GORUCK Rucker Review

When it comes to everyday carry backpacks, there is no “perfect backpack”, but you can find a backpack suited almost perfectly to your needs.  If you’re looking for a tough and rugged backpack that’s good for everyday life, but really thrives as a weighted backpack for rucking, weighted workouts, weighted calisthenics, and improvised fitness, the GORUCK Rucker may be just the bag you’ve been looking for.  In this GORUCK Rucker review, we’ll explore the Rucker as a durable daily carry bag, a great weighted backpack for functional fitness workouts, and how worthy it is for travel

GORUCK Rucker Review by ABrotherAbroad.com

(Note: This article may contain affiliate links)

As a traveler who adventures fairly hard, fitness is foremost – as I want to stay ready to surf, hike, and ride as the opportunity arises.  Unfortunately, finding a fully equipped gym in the far reaches of the world is rarely possible.  Having a handful of items to get a good workout, to preserve and build the strength and stamina that keeps me at my peak is always in the plan – that’s why I added the GORUCK Rucker to my kit.


So what is this “Rucker”?

The GORUCK Rucker is an everyday carry friendly bag, built tough with mil-spec materials and a lifetime guarantee and made for functional fitness workouts.   Bolstered with heavy-duty handles for dragging and tossing around, padding to stay comfortable, and compartments for carrying weights and throwing them around a bit, the Rucker is truly a great fitness tool. 

The result is a daily use bag that doubles as an improvised kettlebell and weight for not only rucking**, but also functional workouts that range from Crossfit style workouts to kettlebell workouts and weight calisthenics/gymnastics…anywhere.

Because this bag does lack a dedicated and protected laptop space, I recommend checking out the GORUCK GR1** first (geared more towards everyday carry and laptop protection but still ruck ready) and if you want something more fitness-focused, come back and check out the Rucker. 

If what you’re looking for is a backpack that works well enough for daily use but excels at helping you stay fit without a gym, read on to discover the GORUCK Rucker.

Or click here to check prices for the GORUCK Rucker now…

CONTENTS OF THIS GORUCK RUCKER REVIEW


EXTENDED REVIEW

QUICK REVIEW OF GORUCK RUCKER


WHO IS “GORUCK”, AND WHAT MAKES THEIR GEAR SO AWESOME?

In short: GORUCK is a backpack and apparel maker founded by an Ex-Army Special Forces soldier to make gear tough enough to survive war and functional enough to love.  The result – GORUCK’s backpacks are arguably some of the toughest on the market and perfect for the “non-traditional fitness” crowd that loves to ruck, do weight workouts and improvised Crossfit with a sandbag or two.

GORUCK is known for making tough gear designed for “rucking” and functional, military-style fitness, but their gear doubles just as well for hard use lifestyles like travel and minimalists that want gear that will last forever.  All of GORUCK’s gear is covered by a lifetime “SCARS Guarantee” in which they’ll or replaced your damaged gear for life – your life, not the life of the gear.


WHAT MAKES THE GORUCK RUCKER AWESOME?

It’s a gym in a bag disguised as a tough, everyday use backpack making more workouts possible outdoors and on the road

The GORUCK Rucker backpack is the newest addition to the GORUCK backpack lineup, blending the best of an everyday carry backpack with a built-military-tough backpack designed for weighted workouts and rucking. All of this comes at a price that won’t break the bank compared to the prices of GORUCK’s other bags.

With the Rucker, you get the standard GORUCK tough as nails materials and construction, like YKK heavy-duty zippers, 1000D Cordura Nylon fabric, 400lbs+ tested haul points, and GORUCK’s SCARS lifetime guarantee to top it off. 

The bonus with the Rucker (which makes this the best workout backpack every for me) is the handles on top, bottom, and sides, allowing you to fill the bag with weight and use it as an improvised dumbbell or kettlebell for workouts.

GORUCK Rucker Review by ABrotherAbroad.com

GORUCK Rucker Review by ABrotherAbroad.com

GORUCK Rucker Review by ABrotherAbroad.com

GORUCK Rucker Review by ABrotherAbroad.com

Pair the GORUCK Rucker with a compact and portable suspension trainer like the Pocket Monkii and add a pair of resistance bands with handles for lower body workouts and you’ll be able to do nearly any workout.

