One of the major advantages of modern technology has been that it has made it possible for people to work remotely while being remote. But this frequent movement isn’t free of itches. One of them is the need for a durable and multipurpose backpack. Even if you are someone who doesn’t work remotely but you do travel a lot, then you will also be feeling the need for a bag that meets all your requirements but also looks good. In this article, we will be looking at the GoRuck GR1 which is one of the most popular backpacks in the world.
Origin of GoRuck GR1
There are a few rare companies that have a very interesting backstory. GoRuck has one such origin story. But it has less to do with the product and the company than it has to do with the founder and how he ended up creating this company.
The year was 2008 when Jason McCarthy, the founder of GoRuck, had left the Special Forces. He was a veteran of the Army 10th SFG. Once returning home, he had his heart broken. With his life going off rails, he used all the experiences he had while he was overseas and built a durable bag that would be able to tackle almost every condition, be it an urban commute or a trek in the hills. He started the company so that he could be a voice for good and take care of his fellow veterans. He created a very well-designed bag by taking the best elements from the military bags and packs that he had used. In the beginning the sales were very slow, but his partnership with Tough Mudder led to a reputation for Jason himself. In order to show how tough they were, Jason used to wear the GR1 during races. He used to sell his bags in the parking lot after the event ended. Eventually the partnership became stronger and that led to the creation of the GoRuck Challenges which made the company famous.
GoRuck GR1 Review
Highlights of the GoRuck GR1 Backpack
- Opens Flat: The Goruck G1 shares a design that is similar to the medical rucks that are used by special forces. Like the medical rucks, the GR1 opens flat. This means the whole storing part of the bag is completely accessible at once. This makes it very easy to pack the bag and also easy to organize the contents of the bag.
- Extra Padded Straps: The Gr1 is capable of storing a lot of items at a time. This is a good thing to have, but this might make the bag a bit heavy sometimes. This in turn might hurt your shoulders if the bag is carried on your back for a long time. So to avoid this, the Goruck GR1 comes with extra padded shoulder straps. Even the top handles have some extra padding. This not only makes it easier to carry heavier loads but it also makes it more comfortable.
- Silent Zipper Pulls: We all have gone through a situation where our noisy zippers gave us more attention then we wanted. Well, with the GoRuck GR1 this won’t be the case. It comes with YKK zippers which are constructed from parachute 550 cord. This makes the zipper capable of very silent pulls and even makes it glove-friendly.
- Bombproof Laptop Compartment: This is one of the key advertising points of the GR1 backpack. It comes with a separate compartment to store your laptop. The compartment is located next to your back and comes with extra reinforcement for the laptop. So, according to GoRucks, even if you carry your bag to combat, your laptop will remain secure and protected.
- Frame Sheet: To compliment the laptop compartment, the GR1 comes with a hard frame sheet made of plastic. Having this extra plastic frame sheet balances the laptop compartment and makes the bag more stabilized. This allows it to carry even more weight comfortably. However, if you want, you can remove this frame if you don’t require it.
- False Bottom: The GoRuck GR1 also comes with a false bottom. This is located inside the laptop compartment. The main purpose of this is to keep your laptop from hitting the hard bottom when you lay the bag straight. This keeps your laptop protected if you accidentally drop the bag vertically.
- Multiple Pockets: Going true to its multipurpose nature, the GR1 comes with multiple pockets to store a wide array of objects. It comes with a total of 3 internal pockets. One of them is a large elastic pocket while the other one is a large mesh zippered pocket. The third and final internal pocket is a small go-to pocket.
- External Slant Pocket: Along with its 3 internal pockets, the GR1 also comes with another external pocket. This external pocket is a slant pocket and it makes it easier to access the keys, cards, snacks, and other small items quickly.
- MOLLE Attachments: In addition to all that, the GoRuck GR1 also comes with 3 different rows of external and internal MOLLE webbing. MOLLE is short for “modular, lightweight load-carrying equipment”. Using a MOLLE webbing you can attach multi-tools, knives, magazine pouches, and many other types of equipment to your GR1 bag. This lets you customize the GR1 however you want and fit it according to your requirements.
- Rainproof: One important feature that is anticipated from most backpacks is to be rainproof. The GR1 delivers this. This bag is highly water-resistant or you can say that it is rainproof.
- Optimized for Hydration: GoRuck has its own Hydration Bladder systems that are tough, and are very easy to clean. Hydration Bladder systems are the perfect choice for hydration on the move. The GR1 has an interior MOLLE webbing that lets you clip the hydration bladder with a carabiner. The hose can be fed under the top handle through the exit port on the handle.
- Perfect Travel Size: The GoRuck GR! is the perfect size for all your travel purposes. It is a TSA compliant backpack. You can easily fit it under the seat in front of you.
