Whenever someone thinks of tough and durable backpacks, few big brand names always come to the mind. GORUCK is one of those companies. Ever since it was founded and gained some attraction, GORUCK has been an infamous name in the backpack industry. It seems that almost everyone in the community is talking about the company. GORUCK has earned its share of fans and loyal enthusiasts who don’t shy away from praising and even recommending it at every opportunity they get. While it all began with the GORUCK GR1, they went a step further and made an even better bag and launched the GR2 backpack. The GR2 comes with almost everything the GR1 had and adds some extra organization to it. It is also capable of storing more items in almost the same form factor.
However, GORUCK didn’t have it that easy in the beginning. It has got one of the most interesting origin stories among all brands. It is said that the founder Jason McCarthy, who returned from the Special Forces, was going through a heartbreak and decided to make use of all his military experiences that he had while he was overseas and build a backpack that was as durable as the military rucks but for a more general consumer. He wanted to create a bag that could tackle almost every scenario, be it an urban commute or a trek in the hills. This resulted in him founding the company. Before GORUCK made it big, he used to wear his bags to the race and then sell it in the parking lot after the event ended. Eventually the partnership between him and Tough Mudder became stronger and that led to the creation of the GORUCK Challenges which made GORUCK famous. Enough about the backstory, it’s about time we dive in and see how good the GORUCK GR2 is and is it actually as durable and indestructible as people have been claiming.
GORUCK has a large number of backpacks that range from small daypacks to medium backpacks for commutes and also up to travel focused backpacks. The GR2 is their first travel-focused rucksack. It is one of the toughest and most durable travel backpacks that are available out there. It has the perfect for you to take it on a week-long trip and it is also durable enough to way more than that. It is constructed from well-selected and durable 1000D Cordura material. It also has hardware made of mil-spec plastics and can easily sustain years of usage and rough use. GR2 has a minimalist design but is more than capable of holding almost everything that you may require in your journey. It has multiple compartments and makes it very easy for you to organize all your stuff in a proper manner. Let’s take a look at a few of its highlights.
Highlights Of the GORUCK GR2
- Opens Flat: Like the GR1, the GORUCK G2 shares a design that is similar to the medical rucks that are used by special forces. The GR2 opens flat just like the medical rucks. This means the whole storing part of the bag is completely accessible at once. This makes it very easy to pack the bag and also easy to organize the contents of the bag.
- Silent Zipper Pulls: The GORUCK GR2 comes with YKK zippers which are constructed from parachute 550 cord. This not only makes the zips easier to pull but also makes the pull completely silent. So you can open it up without attracting more attention then you need and also not disturb anyone around. The YKK zippers are also glove-friendly.
- MOLLE Attachments: On the exterior the GORUCK GR2 comes with 4 different rows of external and internal MOLLE webbing. This is different from the GR1 which had only 3 rows of webbings. MOLLE is short for “modular, lightweight load-carrying equipment”. Using a MOLLE webbing you can attach multi-tools, knives, magazine pouches, and many other types of equipment to your GR2 bag. This lets you customize the GR2 however you want and fit it according to your requirements. The GR2 has webbings on the front as well as both the sides.
- Inner Compartment: The GR2has two different compartments. The inner compartment of the GR2 comes with multiple pockets to store a wide array of objects. It comes with a total of 3 internal pockets. One of them is a large elastic pocket while the other one is a large mesh zippered pocket. The third and final internal pocket is a small go-to pocket.
- Outer Compartment: One main differentiating factor of the GR2 is that it comes with an additional outer compartment. This has 4 extra pockets. On one side there is a large mesh zippered pocket with internal dividers and a smaller mesh pocket on the bottom. The other side has two zippered pockets, a small one and a larger one. The smaller pocket is completely concealed while the larger one is a mesh pocket.
- Extra Padded Straps: The GR2 is made for a specific travel. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that it is capable of storing a lot of items at a time. It also has an additional compartment which means that the bag can get a bit heavy if it is filled completely. The additional weights might result in some pain in the shoulders which can be harmful in the long run. So to avoid this, the GORUCK GR2 also comes with extra padding on the shoulder straps and the top handles. This not only makes the GR2 easier to carry even when filled but it also makes it more comfortable.
