REVIEW: GORUCK GR-1 Pack

GORUCK GR1

The GORUCK GR-1 is a military grade rucksack that is proudly constructed in the USA(along with every other pack they make) with a lifetime warranty. GORUCK makes many military MOLLE backpacks, but this review is going to be focused on their original, be-all, end-all 24 hour ruck, the GR-1. Conceived and created by Jason McCarthy, a member of the 10th Special Forces Group from 2006 to 2008, this GORUCK pack brings together the strength of the military with the determination and aspirations of the civilian world. It is for this reason that we chose the GR-1 to review during our two-week wilderness survival trip.

made in usa

GORUCK GR-1 Overview

This high-grade, MOLLE backpack measures 12x20x6.75 and is constructed from the most durable of materials; ballistic grade double layered 1000D CORDURA®, YKK zippers, gutted 550 parachute cord, 2″ x 3″ Velcro, comfort padding, and superior strength double stitching. Although the visual size of this pack seemed as if it would not be practical, there was more than enough room in the 26L case. We took the basic Black model, but the GR-1 also comes in “Sand” and “Wolf Grey”.

Notable Features

We were astounded by the silence of the zipper compartments when utilized which allowed us to observe our surroundings and access our cameras, binoculars, and other necessities at a seconds notice GORUCK GR-1without spooking the wildlife and causing it to flee. This is quite possibly a “mission critical” feature in certain circumstances. Ultra quiet zippers and sturdy pulls really stand out on this ruck.

SCARS LIFETIME WARRANTY

I thought this little tidbit deserved it’s own headline, because it’s that good. GORUCK stands behind all of their packs with what they call the Scars Lifetime Warranty. We actually have a nice little piece we wrote specifically about eh SCARS warranty and why it has so much value – check it out here.  The folks at GORUCK are really easy-going when it comes to repairs. Right from the website:

“GORUCK-built gear gets better with time and use, and is not meant to be replaced.” “No proof of purchase required, we can recognize our own gear. We’re happy to stitch up any GORUCK built gear that’s been burned, shot, slashed or sawed for a reasonable repair charge”

GORUCK GR-1

Field Test

Because of the sturdy construction, padded arm straps, and comfortable wearing design, it was no problem collecting shelter materials, firewood and edibles. We had a discussion on how effective this would be as a field or rucking pack with an incredibly compact size backing an extremely heavy load capacity. Our packs may have appeared to us to be small at first observation, but they proved to be the best for comfortably transporting our heaviest of finds back to our camp. After reviewing the Dragon Egg, I’m a serious fan of bags that feel small, but pack huge.

It rained for 3 days straight(torrential downpour actually), and to say that we and all of our gear became quite wet, would be an understatement. The contents of the GR-1 however remained *totally* dry. This pack isn’t listed as “completely waterproof”, but I’ll tell you that it’s pretty damn close. Despite rain water literally sheeting and cascading off the pack, everything inside(including my laptop) remained absolutely dry – whoa.

GORUCK GR-1We really liked the following features as we tested this pack:

  • Storage – Although this pack appears to be compact, we discovered that there is more than enough room for the hauling of the essential field gear and supplies. The interior extra storage and zipper side pocket assure that users will be able to haul all of the needed items without the possibility of gear falling off or out of an exterior pocket.
  • Mobile Device Pocket – The inclusion of the bombproof compartment offers extra security and protection for essential mobile devices when on a mission or in action.
  • Webbing – The GR1 rucking pack is loaded with internal and external webbing for extra gear such as MOLLE supplies or any other essential items. We utilized the webbing to contain our many loose cords and office supplies that we writing enthusiasts can not live without.
  • Accessibility – The ability of this pack to open to a flat area makes for easy packing and unpacking of supplies.

Pros

GORUCK GR-1AMERICAN MADE!!!  That said, the feature that we found to be the best was the lifetime warranty.  That stands out as a feature which is unique and sets the GORUCK GR-1 apart from its competition.  Additionally, our entire team was impressed with the function and silence of the zipper compartments as well as the amount of storage space of these areas. Having a versatile pack that is waterproof(for all intents and purposes) and lightweight is the answer to any outdoor enthusiast or rucking person’s dream.  Also, the minimal design of this pack is perfect for trekking and rucking alike. This bag sits perfectly on the back with a sleek design meant to keep packs from becoming caught or tangled in surrounding fauna when traversing dangerous or overgrown areas.

Cons

The negative aspects of the GORUCK GR-1 were rather difficult for our team to nail down. It seemed as if for every negative point that one of our members brought up, another member was able to turn it into a positive attribute in some way. If we had any complaints about this rucking bag, the only one would be concerning the fact that a few of the members who could just not stay disconnected were not able to carry their mobile devices and use the water bladder at the same time. Poor old Ron. He did survive.

Conclusion

In spite of this packs incredibly skilled and expert construction, it may be only useful for short excursions or quick missions. The overall capacity of this bag is adequate for the transport of essential items and survival supplies, but hardly the capacity for packing for a weeks trek into the unknown. Adaptable to MOLLE instruments and supplies, this model of backpack is the perfect size for a high energy, low supply ruck. After all was said and done, this backpack shares the throne with other top-shelf 24 hour rucks.

Questions?

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Meet the Author

I'm a former US Marine, full-time father and husband, and part-time survivalist. I like old things, like music, furniture and time-tested survival technique, but there's always a place in my heart for new technology such as weapons and sleeping bag fill. I'm here to share my knowledge and experience, and I hope you'll share yours as well.