For the second part of my GORUCK GR1 review I’ll focus on the organization aspects of the bag, and how this unique layout allows it to fulfill two roles.
In part I of this review, I covered how the construction of the pack lends itself to how well it carries. This attention to detail continues into the pocket organization and internal construction of the pack.
Beginning on the exterior of the pack, the slanted zip pocket is nothing out of the ordinary for backpacks. However, the GR1 doesn’t forsake this classic and functional feature. I find that I tend to keep a small pouch inside so that instead of digging around in the bottom of the pocket–I can pull the entire pouch out to grab the item I need. At the office, this tends to be the business cards and specialty writing tools. While on the trail I like to keep some snacks, my hat and gloves, and occasionally my map in this pocket. One rarely-mentioned fact is that the outside of the GR1 is a double layer Cordura. This adds an extra degree of protection to the items inside the front pocket especially when water is main concern.
Examining the main compartment of the pack is where you’ll find what really makes the GR1–and the entire line of GORUCK packs–excel in such a wide variety of roles. At the very top, you’ll find a small zip pocket with the coyote zipper pull. This little pocket stays up and out of the way, and is protected by a double layer of Cordura on the outside with a single layer on the inside. This is where I normally keep, sunglasses, my 35mm point and shoot, and whatever else I want to have well-protected but easily accessible while I’m on the trail. If I’m in the office I keep my ID, an extra set of contact lenses, and few extra pens there.
Opposite of this pocket is the interior three layers of MOLLE webbing. This section is endlessly modular, and I’ve used it in a variety of ways during my tenure with the GR1. Since I constantly change what I carry here I won’t bore you with the details, but it’s a great place to clip individual items, carry an admin pouch, or more than likely some combination of both.
At the bottom of the pack is a large mesh pocket on the exterior side, paired with an internal sleeve on the interior side of the pack. The mesh pocket is great for those items that would normally be relegated to floating around the bottom of my pack, and on work days it’s where my charger and cables live. The interior sleeve is nice to protect documents from moving around, and for compressing an extra layer while still keeping the pack well organized.
The final pocket on the GR1 is the dedicated laptop/hydration sleeve on the back of the pack. This well padded pocket is also the access for the frame sheet that lends itself to the GR1’s rigidity. Through the week my laptop stays here, and when I’m on the trail or bike a hydration bladder takes its spot.