- Bombproof Laptop Compartment: This is one of the key advertising points of the GORUCK backpacks. It comes with a separate compartment to store your laptop. The compartment is located next to your back and comes with extra reinforcement for the laptop. So, according to GoRucks, even if you carry your bag to combat, your laptop will remain secure and protected. While the GR1 could fit laptops up to 17 inches, the GR1 can go beyond that.
- Frame Sheet: To compliment the laptop compartment, the GR2 comes with a hard frame sheet made of plastic. Having this extra plastic frame sheet balances the laptop compartment and makes the bag more stabilized. This allows it to carry even more weight comfortably. However, if you want, you can remove this frame if you don’t require it.
- False Bottom: The GORUCK GR2 also comes with a false bottom. This is located inside the laptop compartment. The main purpose of this is to keep your laptop from hitting the hard bottom when you lay the bag straight. This keeps your laptop protected if you accidentally drop the bag vertically.
- External Slant Pocket: Along with its 3 internal pockets, the GR2 also comes with another external pocket. This external pocket is a slant pocket and it makes it easier to access the keys, cards, snacks, and other small items quickly.
- Rainproof: One important feature that is anticipated from most backpacks is to be rainproof. The GR2 delivers this. This bag is highly water-resistant or you can say that it is rainproof.
- Optimized for Hydration: GORUCK has its own Hydration Bladder systems that are tough, and are very easy to clean. Hydration Bladder systems are the perfect choice for hydration on the move. The GR2 has an interior MOLLE webbing that lets you clip the hydration bladder with a carabiner. The hose can be fed under the top handle through the exit port on the handle.
Design of the GORUCK GR2
When it comes to the design and appearance of the GORUCK GR2, there isn’t much to look forward to in the GORUCK GR2. It has what one would say a very minimalist look. The exterior of the bag couldn’t be any simpler. For the storing units, there’s a single big compartment that houses most of the stuff and there’s another small slant pocket on the front. That’s how minimal it is. For the purpose of attaching different Molle gears to the GR2 there are 4 rows of Molle Webbings which is one more than the 3 rows of molle webbings on the GR1. The molle webbings have a very straightforward design and completely blend with the backpack. In fact you won’t even notice the molle webbings and the bag will seem like a single block if you look at it from a little further away. There’s hardly any difference between the GR2 or any other normal backpack and from a distance you can’t even tell them apart.
The GORUCK GR2 has no branding whatsoever on the outside. This is to comply with the Army uniforms regulation 670-1, which forbids backpacks from having any kind of corporate logos on their exterior. However, it comes with a 2″ x 3″ velcro patch on the outside. This hook and loop panel lets you attach any logo that you want to attach to it. Since there is nothing written on the bag’s exterior this velcro allows you to customize the exterior of the bag by attaching your custom logo. The only branding on the GR2 is the GORUCK brand logo inside the bag. You can also attach some additional gears to the velcro patch.
Talking about sizes, the GR2 comes in three different volumes. The smaller variant has a 26L capacity, while the medium variant has 34 L capacity and the larger one has a 40 L capacity. The GORUCK GR2 comes in different colors and patterns. These keep changing now and then. However the most common color is the Black color which is also the one that is sold the most. The bag has a military look and the molle webbings let you attach many kinds of equipment to customize it according to your needs. If you were to ask me, I would say that with its minimalist design the GR2 has the perfect look for every occasion.
GORUCK GR2 Organization
GORUCK GR2 is a travel-oriented backpack which means that it has to be capable of storing a large number of items while also maintaining a minimal size. This is why the GR2 comes with an extra compartment which makes it very easy for storing and organizing your items. Thanks to its flat opening design, which means the complete storing compartment is accessible at a time. This makes it easier for the user to be able to store things in the bag in a more organized manner. One shouldn’t be put off by its slim design because the GR2 is capable of holding a lot more than what you might think at first glance. And even if that doesn’t meet your requirements, you can always organize it to fit even more because of how easy it is to organize. This makes it more flexible for multiple purposes so you know that you can store even more if required.
