GORUCK Rucker Long-Term Review: One Ruck To Rule Them All

The GORUCK Rucker is a seriously tough backpack to be reckoned with. The backpack is handmade using 1000 Denier CORDURA and is designed to take a beating. Made to the standards required for Special Forces operations, the Rucker will not fail. Having a backpack that can be taken anywhere and go through anything yet at the same time be used to incorporate your training routine is ingenious. GORUCK has not only built an indestructible backpack, but they’ve also created a community of people who desire to push themselves further than they thought possible by hosting Rucking Events. On top of all this, GORUCK backs up their products with the SCARS Lifetime guarantee.


At the time of this article the basic 20L Rucker costs around $215, and the 25L Rucker costs around $235. The price of the Rucker can vary depending on the size of the pack, as well as the pattern used. In my opinion this price is an absolute steal when you consider how tough and rugged these backpacks are built. On top of that, the Rucker is guaranteed for life, so you only ever need to buy one!

Check Out The Rucker Here.


Primary Material – 1000D CORDURA® (exception of Tropic Multicam, which is primarily 500D Cordura)
Back Panel & Shoulder Strap Underside Material: 210D HT (High Tenacity) CORDURA®
Lumbar Support: 10MM EVA Foam Padding
Dimensions: 12″W x 20″H x 6.75″D
Main Ruck Plate® Pocket Dimensions: 9.75″ x 15.5″
2nd Ruck Plate® Pocket Dimensions: 9.5″W x 11.75″H
Shoulder Straps: 16.5″L x 5/8″W
Internal Mesh Pocket: 12″W x 13″H
Internal CORDURA® Pocket: 11″W x 6.5″H
Sternum Strap: 17″ – 7.5″L x 1″W
Reflective Stripe: 300 cd/lux m²


Cost effective
Made in USA
Lifetime Warranty
Water-resistant (rainproof)


Grommets can allow water in easily
Side handles could get caught on things

The Rucker is perfect for anyone that wants to start rucking some long distances, but also for those in need of a durable backpack that can be taken anywhere without fear of it breaking apart. It has a large main compartment with internal pockets too. The Rucker that I own is the Rucker 2.0, but since then the Rucker has gone through some changes, which I’ll list out in this review.

First Impression

As soon as I took the Rucker out of the box I could tell right away that this was a seriously tough backpack. The Rucker is made up mostly of durable 1000 Denier CORDURA which is abrasion resistant and also very water resistant (rainproof). Solid shoulder straps with webbing to attach a sternum strap or any other accessories like a carabiner or flashlight. The ruck isn’t too heavy considering how rugged its built. Inside is very spacious with a couple of zipper pockets (Velcro now with the Rucker 4.0) and dual pockets for holding GORUCK plates or storage for other items like a laptop if you’re travelling or studying (the newer Rucker 4.0 only has a slot for a Ruck Plate).


The Rucker comes in either a 20L or a 25L capacity with many different colors/patterns (I currently own the 20L Rucker 2.0 in the Gold & Cardinal color scheme which is discontinued at the time of this post).

The 20L Rucker will work for just about anyone. I’m 5’10” tall and use the 20L Rucker (I also use the 21L GR1 backpack). If you’re around 6′ tall and above, I would recommend you go with the 25L Rucker. I could have gone with the 25L Rucker to be honest.

There are some minor differences between the 20L and 25L Rucker besides the volume capacity alone. The 25L Rucker is 2 inches taller than the 20L Rucker, so it’ll sit a little higher on your upper back. The 25L Rucker also comes with a Padded Hip Belt, which by itself costs $30! The 25L Rucker is on average $20 more expensive than the 20L Rucker, so for an extra $20 you’re getting more carrying ability and a Padded Hip Belt.