Goruck GR1 Appearance
The GoRuck GR1 has a very minimalist look and its exterior look is relatively anemic. It has a single big compartment as its main storage unit and another small compartment in the front. That’s how minimal it is. On the outside you can find 3 rows of Molles. The molle webbings do a good job of blending with the bag. If you look at the bag from a little further away, you won’t even notice the molle webbings and the bag will seem like a single block. It looks just like any other school backpack if you look at it from a distance and you won’t be able to tell the difference.
To comply with the Army uniforms regulation 670-1, which forbids backpacks having any kind of corporate logos on their exterior, the GoRuck GR1 has no branding on the outside. There is nothing written on the bag’s exterior and neither is anything attached to it. However, it comes with a 2″ x 3″ velcro patch on the outside. This hook and loop panel lets you attach any logo that you want to attach to it. This way, you can customize the exterior of the bag if you want. The only branding on the GR1 is the GoRuck brand logo inside the bag.
The Goruck GR1 comes in different colors and patterns. These keep changing now and then. However the only constant color is the Black color. It is also the most common one and is sold the most. The bag has a military look and the molle webbings let you attach many kinds of equipment to customize it according to your needs.
Goruck GR1 Organization
The GoRuck GR1 is designed to make it easy for organizing. Thanks to its flat opening design, which means the complete storing compartment is accessible at a time. This makes it easier for the user to be able to organize things in the bag. In terms of storage capacity, the GR1 is capable of holding a lot more than one might think at first glance. And even if that doesn’t meet your requirements, you can always organize it to fit even more because of how easy it is to organize.
The one part which is most easily accessible, to anyone using the backpack, is the slash pocket on the front. But you should know that this pocket doesn’t have the space to store much at all. It doesn’t have that much volume at all but you might be able to store a few things if the main compartment isn’t filled out. But in case the bag is filled, then you will have a hard time trying to fit anything at all in the front pocket. The best you could do is store flat and slime items, like your passports, plane tickets, and other similar items.
Another highlight of the GR1 is the high-quality zipper that it features. It comes with YKK zippers which are constructed from parachute 550 cord. These zippers are one of the best zips that can be found in any of the backpacks available in the market. The tube is made of paracord and is shrinking in nature. The GR1 also has a completely double-layered rain flap on its zipper channels. This not only keeps the mud and dirt out but also makes it easier to pull the zippers. The zippers are very simple and work as expected. They are also very easy to repair. Another great thing is that the zippers are capable of very silent pulls so that you don’t get more attention then you want and you can pull the zippers without disturbing anyone. The zippers are also very glove friendly in case you were wondering.
There’s also a Bombproof Laptop Compartment under the shoulder straps on the backside of the bag. This isn’t an acclaim given to it by us but given by GoRuck themselves. This is one of the key advertising points of the GR1 backpack. This raised and well-padded compartment comes with some extra reinforcement and adds extra protection for the laptop, and keeps it safe no matter how badly the bag is handled (up to some extent). So, according to GoRucks, even if you carry your bag to combat, your laptop will remain secure and protected. The only minor hiccup with this compartment is its slightly awkward location. It is located behind the shoulder straps and this makes it a little hard to access. Other than that, everything’s perfect.
Complimenting the laptop compartment, you will also find a hard frame sheet made of plastic. Having this extra plastic frame sheet balances the laptop compartment and makes the bag more stabilized. This allows them to carry even more weight comfortably. However, if you want, you can remove this frame if you don’t require it.
Below the slash pocket you will find a row of molle webbings that can be used to add some extra organization. MOLLE stands for “modular, lightweight load-carrying equipment” and they can be used by the user to attach multi-tools, knives, magazine pouches, and many other types of equipment to your GR1 backpack.
Coming to the main compartment, there are two zippered pockets on the front panel. The GR1 comes with a total of 3 internal pockets. One of them is a large elastic pocket while the other one is a large mesh zippered pocket. The third and final internal pocket is a small go-to pocket. The pocket on top is a solid 1/3 pocket, while the lower pocket is a 2/3 mesh pocket. There’s also a third pocket for small easy to pick items. For those who like different colorful setups, will love the color-coordinated zippers.
On the backside of the bag, you will find 3 rows of molle webbing which you can use to extend the bag by attaching different attachments to it. There’s also a sleeve with a little compression on the sides. This is located in the lower section. You can use this to insert a ruck plate frame sheet. You could also add a second laptop if you want.
GORUCK GR1 Quality and Comfort
If there’s one thing that the GoRuck is known for, then it is for the impeccable quality of its bags. Even someone who isn’t that fond of GoRuck will agree (However this is very rare). Thanks to its almost perfect quality bags, the GoRuckus has earned itself somewhat of a cult following. If you aren’t sure what we are talking about, a simple google search will make it all clear for you.
