GORUCK Echo Review

GORUCK Echo Review

Backpacks are an essential part of my travel gear no matter where I am traveling. Whether it is the versatile Tom Bihn Aeronaut or one of many day packs I always carry a backpack when I travel. I finally had the chance to test out a new favorite pack which is made by GORUCK.

go·ruck [verb go + verb ruck] noun ruck is short for rucksack (aka backpack), it’s also a verb: to ruck is to move with a rucksack, and implies action, energy, and purpose.

The founder of GORUCK, Jason McCarthy, spent time in the mountains, jungles and cities around the world while in the Special Forces. When he set out to create a pack it was going to be tough and able to withstand the elements.

GORUCK Echo Review

A Packed GORUCK Echo

GORUCK has a large line of packs ranging from large 40 liter packs and smaller packs like the GR Echo that I was interested in. It is a 16 liter pack which slightly bigger than the 11 liter day pack I have carried since 2005. I like a backpack that is big enough to carry the basics like water, a camera, and snacks but small enough not to weigh me down in the city or the elements.

GORUCK Echo Review

Pack, 2 USA Velcro Flags, and Water Bladder

The GORUCK Echo Review

Material: 1000 D CORDURA

Size: 11.5″W x 16.5″H x 4.25″D

Laptop: Protects the iPad and up to a 13″ MacBook Pro

Hydration: 1.5 liter hydration bladder (not included)

Volume: 16 Liters

Weight: 1.95 pounds (0.90 kilograms)

GORUCK states the bag is water resistant. It can be completely submerged and remain dry but is not 100% water proof. However, I have found it keeps the contents of my pack completely dry in the rain without any issues.

GORUCK Echo Review

Inside my Echo

Packing a GORUCK Echo

One of the reasons I chose the Echo pack was the laptop compartment on the back for my 13″ MacBook Pro and the built-in optional bladder (basically an optional CamelBak compartment). When not using this compartment inside the pack it is another great pouch for storage.

In this photo you can see two zippered pouches inside the front side of the bag. A secondary slot is behind the contents which works well for books, journals, or portable hard drives .

Inside My GORUCK Echo

The contents can vary but this is what I packed on my way to Petra, Jordan and they are usually pretty standard no matter where I am headed.

GoPro HERO3+: Black Edition

GoPro Suction Cup Mount

GoPro Accessories

Belkin 3-Outlet Mini Travel Surge Protector

Bellroy Passport Wallet

Badlands by Tony Wheeler (book)

Misc. travel pouch


RuggedKey Flash Drive

MacBook Pro 13″ (pictured below in the zippered pocked in the back)

GORUCK Echo Review

Laptop Sleeve

What I like

The size is perfect for day hiking the city or trekking through the jungle. It is also the right size to fit under the seat in front of you on the plane. Many packs I own I have to stuff under seat leaving no room for my legs but the Echo leaves plenty of space. This also forces me to pack smart and only what I need.

It is not going to carry a DSLR and all of your lenses but it will carry a DSLR, extra lens, external hard drive, backup battery source, water bottle (or hydration pack) a book or two, and a MacBook Pro (or similar 13″ laptop). If I am going on a seriously photography tour I would need to bring a backpack that could accommodate more accessories. The Echo packs everything I need for most trips.

GORUCK Echo Review

Flat Angle of Echo Packed

The durability of the outer material, access to multiple easy-access pockets, and comfortable shoulder straps are also a plus.

A nice bonus is the 3×5 velcro area on the front of the pack. Order your choice of American flags by GORUCK or your order a country of your choice from Amazon or eBay to stick on the front. You can even order a custom patch online like I did (not from GORUCK)

GORUCK Echo Review

With Triphackr Patch

What I Don’t Like

The price is a little high for this size backpack at $235 but the trade off is durability and a great long-lasting pack. I expect to use this for many years to come. My previous day-pack by Osprey had a great run of 8 years and was nowhere near this quality. When I buy an expensive backpack I want to know it is going to last a longtime and protect my gear. Knowing GORUCK is all of those things I know am happy with my purchase.


I recommend this pack for anyone looking for something that is going to withstand anything. It is versatile enough for an travel gadget freak like me and can protect all of my gear when I am leaving the city and heading exploring the great outdoors.

Read more about the GORUCK Echo at GORUCK.com.

More GORUCK Backpacks

GORUCK Echo Review

GORUCK at Petra

I plan to use this pack for many years to come and even plan to take a look at GORUCK‘s larger backpacks. They make a large variety of shapes and sizes that fit everybody’s needs.

There are large overnight packs good for weekends or backpacking.

And there are more packs ranging from 16 liters to 40 liters and many in between.

Check out what GORUCK has to offer on GORUCK.com.

I have been traveling to over 100 countries by using the methods I share on this site. My goal is to maximize every trip and make the most of my adventures. Join me on Instagram.

  • Had not heard of GORUCK before, but seems they have everything you could want in a backpack covered and then some! Love the fact that you can personalize it 🙂

    • They make a great backpack. They are most expensive than other options but they are also incredibly durable which is why I love mine. They sell a few patches on their site but I had that triphackr patch made for a few bucks on another site. I love that velcro area for just that purpose.

  • Vaeltaja

    GORUCK packs are bombproof. 1000D Cordura is practically invicible material. But it a bit on the heavy side. Have you ever looked at the EXPED Cloudburst line of packs for minimalist purposes? 15/ 25L sizes, basically a waterproof sack with straps.. I have a 15L and it is great for day hikes and as a compactable spare bag.

    • I love my GORUCK but I agree it is on the heavy side. I will take a look at the EXPED cloudburst. Waterproof is great and the lighter the better for long hikes or just packing it away from a day pack. Thanks for the tip.

  • Looks great. A little pricey and a shame it isn’t 100% waterproof for that price, but still looks rugged enough to last!

    • It is on the high side but I have a feeling it will last forever. and they do a great job of keeping contents dry in the rain. I don’t plan on submerging it anytime soon but on their site there are plenty of examples of them soaking the bag. It does a good job keeping things dry but it is not 100% waterproof.

  • outcomeagent

    is the echo large enough for running shoes, windbreaker, water bottle and a few small snacks?

    • I pack mine to the max but have never attempted to pack shoes in it. They should fit with those other items. As long as you keep the interior front pockets empty I think you should be fine.

  • Rod

    Just got this pack in black. what site did you purchase your custom patch at?

  • Jason

    Goruck makes the best bags. I have 2. Yes they are expensive but you’re buying a bag made in America with a lifetime waruntee. Their bags are meant to carry heavy & can take any punishment you throw at them. There’s a size that’s right for everyone and the ability to personalize each ruck to your needs makes them a must buy !!

    • I agree, Jason. The price is a little higher but they last forever. I have punished mine and it looks great. And you are right there is a great selection to find the right size you need.

  • Bill

    Can you post a pic with 1 DSLR body & 1 lens & a 13″ MacBook Pro? Maybe a water bottle? I’m between this Echo and the GR0. Just want to make sure I can actually fit the above in this one.

  • Raoul

    Can this bag be flattened/squashed, to fit into a bigger bag (45L) ?
    My aim is to use this bag for day trips while traveling, but able to store it flat or squashed in my travel bag (45L) when in transit/flights.