The search for the perfect EDC, Range, Hiking, Biking, do it all backpack is thought to be an impossible one. Up until about a month ago I was also a non-believer in the myth of a perfect all-around backpack. The collection of backpacks I have acquired throughout the years ranges from Osprey, Ogio, Camelback, 5.11, Nike, and many others. I've had a pack for everything that I enjoy doing. I had my various Camelbaks and Osprey packs for my biking/hiking and camping adventures. My 5.11 and more tactical bags were my companions when I went to the range or needed a quick "EDC" bag. And finally my Nike bags traveled with me when I decided to go to the gym. If you are reading this then you already know that having this many bags can put a major dent in your wallet. On the other hand, you also know the almost addicting nature certain types of well made bags can have on you.
A little over a month ago I was in the market for a new bag I could take hiking as my Osprey backpack which was already on its last leg, decided to tear in the bottom of the main compartment. The Osprey was a great backpack for what I had used it for over the years. Mostly hiking, biking, camping, and a few day carries. Even though the Osprey was a great and reliable pack it was always missing something. Missing that grit and toughness I was longing for that would make carrying the pack not only practical but admirable. Having said this I was always keeping my eye open for the perfect backpack. Through my various searches on google and popular you-tubers I stumbled across the seemingly overpriced GoRuck GR0.
Enter the Goruck GR0
I’m sure if you are reading this post you are already familiar with the GR0 and the GoRuck company but if for some reason you aren't yet here is the quick overview. - GoRuck was founded in January of 2008 by ex Green Beret Jason McCarthy. GoRucks mission statement is “Challenge Excellence and Do Right By People.” There are no other better words to describe GoRuck as a company. The company strives for excellence wether it is through their GoRuck events, superior products, or the people they hire for their company. GoRuck hands down provides the best. The company started out by trying to “bridge” the relationship between the military and civilian worlds and it started with the production of their first ruck the GR1. Shortly after Goruck’s initial product Jason wanted someway to “test” the product before sending it overseas to friends and customers. He came up the Goruck events just to do so. This also became the key focus of Goruck as a company. In their words, “People became our focus, rucking together became our focus, building better americans became our focus.” Not only does Goruck produce great gear, hold hundreds of amazing events nationwide, but they also employ combat Veterans of Special Operations. These “Cadres” run their Goruck events and by doing so make it a very unique experience and help America by “Building Better Americans.”
Now that I have properly introduced you to GoGuck as a company I will really bring in the GR0. The GR0 is Goruck’s smaller brother to their best selling and most versatile product the GR1. The main intention of this product was initially to create a versatile “rucksack” capable of almost anything under the horizon, and they came pretty close. With Goruck’s ever-expanding customer base they needed to expand as a company. This evolution sparked the making of the proportionally smaller GR0. The GR0 sits at 11.5”W x 18.0”H x 5.5”D and holds 21L.
The ruck from head to toe feels amazingly well built. At the top of the ruck there is a a handle, like most backpacks. The difference between Goruck’s handle and those of any other brand is the reinforced stitching. This feature is not only home to the handle of the ruck but the every contact point of the backpack itself.
The handle of the backpack is rated up to 400 pounds, Ill let that speak for itself.
Moving down the ruck to the shoulder straps. Everyone who has owned a backpack knows how uncomfortable thin/narrow straps can be with any kind of substantial weight in the pack. Not only do the extra padded and double stitched should straps on the backpack last forever and add extra padding but they also help disperse the weight and make the ruck feel lighter then it really is. I have had other similar styled backpacks like the 5.11 Rush 12 where the shoulder straps are also very padded and wide. Unlike the 5.11 Rush 12 the straps on the GR0 without weight in the pack feel normal and not overkill. No matter the weight in my ruck the straps stay true to form and function as intended. The straps also connect in a unique way which lets the user flip them over to the front of the pack and access the laptop/hydration bladder compartment.
