war, I’m constantly reminded in the most personal of ways that the gear will be used, and abused, and that it better hold up.  So as I hope to show below, no detail is too small to consider, and the end result is a highly functional yet simple bag that only gets better with time.

These illustrator drawings laid out every proportion of the bag down to the millimeter.  Once complete, we began prototyping and field-testing the bags, which led to small yet important changes.  All pics in this post show GR1 as it now is (and not as it was); a slight disclaimer is that we are always looking for even better construction techniques to improve upon each and every detail of the bag, so the newest GR1’s may adopt slight changes.  But rest assured, the greatest improvement is time and wear.

The GORUCK logo is not found anywhere externally on GR1. There is only a 2”x3” piece of Velcro on the front which can hold any standard patch of your choosing.  I always had a reverse flag on my rucks when I was in Special Forces.  GORUCK’s 2×3 Velcro strip has a small detail stitch in it that, like the GORUCK flag patches, takes inspiration from the reverse US flag worn into combat to this day. The reverse flag dates back to the Army’s early history when both cavalry and infantry units would charge forward toward the enemy.  The standard bearer carried the Colors into battle and the star field always faced forward as the flag moved with the charging unit.  The reverse flag is a symbol of honor, courage and respect.  My patch of choice now is the GORUCK Tough patch (pictured later).

Three rows of webbing at the bottom of GR1 follow the MOLLE system used by the military, which allows soldiers to customize their kit with accessory pockets of their choosing (think: ammo pouches, magazine holders, grab bags etc.).  Many packs I was given had pre-built in pockets externally.  Many civilian packs have water bottle pouches on the side.  However, we preferred to let soldiers and civilians add pockets (or not) as they see fit.  Built in pockets would permanently expand the ruck, and we preferred to keep it simple and minimalist.  We are currently working on a line of accessory pockets that, like GR1, will be sold when they’re ready.  And it’s your choice to use them, or not.

While all the materials we use are military-grade, the primary one is Black 1000 Denier Cordura, a DuPont developed product that has proven its performance in some of the most austere conditions possible. It comes in a ton of different colors (and we’ll offer more in the future), but for us black was the only first choice.  We’ve even grown fond of Henry Ford’s quote: “I’ll give you any color you want so long as it’s black.”  The ‘Denier’ refers to the linear mass density of the fibers, and there are all different weights out there.  1000D means that it is has the mass in grams of 1,000 per 9,000 meters; as a frame of reference, a single strand of silk has a Denier of 1.  We use the 1000 Denier version because it’s been proven (to me and others) to hold up best in war, offering exceptional abrasion resistance and strength-to-weight ratio.  We are often asked if the bags are waterproof, which is a question that goes to the properties of the fabric itself.  The short answer is no, the long answer is that waterproof to our standards means you can leave it at the bottom of the ocean for a week and nothing inside gets wet.  1000D Cordura is highly water-resistant, by military standards, and I never worry about carrying my electronics around town even in a downpour.

The shoulder straps have a single strand of webbing down the middle of them which serves two purposes: (1) it allows for customization with a chest strap or accessory pockets (yes we have them in development, and yes they’ll be available when they’re ready) and (2) it allows the straps to better bend to the wearer’s shoulders and back, working in tandem with the back panel’s contours.

Zippers are the weakest link in any backpack.  They do not play well with threads and typically begin to fail when subjected to harsh conditions such as sand, dirt, and mud.  If a company develops its own zippers, in my eyes it’s always an indicator that they’re comfortable saving a dime or two as they make an inferior product.  YKK zippers are the only zippers I trust because I’ve subjected them to everything, and seen them perform during Middle Eastern sandstorms and after being dragged through the mud.  GORUCK uses YKK zippers, the made in the USA versions of course, and we will not be developing any of our own, ever.

The stitching that holds the webbing down along the straps creates small contours and these contours allow the straps to develop habits based on the wearer’s individual frame. Each section of the back panel and its padding is separated by seams that allow circulation to the wearer’s back when worn.  And while GR1 comes stiff (as is the case with 1000D Cordura), there are construction techniques we’ve employed that allow it to break in and become yours over time.

Seen in profile, the zipper at the far left running north/south and then under the shoulder straps opens the laptop/hydration bladder compartment.  This is separate from the main compartment and this construction allowed us to reinforce just this compartment with enough padding to securely take a laptop into combat (a standard we always have in mind.)

The placement of this zipper, and figuring out how to make it flow smoothly along the chain as it rounds the corner, was the obstacle that required more time than any other challenge we faced.  It’s also vital to the functionality, so we took the time to make sure that it slides smoothly and functions properly, allowing for ease of entry into this compartment.

If you see me biking around town, this is more or less what my GR1 will have in, and on it.  I take my laptop everywhere, all the time, no matter the weather.  And when I bike I like to use the front webbing for my bike lock and the side webbing for a D-ring (carabiner).

The laptop compartment is completely separate from the main compartment, though there is a hard, plastic frame sheet in a separate Velcroed-down compartment contained within.  I removed the thin, white frame sheet from the compartment for the purpose of showing where it is and what it does.  This frame sheet supports the integrity of the pack as you weigh it down and ultimately allows you to carry a heavier load more comfortably.

I removed the laptop to give a better sense of where the frame sheet is.  In this picture, the frame sheet is still slightly removed from its compartment.  The fabric tucked behind it in this picture bends over the top and Velcroes down, concealing the presence of the frame sheet compartment entirely.

The carrying handle is double layered with padding sewn in between 1000D Cordura to make it more comfortable to pick the bag up this way.  On a different note, if you notice the yellow chalk dot in the middle of the area beneath the carrying handle, this is where the middle has been measured and marked, by hand.  There is no machine that spits GR1’s out.  It is labor intensive from start to finish and American workers are integral to its success.  And if you happen to ever find a spot of yellow chalk on one of our products, not to worry, it comes right off with a gentle rub.

The laptop compartment doubles as a hydration bladder compartment.  Obviously simultaneous use is not the preferred technique, but it is nice to have the ability to do either.  When I go hiking or hold a GORUCK Challenge, I use a hydration bladder.