GORUCK Rucker Review by ABrotherAbroad.com
This tiny suspension trainer, the Pocket Monkii, is small enough to fit in my pocket yet allows a slew of upper body workouts anywhere.  Pairing the Pocket Monkii with a weighted backpack like the GORUCK Rucker adds the weight and resistance to upper body exercises making the gym unnecessary

I personally prefer to workout outside and on the road while still achieving the same strength, stamina, and muscle that I’d achieve pumping iron in a gym – but without spending the cash on a gym membership and while getting a little fresh air instead.

The Rucker is a portable gym in a bag and has allowed me to do just that.

Built tough and tested to hauling 400lbs+ the GORUCK Rucker (like the rest of the line) can carry some serious weight.  However, the addition of heavy-duty, padded handles on the bottom and side of the bag change the game.  The addition of handles allows you to fill this bag with weights (sandbells are my drug of choice) and performing exercises just as you would with a kettlebell or dumbbells.

GORUCK Rucker Review by ABrotherAbroad.com

GORUCK Rucker Review by ABrotherAbroad.com

GORUCK Rucker Review by ABrotherAbroad.com

The result (with the addition of some cheap sand bells) is a gym that you can use anywhere that I love so much.  This is all in addition to being a solid backpack for everyday carry.

These are my “sandbags” of choice.  Cheap, functional, and double as kettlebells.  At ~$10, they’re cheaper than any other option with a lot more function.

All of this function in the GORUCK Rucker comes at a price that is much lower than the price of its big brother, the GORUCK GR1** with a more fitness-focused design

WHO IS THE GORUCK RUCKER FOR?

The GORUCK Rucker is perfect for two groups:

1) Fitness enthusiasts who want a workout anywhere, without a gym

2) Anyone looking for a tough and tested everyday carry backpack, but doesn’t need the bombproof laptop pocket of the GR1

The Rucker is a near-perfect product, but because it lacks the laptop protection of the GR1 this bag won’t be perfect for everyone.  You can figure out quickly by asking yourself these questions:

1) How important is laptop protection for you?

2) How important is your workout for you?

If your answer is something along the lines that you really need heavy-duty laptop protection, go for the GORUCK GR1**, possibly the best and toughest daily carry backpack out there with a dedicated laptop compartment

Click here to learn more about the GORUCK GR1**

If you want a backpack that can carry heavyweight for rucking, weighted calisthenics, improvise kettlebell workouts, and improvised sandbag workouts, go for the GORUCK Rucker.

If you’re on the fence about which to opt for, then read our Comparison on the **GORUCK Rucker vs. GR1**


PROS | CONS

OF THE GORUCK RUCKER


PROS

  • Fits the bill as a “gym in a bag” allowing for an array of weighted exercises
  • Handles on all four sides are comfortable and practical
  • The price is right – especially with frequent GORUCK specials, sales, and discounts
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Made of heavy-duty, military-grade materials and will last longer than most other backpacks

CONS

  • No protected laptop pocket
  • The laptop can be difficult to access when stored in the lower ruck plate pocket

RUCKER DESIGN OVERVIEW

  • Overpadded straps make holding heavyweight comfortable and designed to stay that way for years
  • Raised inner pocket and a lower pouch with elastic to keep the plates in place have room for plenty of weight
  • The lower pocket doubles can double as a laptop pouch but can be difficult to access when the upper pouch is filled
  • The open flat design makes it easy to access gear anywhere in the pack
  • Two zippered inner panel pockets (1x mesh, 1 x Cordura Nylon) make staying organized
  • Heavily padded top, bottom, and side handles are convenient for quick carry every day and open up a slew of potential exercises, all tested to 400lbs+…more than most can even carry
  • Heavy-duty YKK zippers will stand up to the weight and abuse of overstuffing
  • 1000D Cordura Nylon is used throughout and is abrasion resistant, water-resistant,
  • Hip Belt Compatible – the few rows of side molle webbing allow for a load-bearing hip belt.

