GORUCK GR1 Rucksack Review

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Let’s review the GR1 Rucksacks from GORUCK.

When it comes to rucksacks, the first name that comes to mind is GORUCK. GORUCK specializes in making durable, quality, versatile, and rugged rucksacks, and now they are bringing back GR1 – exclusively overbuilt in the USA.

GR1 is irreplaceable. To put it simply, there is no other rucksack/backpack in the market that comes close to what GR1 is. It is rainproof, comfortable, easy to carry, has a lifetime guarantee, and performs both in office and outdoor settings.

GORUCK GR1 21L Rucksack Review 24
This is the GR1, in Wolf Grey. This is the 21L model. All-around, this is a great bag. This one is made in the USA. Is it expensive? Yes, but it is tough as nails, and looks good too.

Here are some of the styles we are going to look at:

GR1 Rucksacks (Black) This is your basic Black GR1. Made in the USA, with tough 1000D Cordura. It's available in two sizes 21L (Liters) or 26L. These are great for travel -but also fitness.
GR1 Rucksacks (Steel) The GR1 is also available in Steel color. These backpacks have a very robust laptop compartment.
GR1 Rucksacks (Wolf Grey) Here it is in Wolf Grey. This is a great colorway. Many of the pictures of this article are this color.
The GR1 Heritage (Dark Oak) Everything you love about the GR1 plus a different mood and a little secret is equivalent to the GR1 Heritage. The GR family is mostly made from 1000D Cordura Nylon, but GORUCK changed GR1 Heritage's materials to Martexin Wax finish which is proven for over 180 years. It comes in 21L and 26L sizes. 26L's little secret is its small hidden zipper pocket underneath the handle. It has three internal pockets - one large elastic pocket, one large mesh zippered pocket, and one small go-to pocket.
The GR1 Heritage (Field Tan) From the previous generation to the next generation, the GR1 Heritage will last the test of time in its strongest possible duck canvas with a waxing process proven over the last 170 years. The bottom base, the grab handle, and the patch are all made of full grain leather sourced from S.B Foot Tannery in Red Wing, Minnesota — a major supplier of leather to the US Military. Add to this the Scars Lifetime Guarantee, and you got a rucksack that you can pass on to your grandchildren. The bombproof laptop compartment and the false bottom are still featured, plus the removable, hard plastic frame sheet that stabilizes the laptop compartment and enables you to carry more weight conveniently.
Sternum Strap It's hard to explain why the Sternum Strap helps - but you'll thank me later - just get it. This chest strap lets you adjust how the shoulder straps fall on your upper body - it's a nice way to vary the load when going the distance.

Let’s check it out…

GR1 Rucksacks – Overview

GR1 opens flat to make it more manageable to pack and organize. It is excellent for light travel, where you can easily see the entire interior and accommodates some personal and office items. There is a sizeable elastic sleeve on the main compartment’s back wall and three rows of MOLLE webbing across the top. It also has a bombproof laptop compartment which is well guarded with sturdy padding on both sides, a false bottom, and a plastic sheet frame on the back. Special Forces medical rucks use the same similar design.

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Open flat = easy to pack.

There is a large zipped mesh pocket on the front wall of the main compartment that extends the bag’s width up to 28 cm deep. There is also a smaller zipped pocket for smaller items, while the top of the main compartment has a hydration tube port. On the bag’s front face, there is a large flat pocket that can accommodate bulky items. To stabilize the laptop compartment, a removable, rigid plastic frame sheet is placed, enabling you to bring more weight conveniently.

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You can see the internal MOLLE here – and the ruck plate sleeve. Not going to ruck? A small laptop or ipad will also fit nicely there…

GR1 comes in two versions – the 21L, which is 11.5 x 18 x 5.5 inches at 2.9 lbs, and the 26L, which is 12 x20 x 6.75 inches at 3.2 lbs. The fabric used in GR1 is 1000D Condura, and the back panel and shoulder straps are also stuffed with closed-cell foam. The amount of coating in the stitching is incredibly made while the YKK zippers have silent, glove-friendly zipper pulls which are astonishingly reliable and dependable.

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Get ready to rumble! That’s a black GR1 26L in the center. Most of the photos are of the smaller 21L Wolf Grey because it photographs better.

GR1 21L Versus 26L

The GR1 is available in 21 Liters (L) or 26 Liters.

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21L GR1 on the left (Grey), and 26L GR1 in the middle (Black). That’s a GR2 (40L) on the right, for a size comparison.

The 26L is taller.

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Side view of this trio of GORUCK bags.

What’s the right size for you? If you are tall – go for the 26L. People that are shorter in stature may want the 21L.

GR1 Rucksack – Tour

Let’s take a look.

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First thing that jumps out at you – what’s those straps on the front and side? That’s MOLLE – invented by the military it makes this gear extensible and customizable.

The GR1 has some MOLLE on the sides and back – but not so much to make it look too “tactical” – or tacticool – as the kids are saying.

Heck, it also has MOLLE on the inside. Why? For customizations!

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There’s 3 rows of MOLLE on the inside – at the top.

This is perfect for the addition of a GR1 Field Pocket – or anything else that has MOLLE (and will fit.)

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The MOLLE on the GR1 Field Pocket works perfect (of course!) so you have additional structured storage inside.

Here’s a close-up of some of that MOLLE webbing:

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MOLLE Webbing close-up

The other thing that’s noticeable in that photo is the backpack material itself. It’s coarse 1000D Cordura. That’s a tightly knit fabric – and it will resist light rain and water splashing.

It’s also tough as nails – but rough on any exposed skin – or delicate clothing. You’ve been warned!

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The GR1 is 1000D Cordura all-over – including on the underside of the shoulder straps. You’ll want to keep this from rubbing against bare skin.
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These have a nice flat bottom, and combine that with the stiff frame sheet on the inside -these bags will stand up on their own when they have something in them.
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Here’s a close-up of the slant zipper pocket. That’s a high-quality YKK zipper with a non-metallic (paracord) zipper pull. Zippers are the weak spot of any backpack. GORUCK has done what they can to make these last – but don’t smash them with a ruck plate – that’ll jam them up quickly (ask me how i know this…)
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Velcro (oops, I mean hook and loop) for a morale patch.
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A blacked-out US flag is both subtle and dope all at once.
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Laptop goes here. This is what makes these practical for multi-purpose use. Also – they look under the radar enough that you can take them into the office.
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The mighty GR1. Made in ‘Merica.

GR1 Rucksacks Review – In Summary

That’s our review of GR1 Rucksacks.

GR1 is a simple-looking rucksack that will surprise you with its durability, quality, and versatility. This everyday carry (EDC) shines wherever you take it and delivers to whatever kind of adventure you plan to do. With its Scars Lifetime Guarantee, you and GR1 will be together for the longest time, conquering cities, jungles, mountains, and deserts of the world.

Want to find out how it stacks up against the other GORUCK bags? Check out our article on the best GORUCK rucksack.

Which one is best for you? It depends on what you want to do with it!

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Top handle is tough. Don’t sweat loading this up with weight.

Photo Credits

Some product photos on this page are property of GORUCK.

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GORUCK GR1 Rucksacks military
GORUCK GR1 Rucksacks military

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