Shown with the bladder contained within and the hose exiting from the top.

Something so simple as the bottom of the webbing straps used to cinch down the shoulder straps.  Creating a loop gives you something to grab onto and makes it easier, especially if you’re wearing gloves or for some reason your fingers are extremely cold and lack dexterity.

Placed on the top internal pocket, this is the only logo or product description you’ll find on or in the bag.  I’m not a lover of wearing logos for the world to see.  In fact, I’ve been known to cut them out entirely or to simply ignore brands that try to get me to advertise for them.  So we kept it subtle, and simple, and internal.

GR1 lays completely flat, a feature that allows for optimal organization and efficient packing.  Most packs turn into a gypsy camp at the bottom where you have no firm grasp of what’s going on down there.  Because GR1 opens flat, gypsy camps don’t survive and organization is easy.

Internal mesh pocket with an elastic band shown. (NOTE: the mesh sleeve shown has been upgraded to a Cordura sleeve with an elastic band closure. We did this to increase the durability, especially because of wear and tear we saw over time via the GORUCK Challenge and the fact that this main compartment houses wrapped bricks).  Also shown is a prototype of an accessory pocket I’ve been testing out called a GR1 Field Pocket.  It attaches to the internal webbing (shown up close later) or the external webbing but also works great stand alone as a dopp kit.

Our zipper pulls are silent, which makes it easier to move through life without the annoying clanging of metal on metal.  We take 550 parachute cord and remove the internal strands before pushing it through rubber shrink tube, tying the ends into a knot and burning the edges, which prevents fraying.  Attaching this to the zipper head is a relatively straightforward process and one that lends itself to custom zipper pulls with different colored 550 cord.  On the GR1, this is the only coyote/khaki colored pull, the rest are black.

This top internal pocket with the coyote pull I causally call my go-to pocket.  I keep my sunglasses, iPod, note pad and pens in there, they’re easy to get to and isolated from the rest of the internal compartment, which is more suited to larger items.

The slant pocket on the exterior of the front of the bag is where I keep my keys and quick snacks.  Preferably Peanut M&M’s.  With a full pack, this pocket is compressed against the internal contents and does not provide a ton of volume, but there is just enough space for a few important things that you like to get at in a real hurry.

Detail showing how the bag lays flat.

Three rows of webbing inside GR1 mirror the three external rows.  I always have a Master Lock attached to mine (unless it’s in use, of course).  We are prototyping a line of accessory pockets that will attach to the webbing externally or internally.  As you may suspect, they’ll be out when they’re good and ready.  But they’re close.

The bottom of the GR1 has Ballistic Cordura, which is slightly heavier than 1000D Cordura used elsewhere.  Though not flexible enough to be used on the entire pack, it offers increased abrasion resistance.

I’m known to bike around from time to time without a helmet on.  Especially on nice days.  Yes, it’s dangerous, yes it’s more fun that way.  Life has risk.  I know.  But I’ve got a system to house the lock and the helmet while I bike in case I decide on the return trip (which may be after the sun is down) that I want to wear my helmet.

The point is not that this is a good system, or even especially smart.  The point is that it’s my system, and it works for me.  There are a lot of ways to use this bag, to make it yours.  I expect you to wear a helmet.  And figure out your own system that works for you.

I’ve used this exact bag every day for the last year, all the while putting it through the types of hell I find fun.  My job is to ensure that we’re doing everything we can to make the best gear possible.  Gear that holds up to anything and that gets better with time and use, like your favorite pair of blue jeans.

A brand new GR1 on the left, my distressed GR1 on the right. The same muddy GR1 from the previous picture, in fact.  Mine is better now than ever, and I have no plans to trade it in for a newer model. The black Cordura fades a little bit with time and extreme use (I’ve cleaned mud off this one countless times), but for me this only accentuates the character, and the scars I’ve earned.

Here’s me with my chocolate lab Java after we finished the Chicago half-marathon together this past summer. I’m pretty sure Java won his division and I didn’t find any flaws in how GR1 distributes its load, a total win-win.  My smile doesn’t lie: I love what I do (and I love that I get to do most of it with Java around), and I love where GORUCK is going as a brand.  Our commitment is to build the best, and to do it in the USA, and to proudly claim that American manufacturing is the best in the world.  And we’re out to prove it with smiles on our faces, one day, one race, one event, one new product at a time.

Find GR1 here.
Other gear in this post: GR1 Field Pocket, Hydration bladder, Carabiner


  1. Moshe Klyman says:

    I use the GR1 for just about everything. I am involved in multiple training programs, from military training to sports and athletic training and conditioning programs with emphasis on contact sports. I recommend this bag to all my athletes and employees for all their needs, whether it be for endurance training using the hydration feature to contact athletes with a need to put weights in their pack to business associates looking to take a trip and need something durable and reliable to put their laptop and other gear in. Overall I would recommend this ruck to everyone because there is a use for everything!!

  2. Sarah says:

    I love my GR1 because of its sleek, all-black exterior and intelligent design. I use it on a daily basis to transport my laptop and an assortment of other things. I especially love the interior pockets. The interior mesh zip pocket is great for all the chargers I carry and the small, top zip pocket is perfect for last-minute throw in items like my keys and iPhone. I have carried my GR1 with my laptop in it during rainstorms and nothing in my bag got wet… at all… pretty awesome. The GR1 pairs fashion with function, a combination that is a rare find. This bag fits my life perfectly, which is no surprise considering how meticulous and well thought out the design process was. Thanks GORUCK!

