Some questions for the ruckers...

steve-in-kville

Level 1 Valued Member
I have a medium backpacking pack that I am using, the weight so far is the hydration bladder being full and some heavy books and/or magazines. I've read that the best ruck is an external frame pack, like a military ALICE pack. Others prefer packs made to hold steel plates. So which is it? I'm gonna need to upgrade soon. I'm only doing about 15 pounds now and I'm working on getting my speed up before adding more weight and my current pack isn't made for it.

So what should I be looking at?
 

Pantrolyx

Level 5 Valued Member
For lighter loads, anatomical backpacks are superior when it comes to comfort, not least for running. If you are to carry heavy stuff for a duration of time, though,a frame distributes the weight much better. It also allows for better "ventilation" between the load and your back.
 

rwleonard

Level 6 Valued Member
I have one of these:


Good piece of gear.
 

Blake Nelson

Level 5 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Why do you want to ruck? Is it training for something in particular? If you want to prep for backpacking, wear the pack you'll carry when backpacking (or something as similar as possible). If you are doing it for general fitness and want to upgrade, I really like my GORUCK pack, though it was expensive.
Blake
 

steve-in-kville

Level 1 Valued Member
I'd say both reasons. The sport appeals to me plus I do some day hikes and want to progress to overnight & weekend trips.
 

offwidth

Level 9 Valued Member
If you are wanting a pack for backpacking trips, then a good one of those will also serve just fine for rucking. But bear in mind, it will not be cheap. There are many good ones out there, and many more that are not.
There are also some very expensive, very light packs, made for fast packing and alpine climbing, but despite their price and pedigree, they are not comfortable, and not what you need. (It's a trade-off the participants in these endeavors are willing to make)

Good brands include: Osprey, Black Diamond, Gregory, Arcteryx

You would be well advised to try them on with weight before purchasing. I realize that will be a challenge during these times...
 

steve-in-kville

Level 1 Valued Member
I've owned Osprey packs for some years now and love them for day hikes and such. I just acquired a medium ALICE pack that will be used for both rucking and overnight backpacking duty. I plan to start getting it fit and packed this week with gear... I'm aiming for around 20 pounds w/o water for now. I've been walking the last few months (since about Christmas) and I can maintain 15-minute miles.
 

tmpierce

Level 6 Valued Member
Backpack technology has improved a ton over the last 20 years... most people nowadays don’t find an appreciable difference between external frames and good quality internal frames with internal frames being far more popular. This is a case where I’d actually recommend shopping’old school’ and going into some sort of outdoor store and having them help with size and fit as individual size and preferences vary widely. You could probably order any reputable brand and have it be okay or better but personally I think the extra time/ money/effort to get something that really fits you is a good investment.
 

silveraw

Level 6 Valued Member
I second the in person buying.
I got a new pack last year and going in I had researched a bunch and 100% knew what pack I was going to get.
Then I tried it on and it wasn’t very comfy. Plus I found out that my pack weight was above the upper limit of the pack because it was made for ultralight packing. Some of my kit is still WWII surplus, so that was out.

I ended up getting a super comfy osprey that works great for my needs. But not one that was in my radar at all.
 

steve-in-kville

Level 1 Valued Member
Update: Been doing a lot of walking with my pack, most of it off-pavement. Only weight is whatever water I pack. Some sources say I should have my pace down to a certain point before adding weight, say 15 minute/mile, for at least an hour. Others say to just add the weight now and speed will follow.

Thoughts on this?
 

offwidth

Level 9 Valued Member
Update: Been doing a lot of walking with my pack, most of it off-pavement. Only weight is whatever water I pack. Some sources say I should have my pace down to a certain point before adding weight, say 15 minute/mile, for at least an hour. Others say to just add the weight now and speed will follow.

Thoughts on this?
I would base it on my AeT...
 