  • Overpadded straps make holding heavyweight comfortable and designed to stay that way for years

GORUCK Rucker Review by ABrotherAbroad.com
  • Raised inner pocket and a lower pouch with elastic to keep the plates in place have room for plenty of weight
GORUCK Rucker Review by ABrotherAbroad.com

  • The lower pocket doubles can double as a laptop pouch but can be difficult to access when the upper pouch is filled
GORUCK Rucker Review by ABrotherAbroad.com
GORUCK Rucker Review by ABrotherAbroad.com

  • Open flat design makes it easy to access gear anywhere in the pack
GORUCK Rucker Review by ABrotherAbroad.com

  • Two zippered inner panel pockets (1x mesh, 1 x Cordura Nylon) make staying organized
GORUCK Rucker Review by ABrotherAbroad.com

  • Heavily padded top, bottom, and side handles are convenient for quick carry every day and open up a slew of potential exercises, all tested to 400lbs+…more than most can even carry
  • Heavy-duty YKK zippers will stand up to the weight and abuse of overstuffing
  • 1000D Cordura Nylon is used throughout and is abrasion resistant, water-resistant

GORUCK Rucker Review by ABrotherAbroad.com
The 1000D Cordura used inside and out looks, feels, and is extremely durable, and is the main reason this pack will outlast your expectations
  • Hip Belt Compatible – the few rows of side molle webbing allow for a load-bearing hip belt.

Differences between the Rucker and other GORUCKs

  • No “bombproof laptop pocket”
  • No internal MOLLE webbing
  • Added side and bottom drag handles
  • Added Drainage holes on the bottom

  • No “bombproof laptop pocket”
  • No internal MOLLE webbing
GORUCK Rucker Review by ABrotherAbroad.com

  • Added side and bottom drag handles
GORUCK Rucker Review by ABrotherAbroad.com

  • Added Drainage holes on the bottom
GORUCK Rucker Review by ABrotherAbroad.com

Not familiar with the rest of the GORUCK line?

Click here to checkout our overview of the GR1, GR2, GR3, and more*

GORUCK Rucker Review by ABrotherAbroad.com
The GORUCK GR1 (pictured on the right) bears the “bombproof laptop pocket” that the GORUCK Rucker is missing.  You can also see the “false bottom” laptop protection on the lower part of the GORUCK GR1 and missing on the GORUCK Rucker (pictured on the left)

THE RUCKER AS AN EDC BAG

The GORUCK Rucker lacks the “bombproof laptop compartment” that the GORUCK GR1 has, and instead only has an unprotected weight pouch.

GORUCK Rucker Review by ABrotherAbroad.com

GORUCK Rucker Review by ABrotherAbroad.com

GORUCK Rucker Review by ABrotherAbroad.com

If you do need the laptop protection, opt for the GORUCK GR1, just note that it doesn’t have the side and bottom handles that make the Rucker so great for workouts.

Beyond the lacking laptop pocket, note that there are no water bottle pockets, so you’ll need to buy those separately, or store your water inside. 

Beyond these two items (laptop pocket and water bottle storage) this is an awesome bag, guaranteed to last for years with GORUCK’s SCARS lifetime guarantee.

THE RUCKER AS A WORKOUT BAG AND RUCKING BAG

In short: the GORUCK GR1 is the best “workout backpack” I’ve ever seen.

It’s designed to carry heavyweight, allowing you to easily and comfortably step up your rucking workouts.

For a solid lower body workout, just load up the Rucker, and walk. 

A heavy-duty plastic panel “frame sheet” sewn into the back of the Rucker distributes the weight evenly over your back so that regardless of how much you’re carrying it feels as comfortable as possible.

The heavily padded straps are just right for the weight, cinching down tight enough to keep the weight from moving, and thick enough to stay comfortable for miles and years.

After miles of rucking, I noticed my feet way more than the weight on my back – a solid sign that the Rucker does its job very well.

GORUCK Rucker Review by ABrotherAbroad.com

In addition to rucking, the bag is great for weighted squats and lunges and makes lower body exercises like thrusters, swings, and pistols convenient and easily done midway through a rucking workout.