  3. Jean-Pierre Alfred says:

    The GR1 and all the GORUCK products take on the minimalistic appearance at first glance. When I first looked at the bag online during my inquiry for the GORUCK Challenge I wondered what made this pack different from all my other packs. It did not have a waist strap, fancy pockets in odd to reach places, no big monograms that let everyone know who the manufacturer is. Rather than all those features many of us don’t need and never put to use GORUCK has managed to build a pack that forms to your torso eliminating a need or want for a useless waist strap, pockets within the bag and one main pocket on the outside and the greatest monogram that needs no interpretation at all, the American Flag.
    When I first handled the pack I found the straps to be very thick and comforting as weight gets added into the pack. I have put 60 pounds inside of the pack and after mile eight I would normally grab my shoulders and neck to massage them but that never happened. I have packs from diamondback tactical, osprey, mountain hard wear, mystery ranch and many others and none of them perform like this pack does. GORUCK took all the positives of the so called high end packs and also LISTENED to the consumer and created a pack that I am sure will be offered in stores like REI and Eastern Mountain Sports.
    For those of you who are not running through the woods and mud GORUCK has made a pack that is eye pleasing and very fashion friendly. I am also a student and when I am done with my workouts or hikes I can take my water hose rinse the mud and dirt off of it and let it dry and put my books in it and go to class.
    When the pack is closed it is great at keeping water out of it, the stitching is so tight that the pack would have to be submerged for more than 53 seconds before water enters inside ( personal test of my pack ).
    I don’t like giving uninformed reviews and I don’t like writing long ones so here is the skinny on the pack. This pack will take whatever you throw at it, you don’t have to worry about rips or the zippers failing, the cushioning of the pack is the best that I have ever seen and for me to say that is not normal, having used Mystery Ranch packs I can honestly say they could take some lessons from GORUCK. If you want a pack that you can carry daily items like your MAC BOOK PRO and clothing or putting 50 pounds of bricks this is the pack for you.

  4. jason says:

    Will, thanks for reading so carefully and we’re happy you want to make it yours. I’ve been known to cut off a label or two, so I understand where you’re coming from and I want you to get the GR1 you want. We can pull one from our current run and send it to you. In the future, we’ll offer fully customizable and hand built one-off bags; this is a small step in that direction. Email us at with your info and we’ll go from there.

  5. Uri says:

    First of all thanks so much for the thorough explanation about the design and the philosophy behind the GR1. I had a chance to test one (from a friend) and after wearing the pack fully loaded for a weekend I decided I would get one. I bought an Echo (and a few days ago a GR1) and it’s my go-to everywhere ruck. I put it through a series of tough activities and it’s still here, as new.
    What I really like about the Gr1 (and all the GORUCKS rucks as well) is the minimalism and the lack of unneeded features. By removing the unnecessary and striping the design to its minimum you not only created a piece of gear that is tough and minimal, you made it simple. And simple is the name of the game, specially when you find yourself in stressful situations when you just need to react. Thank you for that!
    GORUCK gear has been featured countless time in my blog: Pack Light, Go Fast (

    I am looking forward being part of the GORUCK challenge in Boston, see you there!

  6. Mark says:

    Great write-up! I’m sold on this bag, and hope to purchase one before my next trip abroad. I’ve traveled extensively with one backpack (Brenthaven – slightly larger than this one), and think I could get by using just one GR1 for international travel for months on end. I work on the road, so always have my 13″ MacBook Pro with me, which leads to my only concern about this pack: Is it possible for water to get into the laptop compartment via the exit hole for the bladder hose? If you have a chance, I’d like to have some clarification on this. Thanks!

  7. jason says:

    Thanks a million, Mark, glad you liked it. To your question, I assume you’re talking about the Velcroed down exit hole underneath the carrying handle. This actually rests above GR1’s main compartment, not the laptop sleeve. There is a small cut out hole between the laptop/hydration bladder compartment and the main compartment that allows the hydration tube to feed from the laptop/hydration bladder compartment, through the very top of the main compartment and then through and out the Velcroed down opening. So, if water did enter through the Velcro (the bag would pretty much have to be submerged) it would enter the main compartment, not the laptop sleeve. However, if the bag is fully submerged, water will find its way in some way, some how. From a much more practical standpoint, I bike around town all day every day, even in Northeastern wintertime rains. My laptop is always in its spot and it’s doing just fine. If you would like a picture or two, please email us at

  8. Jim C says:

    Awesome review, very detailed and shows the honesty and hardwork behind such a great product! Would it be possible for you to do a similar reivew of the GR2? Great job with the products and company, Jason! Keep up the great work and best to you and the GoRuck team.

  9. jason says:

    Jim, thanks a million for the feedback. Many of the features on our rucks are identical: silent zipper pulls, 1000D Cordura, YKK USA zippers, etc, but it’s the optimal usage scenarios that are different. I’m heading to Asia in early March for around a month. No, I’m NOT scouting out offshore manufacturing sites, but I am holding a GORUCK Challenge in Tokyo. I will take everything I need in one GR2, and I’m planning to detail and explain GR2 in that light, as the perfect travel bag, just as I believe GR1 is the perfect day pack. Thanks for checking out this post, and stay tuned for many more like this in the coming months and years ahead.

  10. Niall says:

    I really like the GR1 and would like to buy one before a pending Borneo trip. Do you have any stockists in the UK or would i have to order online from the US?

  11. jason says:

    Thanks, Niall. We haven’t made our way to any UK stockists, yet, so your GR1 will have to come from Colorado. Thanks for name dropping Borneo. Just checked it out (I had never even heard of it), looks incredible, play hard.

  12. Raam Dev says:

    Thanks for the awesome write-up and for creating something worth traveling with (as far as I can tell, anyway)!

    I sold all my stuff last year and spent six months living in India, Vietnam, and Nepal with just one 32L backpack (Crumpler Customary Barge). While that bag has been really nice, I hated the gypsy camps, the useless waist strap (mostly), and the incredible shoulder and neck pain I got after walking for miles. Plus I always had to worry about my stuff getting wet when it rained (I carry a 13″ MBP and Digital SLR)! It’s amazing what you can learn when you spend every day for six months attached to the same bag!

    Long story short, I’m headed back to India next month for who knows how long and I stumbled across a link that led me to discover the GR1. And I’ve got one word: Awesome!

    I live in the Boston area and I would love to get my hands on one before I go back to India next month. If it’s possible, I’d really love to get one without the velcro patch!

  13. theo says:

    hi. a few questions. is the gr2 carry on compatible? are goruck bags really that comfortable without waist and sternum straps? thanks for answering.

