GORUCK GR1 Tactical Backpack Review


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The GORUCK GR1 Tactical Backpack is one of the most rugged, versatile, and feature loaded backpacks on the market today. It is a U.S.-made backpack engineered to Armed Forces specifications, but it also offers a civilian-friendly design.

The pack is a favorite among travelers, military personnel, law enforcement, hikers, emergency preppers, students, and, of course, GORUCK Challenge participants. This pack was specifically built for the Special Forces and has been used in Baghdad and New York City. (1)

The Gr1 is loaded with features that truly set it apart from even the stiffest competition. GORUCK takes pride in its craftsmanship and these packs are made to withstand even the most severe circumstances. While it might look relatively plain from the outside or simple when compared to other tactical backpacks, diving into the details will reveal a backpack that’s far from “plain and simple.”

Overview

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The GORUCK GR1 was built to match Special Forces standards. But it was also made with the intent that the pack could be used in many different situations. Each pack requires four hours to hand build. The GR1 was tested to withstand 400 pounds, which makes it incredibly durable. GORUCK used only the best materials in the design of this pack, including 1000D Cordura.

For students or modern-day travelers, the GR1 boasts a bombproof laptop compartment because it’s important to know that your laptop is safe and protected from unexpected rain, dust, and other elements. The designers of this pack also included a frame sheet for added stability. This will help you carry more weight more comfortably and also keeps the pack from folding in on itself when loaded down.

Specifications

The GR1 is equipped with 3 rows of external and internal MOLLE webbing that give you the freedom to attach the accessories you need for any tactical situation. The pack comes with a compartment for a hydration bladder and a hydration port that provides easy access to the hydration bladder tube.

One of the more beneficial features of this pack is the silent YKK zippers. These zippers are designed to be glove friendly and the ability to use them without making a sound can be critical during covert missions when stealth is of the highest priority. The pack includes pockets of various sizes to help you organize gear and it also has the ability to be unzipped and lay flat for easily organizing gear in the main compartment.

The GR1 has a 2×3 velcro patch that allows you to easily distinguish your pack from others. The GR1 is also is completely rainproof and is tested to military specifications to make sure your gear will stay dry even under the harshest circumstances. And in even the worst case scenario, this pack is backed by a lifetime Scars warranty (2).

The GORUCK GR1 is available in two sizes: 21-liters and 26-liters. These packs weigh 3.2 lbs. The 21-liter pack has dimensions of 11.5″ W x 18″ H x 5.5″ D and the 26-liter pack boasts dimensions of 12″ W x 20″ H x 6.75″ D.

GORUCK also now offers their GR2, which comes in sizes of 34-liter and 40-liter. These packs have a base weight of 4.75 pounds. The 34-liter GR2 has dimensions of 12.5″ W x 20.5″ H x 9″ D and the 40-liter GR2 offers dimensions of 12.5″ W x 22”H x 9” D.

What we like about it

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There are a lot of things we like about this pack, including the fact that it’s a homegrown pack made right here in the  U.S. We also like the quality of the construction and top-notch materials used in the design and engineering of the GR1. Lastly, we really appreciate that this pack is made to military specifications and can hold up to the rigors of the field.

We also enjoyed the fact that this pack is MOLLE-compatible for a high degree of customization. It’s clear that GORUCK understands that every mission and situation requires different gear and a slightly varied approach. The features and design of the GORUCK GR1 Tactical Backpack reflect that understanding and provide the user with the ability to customize his or her organization style.

What we don’t like about it

To be quite honest, this pack isn’t for everyone. If you’re on a budget, this pack might be a bit out of your range. And if you’re really not going to be putting a ton of heavy-duty use on this pack, it might not be the right choice for you. Additionally, it doesn’t come with a ton of organizational pockets that allow easy access to your gear. If you’re not sold on the GORUCK GR1, check out our full list of the Top Ten Tactical Backpacks.

User Reviews

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Here is what people have said about this pack:

“If the high ticket value is a concern – look at the number of hours used and divide the overall purchase by it – as a primary ruck, what you’re paying for is: 1) Built in the USA 2) Quality 3) Modularity – the MOLLE webbing allows for expansion, but the lack of the webbing all over the ruck allows it to be a bit more low profile. 4) SCARS warranty”

Another person wrote:

“I’m loving this bag. And I say that in the midst of a sea of bags being carried about by other officers and enlisted soldiers on post here at Fort Sill, OK. I had been planning on purchasing one ever since then. I’ve had it for four weeks now. The quality is of the finest.

Being in the midst of all these other bags, I must say that the price I paid for it is a shocker to many. It’s the only reason why I considered taking off a star. In the end, I had to give it to them. I’m surrounded by bigger bags that cost less. It’s worth mentioning, but personally, I’ll be keeping my GR1. The size gives it a less conspicuous profile. It’s highly durable. All black makes it professional. It’s easy to clean.”

Even if you don’t plan to use it for tactical purposes, the GR1 is “a real workhorse”:

“I set my eyes on this product many months ago and, honestly, I was held off by the high price tag, so I placed it on my wishlist for a while. As I kept checking and reading reviews on your website I finally made my mind up and bought it. My first impression when I finally had my hands on it was: ” this thing is built to withstand anything !!” I use it mainly on weekends outdoor hikes on mountains over Lake Maggiore (ITALY) and to carry my stuff to the target range. Best money ever spent on a backpack! So happy that I’ve purchased the KITBAG when I need extra gear to come with me.”

Frequently Asked Questions

GORUCK was founded by a former Green Beret and they pride themselves on toughness, excellence and adaptability while staying true to their Special Forces roots. Let’s take some time to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about GORUCK and its products.

Who started GORUCK?

goruck tactical backpack review - jason mccarthy

Jason McCarthy is the Founder and CEO of GORUCK. Jason enlisted in the U.S. Army shortly after 9/11 and his Special Forces team was deployed through Baghdad to southern Iraq in 2007. He formed the GORUCK company in 2008 and had workable sketches of the original GR1 by 2010. You can read the full story here.

Am I eligible to receive a refund if I’m in the military and getting deployed?

It should be no secret that GORUCK is extremely military-friendly. And while they can’t guarantee refunds for everyone about to be deployed, they are open to unique situations. You can Contact GoRuck and let them know the specifics of your situation and they’ll do their best to work with you.

Summary

This is one tough and high-quality pack. The fact that it’s made to military specifications and has been used by Special Forces in more than 350 cities around the world make it very appealing. It definitely is on the top of the list as far as price goes but the general consensus is that this bag does not disappoint. As you might know when it comes to items like a tactical backpack, sometimes it’s worth it to pay a little more to get a bag that you know is going to hold up.

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