The GR1 like any other GoRuck bag has the same materials, same stitching, and even the same patterns. It is impressively built and is perfectly stitched with not a single stitch out of place. Some of this quality can be credited to the world-class soft-goods factories of Saigon, where the GR1 was manufactured. In Fact this is one of the things separating the GR1 from other GoRuck backpacks. Thanks to its impressive build quality, you don’t have to worry about damaging the bag while throwing it around.
One way of lifting the bag and moving it around is using the grab handle on top. The handle has extra padding and is comfortable to hold and carry around. The Gr1 is capable of storing a lot of items at a time. This is a good thing to have, but this might make the bag a bit heavy sometimes. This in turn might hurt your shoulders if the bag is carried on your back for a long time. So to avoid this, the Goruck GR1 comes with extra padded shoulder straps. Even the top handles have some extra padding. This not only makes it easier to carry heavier loads but it also makes it more comfortable.
Below the top handle you will find a hook-and-loop flap that you can use as an exit port for Hydration Bladders like GoRuck’s own Hydration Bladder systems which are tough and are very easy to clean. Hydration Bladder systems are the perfect choice for hydration on the move. The GR1 has an interior MOLLE webbing that lets you clip the hydration bladder with a carabiner. The hose can be fed under the top handle through this exit port beneath the handle. The only thing missing with the GR1 is a side handle which would have made an already great backpack even more perfect. But this is something you can live with thanks to its extra padded top handle.
Like the top handles, the shoulder straps on the GORUCK GR1 also comes with extra padding. They are one of the most comfortable straps you will find in any of the backpacks available out there in the market. However you should keep this in mind that the straps are a little hard when they first arrive. They eventually get more comfortable after some usage. This is a minor hiccup and most users won’t be affected by this unless you have been using a different GoRuck backpack before this.
Maintaining its consistency, the back panel of the GR1 is also having some extra padding just like the top handle and the shoulder straps. It is made from 1000D material, which is the same material that the other parts of the GR1 is made of. But compared to the others, the back panel has been modified a little, and hence it is breathable. This makes it extra comfortable and also absorbs some sweat if that’s what you were wondering.
GoRuck sells a few extra pieces of equipment like the padded hip belt, which attaches via the molle webbing and a sternum strap. Given its price tag, it would have been better if GoRuck had this by default and required buying an extra add on. Overall, the GoRuck GR1 is built from high-quality materials and you shouldn’t experience any problems like scars. However if you do experience that, you should be happy to know that the GR1 comes with a Scars Lifetime Guarantee. So if you break anything, GoRuck will fix that for you, free of cost.
Best Molle Gears for GR1
One of the best features of the GR1 is that it has 3 rows of Molle webbings which can be used to attach a few molle gears to make the GR1 even better. So here are a few of the best molle gears for the GR1.
- GoRuck Padded Field Pocket – GR1 Heritage: The Padded field Pocket is a modular organization pouch to store your Travel & EDC essentials. This is an exclusive waxed canvas edition that is built with heritage waxed canvas and premium leather handle. It lets you organize your electronics, use it as a Dopp kit, for camera gear, or with your rucksack for additional space and organization. It also has 3 additional interior pockets that help keep the items organized. To keep the content protected, the GR! heritage has extra padding. To attach the GR1 Field Pocket to your GR1 backpack, you can use the MOLLE webbing system. This is the same system used by the US Armed Forces.
- GoRuck Simple Side Pocket: The GoRuck Simple Side Pocket is a simpler and toned-down version of the GoRuck Padded Field Pocket – GR1 Heritage. Like the GR1 heritage, the Simple Slide pocket also lets users organize their electronics, use it as a Dopp kit, for camera gear, or with your rucksack for additional space and organization. It also uses the MOLLE webbing system to be attached to the GR1 backpack. The only difference is that the GoRuck Simple Side Pocket attaches on the side of the GR1. It gives you quick access to items you want on the go as well as provides a better internal organization when you need easy access to something.
- GoRuck Full Panel Water Bottle Pocket: This is another Molle gear from GoRuck for you GR1. The GoRuck Full Panel Water Bottle Pocket provides the users with a “secure, solid enclosure for a Nalgene style water bottle, or other items needing quick and easy access.” So other than your water bottle you can store a lot of other items that you want to access quickly. It is designed to work with the MOLLE webbing system and can be attached to multiple places. You can attach it to the side, the front of the backpack, or even on the inside of the GR1. It also has a 2×3 VELCRO® which means you can attach it on top of the exterior.