  14. jason says:

    Hey Theo. Yes, the GR2 is carry on compatible. I’m headed to Asia for a few weeks and will fit everything in my GR2. And I refuse to check anything, flying is enough hassle as is, and definitely not what it used to be when pilots would let me ride in the cockpit as a kid. As for the waist straps, I always found them unnecessary; sternum straps are possible to add to our packs since the webbing on the shoulder straps is MOLLE friendly. We’re working on our own, but there are others out there that would work. In my experience (and feel free to google to get others), the packs distribute the weight nicely over both shoulder straps. You’ll have to break it in to make it yours, but the GR2 will do the trick. And stay tuned for my GR2 post when I get back.

  15. theo says:

    thanks jason for the answers.

    i want to make an order either from you or from context. if you don’t mind me asking, what do you charge for shipping to canada and who do you use? thanks.


  16. jason says:

    Hey Theo — Ryan, Sam and all the Context guys are friends of ours. They have an extraordinary shop that speaks to my Midwestern roots, and it’s not really our aim to compete with any of our retail channels. If you heard about GORUCK from Context, you should order from them. Drop us a line at, or Ryan and Sam at for more details. Thanks for the support.

  17. Ariel Ortega says:

    I have been reading up on your bags and really like that they meet military specifications and are American Made. I especially like the ECHO but understand that it fits the MacBook Air. I plan on buying a MacBook in the future but in the Pro series. This may sound like a lame question but does the ECHO have the space to accommodate the MacBook Pro 13″? Thank you very much for your time, a terrific product, and your service to our country.

  18. jason says:

    Thanks so much, Ariel. Military specifications and American made are really important to us, too. As for your question on the ECHO: yes, your 13″ MacBook Pro will fit just fine.

  19. Grant says:

    Hi Jason–

    I just stumbled across your website and I am very, very impressed with the GR1 as well as with your entire operation. Before I purchase one, however, I wanted to know more about your new product development timeline. You mentioned above that your company will be releasing customizable bags and pouches – when? Should I wait until your new product line comes out (assuming imminent of course) or do I have a year or so to wait? I certainly understand if you do not want to share this information – thank you very much for your help! Great job with the GR1!

  20. jason says:

    Hey Grant, thanks, and I’m glad you found us. For us, customizable will have a couple meanings, in addition to the ability to put the patch of your choice on the front. The first will be accessory pockets, one of which I showed a quick pic of in this post. When these come out, they will come in different sizes but the GR1 pocket will fit any GR1. The other meaning of customizable will be to allow people to alter small details about the bag, such as the color of the webbing on the front or even the Velcro. Both forms of customization are a ways off, unfortunately. We were really close on the pockets when the Army approached us to customize GR1 for use by below the knee amputees. While we’re eager to get to work on a lot of new products, everything else in the pipeline got shelved until we get that one right. It will be called GR1 Bionic, and I believe it’s the first and best example of our commitment to customization.

  21. Grant says:

    Hi Jason–

    Thank you very much for your speedy reply. I applaud your efforts with the GR1 Bionic.

    I just wanted to make sure that I purchased the right ruck – if the 2.0 version was coming out next week, I would have waited for it! For now, I love the fact that I can get an “original” GR1 from your company, so that’s the plan. Best of luck to you and to GORUCK.

  22. Andrew says:

    Jason and all others at GORUCK
    I have been blessed with the spell of clutter and disorganization. The Crafty design of the GR1 allows me to pack hastily and still have an ease of access to small things like my phone, keys and wallet, without having to sift through bigger things which may be in the front pocket or elastic mesh. Its great as a day pack for my usual grind through the city, and has become go to bike pack too. The GR1 will also be my carry-on for trips and weekend adventures, I tend to pack light and every time I finish loading I feel like I could add something, just because I have room. I can’t wait for Tough Mudder , and my next GR Challenge. I’m just a Crazy regular guy, and I thank you for giving me the opportunity to push myself and be apart of an amazing team, GORUCK!

  23. I use this bag all the time from travel, to hiking, to photo assignments, and to carry extra diapers for my daughter. I love the bag for it’s toughness and it’s ability to organize my life. The best part is I bought it after my first Tough Mudder race from Jason himself, great guy! Hope to use it for the GORUCK Challenge very soon.

    Thank you!


  24. Mike P says:

    I came across GORUCK and specifically this page just a few months ago and have been lusting after a GR1 ever since. Well, this year for my birthday, my wife surprised me and gave me the green light to order one.

    I live in Northern Virginia but work in DC and noticed that Jason is from the Georgetown area. So I wondered if the GORUCK offices were also in DC. Only a few tweets and emails later, I found myself on my way to their offices to pick up my bag.

    And for those keeping score at home, yes, the bag I ordered online is on it’s way to my house but the GORUCK crew said that when it arrived I could just bring the new one to their office. How cool is that?! (Can you tell I was a ‘little’ excited about getting it?)

    While at the GORUCK office I got to meet some of their crew and most importantly, Java. What a great dog! I also was able to snag a couple of patches because I forgot to order them online. I wasn’t able to stay long because I had to get to work but it was pretty cool seeing all the bags from a past challenge that needed to be cleaned.

    I arrived with the Timbuk2 Hemlock (wich I liked well enough but it doesn’t even begin compare with the GR1) and left with the GR1. Actually, when I left, I shoved the Hemlock inside of the GR1 and it fit perfectly! And that’s with a 17 inch MacBook Pro, iPad and tons of other little doo-dads floating around in my gypsy camp of a bag (love that term).

    From the moment I slung the GR1 over my shoulders it felt amazing. I’m sure it only gets better as it becomes mine by both transforming and conforming to my body and my travels. It’s been less than a day that I’ve had ownership of this incredible bag (or should I refer to it as a ruck?) and I’m already blown away.

    I can’t wait to see what adventures are in store for my GR1 and I.

