Rucking packs

JamesO

Level 4 Valued Member
I've read a number of articles about rucking in the past few months, and a friend just asked my wife and I if we'd be interested in a GoRuck this August. Sounds like a perfect reason to give it a go.

Question: these packs are ridiculously expensive. Will a typical backpack get pretty torn up under the constant load? I thought I could just put a few bricks or a sandbag in my Osprey daypack for now, but not if it's going to get ruined.

Are there any recommended packs out there?
 

Snowman

Level 6 Valued Member
I've never done a GoRuck, but I did experiment with supplemental rucking when doing S&S this last summer (so much nicer than running). I would speculate that you need a pack that is tough enough for the weight and movements, nd comfortable enough for the distance. You could try to see what weight your pack is rated for. I mean, if a pack is rated for 45 lbs of camping gear, and you fill it with 45 lbs of sand, it should be a non issue. However, depending on the GoRuck course, you may need something that can take a beating from the outside. I don't know if you'll just be rucking along a trail, or if it involves some obstacle navigation. Maybe start training with the Osprey pack, and as your training gets more and more specific, keep and eye the the strap stitching, base stitching, zippers, etc to see how it's holding up.

I will say one thing for sure, and that is that you want to favor sand bags over bricks. Hard things with edges will take their toll on you and the pack, even if the weight is light. Homemade sand bags are great since their rounded and have some give. Fill a garbage bag with sand to the desired weight, and then wrap it all up with a few layers of duct tape (you probably already know that). I have 5, 10, 20, and 30 lb bags, so I can incrementally load my pack up from 5-65 lbs.
 
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Dave0317

Level 3 Valued Member
An ALICE pack can be bought for about $50 and may be the best pack for rucking in that price range. Anything else much under $100 I would not trust to use much weight in or trust it to last very long.
 

JamesO

Level 4 Valued Member
Thanks guys. These areas with huge price gaps always fascinate me. I looked into drones for Christmas, and you could spend $100 or less, or $500 or more, and not much in between. I found an inexpensive one that satisfies the, "go outside and goof off for a few minutes," need just fine :)

I have a birthday coming up, and with the military discount, the GR1 is more accessible. It also looks like the backpack I've been daydreaming about for the past year. It may go on my list.
 

offwidth

Level 9 Valued Member
Any quality pack designed for general Alpine Climbing/Mountaineering should suffice. These are designed and built to carry loads in pretty tough conditions. Yes, they can be pricey, but quality, comfort, and durability comes at a cost. If you are serious about doing this long term it will be a good investment. There are some very lightweight climbing packs that you might want to shy away from however, because they may not be durable enough in the long haul. Some elite climbers are 'weight obsessed' ( for good reason) and will shave grams at the expense of long term durability.

There are a good number of manufacturers out there.
 

JamesO

Level 4 Valued Member
Thanks, @offwidth. I take it by your name that you're a climber? My best and oldest friend is a climber through and through. For a year, I'd watch him put his jeans on, slide his knee and elbow pads on, and wrestle with the off-width crack in the gym. He'd be working on it for 30 minutes straight sometimes, roping down soaked in sweat.
 

Michael Perry

SFG II, SFB
Certified Instructor
I mean, if a pack is rated for 45 lbs of camping gear, and you fill it with 45 lbs of sand, it should be a non issue.

I will say one thing for sure, and that is that you want to favor sand bags over bricks. Hard things with edges will take their toll on you and the pack, even if the weight is light. Homemade sand bags are great since their rounded and have some give. Fill a garbage bag with sand to the desired weight, and then wrap it all up with a few layers of duct tape (you probably already know that). I have 5, 10, 20, and 30 lb bags, so I can incrementally load my pack up from 5-65 lbs.
I'm not sure a pack will take 45 pounds of this as easily as 45 pounds of that. Packs designed for general use are designed to have gear spread more or less evenly. Agreeing with the sandbags for convenience and for spreading the load in the pack, I'd suggest trying kitty litter. The weight is on the bag, you don't have to fill it, and it's less dense than actual sand, so the load is naturally spread out over the volume of the pack, which I think is better for the pack.
 

Miguel

Level 5 Valued Member
@JamesO,

My recommendation is something tough, ugly, and affordable. I agree with Dave0317, and Alice pack will work nicely. The frame can be padded with a layer of Isomat and the back pad can be switched out for something that covers more lower back surface area and has a better waist belt (if you decide to use the belt). Comfortable is nice, but that usually ups the price. One thing you might want to consider is your pack's carrying capacity to ensure that you have room for water, and water you can reach by yourself, suggested form is a Camelbak.

Has your friend told you which challenge yet? As in Light, Tough, or Heavy? Have you looked at the website?

Mike E referenced a fantastic article by Mr. Ciampa. The only thing not covered is socks. You want to figure out now what works for you. Blisters on game day are no bueno. You said military discount (do I call you sir?), so my guess is you know what dress socks are. I wear those as my base layer to wick away sweat and protect my skin from the sliding of the foot inside the boot. Over that goes some thicker hiking socks and maybe another pair of gym socks, depends on my boot and how much sweat and or water I will encounter.