The padded handles, tested to 400lbs+, make kettlebell exercises, like KB swings, Turkish getups, and clean and presses, and many more possibilities.  Add pretty much any dumbbell exercise – like curls, presses, and raises (shoulders).  Finally, throw in sandbag workouts, including runs, unconventional movements that work the core, and anything else you would do with a bag of sand.

GORUCK Rucker Review by ABrotherAbroad.com
The top, side, and bottom handles on the Rucker make all kinds of misery possible. Kettlebell-esque exercises and beyond.

And if this is too much to think about, then just put on the Rucker backpack with a little weight and do your normal calisthenics – push-ups, pull-ups, dips, squats, situps, etc.  Having the added weight and resistance in the bag takes these workouts from simple fitness to strength and muscle building workouts resistance training workouts.

Curious how this is possible?

Just throw a Pocket Monkii bars kit in the bag to do pull ups, dips, rows, and more anywhere.

GORUCK Rucker Review by ABrotherAbroad.com

Check out these cheap sand bells for an easy option for adding weight to your ruck.

THE RUCKER FOR TRAVEL

This is a point where I hesitate a bit and recommend the GORUCK Rucker only if you’re a fitness enthusiast that needs to get their workouts on while travel.

As a daily carry bag, the Rucker is a bit heavier and bulkier than options like my beloved REI Ruckpack 28, making it a less than optimal solution for only being a daypack. 

However, I’ve brought the Rucker with me on my next year of travel.  Simply put, getting in my workout on the beach is that important to me.  I simply brought a padded case for my laptop and throw it in the bag and the sacrifice for having this “gym in a bag” is very much worth it.

The Rucker will easily work as a weekend bag, especially if paired with packing cubes, but the GR1** is a better option if you’re carrying a laptop.

GORUCK Rucker Review by ABrotherAbroad.com

If you want a tough GORUCK bag for travel, I recommend the GORUCK GR2 for travel of a few weeks or less, and the GORUCK GR3 for longer stints of travel.  But, if you’re the type that is obsessive about strength workouts when traveling (like me) consider opting for the Rucker as your daypack.

CATEGORY BY CATEGORY REVIEW OF THE GORUCK RUCKER


FUNCTION

As a workout backpack: Extremely functional for rucking and Aweighted calisthenics **

As a daily carry backpack: The lack of a laptop pocket is an adjustment.  **


DURABILITY

Abrasion and water-resistant 1000D Cordura Nylon, big YKK zippers that work when grimy and survive overstuffing, and heavy duty stitching make this an extremely durable bag – worthy of GORUCK’s lifetime SCARS guarantee


VALUE

The fact that the Rucker is made tough, like all GORUCK bags, is what makes the Rucker a good value.  Whereas most backpacks aren’t made to hold 60lbs of weights and would need to be replaced every couple years, the Rucker will likely last as long as you care to use it.  I’ve been traveling with my GORUCK GR3 for over two years and aside from a bit of dirt, this bag shows no chance of breaking anytime soon.  I expect even more durability from the Rucker.

Plus, at over $100 cheaper than the comparable GORUCK GR1, basically the Rucker with a heavily padded pocket, this bag is an excellent value given its quality and warranty.

FYI, this bag can be purchased on sale with the earned service discount bringing it down to about ~$110 – the same price as many other backpacks that don’t deliver the same function or durability


DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION

The Rucker is designed with the basic idea that all of the GORUCK bags are – created based on tested and abused military equipment that is functional and literally tough enough to survive war. 

The military medic bag is the basis for the design of all GORUCK bags. The military medic bag’s open flat design makes everything in the bag accessible nearly instantly. The boxy shape maximizes the use of space.  The internal frame sheet and utilitarian, heavily padded straps make carrying heavy loads natural, instead of inconvenient.  To roll it up, the simplicity of the pack reduces the possibility of things going wrong – just durable cloth, heavy stitching, and a single heavy duty wrap-around zipper.

GORUCK Rucker Review by ABrotherAbroad.com

This is the inspiration for the GORUCK originator (the GORUCK GR1) and has trickled down to the Rucker.

The design of the Rucker emphasizes simplicity, durability, and the ability to carry heavy loads above all.