On the front of the bag there’s a slash pocket which is the most easily accessible part of the backpack. However, since its purpose is to store quickly accessible things, the pocket doesn’t have that much space to store a lot. It doesn’t have that much volume at all and due to this if the bag is filled, then you will have a hard time trying to fit anything at all in the front pocket. But you might be able to store a few things if the main compartment isn’t filled out. The best you could do is store flat and slime items, like your passports, plane tickets, and other similar items.
The GR2 also features high-quality zippers that result in much easier and silent pulls. It comes with YKK zippers which are constructed from parachute 550 cord. These zippers are one of the best zips that can be found in any of the backpacks available in the market. The tube is made of paracord and is shrinking in nature. The GR2 also has a completely double-layered rain flap on its zipper channels. This not only keeps the mud and dirt out but also makes it easier to pull the zippers. The zippers are very simple and work as expected. They are also very easy to repair. Another great thing is that the zippers are capable of very silent pulls so that you don’t get more attention then you want and you can pull the zippers without disturbing anyone. The zippers are also very glove friendly in case you were wondering.
No travel backpack is ever complete without having a compartment for your laptop. After all that is one key part of your life and should remain protected. So GORUCK being the brand it is, comes with a” Bombproof Laptop Compartment” under the shoulder straps on the backside of the bag. This is self-proclaimed merit and has been given to it not by us but by GORUCK themselves. In fact this is one of the key advertising points of the GR2 backpack. The laptop compartment is raised and has extra padding in the compartment which gives it some extra reinforcement and adds extra protection for the laptop, and keeps it safe no matter how badly the bag is handled (up to some extent). So, according to GoRucks, even if you carry your bag to combat, your laptop will remain secure and protected. The only minor hiccup with this compartment is its slightly awkward location. It is located behind the shoulder straps and this makes it a little hard to access. Other than that, everything’s perfect. While even the bigger GR1 could fit only laptops up to 17 inches, the GR1 can fit all laptops, even those greater than 17 inches. There’s also a hard frame sheet made of plastic present inside the laptop compartment. Having this extra plastic frame sheet balances the laptop compartment and makes the bag more stabilized. This allows them to carry even more weight comfortably. It keeps the laptop protected at all times.
On the exterior of the GORUCK GR2 you will find 4 different rows of molle webbings located just below the slash pocket. This is one more than the GR1 which had only 3 rows of webbings. The molle webbings can be used to add some extra organization to your backpack. MOLLE stands for “modular, lightweight load-carrying equipment” and they can be used by the user to attach multi-tools, knives, magazine pouches, and many other types of equipment to your GR2 backpack.
The one part where the GR2 shines the most is the main storage compartment. It has almost twice the number of pockets than the GR1. Well, to be more accurate, the Gr2 has a total of 7 pockets while the GR1 had only 3 pockets. This is because of an additional compartment on the GR2. As a result of having an extra compartment, the GR2 can accommodate a huge amount of items while also maintaining a minimal size. The inner compartment is almost similar to the one found on the GR1. It consists of two zippered pockets on the front panel. This compartment of the GR2 comes with a total of 3 internal pockets. One of them is a large elastic pocket while the other one is a large mesh zippered pocket. The third and final internal pocket is a small go-to pocket. The pocket on top is a solid 1/3 pocket, while the lower pocket is a 2/3 mesh pocket. There’s also a third pocket for small easy to pick items. For those who like different colorful setups, will love the color-coordinated zippers.
As we said, the GR2 also features an additional outer compartment. This compartment has 4 extra pockets. On one side there is a large mesh zippered pocket with internal dividers and a smaller mesh pocket on the bottom. The other side has two zippered pockets, a small one and a larger one. The smaller pocket is completely concealed while the larger one is a mesh pocket.
Finally you will also find some molle webbings, 4 rows of molle webbing to be precise, on the exterior of the bag. You can use these webbings to attach different molle gear and extend the storing and organizing capacity of the bag even further. On the lower section a sleeve with a little compression on the sides. You can use this to insert a ruck plate frame sheet. You could also add a second laptop if you want. There are 4 rows of molle webbings on the front as well as both the sides of the bag. There’s also an additional 4 rows on the inner compartment of the bag.
