Top 10 Backpacks for a GORUCK Event

By Brad McLeod originally posted 3-1-2013 (updated 3-3-24)
Check out our SGPT Top 10 Backpacks for a GORUCK event. Not everyone that does a GORUCK event will use the same pack.

I have seen everything from gym bags to high speed military rucks – and a lot of in betweens.

What is the best backpack? One that fits your body and you know where everything is in time of need.

Check out the list below and you make the best decision which one is right for you. If you have a pack you have used drop us a message in the comments.

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The BLACKHAWK 3-Day Assault Back Pack is a mid-sized, frameless backpack that features  detachable sternum strap and padded, removable waist belt for extreme versatility. The inside features a main compartment, small cargo pouch, and cargo pocket pouch to fit an optional 100 oz. BLACKHAWK Hydration System.

The BlackHawk 3 Day Assault Backpack is constructed of heavy-duty 1000 denier nylon; compatible with BLACKHAWK! Hydration System; sleeping bag straps and padded shoulder straps with D-rings for equipment attachment.

It has a detachable, elasticized sternum strap with silent release buckle; compartments are closed by durable YKK zipper and sliders with silent pulls; ventilating back panel and silent zipper pulls; dual side-detachable, padded waist belt; and a reinforced drag/carry handle.

The main compartment: 20”L x 13”W x 6”D Front Compartment: 14.5”L x 12.5”W x 2.5”D Cubes: 2000 cu. in. / 37 L. This bag is very versatile and you can pick one up for around $90 or less.

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The Maxpedition Condor-II Backpack, measuring 14.5 inches in length, 9.5 inches in width, and 16 inches in height, boasts a volume of 1400 cubic inches or 23 liters, weighing in at 3.0 pounds.

I like that is designed with a 3D breathable mesh padded back and ergonomic shoulder straps, it ensures a comfortable carry during a long rucking event. Equipped with an external PALS webbing for attachment to MOLLE compatible accessories, this backpack offers versatility in customizing your gear setup according to your needs.

I like that this tactical backpack features a reservoir with a bi-directional tube port (not included) capable of fitting a 100oz/3L hydration bladder. If you need it you can carry it. If you dont it lays flat but is always there, ensuring you stay hydrated on the move.

After the GORUCK event your going to like that it sports a lockable rear concealed carry weapon (CCW) compartment that accommodates large pistols, catering to those needing a secure and discreet storage space.

I want to highlight its sturdiness, durability, and water resistance, making it a preferred choice for users seeking a reliable and adaptable backpack for various activities, from everyday use to outdoor adventures.

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You have the choice to bring your own weight. Many ruckers just taped up a brick with bubble wrap and be done with it.

A metal plate will fit much better down in the sleeve inside your backpack.

There are a lot of options on ruck plates so check out the differences>

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This bag gives you a lot of options and extra room for gear if you wanted to haul a med bag.

I am currently using the Voodoo Tactical 3-day Assault Pack as my “bug out bag” for any kind of natural or man-made disasters.

I think this is the perfect size pack with padded comfort back and an adjustable padded shoulder harness. It has multiple side, upper and lower rear pockets, all with reversed coil zippers to keep the sand out. It has lots of universal webbing for various pouch attachments.

I like that it has integrated handles with extra straps and buckles to attach to your drag bag. Hook-n-loop I.D. patch on front, advanced harness retention system for maximum load carry. Enhanced removable padded waist belt with universal straps. Hydration compatible. Padded side-zip compartment for laptop computer carry with “inside the pack” office pockets.
Dimensions: 11″ L X 7″ W X 20″ H
Weight: 3.07 lbs

The bonus is that after a rucking event you can use this pack for pretty much anything. I want to get a rain tarp to fit over the pack as I want to protect my gear a little better during rain storms.  This pack will last you a lifetime if you half way take care of it

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The Spec Ops Ruck Pack is basically a take off on the original ALICE pack that was used back in the Vietnam war and has been used ever since.

The design is simple but works like a charm. If your looking for a no fuss pack that will last for decades this is the one.

We spotted this pack while on a GORUCK event in Atlanta and compared it to the Alice Pack. They are very similar.  This pack is 100% made in the USA and guaranteed for life
SIZE: 2,285.5 cubic inches total

Bottom line is if you don’t want to buy another pack and want one that stands up this is what you need.

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Question: Can you recommend a body lubrication for endurance events?

Many of our SGPT athletes have used BodyGlide or Trail toes

Make sure to use it on your under arms, nipples, crotch and on your feet to prevent blisters.


This is my 4th Kelty backpack, and I am a big “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” kind of guy, and Kelty has always taken great care in filling my hiking/backpacking needs, and this Redwing continues the streak.

I got the Kelty Redwing Tactical as a day hiking pack with room enough to cook up some lunch on the trail, or to be able to brew a cup of tea at a scenic spot. Its just like my Redwing 50 I use for overnight/weekend trips, only smaller.

It carries all I need, and then some, while still remaining comfy with the waist belt and padded shoulder straps.  I used it for ruck hike training and it did fine.