The GR0 has 21L of space which is exactly 5L less then the 26L GR1 although, with the amount of storage and pockets I found to be more then enough room for my EDC gear or a day to the range. On the back of the pack there is a padded “bombproof” laptop or hydration bladder compartment. I found this compartment to hold my 13 inch Macbook pro comfortably and with room to spare. When I loaded the pack up for a bike ride or hike and used the hydration bladder I felt the say way. There was plenty of room to not make the bladder feel “squished” to my back like I have had happen in countless other packs. The bottom of the ruck also has some padding for those less polite set-downs with the laptop in the pocket.
I found the pocket configuration on the GR0 to be perfect. There were not too many pockets that I had absolutely no clue what to put in them and force myself to overpack, but just enough to hold all of my smaller items without hassle and keep the ruck streamlined. The main large compartment is where I store my 6 bricks and yoga brick while rucking or using to workout with. If I am using for EDC/School I keep my binder, calculator, notepad, a few books and my iPad neatly tucked in. For a day at the range I keep my pistol case, a few hundred 9mm rounds, earphones, field notepad and my gun cleaning kit.
On the inside of the front flap you will find two pockets, the upper one solid 1000d and the bottom mesh. In the upper one while on a normal day I can usually fit all of my chargers/wallet, keys and other smaller accessories. The larger lower mesh compartment holds about 2x more then the one above. I normally throw in extra layers or larger light items.
On the outside of the front flap there is another larger pocket. When I have the ruck packed completely full this pocket can be a slight struggle to reach into. I find this pocket day after day to be my “go to” pocket. On a normal day this is where you will find my headphones, Copenhagen, and few pens, meds etc. This pocket actually is much larger then the picture shows and reaches to almost the whole length of the pack itself.
Goruck has included Molle webbing on the sides/front and inside the ruck which adds a more tactical look without screaming military or guns. I found this feature to be extremely important as I wanted this backpack for multiple loadouts.
The Molle webbing can be used to attach many things ranging from carabineers to a mountain bike helmet. Goruck also sells additional “Field Pockets” correlating to the size of the ruck you own. These can be attached either externally of internally depending on your preference or situation. Having wanted to use this pack not only for EDC and school but also for hunting and range days I found this feature to be a huge selling point.
Like every GoRuck product the GR0 is built with a 2x3 hook and loop spot on the front. Personally this is my favorite feature of the pack which really adds a simple and customizable option to the GR0. GoRuck sells various 2x3 patches on their site including the one you saw earlier with their reverse flag logo. Not only does GoRuck sell patches but they also give them as a one time reward for completing one of their challenges. Now, not only does completing one of their challenges give you a sense of accomplishment and “badassattiude” but distinguishes you from others while welcoming you to the Goruck family.
Lastly but certain not least, a feature that is overlooked by countless major backpack retailers is the zippers that GoRuck stamped onto the GR0. These zippers are “YKK” zippers are known to be some of the best zippers in the world and are self healing. Which means if for some reason your zipper does fail to close you can rip it back and go over it again to seal the gap. Truthfully very few people should ever get this pumped up about zippers but when you use a backpack for rucking, hunter, lifting, hiking, camping they are a crucial part of the system. Not only do these zipper kick ass but they are “glove friendly with heat shrinked paracord.” You will be using these a lot like every other pack. The difference is you will never have to worry about them, or hear them.
The GoRuck GR0 and GR1 currently come in Wolf Grey, Coyote, and Black. They have a price tag of $295 for the GR1 and $265 for the GR0. Now I know many of you despite my above review will probably think that is completely overpriced for a backpack. I argue otherwise, not only does the GR0 have everything that I pointed out and showed above but GoRuck also backs their rucks with the “Scars” lifetime guarantee. This guarantee pretty much covers anything short of bullet holes, and burns. I know for a fact that I have spent well over $1,000 on backpacks and gym/range bags over the last few years, most of these bags I use the shit out of and end up failing somewhere along the line. Leading me to buy a new and usually, more expensive bag.
I have no doubt that this ruck will last me for no less then the next 10 years. Everything GoRuck produces is of the highest standards and not only do I back their products but I back their company as a whole. Ruck On!