A buddy of mine is a Cadre for GoRuck, without breaking trust with him, I will tell you this
-be prepared to be challenged mentally and physically
-be prepared to be flustered
-be prepared for anything (do you own a snorkel?)
-be prepared to Lead from the front and solve problems as a team

Follow the advice from Mr. Ciampa's article and you should be gravy.

I hope this helps.
 

JamesO

Level 4 Valued Member
I think as January moves along, a lot of our goals for the year form and change shape a few times. My wife and I love Yosemite and spend a lot of time there. Hiking Half Dome si something we've wanted to do for at least five years, so we decided to make that our "big thing" this summer instead of the GoRUCK. I'm still pretty jazzed about the GoRUCK though, and would absolutely like to do one at some point.

You don't need to call me sir, but that's what a lot of sailors call my brother in-law. He ordered my GR1 as a birthday gift, and it came two days ago. I'm breaking it in this morning!

Thanks for the great tips and advice.
 

Miguel

Level 5 Valued Member
No worries James,

Please let me know how the GR1 works out. I've never known or used anything but military issue. Happy trails!
 

Oscar

Level 6 Valued Member
Hi all,

I'm travelling to the US and I'd like to get a proper backpack for rucking. In Argentina these things are pricey and limited offer.

I'd like to put my KB inside, 24 or 32, either for a ruck or to take the KB to the park while pushing my daughter stroller.

I was thinking on an ALICE from a military surplus, or should I get an internally framed non-military backpack? I'm not sure how the latter would respond to a 32 kg KB inside. Would a military MOLLE work for this use? I'm thinking medium size, like 40 or 50 liter capacity. Of course I would put pillows to cushion the kb as required.

Btw I'm not military and a complete newbie to these things. I have only rucked a few times recreationally, maybe with 20 kg or so.

Thanks!
 
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offwidth

Level 9 Valued Member
40-50l should be fine.
I have no recent experience with military packs so I can't offer any help with that. Nor, with these specific GORUCK packs.

However, I do have a bit of experience with mountaineering and climbing packs. So, I am always going to tend to favour those kind of packs for rucking activities.

You will find these types of packs from the major suppliers to be more than adequate. They are designed for carrying loads over rough terrain for long distances and time.

They aren't cheap in the U.S. either.

But yes, you will want plenty of padding to stop your KB's from sloshing around in there. Also to ensure the load is somewhat centralized.
 

mprevost

Level 6 Valued Member
Thanks guys. These areas with huge price gaps always fascinate me. I looked into drones for Christmas, and you could spend $100 or less, or $500 or more, and not much in between. I found an inexpensive one that satisfies the, "go outside and goof off for a few minutes," need just fine :)

I have a birthday coming up, and with the military discount, the GR1 is more accessible. It also looks like the backpack I've been daydreaming about for the past year. It may go on my list.
I've beaten the hell out of my GR-1 and it is still in perfect shape after years of use. It is very comfortable for rucking, up to about 50lbs. After that, you start to need a hip belt for extra comfort and support. If you are just looking for something for rucking that is durable, their Rucker packs look to be a great deal. Fewer pockets but the same construction as the GR-1.
 

Oscar

Level 6 Valued Member
@offwidth thanks for the reply. I'm going to Portland and there are some outdoor activities stores, I'll see what I can find there.

For weights above 50 lbs, it appears to me that a good hip strap is required to take some of the load, not only for securing like @mprevost said. Otherwise it seems like a lot to carry with your shoulders, and that it might cut circulation to the arms. Right?
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
For weights above 50 lbs, it appears to me that a good hip strap is required to take some of the load,
There seem to be differing points of view on this. I made sure to get a hip strap, even on my small pack, and for a long time, I used it religiously when carrying almost anything. But after noticing that some people cared much less about having a hip strap, I've been using mine less and less and, so far, that seems fine to me, too, although the loads haven't been heavy by rucking standards, I'm sure.

-S-
 

Smile-n-Nod

Level 5 Valued Member
I started rucking in January and I love it.

For weights, I bought 10-lb bags of cement powder for about $2.25 each at a local home center. Wrapped in duct tape, four of them fit perfectly in my pack.
 
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Steve W.

Level 7 Valued Member
There seem to be differing points of view on this. I made sure to get a hip strap, even on my small pack, and for a long time, I used it religiously when carrying almost anything. But after noticing that some people cared much less about having a hip strap, I've been using mine less and less and, so far, that seems fine to me, too, although the loads haven't been heavy by rucking standards, I'm sure.

-S-
It really depends on the design of the pack. A lot of packs have hip belts, but they aren't well-designed for bearing any of the load (especially smaller packs and a lot of more non-technical packs, including many military-inspired packs). At best they just keep the pack more stable if you are not just walking on flat ground or even trails.

On a pack with a well-designed load-bearing hip belt it makes a HUGE difference, in my experience.
 
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