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This is the perfect backpack for training and knocking out long endurance events like a GORUCK or Spartan. It has a lot of lattitude on how you can use it. It is smaller than the other packs but if you are just training for an event – or dont want a big pack –  this may be the right fit.

The Mystery Ranch Blitz 30 is ready for any training that you want to do outdoors. If you want to train for a GORUCK or do an overnight backpacking trip – this pack is good to go. I like that it has a removable webbing waist belt  that allows you to have access when you want it or keep it streamlined.

I like that it has quick access via the body panel gets you directly to load it up with a sand bag for training. If you want to use it in the field you can load up that body panel with the tools you need. If you need to take a lap top out in the field it has a padded floating laptop sleeve that fits laptops up to 15 inches. It has compression straps to keep your load secure and side pouches for water or snacks.
Weight: 3.8 lbs
Size: 1770 cubic inches

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What is a good waist belt to use with these packs?

We like the Condor 241 battle belt with a 1-1/2″ web belt is a perfect combination to help keep the pack secure and act as a hip belt.

This will help distribute the load and put an equal amount of weight on your hips.

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Check out this interview with SGPT Athlete GORUCK Finisher Jay Jairdullo who used the 511 Tactical Rush backpack.


I have had this pack for a couple years and it has been a pleasure to own. But one thing this pack is missing is a waist belt. I used the 511 Tactical Rush 24 backpack in a GORUCK event in Atlanta when I first got it.

I have found that the pack has a lot more uses as I use it also for work and put my laptop in it.  Last year I took it on an overnight ruck up to a local trail and carried a small bivvy tarp along with food and a penny stove.

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Question: What is a good glove to wear on the GORUCK event?

I like the Mechanix Wear Original Glove as they fit well. They also take a lot of abuse.

For $25 you will not find a better glove and they will last a long time.

Some athletes use them when they are carrying a log and do PT.

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I wore the ALICE during the Atlanta GORUCK event in February. Yes; it is not the most comfortable or plush pack but it cost $35 at a local Army Navy store and is more or less indestructible. I use it for training still and for doing sandbag type lifts overhead.

The 5Star Alice Pack is very versatile and has stood the test of time (40 years plus) as a go to pack for hauling gear. I will be handing this down to my son in a few years. Water bottles can fall out of the side pouches if your turned upside down… so you will want to put a hydration bladder in the back to solve that issue.

If you dont have much to spend on a backpack this is an ok route to go. You will definitely get many years of hard abuse out of it.

I still have this pack 10 years later and still use it for field work.

Check out this interview with an SGPT Athlete who finished the GORUCK Tough , he also uses the Army Alice pack.

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Question: What is a good fuel snack to carry on the 12 hour GORUCK Challenge?

It is up to you but I like a small amount of beef jerky, peanuts and raisins in a mix.

I also took a couple of the Clif Shot Gels and that was plenty of fuel for me for the night event.

That should give you protein and carbs – enough to make it through the night and finish out the event.


The GORUCK RUCKER backpack has a bunch of cool features that make it super useful for all kinds of adventures. First off, it’s got this fancy lumbar padding that hugs your back just right, so you can carry your stuff without feeling like you’re lugging a ton of bricks around. Plus, there’s this high-vis reflective stripe on the front that makes sure you’re seen even when it’s dark out, keeping you safe on the go.

And check this out, the backpack’s got a Frame Sheet inside that keeps everything in place, even when you’ve packed it to the brim. It’s like having a sturdy backbone for your bag! Oh, and let’s not forget the YKK zippers—they’re super smooth and quiet, so you won’t wake the whole neighborhood when you’re digging for your snacks. With pockets galore, including some sneaky ones for your water bottle and other essentials, this backpack’s got your back, rain or shine.

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goruck gr1 pack reviewI’ll be honest I got sticker shock the first time I looked at these bags, but having owned one for a while now I am satisfied with my choice. The GORUCK GR1 backpack is practical, and extremely tough- built to be beat up, and the SCARS warranty that comes on them is outstanding.

After 3 GORUCK Challenges, and numerous training rucks carrying 30-40lbs of bricks in the bag I had an issue with the shoulder straps on my bag, I sent SCARS an email and they sent me a shipping label to send it in for refurbishment.

I put a real beating on this gear- it doesn’t come apart, and if there is an issue they stand behind it 100%. That kind of quality and customer service is worth the $$$ in my opinion. from GORUCK Tough Finisher Frank G.

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Question: Just picked up an Alice pack. Would you suggest using the pack with or without a frame? Any suggestions on securing the tube to the shoulder strap that connects to the water bladder? Thanks, Steve.

Answer: I would use the ALICE without the frame and use a small carabiner to secure the hydration bladder drinking tube to the shoulder strap. This will keep the hydration bladder from sinking to the bottom of your pack.

About the Author:

Brad McLeod, a former Navy SEAL, is a big fan of GORUCK events and training.

In order to find your best self you must first find a big gnarley goal – develop a plan and find a way to succeed.

What is your big goal? Check out SGPT Coaching to help you achieve your goal. is a proud sponsor of the Navy SEAL Foundation.

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