  25. Chris Santamarina says:

    Question, any chance you guys can do a write up on the GR Echo?
    I am doing the challenge in Nov and I really don’t have the extra
    money for the GR1 and I want to make sure I am making the right
    choice! I would only be using the Echo for some hikes with the wife
    and maybe use it as a carry on! I just want to make sure I have enough
    room! Thanks a bunch and any info would help, GORUCK
    Chris Santamarina

  26. Pingback: GORUCK Tough
  27. Sri says:

    Jason, what brand is the carabiner in the photos? I’ve been looking for a good one and have no idea what to get.

  28. Shane says:

    Is there a difference between 1000 Denier Cordura and 1000 Denier Nylon?
    There are lots of military packs that use the 1000 Denier Nylon and they cost about half the price.
    Planning on getting the goruck gr1, but just want some justification for parting with a huge chunk of my dough haha!

    One more thing, how does the 1000 Denier Cordura compare with the 1050 Denier nylon in terms of strength per weight ratio?

    Many thanks!

  29. Willie w says:

    I have read everything i possibly can about the GR1 and i am getting one for sure. Also i will be participating in the challenge in Jan next year in my home town of Los Angeles. I am so excited for this challenge and coming off of completing Tough Mudder in Southern Cal last month. Can’t wait to have this bag in my hands and to get it dirty. Thank you GORUCK!

  30. Josh D says:

    I am curious to know how big of a hydration bladder can fit in the compartment? I am going to preorder a GR1 for the upcoming Dallas challenge and am planning on purchasing a bladder but I don’t want to get one that is too big – or too small for that matter.


  31. Olaf says:

    I received my GR1 today. I am a former Marine of 8 years. While I never saw combat, I do however have an appreciation for quality gear (I have multiple pairs of Danner boots, and many Benchmade knives). I have to say, that this ruck exceeded every expectation that I had for it as far as it’s construction, simplicity, and attention to detail. Definitely worth every dollar paid, and I look forward to using it daily for the rest of my life. Thank you for everything that you do over there at GORUCK.

  32. Andy k says:

    I am in Hong Kong and read so many news about your GR1, I really want to get such unique GR1. I have friend who visit San Francisco in coming Dec. Does Any shop in San Francisco offer your GR1 ??

    If i want to get one without the velcro patch, is it possible?? What i could do ??

    From your preliminary reply, the one without patch needs to waited till 2012.

  33. jason says:

    No shops in San Fran yet, and yeah, it’ll be mid/late 2012 before we’re really ramped up on the custom order stuff. Safe travels from Hong Kong.

  34. Andy k says:

    Thank for your reply. I have to wait the great gear in 2012 Christmas and take my old gears to India in coming trip.
    For certain reason, I need a bag without velcro patch for your prefect gear. Originally, I hope get one for my Christmas gift.

    Thx you for your reply. Have a great thanksgiving holiday.

  35. David McCormick says:

    I have had my GR1 for about 2 months now and I have to say that it is the best designed and built piece of gear I have ever owned. The quality of the materials and workmanship is superb. I was a bit skeptical about the lack of a waist belt, but I have found that heavy loads are comfortable and stable to carry with this pack. The load lies very close to the back, and lateral stability make it easy to move briskly. it’s really a joy to carry and it’s great on planes under the seat. Thank you.

  36. I just simply wanted to say thanks for proving that a superior idea handmade in America with great materials can (and often does) yield a terrific product.

    I received my GR-1 as a gift for the holidays and am fully impressed at the workmanship and quality. I don’t mind paying for quality, but sadly am often disappointed. Not so this time! I’ve had decent packs and bags from other “premium brands” such as Tad Gear, Belstaff and Mystery Ranch, but yours is the first to exceed my expectations.

    I think it’s great you take the time to explain your design philosophy and thinking in a way that answers answers any questions prior to purchasing. I wish you continued success!

  37. Eric says:

    I just wanted to echo all of the above accalades about your product line. I live in NYC and based on my research, the GR1 is best for my daly use. One question (before I purchase on Thursday) is it realistic for subway use?


  38. jason says:

    Eric, thanks for the kind words. As for subway use, yeah, you’ll love it for that commute. It’s relatively thin relative to its volume (meaning, it’ll stay closer to your back and not stick out too much) and you can organize all your valuables on the interior.

  39. Brendan says:

    Hey Jason!

    Loving the work, I was just wondering if you could let me know where I can find a black caribeana (sp?) like the ones in the promotional shots, when my GR1 arrives I’m keen to add a couple of these to my setup!


  40. jason says:

    Hey Brendan, we’ll be selling some made in the USA carabiners on our site within a couple weeks. So stand by, and I hope you love your GR1.

  41. Snow says:

    What kind of binders are those holding your helmet, and are they safe enough being attached to the bag and holding perhaps things heavier than a helmet?

  42. Bjarne says:

    Hi. Just like to thank you for your fast service on my GR1 order. Found out friends of mine are coming to Denmark where I live in a few days. A couple of emails with Jack and I placed the order this evening. 44 minutes I got an
    FedEx Shipment Notification ! Fantastic service. Now I just have to wait to get my GR1.Really looking forward. Maybe you’re first GR1 going to Denmark ? Regaards Bjarne

  43. Scotty W says:

    Okay so I purchased the GR2 and love it and with that I decided to replace my current pack I use for business with the GR1. It came in the mail yesterday and it’s perfect for everyday use as well as an overnight bag. Thanks for producing a high quality item and it’s true what they say “you get what you pay for”! So tell your friends to stop wasting money on all other bags and purchase a goruck bag. Thanks again!

  44. Grunter says:

    Cheers Jason and Jack for creating such an awesome bag. It’s simple and very strong, and best of all true to it’s core values of USA manufacturing and durability. Received it promptly here in New Zealand. I can’t wait to take it on some tramping and cycling adventures! Many thanks

  45. Jim W says:

    Didn’t take the time to read every comment so it may have been mentioned but the ONLY thing I could see changing so far in my time with the GR1 is the zipper pull for the laptop comp tends to sit right on my shoulder and annoy the shit out of me after a couple hours loaded up. I’m sure there is a reason for the one way zip from the top but I think if it didn’t sit right under the shoulder strap it would be better. I’ve just removed the pull and replaced with a soft ribbon type pull. Aside from that this pack is the best and last pack I’ll ever own.

