Radio Ruck

Radio Ruck, pictured here with Java in the summer of 2009 in the great Southern town of Oxford, Mississippi, has been on our shelves far too long.  We thought way back when that it was better to have the Echo be much smaller than GR1, which it is.  The Radio Ruck seemed too close to GR1 at the time, but we’ve gotten a lot of requests for something a little smaller than GR1 and bigger than the Echo, so here is it, the Radio Ruck.

The first line drawings we did to represent the sizing differences of the first run of three different bags.  The Radio Ruck is on the far left, GR1 in the middle and GR2 on the far right.

The name Radio Ruck.  Usually, one of us just starts calling something by a certain name and it sticks. Nothing scientific about it.  We named Radio Ruck because I thought it should be roughly the size of the primary radio I used in Special Forces with a little more room for this or that, like spare batteries. The black radio pictured in the foreground was this sizing inspiration and is called the PSC-5 (actually people call it the Piss-5).  I’m pictured in the background with some of my aircraft controller school classmates in Arizona in 2007.

2 years after we built the first prototype, we’ve now put it into production. I snagged one to test out as a daypack (replacing my GR1) while I went trekking along the Great Wall.  (If you read GR2 Travels, important to note is that I fit it inside his GR2 while traveling, along with everything else I took with me).

The features and design are recognizable from our other bags.  Military-grade everything, silent zipper pulls, a laptop compartment next to the wearer’s back, limited MOLLE webbing along the bottom and on the shoulder straps, and a padded carrying handle.

My laptop stayed back at the hotel in Beijing, so the back compartment has other fun things in it, like local maps and Garden and Gun, a favorite of ours to pass the time anywhere.

The obligatory tourist shot, which happened too late to include better scenery, such as the Wall.  The Radio Ruck is a day pack, sized between the Echo and GR1 and built in line with GORUCK’s highest standards of durability, functionality, and style.  As with all GORUCK gear, we stand behind Radio Ruck with our Scars Lifetime Guarantee.


  1. LGreer says:

    I’ve got a nagging question:

    Why do the Radio Ruck and the Echo not have zippers that go the full length of the bags so that they can open flat like the GR1 and GR2?

    It seems as though one of GORUCK’s most brilliant features is missing.

  2. Uri says:

    Congrats Jason for another fantastic ruck. Having something in between the Echo and the GR1 will definatelly make a difference for some people. I think this ruck will become a favorite, just like the GR1.

  3. Matt says:

    Just when I was about to buy the GR1, I see this appear on the website! After only just receiving the Echo a week ago, I’m finding it a little bit too small for my needs and wanted to get a bigger version. This makes my decision a little harder now.

    Jason, do you have any comparison photos between the GR1, Echo and Radio Ruck?

  4. jason says:

    LGreer, thanks for the feedback on the full zip. This feature, full zip vs partial zip, does play a part in how the rucks are used. The partial zip allows for a small area at the bottom of the ruck that is ideal for stuffing a jacket (as I did in China) or anything else that won’t go anywhere when you open the ruck up. This would also apply to text books or the PSC-5 radio shown in the Army pic above. That said, the full zip is a nice feature, and one that I enjoy with the GR1 and GR2 especially since they’re my go to travel bags and I’m constantly packing them to the max. Radio Ruck may come in a full zip down the line. We’ll continue to listen to what people want and what they like most about our gear. And we’ll also continue to use and abuse it ourselves.
    Echo Explained is on the summer to-do list, as well as Tac Explained, as well as some new products explained, just since you asked.
    Matt, I am cadre for the GORUCK Challenge in San Diego tonight, where all four bags will be in use. I’ll get a comparison shot and it’ll make the album next week. Hope this all helps, and thanks a million for asking.

  5. Shinfu says:

    I own a Echo and GR2. Amazing products. As owner I love to read how do you explain how and why desing your gears, so the Echo post will be welcome.

    About the Ruck looks amazing, middle size. I will buy a GR1 but now I want to see some pictures with a comparation of the Ruck and the GR1.

    I hope that my girlsfriend don’t see the Ruck because she will want one, so I will have to buy both :-).