The combination of the toughest usable materials available, heavy duty construction and high quality workmanship, and simplicity above all add up to a Spartan and utilitarian pack made to be abused, extremely functional, and low profile enough to blend into daily life.


GORUCK RUCKER SIZE OPTIONS: Comparing the GORUCK Rucker 25L vs. 20L

The GORUCK Rucker comes in 20L and 25L sizes. 

The 25L Rucker comes with useful side handles in addition to the top and bottom handles making it more versatile for workouts, while the 20L Rucker bears only the top and bottom handles.

I highly recommend the 25L Rucker, as long as the dimensions fit your torso.  If you’re under 5’7″, consider getting the 20L Rucker.

GORUCK Rucker 25L Dimensions: 3.2lbs | 12″ x “20” x 6.8″

GORUCK Rucker 20L Dimensions: 2.9lbs | 11.5″ x 18″ x 5.5″

BEST FEATURES OF THE GORUCK RUCKER

  • Abrasion-resistant, tear resistant, and water resistant 1000 Denier Cordura Nylon outer material stands up to grime and abuse
  • 400lbs+ carry capacity, tested at all stress points (including the handles), means the Rucker will last through your workouts and your lifetime
  • Lifetime SCARS guarantee makes this bag a smart investment if any of the above ever give out
  • Carrying handles on all sides, and intense durability, allow the backpack to be used as a kettlebell, a sandbag, and a general weight for resistance training, but also make it easier to carry around
  • A hard plastic, rigid, back supporting framesheet, ample padding in the back panel and shoulder straps, and raised weight compartment to keep the bag comfortable when rucking heavy
  • High-quality materials and military-grade construction make the Rucker an investment that will survive workouts, daily life, and whatever adventures you throw at it
  • 2 zippered internal pockets, 1 external zippered slant pocket, and 2 more internal weight pockets add enough functional yet minimalist storage to make this a solid EDC & fitness option
  • External MOLLE is useful for adding additional pockets, or lashing/clipping gear externally with climbing runners or carabiners

VERDICT ON THIS GORUCK RUCKER REVIEW

GORUCK Rucker Review
  • Function
  • Comfort
  • Durability and Construction
  • Value
4.8

Summary

The GORUCK Rucker is an amazing little backpack for what it is – a tough, simple, functional backpack designed for rucking, weighted calisthenic workouts, and improvised kettlebell workouts.  Though it could suffice as an everyday carry backpack, if you’re finicky about your laptop’s protection, get a GR1 instead (for the bombproof laptop pocket). If getting your workout in without a gym is what you want, get the GORUCK Rucker 25L.  No other ” workout backpack” on the market compares.

If you’re getting the Rucker, its fairly safe to assume that you plan to get in unconventional, gym-less workouts.  This might be via rucking, weighted calisthenics wearing the Rucker, or any other way you can find.

As much as I enjoy a good Crossfit workout or hitting the gym to move some iron, I love being outside and getting my sweat on my way.  In other words, workouts outside of the gym are my favorite, to save money, get some sunshine, vitamin D, and fresh, and (most importantly) stay fit while traveling

The following pieces of equipment are the best I’ve found for working out in hotel rooms while traveling, and on your own terms.


RECOMMENDED EQUIPMENT TO PAIR WITH THE GORUCK RUCKER 25L:

POCKET MONKII

If you are buying the Rucker to stay fit rucking or through functional fitness anywhere, consider adding the Pocket Monkii suspension trainer to your kit.  This suspension trainer is the size of a coffee mug and allows you to get in a great upper body resistance workout, no weights necessary. 