- GoRuck Wire Drop: This isn’t exactly a Molle gear but is nonetheless very useful. The GoRuck Wire Drop brings RuckSuck organization for everyday carry, travel situations, and even outings. It gives you quick and easy access to all your electronic gadgets and accessories. This makes it a useful piece of equipment to have and it makes things a lot easier. It has a simple folding design and comes with a single buckle closure for a much more secure hold. There are a total of three different zippered storage areas to store your essentials. It is constructed from the 1000D CORDURA® material and that makes it rugged and durable. For better content visibility it has meshes on the inner part. It comes with YKK zippers that have a color-coded 550 cord pull. The Wire Dopp lets you stash your “charging cable, earbuds, and adapter bits for your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or music device”. You can then stash the Wire Dopp into the slant pocket or the interior mesh pocket of the bag for highly organized and have quick, simple access
- Mil-Tec Utility Pouch: The Mil-tech Utility pouch can be a great extension for the GR1. You can clip the pouch onto the molle webbing of the GR1 backpack. The Mil-tec pouch has a black and super sleek design and is very discreet. To add to it, it’s also rugged and durable. The pouch is made of waterproof material. It also features a drain hole at the bottom to let the water out. Along with this, it also comes with a snow skirt. This makes sure that none of your gadgets will be damaged or affected if the bag gets wet. To hold it firm, there is a velcro as well as a drawstring on the inside and also a flap that can be folded if required. This makes sure that the stuff inside the pouch remains safe.
GoRuck GR1 vs GoRuck GR2
No matter how good a product is, unless and until you compare it with another similar product, you can’t exactly tell how good it is. So for this we will be comparing the Goruck GR1 and the Goruck GR2 and see how both these bags fare against each other.
GoRuck GR1 vs GoRuck GR2 – Sizing
While the GR1 is geared towards a minimalist packing, the GR2 has slightly more space in terms of the storing volume
The GoRuck GR1 comes in two different sizes. The first size is the smaller 21 L volume backpack. It has a height of 18 inches.
The larger variant of the GR1 comes with a capacity of 26 L. It also has a slightly longer height and is 20 inches tall.
The GoRuck GR2 packs more space in almost similar form factors. This is because of the additional outer compartment. The smaller GR2 comes with a volume of 34 L. Height wise it is of the same height as the larger 26L GR1 i.e 20 inches. The bigger GR2 can pack a volume of up to 40 L and is 22 inches long.
GoRuck GR1 vs GoRuck GR2 – Exterior Design
From the outside, both the GR1 and the GR2 have a very similar design.
On the exterior the GR1 features a slant pocket and a 2X3 velcro to attach things. It also has a Molle webbing system. In total there are 3 rows of molle webbing on the front and also on both sides as well.
Like the GR1, the GR2 on the outside features a slant pocket and a 2X3 velcro to attach things. And it also features a Molle webbing system like the GR1. The only difference is the number of rows of webbing. While the GR1 had 3 rows, GR2 has 4 rows of molle webbing on the front and also on both sides as well.
GoRuck GR1 vs GoRuck GR2 – Interior Design
This is where the GR1 and the GR2 differ the most. While the GR1 has just a single internal compartment, the GR2 has an Inner and an outer compartment as well.
GR1 comes with a total of 3 internal pockets. One of them is a large elastic pocket while the other one is a large mesh zippered pocket. The third and the final internal pocket is a small go-to pocket where you can keep regularly used items for easy access.
Inner Compartment: This is similar to the inner compartment of the GR1 and comes with a total of 3 internal pockets. One of them is a large elastic pocket while the other one is a large mesh zippered pocket. The third and the final internal pocket is a small go-to pocket where you can keep regularly used items for easy access.
Outer Compartment: The outer compartment of the Gr2 has 4 extra pockets. On one side there is a large mesh zippered pocket with internal dividers and a smaller mesh pocket on the bottom. The other side has two zippered pockets, a small one and a larger one. The smaller pocket is completely concealed while the larger one is a mesh pocket.
GoRuck GR1 vs GoRuck GR2 – Laptop Compartment
Both the GR1 and the GR2 have a laptop compartment at the same location, that is on the back beneath the shoulder straps. They both also have a Frame Sheet inside the compartment. The only difference is the size of the laptop that they can fit.
GR1: The 21LGR1 can store laptops up to 15 inches while the 26L variant can store laptops of up to 17 inches.
GR2: Here, both the 34L and the 40L GR2 are capable of storing laptops larger than 17 inches.
This brings us to the end of the review. Let’s now look at the pros and cons of the GR1.
Goruck GR1 Pros & Cons
GoRuck GR1 Review Bottomline
The GoRuck GR1 is a very well built backpack and can be used for both your regular commute and as well as for your travel needs. It has a minimalist design and looks just like any other backpacks. However, it can store a lot more than a regular backpack. There is extra padding on the shoulder straps and the handles which make it easier to hold and carry. Finally, it also comes with a molle webbing system, so you can attach gears to make it even better. It might be a little pricey, but it is worth it. So, if you are looking for a durable and multipurpose backpack, then the GR1 is perfect for you.