On top of all that, the 25L Rucker has 2 dedicated Ruck Plate Carrier Pockets, where the 20L Rucker only has one. In theory, you could place a second GORUCK Plate in the internal compartment of the 20L Rucker, but it wouldn’t be secure and could shift around which would be uncomfortable. With the 25L Rucker 2 Ruck Plate Pockets, you could carry a 45 pound ruck plate and a 30 pound ruck plate at once, allowing you to securely carry a total of 75 pounds from the ruck plates alone!

For more details on sizing, check out the “Sizing Chart” on the Rucker page.


The Rucker is manufactured primarily out of water-resistant and abrasion-resistant 1000 Denier CORDURA. This material is seriously tough while at the same time not adding too much weight. I was surprised with how lightweight the Rucker felt when I took it out of the packaging. Along the front of the Rucker and running down the shoulder straps are MOLLE Webbing (Modular Lightweight Load-Carrying Equipment) which is excellent for attaching any accessories such as carabiners, paracord, flashlights, GPS, you name it!

All the materials used in manufacturing the Rucker are very strong and meant to take anything you throw at it. (Or any surface the Rucker is thrown at!)

Main Compartment

The main compartment of the Rucker is very spacious. If you’re going to be using the Rucker mainly for workouts, the main compartment is a great location to store any extra clothing or shower supplies you’ll need after an intense workout. If the weather is a bit chilly, then maybe you’ll dress a little warmer at the beginning of your workout, and as time goes on you’ll need to take layers off and store them inside your ruck. Keep in mind if you’re going to be getting your Rucker soaked that it’s not a waterproof rucksack, so the contents inside may get wet, especially since there are grommets on the bottom of the ruck to allow for drainage.

If you’re using the Rucker for travel, then the main compartment offers a lot of storage for extra clothing, toiletries, a laptop, and more if you’re commuting by air. All the Rucker sizes (20L, 25L, 33L, 39L) should fall within the carry-on size requirements. This depends of course on how much you stuff inside, and also on the specific carry-on size limits for certain airlines.

Internal Velcro Pockets

The Rucker has an upper and lower internal Velcro pocket. My Rucker being the 2.0 model has zippers instead of the current 4.0 model which has Velcro. The reasoning behind this is that GORUCK was getting too many zipper failures from users of the Rucker because of the constant force being applied from the heavy rucks hitting the ground. GORUCK said that there isn’t a zipper out there to be able to take that sort of beating, so they completely removed the internal zippers from the ruck.

The internal pockets are a great place to store any extra items such as snacks for after your workout, or a flag for showing your true patriotism. If you’re using the Rucker for traveling, then having these pockets for charging cables, a cellphone, wallet, flashlight, or any sort of documentation like a passport will work great!

The upper Velcro pocket is 11″ wide x 6.5″ high, and the lower Velcro pocket is 12″ wide x 13″ high.

I personally work with Aviation Life Support Equipment, and the aircrew’s vests all have hook-and-pile fasteners for their pockets, which over time will get worn down and begin to lose its closure strength, so I’ll be curious to see how long the hook-and-pile fasteners lasts on the GORUCK Rucker 4.0 internal pockets.

YKK Zippers

The main compartment has a heavy duty YKK Zipper going around the entire pack. As a pullcord they use parachute 550 cord which itself has shrink wrap around it. I like this a lot because it prevents the paracord from coming undone or fraying, and it also adds a bit of grip and sticks out, making it easy to grab in low-light conditions.

My Rucker 2.0 has an outer zipper slanted pocket as well, but GORUCK discontinued this feature with current Rucker backpacks due to the amount of zipper failures that were occurring from all the heavy rucksacks slamming the ground over time. GORUCK said themselves that they can’t possibly make zippers any tougher than they are, so they completely removed the outer slanted pocket and replaced it with a reflective panel which provides safety for those late night ruck marches at night!

On the inside of my Rucker are also two zippered pockets, but again, GORUCK removed these zippers, but they kept the pockets only switching them to Velcro pockets.