  46. Nick H says:

    I just received my GR1 in the mail today. I am extremely excited to try it out, both as a daily bag and my go-to bag when in August I begin my second year of service with AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC)—only this time I’ll be a Corps Member for NCCC FEMA Corps. The GR1 will replace my Camelbak H.A.W.G MG. and basically every other backpack I own, and I have no doubt that it will do a good job at it.

    Thank you Jason for creating an amazing company and equally amazing products. I can’t wait until you start making duffels. I also hope to do a Challenge with you guys sometime in the not to distant future.

  47. Dex says:

    Simply outstanding! I received mine last week and have been busy putting the bag through its paces. Loaded hikes? Check. Grocery shopping Check. Library runs? Check.

    The straps definitely live up to the description given, and are not tiring at all, even after 5+ hours on the trail. The arrangement and number of pockets are ideal (thank you for not putting in a bunch of useless pockets and water bottle holders!) the zippers work well, and the Molle webbing is supremely useful, tho I think it needs a single run across the bottom interior and top exterior.

    What separates this pack form others is the crap they don’t put into it: useless water bottle holders, key retainers, pencil/cel/whatever pockets, waist straps, and other useless items that would just get in the way. Every feature that is included works and works well. Perhaps the first piece of gear I have owned that does not have a single useless or stupid feature. Thank you, Jason and GoRuck!

    PS: If you are a tall guy and are wondering about sizing, go with the GR1. I almost went with the RR and am now glad I did not–it would have been too small for my frame.

  48. mike B says:

    I would be interested in how other GR1 owners have set up their kits. Might be an interesting thread somewhere. I’ve had mine for about 5 months of constant use., Everyday, plus foreign and domestic travel. Trying to fit in a GRC someday too. I’m an old dude and a sucker for US made goods. Keep up the good work.

  49. DR says:

    Just finished week 2 with my GR1. Great bag. Simple, expensive, but worth it. I’ve used Tom Bihn to date, which are great bags. GoRuck is much more robust. Love the simplicity of design and even the canted base, which allows the bag to stand up on a wall or leaning on a leg. Great design. Everything has a purpose on these bags. Can’t wait for the tactical brief that will inevitably follow if enough of us ask for it. Thanks a million Jason.

  50. Lloyd says:

    Great explanations on all rucks. Convinced now that the GR1 will fit my needs perfectly, but can’t decide between Sand or Black. Black seems most practical in terms of hiding dirt, but Sand looks so cool. Does the Sand really attract more girls as per the pictures?

  51. DonCarlos Wells says:

    Hey man, thanks for the expose.

    I like the simplicity and the modularity (spell check says that’s an actual word).

    One of the biggest selling points for me also is one of my biggest gripes about the camelbak motherlode I use for work- the slim profile of the GR1. The “gypsy camp” is frustrating when I’m in a hurry.

    On that note, would it be possible to get a black GR1 with compression straps just like the GR2 has?

    Thanks man.

  52. Barrett says:

    Got mine in the mail last week. Great stuff so far. Definitely lives up to Rule #1. So far it’s just carried bricks to train for the GRC, but I’m sure it will see a lot more action and variety after November. Thanks!

  53. Sam says:

    I’m curious. Most rucks that hold 60-80lbs that I have used have a hip strap (I’m unsure of the actual term for it). Why did you all choose to forgo this item?

    All n’ all though looks and sounds like a great pack.

  54. jason says:

    Hey Sam, in theory hip straps help distribute the weight across your torso. However, when you’re wearing body armor and all that good stuff, hip belts simply get in the way. I’ve had massively heavy rucks, and I never used the hip belt for this reason. Think about it like this: I had my M4 magazines around my waist area and I didn’t want anything impeding my ability to get at them fast. In our design process, the goal was to stabilize the ruck around the shoulders, via the straps and the fit on the wearer’s back, dispersing the load across the shoulders and the entire spine. Our ruck naturally ride high for this reason: stability. 60-80 is not that heavy compared to what our rucks can and have handled. Fit is always individual, but feedback from the masses (via the Challenge) is that our rucks work without a hip belt, even with massive loads.

  55. Nate says:

    A teammate of mine told me about GORUCK and ive wanted one ever since! I just cant decide which one would fit me best I’m 5’9 175 lbs. I hike, ruck, run, and i want to start biking and climbing. Would the GR1 be better for a day or two of adventure? Somebody please offer some insight

  56. mike B says:

    Nate, the GR1 will be perfect for your adventures. I’m about 20 lbs lighter than you, but the same height. Though with rucks you can’t always go by ht and wt. Torso length, shoulder girth etc. come into play. That being said, I also fretted over the options. I checked every web site I could find, read every review, did size comparisons, you name it. When it came down to it, I found that I would get much more all around use out of the GR1. I EDC, travel, hike and bike with my GR1.( No brick work yet) So far it’s been great. Like they say, you can’t go wrong with the GR1. Besides, it looks good on just about everyone no matter what size or shape. Good luck!

  57. Jeremiah Pedroza says:

    I tell me wife how great the Goruck stuff is and eventually plan on getting just about everything. She always tells me why can’t I just go get a cheap backpack from the store it’s the same thing. At this point I just shake my head and laugh. I may not have served but I do my best to support the troops and their beliefs. I tell her that it is not just a backpack. It is a high quality product that honors traditional made in America bought in America trade. It wasn’t fabricated in some shop in Korea where starving people work for cents on the dollar. It is about integrity and trying to support causes bigger than you. Plus it’s a really cool backpack…..

  58. DB says:

    Eight months in and I am still absolutely loving my GR1. In fact, we have become one. My ruck is rarely out of my sight, and often on my back. It has been everywhere I’ve been over the past eight months, and will continue to be with me the rest of my life, I presume. Thanks for making something that has become a part of me!

  59. Andrew says:

    I have the GR1, the GR2 and I’m dreaming of a GR1.5. A GR1 sized pack with the 2nd flap of the GR2. That would be soooo cool.

