What Run Oregon is Trying: GORUCK

Recently I had the opportunity to test a diversity of products from GORUCK. The company specializes in “Rucking” gear, rugged apparel and backpacks worn in tests of strength and endurance based on military training. GORUCK also sponsors Team Red White and Blue (RWB), whose members you have probably seen carrying American flags at many races.

I tested three products from GORUCK, the Rucker backpack, the 5.5” Simple Shorts, and the short sleeve Rucking Tee.

The Rucker Backpack ($215)

The nicest thing about this backpack is its simplicity. Basically a large rectangular hexahedron, it has a large capacity, without sticking out too far in the back. Most of my other backpacks fill out so much behind, that I risk knocking people over if I turn around in a crowd. But the Rucker holds a lot without expanding too much, and opens flat for easy packing. In addition to the voluminous main compartment, there are two zippered inner pockets and one external zippered pocket to hold smaller items securely.

There is also an open internal pocket with an adjustable velcro closure, but I found the utility of this feature a little disappointing. Though it looks like a laptop compartment, it’s actually designed to hold GORUCK’s proprietary Ruck Plates, weights with handles that can be carried while Rucking for an additional challenge. My MacBook Pro wouldn’t quite fit, and the exposed velcro made me a little wary of packing tech clothes that might get snagged.

The Rucker is constructed to last, with durable water resistant materials, heavy stitching, and reinforced zipper pulls. Plenty of external loops provide places to hang small items, and the shoulder straps and top handle are padded. The pack is designed to easily accommodate a hydration bladder, with a velcro loop to hold the bladder, and an opening at the top of the pack for the bladder tube.

The Rucker feels very well-balanced, comfortable, and secure, and is a highly functional and rugged piece of luggage, whether you’re “Rucking” or just packing some running gear for a weekend road trip. Mine is black, but the Rucker also comes in “Steel”, Black with a U.S. flag, “Wolf Grey”, “Black + Blue”, or “Hunter Orange + Black”.

Simple Shorts – 5.5” ($90, currently on sale for $69)

I rarely wear shorts when I’m not running or playing soccer, but it’s nice to have a few pairs of casual shorts on hand. The GORUCK Simple Shorts are a nice addition to my limited collection. They are constructed of a durable, stretchable, light, and breathable fabric, and can handle a decent amount of drizzle. While definitely not running shorts, they are fine for hiking and casual wear, and were very comfortable on a recent unseasonably warm visit to the Bay Area in California.

They have open rear and front pockets (two each), and loops for the requisite belt. They ride quite loose, making a belt a necessity (unless you’re into the shorts-and-suspenders look). My pair are “Coyote” (beige), but the Simple Shorts are also available in Navy.

The loose front pocket linings tend to sneak out below the legs when seated, a common complaint of mine when it comes to casual shorts, but other than that these shorts are high quality and live up to their name: simple and functional.

The Rucking Tee in Black

Rucking Tee ($55, currently on sale for $39)

The first thing I noticed about the GORUCK Rucking Tee was the weight, much heavier than a typical tech running shirt. That’s a result of the emphasis on ruggedness and durability, and the heft lent the shirt an instant air of substance. Yet despite the sturdiness, the Rucking Tee has a very soft and comfortable interior lining, and once a run was underway I appreciated the solid feel and lack of flapping.

The Rucking Tee’s Polartec fabric is stretchy and breathable, sheds water, and dries quickly. While lacking flash and frills, this shirt is highly functional and built to last.

More about GORUCK:

GORUCK should not exist. Jason McCarthy was a Special Forces soldier, not a businessman, when in 2008 he had what he calls a stupid idea to build a bag that would thrive in Baghdad and New York City. There was no business plan, or launch strategy, or equity raises.

There was simply a Special Forces way of life, a community to live up to, and another to build.

So, yes we build gear. Yes, we lead events, build teams, and strengthen communities. But only because if we didn’t, we’d have to find some other way to change the world, one day at a time.


Thank you to GORUCK for providing us with samples. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.