Getting Started

How to Start Rucking

There is a beautiful simplicity to rucking. All you need is a backpack (aka:ruck), a little weight, and off you go!

Of course, if you’re just starting out, you may have some questions. Hopefully, we can help.

Do I need a special bag for Rucking?

Nope. Any backpack will do.

That said, the regular Jansport you’ll find at the corner market is probably not going to be very comfortable for very long. In particular, the shoulder straps are not meant to support large loads over long periods of time and will become increasingly uncomfortable. In addition, the material for a normal backpack will not be nearly as supportive of the additional weight.

If you are ready to upgrade your ruck, check out our Best Rucking Backpack post.

We recommend the GORUCK Rucker as the perfect rucking pack. That said, we know it is very expensive. We’ll talk about that in other posts, but know that we believe this bag is worth it.

Other options are rucks like the 5.11 Rush or just about any ruck you can find at your local military surplus store.

How much weight should I use when Rucking?

If you’ve never gone for a ruck before, then you are probably ok to start with 5-10# for your first ruck. If you’re in pretty good shape, you can go up from there.

An “average” weight a lot of people shoot for is 20-30# if you’re under 150# and 30-40# if you’re over 150#.

But if you’re just starting out, these numbers should just be something that you’re working towards. Start light and work your way up.

What do I use for weight when Rucking?

Anything will work. A heavy book, some bricks, a weight from the gym, or a heavy duty garbage bag full of sand will all easily add weight to your ruck.

If you’re looking for something nicer, we are big fans of the GORUCK Ruck Plates for adding weight as they are compact and can easily be secured in your ruck to prevent them from moving around.

Ok, I’m ready to go Rucking. Now what?

Go for a walk.

Of course, if you’re just starting out, you’ll want to keep it kind of short as your body acclimates to walking with additional weight.

Over time you’ll get used to rucking and you can begin to add weight and distance to your rucks.

A really good long-term goal would be to average a 15-minute-mile over 3-5+ miles.

Here is a 1-month ruck training plan we put together with new ruckers in mind.

Anything else?

Sure, there’s a whole lot else. I mean, this entire website is all about rucking. So, poke around and learn all you can.

Of course, rucking alone is kind of boring. The best part of rucking is doing it with others. If you’re looking for some folks to ruck with, we highly recommend trying to find a Ruck Club in your neck of the woods.

Posted by is managed by Ryan Burns and is a part of The Rucking Collective, LLC. Ryan discovered Rucking through GORUCK and has completed numerous GORUCK events, including their 50-mile Star Course. You can reach him at

5 Replies to How to Start Rucking

  1. “If you’ve never gone for a ruck before, then you are probably ok to start with 5-10# for your first ruck.”

    Note that this is extremely conservative. 5# is what an ultralight laptop or empty briefcase weighs, so this might be an appropriate weight for a sedentary office worker who never even carries anything to the office.

    If you can carry 40# of groceries, you can ruck with 20# on your back easily.

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