Reviews

Rucker 3.0 by GORUCK – Review

The Rucker 3.0 by GORUCK is a beautifully designed backpack created entirely for the sport of rucking. Billed as “the gym on your back,” the Rucker 3.0 easily landed itself on top of our best rucking backpack list.

Below we will highlight a number of the features that make the Rucker 3.0 our top pick.

Rucker 3.0 Configuration

The GORUCK Rucker 3.0 comes in three sizes, 25L, 20L, and 20L Short Frame. In our review of the Rucker, we’ve found the 20L to be the ideal size for most people.

When rucking (or even doing GORUCK events) you rarely need more than 20L of space. Since your rucks are not multi-day hikes, you really only need to carry weight, water, some snacks, and maybe some extra clothing items like a jacket. That all fits easily in a 20L Rucker.

If you feel like you’re going to need more storage space, the 25L offers more than enough, easily having enough space for this to double as a weekend/overnight bag.

When it comes to the impact on height, those over 6’2″ may prefer the extra length of the 25L (20″ of height vs the 18″ of the 20L). Those under 5’5″ may want to consider the 20L Short Frame, which shaves off about 2.5″ of height from the 18″ of the 20L Standard.

Construction and Materials of the Rucker 3.0

As with all of GORUCK’s bags, the Rucker 3.0 is built to be bombproof. The majority of the backpack is 1000d CORDURA® which is some of the toughest material on the market and designed to take a beating.

The back and interior of the shoulder straps are made of 210D HT (High Tenacity) CORDURA® and this material is a real game-changer and upgrade from all previous rucks built by GORUCK.

Image below shows the 210d (left) and the 1000d (right).

The uniqueness of the 210D HT CORDURA® is that is maintains the strength and durability of its 1000d counterpart, but is extremely smooth. The result is a better feel on your back and shoulders and less damage to your clothes (as 1000d can have a tendency to cause pilling on some materials).

In fact, the 210D HT is so “smooth” you can even ruck with no shirt on and be totally comfortable.

Rucker 3.0 Dedicated Weight Compartment

What sets the Rucker lineup apart from many other rucking backpack options is the dedicated weight compartment.

When rucking, it is ideal to have your weight as close to and high up on the body as possible. The weight compartment is designed to fit the GORUCK line of weight plates.

The main difference between the 20L Rucker and 25L Rucker is that the 20L is designed to fit a 20# or 30# ruck plate, whereas the 25L is designed to carry a 45#, 30# or 20# ruck plate. As an added bonus, it can even carry a combination of those.

Pictured below is 25L Rucker 3.0 with 45# (bottom) and 30# (top) plate in secure compartment.

We’d note that the 20L can carry a 45# plate but just not in the sealable compartment.

Image below shows 45# plate in 20L Rucker 3.0. While the 20# and 30# plates fit in the secure compartment, the 45# must sit outside the compartment in the water bladder holder.

The velcro enclosure for the ruck plate ensures that the weight is secure and won’t move around on you. This is especially helpful if you were doing a rucking workout like those offered on RuckWOD.com or a GORUCK event.

Storage in the Rucker 3.0

In addition to the weight compartments, the Rucker 3.0 has two interior pockets for storage.

The top pocket is smaller and perfect for keys, phone, and quick grab items.

The bottom pocket is a nice size and offers a place to keep items you don’t want getting lost in your ruck.

On the exterior of the ruck is a slanted pocket. In our experience with the Rucker 3.0 (and every GORUCK bag) this pocket is virtually useless unless the ruck is mostly empty. When your ruck is full (or relatively full) getting anything in and out of this pocket is too much of a chore, as it is very “tight.” One the upside… it looks cool.

Safety of the Rucker 3.0

Not just an elegant design feature, the diagonal slash across the ruck is actually a high visibility reflective strap, perfect for when your rucking in urban areas in low-light situations or at nighttime.

Lumbar Support of the Rucker 3.0

Just because something is tough doesn’t mean it can’t add a little luxury. Such is the case with the addition of the lumbar support on the Rucker 3.0.

Consisting of  10mm of EVA foam padding, the support is designed to fit the natural S curve of your lower back. While a very simple addition, it is noticeably pleasant from the moment you put the ruck on.

Handles and Versatility of the Rucker 3.0

While the inclusion of 4 handles (one on each side) may seem excessive at first glance, this inclusion adds tremendous versatility to the Rucker 3.0.

For those simply going out for a ruck, these handles will serve little to no purpose. Where they shine is in creating the opportunity for you to turn your backpack into a piece of equipment for an entire body ruck workout.

We’ve written previously answering the question, “what is a rucking workout?” and the Rucker 3.0 is the perfect solution for getting more work than just a walk.

If there is a movement you can do with a barbell, dumbbell, or kettlebell, the 4 handles of the Rucker 3.0 make it possible to do that movement with your ruck.

This is a huge added value.

Rucker 3.0 Drain Holes

For those primarily using the Rucker 3.0 for rucking, the drain holes won’t offer too much of an additional benefit (unless your water bladder springs a leak). But, for those who decided to step up to the challenge of a GORUCK Challenge event, the drain holes are a great addition for those instances where you find yourself and your ruck submerged in water.

Optional Hip Belt for the Rucker 3.0

The 25L Rucker 3.0 comes with an optional hip belt included in the purchase price. There is a stand-alone hip belt option for those ordering the 20L Rucker.

The hip belt can be a nice addition when bearing very heavy loads or covering longer mileages in your ruck. The belt allows some of the weight to be distributed off your shoulder and carried on the hips.

Since the belt is optional, it is attached to the side molle. This is, of course, not as secure as a hip belt that is sewn into the ruck, but for the ability to leave it off, it is a nice tradeoff in functionality.

Rucker 3.0 Lifetime Warranty

GORUCK has one of the best warranties in the business which easily makes the price more palatable.

The SCARS Lifetime Guarantee essentially says that if something happens to the ruck, they will fix it for free… forever.

With the Rucker 3.0 that means you can use and abuse your ruck day in and day out with the confidence that if anything starts to have issues (seams, fabric, zippers, handles, etc) that GORUCK will make it right again.

As an editors note, we have utilized GORUCK SCARS service on several rucks and clothing items and can attest that they stand by their guarantee.

Overall Impressions of the GORUCK Rucker 3.0

We’ve already crowned the Rucker 3.0 the Best Rucking Backpack and believe that it deserves the title.

This ruck looks great, feels great, and is built from the ground up to go rucking.


Got any questions about the GORUCK Rucker 3.0? Drop them in the comments below and we’ll do our best to answer.


Posted by
Ryan Burns

Ryan Burns is the founder of The Rucking Collective, LLC, which runs a number of ruck-related websites, including Rucking.com. Ryan discovered Rucking through GORUCK and has completed numerous GORUCK events, including their 50-mile Star Course. When not rucking, Ryan enjoys time with his family and helping others on their fitness journey as a Level 1 CrossFit trainer. You can reach him at ryan@rucking.com

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