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 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.
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.
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.
Misc. travel pouch
MacBook Pro 13″ (pictured below in the zippered pocked in the back)
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.
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)
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
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.