The Rucker is designed to be opened flat, similar to Special Forces medical rucksacks. With the heavy duty zipper, you can grab the front flap of the rucksack and pull it completely opened, which will give you access to everything in the ruck!

Shoulder Straps

The shoulder straps of the Rucker are extra padded for when you’re carrying some heavy weight in your rucksack. They’re positioned in such a way that they run directly under your arm and keep the rucksack nice and snug against your back. The MOLLE webbing on the shoulder straps can be used for attaching the sternum strap (included with the Rucker) and any other necessary pieces of kit!

Hydration Bladder

The Rucker has internal D-Rings and an opening under the top handle which allows for the use of a hydration bladder. This is an excellent feature because it’s critical to stay hydrated during long ruck marches and intense workouts.

Having the ability to use a hydration bladder removes the need to carry a water bottle. Having a water bottle inside a backpack while rucking, jogging, or doing any sort of movement will cause the bottle to move around, which will cause the water to shift left and right. Having any sort of weight moving around uncontrollably like that isn’t optimal. Carrying a hydration bladder will keep your water inside centered and secure.

Hip Belt

The Padded Hip Belt is compatible with the 20L and 25L Rucker. The 25L Rucker costs on average $20 more than the 20L Rucker, but includes the Padded Hip Belt which has a value of $30. Well worth it if you ask me to go with the 25L Rucker!

If you’re going to be doing any sort of heavy rucking, then I highly recommend using the padded hip belt.

How I learned to use the hip belt during ruck marches from my time in the military is to tighten the shoulder straps, then tighten the hip belt, and then slightly loosen the shoulder straps, so that more weight is applied to your hips than it would be resting on your shoulders. With that being said, this was when I was using terribly padded shoulder straps with my issued rucksack in the military, so this may not be a problem with the Rucker. I’ve personally never had an issue only using the shoulder straps. But the padded hip belt also helps the rucksack stay on your back securely for when you’re doing any sort of workout movement.

I find the hip belt gets in the way though if I decide to use the Rucker for movements similar to a kettlebell swing. What I do to help with this is I fasten the hip belt buckles together and tighten the straps so they don’t get in the way as much. Just something to keep in mind!

Sternum Strap

Fortunately, the sternum strap is now included with the purchase of either the 20L or 25L Rucker. When I purchased my Rucker 2.0 version it didn’t come with a sternum strap, but I bought one separately.

The sternum strap is amazing (and in my opinion necessary) for when you’re carrying a lot of weight on your back. If you’re going to be doing any sort of workouts on the ground then the sternum strap will help keep the shoulder straps nice and close together, preventing your Rucker from falling off your shoulders mid-workout!

SCARS Lifetime Warranty

GORUCK has one of the ultimate warranties that I’ve ever seen! I’ve already dealt with GORUCK for problems with my gear and their customer service is second to none.

“All GORUCK built gear, apparel, and footwear — everything we manufacture — comes with our Scars Lifetime Guarantee. If there is a defect in workmanship or materials or if you actually manage to wear our stuff out, GORUCK will fix or replace (at our discretion) your item, free of charge. No receipt necessary — we can recognize our own stuff — and your date of purchase does not matter. Hence lifetime.


The Rucker should last you the rest of your life. And if by some reason it doesn’t, then GORUCK will either fix it for you, or replace it entirely.


If you want a backpack that can be passed on to your children, your children’s children, and your children’s children’s children, then buy the GORUCK Rucker. The Rucker is durable, lightweight, tough as nails, and versatile! The Rucker is excellent for rucking, working out, travelling, or going to school!

If you’re a parent and are tired of replacing your children’s backpack every year or two, then buy them a Rucker! It won’t break down, it can carry a lot of weight, and if it does get damaged, GORUCK will fix it!

The Rucker is a no-brainer purchase. I personally own the 20L Rucker and the 21L GR1, and I’ve been extremely happy with both of them.

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