  60. Matthew Valenzuela says:

    I purchased my GR1 just last week and received it yesterday afternoon. While walking back from my university mailroom to my apartment, I stuffed my old Timbuk2 messenger bag into the main compartment of my new ruck. The zippers held up beautifully, and were every bit as resilient as I had hoped. Putting that load back onto my back, I was amazed at how comfortable it was. It truly felt as if there was a quarter of all that weight onto my back – it was supported SO WELL. Within those first few minutes, I was completely sold – I knew that the $300 which took weeks to save for was every bit worth it. My expectations were shattered.

    What you see is exactly what you get. This is the last ruck that I will ever buy. I’m going to be taking a 5-day trip to Texas for a convention, and my GR1 will be the only bag I take. I’m 100% confident that this ruck will take all of the abuse that I throw at it, and I can’t wait for it to adapt to my body and break in.

    I really wanted you and the other fine folks at GRHQ to know how much that you have inspired me to look into the quality of my gear since finding out about GORUCK. Thank you so much for your passion and for your incredible attention to detail.

  61. jason says:

    Matthew, thanks for the positive feedback. I get it that it’s a lot of money, and thanks for saving up and trusting us. It’s pretty easy for me anymore to think that a $300 bag is the norm, but it’s not and it shouldn’t be. We’ll keep doing out very best to live up to our own standards – myself and all the good folks that work here – and you keep playing hard. Have fun in Texas, and everywhere else.

  62. J.Jaxn says:

    I just received my GR1 a couple of days ago. Nice stitching, it feels rugged and looks great! I loaded up some bricks, grabbed my iPod, and went for a little hike! I could feel it breaking in after the 1st hour. Very comfortable, looks like I have some ‘other packs’ I’ll be selling soon! This one is a keeper! I’m looking forward to going to a GoRuck Challenge, soon!

  63. T. Scott M. says:

    I just had to send a huge thanks to Jason and everyone at GORUCK. My GR1 has been with me for about 6 weeks now and in additional to some daily use and light hiking I carried it on a weeklong trip to Ireland in early October. Never once did I have a need for more space than the GR1 provided and even through some heavy sustained rain nothing inside was even remotely damp, including my iPad and camera. The internal and external pockets are just perfect. The load distribution is nothing short of amazing to me. I found myself picking the GR1 up by the top handle and thinking it was a little heavy only to have the weight feel like it was less than half once I got it onto my back. I am selling the glut of other bags in my possession that the GR1 has rendered useless to me.
    In addition I am now breaking in my GR TAC which has quickly become my go to hat. I can absolutely see a couple of Field Pockets and a Brick Bag in future as well.
    Keep up the great work on the gear and news posts, I can’t wait to see new photos and stories.

  64. A.A says:

    the GR1(no velcro) would be available again ?? I miss the chance it launched?

    I have waited this No Velcro for a long time…

  65. Emmanuel says:

    Subject: potential problem/ Design concern

    Hi there,

    I’m very impressed with how the GR1 looks and the effort that obviously has gone into it. I’m interested in buying one, but I have one concern with the design.

    I have a friend who had a bag with a similar layout: the laptop sits directly behind the back. His laptop is now broken because of this.

    He loaded a lot of other stuff in there, and because the flat laptop sits closest to the back, when you bend over the flat surface of the laptop prevented the bag from adapting to the round shape of his back (when bending over or riding a bike). The rest of his gear wast essentially weighed down on the laptop when he bent over or rode a bike. when he opened the bag, his laptop was bent and thus destroyed.

    this layout was also uncomfortable for him since he was essentially feeling as if he was carrying a big padded piece of aluminum without any flexibility, due to the position of the laptop close to his back.

    since your backpack seems to have the same design, hence my concern.
    I see that you have inserted a hard plastic surface. this will provide structural support indeed and maybe prevent structural stress on the laptop. But doesn’t this still prevent the back of the bag to form itself to your back ?(complicated I know) And my fear is that this will give an uncomfortable ride.
    I can’t judge by the pictures if the bag is wide enough to enable it to follow the contour of your back despite the presence of a hard flat surface such as a laptop.

    The point is
    I really want to buy it, it’s a beautiful bag and would perfectly suit my needs. I believe in quality products and the only thing holding me back is the location of the laptop compartment.

    Thank you for any comments

    Best Regards


    Brussels, Belgium

  66. Matt McElroy says:

    Torn between the RR and GR1 5’8″ 175#. I carry a backpack everywhere now. Plan on signing up for the Tampa challenge but want to get ruck early. Need help in sizing. I dont mind spending the money for a great product. Former HM with First Recon years ago. Glad I found this site.

  67. Luke Sokolowski says:

    @Matt McElroy I’m 5’7″ 155# and use the GR1. The fit is perfect and space fills up quick. Looks great too. Chicks at the bar dig it. JK

  68. John C. Donewar says:

    I’ve bought packs and I’ve sewn my own Ultralight packs for my own purposes of hiking.

    My son and I are registered for the May 4th Challenge in Austin, TX.

    We purchased a pair of matching GR1s. I have to say that I am impressed. I threw it on right out of the box and immediately knew that we had made the right choice. I was out “rucking” with bricks the very next morning. The pack carries well and the frame sheet in the GR1 really helps to distribute the load.

    The rucks are great and the quality is second to none.

    I’m looking forward to making some memories with my son at the Challenge in Austin this year.

    I’m anxious to “get a little mud on the tires.”

    John a.k.a. Pops by my son, Todd

  69. Anthony says:

    Just bought me a GR2.

    Reading your GR1 explained I see the Masterlock inside the pack … I think I know what it’s mostly for but thought i’d ask what is it’s purpose in your pack?


    Sydney, Australia

  70. jason says:

    Hey Anthony – I leave the lock in my GR1 for when I go to the gym. It works pretty well to put it in the top of the ruck so it’s not swimming around anywhere.