RichJ

Level 6 Valued Member
Update: Been doing a lot of walking with my pack, most of it off-pavement. Only weight is whatever water I pack. Some sources say I should have my pace down to a certain point before adding weight, say 15 minute/mile, for at least an hour. Others say to just add the weight now and speed will follow.

Thoughts on this?
Two guys are out - they have to leave a tip - one says to the other "how much should we leave?" - other guy almost almost always says "I dunno - 5 bucks?" I feel like 4 mph is a little bit the equivalent of 5 bucks. It's almost always the answer to the question of what pace should I try and maintain while rucking.

Personally I think rucks are best for aerobic conditioning at a fairly conservative heart rate (aerobic threshold/zone1 or 2, MAF rate if you're a Maffer). Lots written about the benefits of that type of training. In hilly or even hilly-ish terrain you will have to slow down on uphills to stay below target rate . You may be able to step it out on the flats and hit 4 mph but if your average pace will still be < than that depending oh hills.

So I'd adjust weight depending on what you want to achieve and importantly, the terrain. If you can't hold < max HR rate on climbs, even at a meaningfully reduced pace, you probably have too much if you goal is aerobic training. In "Training for the uphill athlete" House /Joshnston/Jornet talk about capacity training v utilization training. Capacity obviously builds long term potential performance, utilization builds near term performance results. In my opinion the average person should think of rucking in terms of the former - unless you're prepping for an event or course. I rucked a fair amount in the military (so I get the 4 mph thing...) and I can tell you that long rucks with heavy loads will definitely take it out of you - which to me doesn't make sense for the average person.
 

steve-in-kville

Level 1 Valued Member
Thanks for the replies on this. Fancy someone should bring up Kilian Jornet. That guy is just on another level. He was born and raised in the mountains. I do some running as well and never did more than a 5k. Those ultra guys are half lung....
 

RichJ

Level 6 Valued Member
Two guys are out - they have to leave a tip - one says to the other "how much should we leave?" - other guy almost almost always says "I dunno - 5 bucks?" I feel like 4 mph is a little bit the equivalent of 5 bucks. It's almost always the answer to the question of what pace should I try and maintain while rucking.

Personally I think rucks are best for aerobic conditioning at a fairly conservative heart rate (aerobic threshold/zone1 or 2, MAF rate if you're a Maffer). Lots written about the benefits of that type of training. In hilly or even hilly-ish terrain you will have to slow down on uphills to stay below target rate . You may be able to step it out on the flats and hit 4 mph but if your average pace will still be < than that depending oh hills.

So I'd adjust weight depending on what you want to achieve and importantly, the terrain. If you can't hold < max HR rate on climbs, even at a meaningfully reduced pace, you probably have too much if you goal is aerobic training. In "Training for the uphill athlete" House /Joshnston/Jornet talk about capacity training v utilization training. Capacity obviously builds long term potential performance, utilization builds near term performance results. In my opinion the average person should think of rucking in terms of the former - unless you're prepping for an event or course. I rucked a fair amount in the military (so I get the 4 mph thing...) and I can tell you that long rucks with heavy loads will definitely take it out of you - which to me doesn't make sense for the average person.
2nd para: "hold < max target HR" . meaning AeT or MAF or whatever your thing is.
 

Tim Randolph

Level 6 Valued Member
Some sources say I should have my pace down to a certain point before adding weight, say 15 minute/mile, for at least an hour. Others say to just add the weight now and speed will follow.
What worked great for me was a combined approach where pace wasn't the variable. I started with a base weight of 20 pounds and a five or six mile hike. My miles were pretty consistently 15-16 minutes/mile on fairly hilly terrain. Every week I added a mile but kept the weight the same with an occasional week where I would repeat a distance or even drop back a bit. Once I was over 12 miles and feeling good, I added 10 pounds and went back to 5-6 miles and repeated the process. The whole thing was really good for me and did a lot to keep my base conditioning in decent shape.
 
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