    Congratulations for the develop and quality of your gears, are great products. Keep working. Sometimes I have the impresion that you have a lot ideas, little packs for inside gears.. Etc


  6. Hector says:

    Hey Jason, what an amazing bag! I’m so happy for you guys and your products, and I’m so happy with my GR2 that I just recently received, but I would just like to add that that I also would snap this bag up if it had full length opening zippers. Just another customer’s opinion… 🙂
    Keep up the ace work and looking forward to seeing new products and reading new blog posts about all the GoRuck adventures! 🙂

  7. Carol says:

    Hi Jason,

    Was thinking of getting a GR1 or 2 and would like to know if it will come out undamaged if I have to check it in during travels as luggage handling can get quite rough at airports from personal experience.

  8. sri says:

    I saw a GR1 in person recently and they are wonderful. I am contemplating buying the radio ruck but have a question — will a laptop with dimensions 13″ x 10.6″ x 1.2-1.4″ fit inside the laptop compartment?

  9. Rebecca says:

    My husband has a GR1 and loves it, and I just grabbed the Radio Ruck for “us” (though I fully intend on making it mostly “mine”). It’s perfect for me – the GR1 is just too big for me to handle (I’m 5’1 vs my husbands 6’4) with a much larger capacity than the Echo. I anticipated the straps to be more like the GR1, given the potential for a higher carrying/load weight, but the straps are smaller like the Echo and suit me just fine.

    @sri: I can squeeze my 15″ MBP into the laptop pocket, though it is VERY snug (emphasis on very – it is almost glove-like) and the MBP measures 14.35″ tall, 9.82″ wide, and 1″ thick. The increased width of your laptop will stretch the pocket a bit, and with only 1″ or so to play with vertically, it will probably fit but will be extremely snug. Just my $0.02 anyway.

    Now all we need to do is pick up a GR-2, and we’ll have a full set!

  10. sri says:

    @Rebecca: Thanks a lot for the info.

    I did place an order yesterday (before I saw your reply) and I’ll see how easy/difficult to get the laptop in and out of the bag. Hopefully I can return the bag if it does not work — don’t really want to since I love the understated-but-functional design a lot. Let’s see.

  11. jason says:

    @Hector: loud and clear, and thanks for the GR2 feedback. @Carol all bags take a beating when checked, but ours are better broken in, and traveling does the trick one way or another. Other than that checking bags in is no fun (flying’s not what it used to be), don’t worry about it.

  12. Robert says:

    Hey, used the Radio Ruck for the LA challenge. Awesome ruck! not too big, not too small. I was able to get a feel of all the ruck sizes though in the challenge. Thinking about purchasing the GR1 for a little more room. But the Radio Ruck fits everything I need for a day to day basis.

  13. Taylor says:

    Hi…I’m interested in buying a radio ruck but had two questions. First, I’ve done some shopping around to get an idea of a 17L bag so I’m pretty sure this is the right size, but if its not would I be able to send it back in and switch for a GR1? Second, I read above that you’re gonna have some new products coming out this summer…is there any way we could get an idea of what those are and when they might be on sale? I’m in Canada and would like to make one purchase as opposed to a couple. Thanks in advance.

  14. hani says:

    Hi, I’d like to know if there is any plan on releasing a full zip for the radio ruck any time soon. I would really love a full zip version. Thanks

  15. Dan Hutch says:

    I know you have produced packs here in the Denver area, but I think I heard something about you moving your production somewhere else… I am wondering if there is still a facility here that I can visit to compare the gr-1 and radio ruck sizes before buying(?)

    I have previously owned one of your echo packs, but found it s bit too small. It’s not that I need more room for my EdC, but I’d like to have the option of using the bag for more. Your gear is top notch as far as quality goes, as good as anything I’ve ever seen, or better.
    Thanks in advance

  16. Lucien says:

    Jason, I just ordered a radio ruck and can’t wait to use it. Just one quick question. If I had my macbook pro in the back compartment, would it get wet in a rainstorm?