Click here to read my experience and review of the Pocket Monkii


RESISTANCE BANDS WITH HANDLES

Rucking and weighted calisthenics (with a weighted backpack) can offer great leg workouts, but if you want to recreate weighted deadlifts and squats for lower body resistance training (you should) without the weights, then resistance bands with handles are the way to go. Click here to discover how you can make a pair of resistance bands with handles


PORTABLE SANDBELLS

Kettlebell workouts are perfect for upper body and lower body, developing strength and for cardio conditioning.  Portable sandbells are collapsible waterproof bags that can be filled with sand (or water) and used for a full on kettlebell workout.  I recommend picking up these cheap yet functional portable sandbells which I’m carrying with me on my current travels

EXTENDED REVIEW OF THE GORUCK RUCKER


MY EXPERIENCE USING THE RUCKER

WORKOUTS, WANDERING, AND MORE


WORKING OUT WITH THE GORUCK RUCKER + SUSPENSION TRAINER

Wearing the Rucker filled with weights and pulling out a suspension trainer like the Pocket Monkii or my gymnastics rings suspension trainer, my go to workout involves using a suspension trainer to do pullups, dips, overhead presses, high pulls, rows (possibly one armed), and pushups (possibly one-armed).  This allows me to get a complete upper body workout that builds strength and muscle while balancing my pushes and pulls.  Wearing the Rucker throughout this upper body routine adds an extra 20lbs to 40lbs allowing me to achieve the same resistance I would opt for in the gym – but without the gym.


RECOMMENDED SUSPENSION TRAINER AND PULL UP BAR EXERCISES TO DO WITH THE RUCKER

  • Pull Up
  • Overhead Press
  • High Pull
  • Dip
  • Row
  • One-Armed Push-Up
  • Overhead Curls (Biceps)
  • Horizontal Curls (Biceps)
  • Overhead Triceps Extensions
  • Low Triceps Extensions

WORKING OUT WITH THE GORUCK RUCKER FOR UPPER BODY (WITHOUT A SUSPENSION TRAINER)

Without the suspension trainer, I use the Rucker to improvised kettlebell swings, one-handed clean and presses, high pulls, overhead presses, a slew of shoulder exercises, Turkish getups, and countless other functional fitness workouts.

The Rucker is awesome because as long as you have weights, whether they’re ruck plates or sandbells**, to put in the Rucker then you have a gym anywhere for upper body workouts.

Thanks to handles on the top, bottom, and sides of the Rucker, there’s nearly no upper body exercise I can’t do.


UPPER BODY EXERCISES TO DO WITH THE RUCKER

  • (Improvised) Kettlebell Swings
  • Singlehanded Cleans
  • Overhead Presses (Single-handed, dual handed)
  • Turkish Get Ups
  • Front, Side, Rear Raises (Targeting Shoulders)
  • Thrusters

LOWER BODY WORKOUT IDEAS WITH THE GORUCK RUCKER

As for the lower body workouts, its completely simple.

Just Ruck.

Throw some weight in the back and walk.  The back panel is reinforced with a thick plastic sheet (sewn in) and heavily padded, which distributes the weights across your back making things a lot more comfortable. The heavily padded shoulder straps excel with heavy weight, staying comfortable for miles.

After miles of rucking with 2 of the 20lb GORUCK plates at a 4 mile per hour pace, I barely noticed the weight on my back.

If you get bored walking, weighted squats and lunges are great for mixing things up as are functional moves like squat thrusters and swings (similar to kettlebell swings) round out a great list of functional movements.

RECOMMENDED LOWER BODY/FULL BODY EXERCISES TO DO WITH THE GORUCK RUCKER

  • Squats
  • Pistols (Single Legged Squat)
  • Thruster
  • Lunges / Clockwork Lunges / Speedskater Lunges
  • Kettlebell Swing
  • Burpees or Bend and Thrusts (omit the “jump” at the end of each exercise)
  • Renegade Manmakers, using Rucker as a dummbell – grabbing the handles on each side.

HOW TO WORK CALISTHENICS AND WEIGHTED EXERCISES INTO YOUR RUCKING REGIMEN

Rucking is a fantastic way to stay fit, but rucking alone won’t build speed, explosive power, or that “Superman” upper body.  To get the most of your time rucking, and achieve all around fitness, pick one of these “mini workouts” and perform them with your rucking routine.

