New Carry: GoRuck GR1 Backpack

I’ve been saving for this backpack for a while and I’m really happy that I finally have it: my very own GoRuck GR 1. I’ve worn already and it is entirely comfortable even without a chest strap and hugs my back nicely – it’s just exceptionally well designed. I did quite a bit of riding and walking with my old North Face pack tonight and by the time I got home it was digging into my shoulders, as usual. Generally it’s worn well over it’s 6 year duty with me but mostly when lightly packed for short periods. But all in all I’m glad to decommission it.

This new pack has a surprising number of zippered pockets that hold most of my every day carry but I’m looking forward to outfitting it with some MOLLE attachments for greater organization.


This backpack is everything I had hoped it would be, and it seems other people feel the same way as the GR1 has been popping up on both fashion and tactical blogs alike with increasing frequency. Here are some of the things that I love about it:

1. No chest strap. It has a rigid, curved shoulder harness that requires no chest strap (though one could be added but I don’t know why you would). Most manufacturers do not use this kind of harness because it is costly to produce in time and materials. This is a superior design for long wearing comfort.
2. Few external pockets. I have OCD about external zippers and check them two, three times to make sure they are closed. The GR1 has only 1 external facing pocket (excluding the main and water / laptop chamber) and even if I forgot to close it I doubt anything would fall out unless I was turned upside down and shaken.
3. Easy to get into. Internal pockets are easy to open so most of the little things I used to store in external facing pockets go inside now. With my old backpack I needed to be careful opening and closing zippers in a hurry to avoid jams, but this is not a problem with the GR1. The American manufactured YYK zippers do not bind under force.
4. No baloney. Manufacturers seem to think that having lots of loops, pulls, external mesh pockets and zippers makes their backpacks look more serious. This is baloney. These doo-dads often get snagged on sharp edges in the environment and create distraction when trying to access the backpack. The GR1 is plain, functional and is not prone to snagging. Simple is the new serious.
5. MOLLE. I cannot understate how versatile the MOLLE system is, even for civilian use. The GR1 is a great pack as is: add your own MOLLE attachments to transform it into the definitive camping daypack, camera kit, portable office, workshop, tackle box, whatever. By design parts can be added and subtracted as needed, and fast. Think of this backpack as platform that can be customized to suit your specific tools and activities.
6. Ruggedness. Nothing hurts it, but it’s mighty fun to try.

One response to “New Carry: GoRuck GR1 Backpack”

  1. […] bought my GoRuck GR1 backpack almost two years ago in February 2011. On Saturday as I was pulling it out of my locker at the gym it occurred to me […]

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