    -GORUCK is a great company, Keep up the fantastic work! Doing it well…

  17. Khaled says:

    Will the radio Ruck be a good bag for a college student. IM still debating on buying it because im not sure if it will fit all my school things, a few books large , binders, clothes.. Please help

  18. jason says:

    I bike all over with my laptop in the laptop compartment. I’ve never had any trouble with it getting wet, even when it rains hard. We don’t advertise our rucks as waterproof because to me, with a military background, waterproof means you can leave something at the bottom of the ocean indefinitely and nothing gets wet. Our rucks are highly water resistant.
    RR or GR1 is ideal for a college student. I would make the decision based on the size of laptop you have.
    We have had bags made in the Denver area, but we are in the process of opening our own factory in Bozeman, Montana. Dan, we’ll be in Colorado for the GORUCK Ascent over Labor Day weekend. Full-zip Radio Ruck is in production, feel free to get in touch with us there and check them all out. We’ll have all the bags, plus a few previews of what’s in the pipeline. As for new products, Brick Bag is done. No colossal bags in the near term, mostly smaller stuff. Even a GORUCK Flag made out of Cordura is in the works.
    And Taylor, returns/exchanges and customer service are things we pride ourselves on, and we want people to be really happy with their ruck when they get it. So, if you would want to exchange Radio Ruck for GR1, of course you can.

  19. John Wadman says:


    How good is the echo or radio for running. I train in the early hours of the morning through roads and woods, when still pitch black out. My runs are long (~15 miles) and I am looking for a pack to store some emergency items – cell phone, food, extra batteries for headlamp, etc. Looking for something small but still usable for running.

  20. jason says:

    All of our rucks are designed to fit snugly on the wearer’s back and distribute weight along your spine. This makes it more comfortable with any kind of weight over any kind of distance, especially when running. So, both those rucks will do just fine on your back for an early morning run — or whatever else you end up doing. Have fun!

  21. Will says:

    I am signed up for NYC on 31 March, I was looking forward to borrowing a Ruck. Why did you guys change it up? Now I have to break out the old Alice Pack. I am ready for some good living.

  22. Ryan says:

    Which bag would you reccomend for a college student? I’ve been going back and forth between the radio ruck and gr1 for weeks now. I need room for a MacBook, 2-3 multi subject notebooks, and the occasional jacket, hat, or gloves being from Ohio .

  23. Kevin says:

    Ryan, from my experience, being the owner of a gr1 & a gr2, I would pick up the gr1. I got mine when I was a college senior, and it worked out great! It’s a simple bag that can take the thrash of being on buses, subways, thrown into cars and stuffed into trunks.

    The simplicity of the ruck allows for easy organization, you’ll love it! Worth it’s weight in gold. I wouldn’t go anywhere without my gr1.

  24. Amara says:

    Awesome ruck!
    From the pics its not clear if the laptop compartment has 1 or 2 zippers. Hoping that it too can be secured if it has 2!

  25. Mike says:

    Jason, Great bags! I’m in the market for a do it all bag for daily use, i.e. 13″ laptop, books, groceries, gym etc. I was about to get the gr1, but I understand a new sized RR has been released. Any advise. This is most likely going to be my only Goruck. 5’9″ 155 and 56 yoa!Thanks

  26. jason says:

    It’s tough to go wrong with a GR1, Mike. That said, my best guess is that the new Radio Ruck would do the trick on your frame. Thanks for the support.

  27. James Barker says:

    Hello Jason,

    I am very interested in participating in the College Station GoRuck Challenge and was wondering which rucksack you recommend for my build: 5’3″, 135lbs. Thanks!

  28. jason says:

    Hey James, Radio Ruck or GR1 is what I would recommend. It really just depends on which one you think you’d like to have forever, post-Challenge. For a daypack, if I had to guess, I’d say you’d prefer the Radio Ruck simply because it’s a little smaller on your frame.

  29. jonathan says:

    Hey Jason,

    How did you manage to squeeze the Radio Ruck inside of your GR2? I’ve been trying to pack and repack for an upcoming 2 week trip I have and I can’t seem to figure out how you stuck 2 weeks worth of clothes/shoes/gear inside of the GR2 along with the Radio Ruck.


  30. jason says:

    Not gonna lie, jonathan, it was tight. I basically didn’t bring anything I didn’t absolutely need, and I did laundry while I was there. For me, I’d rather do laundry than bring a suitcase.

  31. Tyson says:

    Hey Jason,

    I have been debating between a RR and a GR1 for a while now. I am drawn to the RR because I will be using the Ruck as a light day pack, and for the occasional weekend trip so volume is not an issue. However, I am 6’2″, 200 lbs and don’t want the ruck to be too small or unproportionate on my back. Would you recommend the RR or the GR1 for someone with my frame?


  32. jason says:

    Tyson – I think the RR will fit you pretty well, though the GR1 is about ideal in terms of fit for someone with your frame (which is pretty close to mine).

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