  • Tabata: To perform the Tabata workout, pick an exercise (like burpees) and perform 8 sets of 20 seconds of exercise and 10 seconds of rest.  Perform this before, after, or in the middle of your ruck to level up your cardio**
  • “Every Mile on the Mile” (By Distance): Set a reminder to stop every mile, half mile, or quarter mile, and perform 2-3 exercises.  Performing 5 push ups and 10 squats every half mile is an excellent start
  • Every 10 Minutes (Timed): Set an alarm to stop every 10 to 15 minutes and perform 1-2 rounds of a quick circuit of 2 exercises with your pack on. 5 push ups and 10 squats is a great starting point, but burpees (without the hop), kettlebell swings, and cleans & presses with your Rucker will level up your workout insanely.

THE GORUCK RUCKER FOR EVERYDAY CARRY (EDC)

When it comes to everyday carry backpacks, there are much better options out there than the GORUCK Rucker.  A lack of internal pockets for keeping smaller things organized, and the lack of a dedicated laptop pocket make the rucker less than perfect as a daily carry bag.

For pure daily carry, if you want a nearly bulletproof bag that’s functional enough for daily use, aim for the GORUCK GR1 or the 34L GORUCK GR2.  Both have dedicated laptop protection, internal MOLLE webbing for adding organization pockets, and the GR2 has tons of pockets for keeping things organized.  If you don’t need a bulletproof bag, I recommend the REI Ruckpack 28 as a near perfect, daily carry bag that is not nearly as durable, but is comfortable, functional, and has great storage while looking good.

Now, the inconvenience of the missing laptop pocket aside, I was satisfied using the Rucker for everyday carry for over a month.  As someone who prioritizes fitness and gets bored with gyms, the tradeoff of the Rucker’s functionality as a workout and rucking bag are worth a little less everyday carry convenience and the loss of a little organizational space.  But, if you will use this bag more as a daily carry bag than a workout bag, get the GR1 or the GR2 instead.

COMPARING THE GORUCK RUCKER OPTIONS

THE GORUCK RUCKER VS. GR1: WHICH IS BETTER FOR YOU?

 The three major differences between the Rucker and the GORUCK GR1 are

  1. Added side and bottom handles on the Rucker
  2. “Bombproof laptop pocket” missing from the Rucker
  3. Internal MOLLE webbing missing from the Rucker

What does this mean?

If you’re getting a backpack for workouts, get the Rucker – its perfect for it

If you’re getting a backpack for everyday carry, especially as a laptop bag, get the GORUCK GR1**

If you’re still unsure about which is better for you, read our **comparison of the GORUCK Rucker 2.0 vs. the GR1**


GORUCK 20L VS. 25L

The GORUCK Rucker is available in 20L and 25L size.  The major differences between these two bags are:

  1. Smaller dimensions of the 20L Rucker make it better for smaller torsos and those under 5’7″
  2. The 25L Rucker has handles on the sides (while the 20L Rucker doesn’t) making the 25L Rucker more versatile and open to more exercises.
  3. The 20L Rucker is 2” shorter than the 25L Rucker, but ~.5” narrower and lacks ~1” of depth compared to the 25L

The Bottom Line: If the size suits you, go for the 25L Rucker, as it will make more exercises, like improvised kettlebell swings and cleans, possible.  If you’re shorter than 5’7” though, go with the 20L Rucker to make rucking more comfortable as the smaller Rucker won’t sit too low, impeding your stride


GORUCK Rucker 1.0 vs. GORUCK Rucker 2.0

If you’re new to the GORUCK backpacks line and considering the GORUCK Rucker 1.0 vs. 2.0, you don’t have to worry as the current model sold on GORUCK.com is the GORUCK Rucker 2.0.

However, if you’re considering upgrading from the Rucker 1.0 to the 2.0, or considering buying a used Rucker on Ebay then is helpful to understand the differences and whether its worth shelling out the extra cash.


DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE RUCKER 2.0 VS. 1.0

Features Rucker 2.0 Rucker 1.0
Internal Bladder Hanging Point Yes – Metal Ring Yes – Cordura Loop
Top, Velcro Ruck Weight Pocket Yes No
     

 

GORUCK Rucker Review by ABrotherAbroad.com
GORUCK Rucker Review by ABrotherAbroad.com


SIMILARITIES BETWEEN THE RUCKER 2.0 AND 1.0

  • Designed specifically for rucking and weighted workouts
  • Internal frame sheet (not removable)
  • Top, side, and bottom padded handles
  • Overpadded shoulder pads and back panel
  • Tested to 400lbs+ at stress points
  • External front and side MOLLE Webbing
  • Opening in top for water bladder hose
  • Lower, internal, elastic ruck weight pocket
  • Internal zippered Cordura and mesh pockets on panel
  • No internal MOLLE webbing

For more on comparing the GORUCK Rucker 1.0 vs. 2.0 visit the GORUCK Blog

GORUCK RUCKER SPECS

PRICE, WEIGHT, CONSTRUCTION, MATERIALS, ETC.

  • Dimensions: 12″W x 20″H x 6.75″D
  • Weight: 2.87 LBS
  • Construction and Materials:
    • 1000D Cordura Nylon – water-resistant and abrasion resistant
    • Heavy duty YKK zippers, stand up to heavy weight, dirt, and grime
    • Heavy duty PVC back panel sewn into the ruck provides structure and distributes weight
  • Pockets: Internal Mesh Pocket 12″W x 13″H, Internal Cordura Pocket 11″W x 6.5″H, External Front Slant Pocket 11.75″W x 12″H, Lower Elastic Ruck Plate Pocket 11.5″W x 12.5″H , Upper Velcro Ruck Plate Pocket 9.75″W x 11.75″H
  • Organization: The internal zippered mesh pocket and the internal Cordura Nylon pocket are great for the organization. 
GORUCK Rucker Review by ABrotherAbroad.com

GORUCK Rucker Review by ABrotherAbroad.com

The lower elastic ruck plate pocket is a great fit for a laptop (mine is 13″ but doesn’t provide any protection.

GORUCK Rucker Review by ABrotherAbroad.com

GORUCK Rucker Review by ABrotherAbroad.com

GORUCK Rucker Review by ABrotherAbroad.com

The upper velcro’ed ruck plate pocket is great for keeping cables and loose items organized

RUCKER ALTERNATIVES

  • The GORUCK GR1: Better for everyday carry, due to the heavily padded laptop pocket
  • Greenroom 136 Rainmaker: An extremely tough, budget option with much more organization
  • 34L GORUCK GR2: More organization and better for weekend travel
  • REI Ruckpack 28: This option is NOT intended for rucking, simply an alternative for well organized EDC carry for cheap that has a better laptop pocket

ALTERNATIVES BACKPACKS FOR WEIGHTED WORKOUTS

  • GORUCK Sandbags: Heavily reinforced stitching and integrated handles make this a great Rucker alternative for weighted workouts
  • Sandbells: For a cheap, simple alternative for improvised weighted workouts, grabbing a sandbell.  These can quickly be filled with water or sand and can be used in the same way as dumbbells or kettlebells

VERDICT ON THE GORUCK RUCKER

The Rucker is a solid addition to home gyms or for travelers aiming to get workouts on the road.  You’ll be hard pressed to find a more functional backpack for functional workouts.

If you’re considering the Rucker for daily carry and need laptop protection more than a good workout, opt for the GORUCK GR1 or the Greenroom136 Rainmaker instead.

The Rucker Explained by GORUCK

RUCKER FAQ

What is the GORUCK Rucker

  • The GORUCK Rucker is a daily carry sized backpack from GORUCK intended specifically for rucking and weighted workouts. The GORUCK Rucker differs from the GR1 in that it has bottom and side handles, to use the Rucker as a weighted backpack for improvised weight lifts, lacks the laptop pocket, and lacks the internal MOLLE webbing.

Is the Rucker Framesheet removable like in the GR1, GR2, and GR3?

  • No, the internal frame sheet on the GORUCK Rucker is not removable.  If you want the same function and size with a removable frame sheet, opt for the GORUCK GR1**

Where can I buy a Used GORUCK Rucker

  • Searching Ebay for used GORUCKs is your best option for a used GORUCK.  Beware of knockoffs as they do exist on Ebay but understand that the GORUCK SCARS lifetime guarantee follows the gear, not the owner, and whether or not you have the receipt.  It just has to be genuine.  Learn more at GORUCK’s site.
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