  71. Scott says:

    Greetings! I’ve started a new job where I am taking frequent (every week or two) trips of 1-2 nights. When I work, I need to dress professionally: nicer khakis, dress shirt, tie, nice shoes. If it’s a 2-nighter, I also like to pack running shoes and workout clothes.

    I also carry a laptop — either a 13″ Air or Pro — and the accompanying cables, iPhone, iPad, etc.

    I’m between the GR1 and GR2… I’m leaning GR2 in case my travels stretch to 3 nights, but I’m wondering if the GR2 is too big for “everyday” carry when I’m not traveling.

    So… GR2 to have plenty of room, but maybe not an everyday bag, or GR1 and learn to pack really, really light with the ability to use it every day?

    Anyone who’s experienced both packs, I’d love to hear from you!

  72. Anne S says:

    Was unsure about spending so much for a pack, but just did my first GRC and witnessed a (very) heavy log being carried up a mountain by a couple of these rucks – body of the bag under the log, people holding the straps on both sides.

    These bags can do anything; I’m convinced. Ordered mine today 🙂

  73. mikeB says:

    I just blew out a couple zipper pulls on my GR1. A minor issue ( especially after 2 years) I hesitated to ask the GoRuck about this seemingly minor issue. Long story short, Scars sent me a pull repair kit with no charge. Wow Thanks! As far as the rest of the ruck, well its been my EDC and more than for 2 years. That includes international travel, biking, groceries and hiking. Its broken in nicely, and will only improve with time. Those on the fence about the cost, well I hear you, but let me say you won’t be disappointed with these rucks… Side bar, I spotted a fellow GR1 owner at an airport in DC . He saw my ruck too. We did the man nod thing (that my wife hates), but it expressed the fact that we both had satisfied rule #1. Keep up the good work!

  74. I.I. says:

    Hi Jason,
    I bought a GR1 a month ago and I’m glad a pulled the trigger on the price tag. Being from a foreign, poor country, it wasn’t easy!
    I want to ask you for some recommendation for securing the GR1 main zipper, without removing the pullers. I can’t find any padlock fitted for the task. The main use would be during airplane travels. It isn’t necessary for it to be TSA compliant. Thanks

  75. rummy says:

    short of the cable netting that people will drape and secure over their packs, there isn’t much you can do to protect any bag from a dedicated nogoodnik.

    if you’re concerned about someone popping your zippers on a flight or while your walking around, I have found that zipties with the tail clipped off manages to keep people relatively honest…particularly in some of the not-so-nice alleys of the 5eme part of Paris…just too much hassle.

    that being said,


  76. Ace says:

    I sure like a to have an option for a “useless” waste strap for when I’m mountain biking cause my bag wants to send me end over end when I huck myself.

  77. Adam Fischer says:

    I’m thinking of getting a ruck but have some concerns about size in relation to my height. I’m 5′ 4″ so according to goruck’s suggestions I should go for either the echo or the smaller (21 L) Gr1. But I want to use the bag for travel, not rucking (though obviously, there’s going to be weight in the bag). In terms of volume, I think I’d really need at least the larger Gr1, or maybe even the smaller gr2 — both bags being 20″ in length. There’ll definitely be times I’m going to end up walking / hiking around urban or rural settings for several hours, with the bag on my back. So anyone out there of similar height as me have one of these 20″ high bags — if so, how’s it working out in terms of comfort / carryability etc?

  78. GORUCK says:

    Thanks for the support, Adam. Our 6ft guideline is a pretty good rule of thumb for carrying heavy loads long distances, but it is heavily weighted towards physical activity. If you’re looking for something to hold all your stuff and travel comfortably, you’ll do well with a 34L GR2. We wouldn’t recommend the larger 40L GR2 given your height since you mentioned you may we walking/hiking for several hours, but the 34L should be a great fit for your purposes.

  79. Raymond Foo says:

    Hi, I have a 20L Rucker. After I read this post, I have some question in mind. You said the bottom of the ruck is made of ballistic cordura, is it 1050D? Is it the same on the rucker? How you differentiate between them?
    And about the YKK Zipper, I think the one on my rucker is not the one made in USA?
    Last time I had a backpack but the shoulder strap buckle broke. That’s why I look for military grade backpack and found Goruck. I also asked customer service based on this question: Is the plastic shoulder strap buckle durable and can withstand high tension? Why I don’t see them made from steel or metal on every other backpack as well? ( I think steel or metal is stronger than plastic isn’t it?)
    And the rucker frame sheet is thicker than the one in GR1?
    My thoughts about the 20L Rucker. It is very good, it is well built although have some imperfection in stitching and sewing. ( In fact, I have returned rucker two times to exchange. Spencer will know this). Or I think I am just too picky. I used it as add on to bodyweight workout routine and as daypack to anywhere as well as to hiking. I will purchase maybe GR2 or 511. Tactical Rush 24 in the future because 20L Rucker is not enough for longer trip.

  80. Mike says:

    I’ve had my GR1 since 2012. I haven’t checked in to this site in a long time. Lots of new stuff and events. Its all good. Rucking around DC today. It’s Law enforcement week. Pray for us too. Bottom line, don’t fret about Gr1 Vs Gr2… Blah Blah. Get one and break it in over the years. Keep it, patch it, use the hell out of it. The end.

  81. Michael says:

    Funny to see a fellow FEMA Corps member, 4 years late I know. Wasn’t 2012 the first year for FEMA Corps? Excited on my end! I leave July 11th or 12th from Vegas to Baltimore! How’d your GR1 fare during your service? Interested on hearing your experiences!

  82. MB says:

    My 5 year old GR1, Still going strong. Though I haven’t misused or abused it (her). 26L was the only game in town at the time. I might have been tempted by a 21L if I just wanted a daypack. But I have traveled the country and world with my ruck and I can say that in those circumstances the extra space was worth it. Oh I have put my ruck under the seat of most US carriers with no problems. Again size matters when shoes, big laptops, and when a bit more space is needed. otherwise go 21L. Im 5’9″ 150, the 26L has served me well. especially in cold weather with bulky outer garments. Bottom line buy one and just use the hell out of it. That’s what they are made for. Happy Thanksgiving!

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