GORUCK GR2 Quality and Comfort
Be it the GR2 or the GR1, if there’s one thing that the GORUCK is known for, then it is for the impeccable quality of its bags. This is something everyone will agree to even if they are someone who isn’t that fond of GoRuck. Thanks to its almost perfect quality bags GORUCK has earned their share of fans and loyal enthusiasts who don’t shy away from praising and even recommending it at every opportunity they get. A simple google search will confirm that for you. Be it Reddit or any other discussion boards or forums, the name GORUCK is certain to pop up whenever there’s some talk about bags.
The GR2 like any other GORUCK bag has the same materials, same stitching, and even the same patterns. It is impressively built and is perfectly stitched with not a single stitch out of place. Some of this quality can be credited to the world-class soft-goods factories where the GR2 was manufactured. Thanks to its impressive build quality, you don’t have to worry about damaging the bag while throwing it around.
Going true to its nature, the back panel of the GR2 is also having some extra padding just like the top handle and the shoulder straps. It is made from 1000D material, which is the same material that the other parts of the GR2 are made of. But compared to the others, the back panel has been modified a little, and hence it is breathable. This makes it extra comfortable and also absorbs some sweat if that’s what you were wondering.
Grabbing the top handle is one way of lifting the bag and moving it around. The handle has extra padding and is comfortable to hold and carry around. The GR2 is capable of storing a lot of items at a time. This is a good thing to have, but this might make the bag a bit heavy sometimes. This in turn might hurt your shoulders if the bag is carried on your back for a long time. So to avoid this, the GORUCK GR2 comes with extra padded shoulder straps. Even the top handles have some extra padding. This not only makes it easier to carry heavier loads but it also makes it more comfortable.
There’s also a hook-and-loop flap just below the top handle that you can use as an exit port for Hydration Bladders like GoRuck’s own Hydration Bladder systems which are tough and are very easy to clean. Hydration Bladder systems are the perfect choice for hydration on the move. The GR2 has an interior MOLLE webbing that lets you clip the hydration bladder with a carabiner. The hose can be fed under the top handle through this exit port beneath the handle. The only thing missing with the GR2 is a side handle which would have made an already great backpack even more perfect. But this is something you can live with thanks to its extra padded top handle.
Like the top handles, the shoulder straps on the GORUCK GR2 also comes with extra padding. They are one of the most comfortable straps you will find in any of the backpacks available out there in the market. However you should keep this in mind that the straps are a little hard when they first arrive. They eventually get more comfortable after some usage. This is a minor hiccup and most users won’t be affected by this unless you have been using a different GORUCK backpack before this.
GORUCK sells a few extra pieces of equipment like the padded hip belt, which attaches via the molle webbing and a sternum strap. Given its price tag, it would have been better if GORUCK had this by default and required buying an extra add on. Overall, GORUCK GR2 is built from high-quality materials and you shouldn’t experience any problems like scars. However if you do experience that, you should be happy to know that the GR2 comes with a Scars Lifetime Guarantee. So if you break anything, GORUCK will fix that for you, free of cost.
GORUCK GR2 vs GR3
GORUCK GR2 is a beast of a bag and can easily defeat most other backpacks available in terms of its sheer storing capacity and form factor. But how does it fare against GoRucks own GR3? Let’s find out.
GORUCK GR2 vs GR3 Sizing
Because it is a travel-oriented backpack, the GR2 already had a lot of space in terms of storing volume. But the GR3 goes even further and packs a lot of additional storing capacity.
The GORUCK GR2 packs a fair amount of volume in a smaller form factor. This is because of the additional outer compartment in the GR2. The GR2 comes in three different volumes. The smaller variant has a 26L capacity, while the medium variant has 34 L capacity and the larger one has a 40 L capacity. Height wise they are all 2 inches apart. So the 26L is 18 inches tall whereas the 34 Lone is 20 inches tall and finally the 40 Lone is 22 inches tall.
The GORUCK GR3 is a much bigger bag than the GR2. It comes in only a single variant that is the one with 45 L volume. Height-wise it is the same as the 40 L variant of GR2 that is 22 inches tall.
GORUCK GR2 vs GR3 Exterior Design
There are a few differences between the GR2 and the GR3 on the outside.
The GORUCK GR2 features a slant pocket on the outside and comes with a 2X3 velcro to attach things. And it also features a Molle webbing system for attaching accessories. In total GR2 has 4 rows of molle webbing on the front and also on both sides as well.
The GR3 has a lot of exciting features on the exterior. First of all, there’s finally a side handle on both sides. Finally! It also has external compression straps which the GR2 doesn’t. This isn’t all. There’s also an integrated hip belt on the GR3. Talking about similarities, like the GR2, the GR3 features a slant pocket on the outside and also a 2X3 velcro to attach things. It also features a Molle webbing system like the GR2 and has a total of 4 rows of molle webbing on the front. The only difference is that instead of having molle webbings on the sides, the GR3 has them on the bottom.
GORUCK GR2 vs GR3 Interior Design
Here also the GR2 and the GR3 differ a lot. While the GR3 has just a single internal compartment, the GR2 has an Inner and an outer compartment as well. But the one on the GR3 has more depth.
Inner Compartment: The inner compartment of the GR2 comes with a total of 3 internal pockets. One of them is a large elastic pocket while the other one is a large mesh zippered pocket. The third and the final internal pocket is a small go-to pocket where you can keep regularly used items for easy access.
Outer Compartment: The outer compartment of the Gr2 has 4 extra pockets. On one side there is a large mesh zippered pocket with internal dividers and a smaller mesh pocket on the bottom. The other side has two zippered pockets, a small one and a larger one. The smaller pocket is completely concealed while the larger one is a mesh pocket.
GR3: Unlike GR2, the GR3 comes with only a single but large compartment. The top side of this compartment has 3 pockets. Two of these are mesh pockets while the third one is a large nylon pocket. The other side of the compartment is entirely covered with a velcro surface. This makes it easier to organize things as they stick together. Also since the GR3 is a little large, you can stack one layer of the item on top of another layer.
GORUCK GR2 vs GR3 Laptop Compartment
Both the GR2 and the GR3 have a laptop compartment at the same location, that is on the back beneath the shoulder straps. They both also have a Frame Sheet inside the compartment. The only difference is that it is easier to take out the laptop from the compartment in GR3 because of its bigger size. That’s it.
GORUCK GR2 34L vs 40L
This is where most people get confused i.e which variant do they choose the 34L one or do they go for some extra storage with the 40L one. Well, let’s find the answer.
GORUCK GR2 34L vs 40L Specs
Both variants are almost the same and have the same features as well. This shouldn’t be a surprise after all they are the same pack back, just different variants. The only difference is size and weight. The 34L variant has 12.5″W x 20” H x 9” D dimensions and weighs 4.35 lbs while the 40L variant has 12.5″W x 22” H x 9” D dimensions and weighs 4.75 lbs. Other than this they are both identical.
GORUCK GR2 34L vs 40L – Which one to choose?
The answer to this question largely depends on your use cases and for what purposes you want to use the bag. The 34L variant on its own is a very capable backpack and can accommodate a lot of your items. With this you can easily go on to travel for a week or two or even more depending on your needs. To sum it up, the 34L is perfect for your weekend travels. However, if you are planning to travel for a much longer period and need to have the assurance to be able to pack a lot more stuff to last you a long time then you can go for the 40L variant. The size is almost the same and it also weighs just a little more. But in exchange for this you get a lot of extra space with the GR2 40l.
Conclusion: If you are a weekend traveller go for the GR2 34L else go for the 40L if you need extra space.
GORUCK GR2 Pros & Cons
GORUCK GR2 Verdict
The GR2 is a very versatile backpack and is one of the best backpacks out there. It is made from premium materials like the 1000D and can easily handle almost anything, be it the rugged hiking on rough trails or roaming around cities on the street. It is also storing a lot. It has a flat opening which makes it easy to access everything that is inside. With so many pockets and compartments, it also makes it easy to keep everything organized. It might be a little on the pricier, but you are also getting a lot in return and it will easily last you for many years. Well, if all that sounds about right to you, then the GR2 is the perfect backpack for all your needs.