My GORUCK Challenge Gear List

My GORUCK Challenge Gear List

I’ve had a lot of inquiries from regular readers and new names regarding the type of gear that I used during my recent GORUCK Challenge. So much interest that I thought it would just be easier to write up a review of the gear I used and point people to it here.

If you don’t know what the GORUCK Challenge is you might be wondering what this is all about – get up to speed by doing some background reading, searching YouTube and Googling. In a nutshell the GORUCK Challenge is a team event, never a race. Think of it as a slice of reality found in the most elite schools in Special Operations.

Got Bricks?

You better have them because it’s a requirement of the GORUCK Challenge gear list. Everyone has to carry bricks in their rucksack. Four if you’re under 150lbs, six if you’re over. I dropped 30lbs of body weight in the six months I trained for the challenge, ending at 160lbs, so I still had to carry six bricks. There are a number of ways to do this, I tried several configurations until I found the one that worked for me. This may not work for you, but with a nagging lower back issue this is what I ended up with.

My GORUCK Challenge Gear List

I wrapped my bricks into two ‘blocks’. One block of four bricks and another of two. Each brick was individually wrapped in duct tape and then wrapped again to form the block. Each block was wrapped in neoprene foam (I just happen to have some left over from something) and then held in place with yet more duct tape.

I placed a foam yoga block at the bottom of my ruck so that it would raise the weight of the bricks up off of the bottom of the rucksack. I then used my Gossamer Gear SitLite pad from my backpacking pack as the base of my configuration, laying it in my ruck and bending it up where it reached the yoga block to form an ‘L’. I placed the four-pack of bricks in first, then the two-pack on top, keeping the two-pack at the bottom of the ruck against the yoga block. I didn’t strap the bricks or affix them in any other way, this setup stayed in place for the entire challenge (~20 miles) and for countless practice runs.

Layering is Everything!

It was 100 degrees in Charlotte at 9pm on the night of the challenge, I had no doubt it was going to be a sweaty 11 hours. We had team t-shirts made up especially for the event (huge thanks to Jen for organizing this) but they were cotton. I chose to wear a long sleeve EMS Techwick shirt as my upper base layer to help wick away the sweat and help keep me as dry as possible. This worked extremely well, even after numerous plunges in and out of fountains and creeks. It dried quickly and kept the cotton shirt from sticking to me.

My GORUCK Challenge Gear List

For my bottom half base layer I wore a pair of Nike Pro Combat dri-fit compression shorts. These not only provided support in all the right places (if you know what I mean) but aided in wicking away sweat and moisture from my skin. On top of these I wore my favorite EMS Excel running shorts, which are light, breathable and very quick drying.

Having wicking material next to my skin on both my upper and lower proved to be the right choice and helped keep sweat off my skin and let me dry off quickly after being in creeks and fountains.

Look after your Feet!

I knew that a part of every GORUCK Challenge was getting wet and muddy. Mine was no exception, but I had been prepared for it and had chosen footwear options that would specifically help me deal with having wet feet. I wore EMS fast mountain coolmax synthetic socks that are breathable and help wick moisture (are you beginning to see the trend here?). These socks also have ventilation panels that let my feel cool down and flat toe seams to avoid any irritation and blisters.

My GORUCK Challenge Gear List

As a precaution I had used a layer of Hydropel ointment on the bottoms of my feet and in all the usual areas where hotspots occur the day before my challenge. This gave me two days worth of pre-treatment for blisters using Hydropel. This small piece of additional foot prep may have significantly saved my feet from blisters. Sure the other factors helped, but using Hydropel a day in advance and again right before my challenge saved my feet. I didn’t have a single blister.

BodyGlide was used to lubricate my shoulders (where the ruck straps would be) and any other spots on my body that might be prone to chaffing – you can use your imagination here. It worked and I highly recommend it as a product!

My GORUCK Challenge Gear List

I wore a pair of Columbia Drainmakers (above) for the challenge mainly because I knew I was going to get my feet completely submerged in water throughout the challenge. These shoes are designed to drain water out of the shoe and away from the feet via a series of holes and drainage ports. They worked ridiculously well and, along with the socks and Hydropel lotion, contributed to keeping my feet dry and blister free throughout the challenge. In fact I was so confident about this combination that I was able to embrace the water and cool down in the stinking heat.

In addition to their remarkable draining capability, the Drainmakers are very lightweight and breathable thanks to a mostly mesh upper. One downside of the mesh though was that I easily snagged it on a rock in a creek and tore a hole in it, but it was pitch dark at the time and I didn’t notice until the next day. I’ll be writing a detailed review of the Columbia Drainmakers soon, so stay tuned.

Gloves and Headlamps

Headlamps are mandatory for all night challenges, which mine was. I already had a Petzl Tikka headlamp that has served me well for years, but wanted to take this opportunity as an excuse to try a different brand. I chose the Princeton Tec Remix headlamp based on a combination of cost, size, weight, and features.

It’s not the lightest, most powerful, or fully featured headlamp on the market, but I liked what it had to offer and the price was reasonable. As it turned out it performed like a boss, continuing to work after being put through some pretty nasty conditions and a long time under water. I’m very happy with it.

My GORUCK Challenge Gear List

I knew that I was going to be on my hands quite a lot as part of the challenge. Pushups, bear crawls, crab walks, drops and runs were just some of the typical PT exercises that you have to do during a challenge. It was a no brainer to have a good pair of gloves to protect my hands. I used a pair of Mechanix Wear Fastfit gloves that I already had. These were lightweight, easy to take on and off, and drained out pretty quickly. I thought I’d only have to put them on when I needed them, but it turned out to be easier (read as ‘took less time’) to wear them for the entire duration of the challenge. I forgot I even had them on.

Hydration and Fuel (Food)

As I said earlier, it was a stinking hot night in Charlotte for the GORUCK Challenge #192. I had been over hydrating for the past two days (makes you learn where every bathroom is) and was carrying a 3-liter Camelbak Hydrolock bladder in my rucksack for the challenge.

I’ve had some previous experience with dehydration and the effects it can have. I’ve also been on the opposite end of over-hydrating with water only and flushing out my muscles to the point of cramping. The bottom line here is that hydration is something you have to take seriously, practice and learn what works for you.

My GORUCK Challenge Gear List

To ensure that I was replacing the electrolytes and minerals that I was losing from exertion and sweat, I used Nuun Active Hydration tablets in my Camelbak bladder. A tube of Nuun tablets contains 12 tablets that each mix with 16 fluid ounces of water. I had about 2.5 liters (85 fluid ounces) of water in my bladder which should have required 5 tablets, but I only had one tube (12 tabs) and didn’t want to run out so I used three tablets per refill of my bladder.

As it turned out I had to refill my bladder three times throughout the length of the challenge, using up nine of the Nuun tablets that I was carrying in my ruck. This worked perfectly and I didn’t have any issues with cramps or symptoms of dehydration other than one time. As part of the challenge it is inevitable that your ruck is going to have to be taken off your shoulders, passed to someone else, and generally shifted around the team during ‘missions’. At some point early on I lost my ruck among the team and ended up with someone else’s – this person had plain water in their bladder and with the heat and effort I had no choice but to chug on their water to stay hydrated. About 15 minutes later I experienced cramp in my calves and had to quickly stretch them out to avoid it getting worse. I eventually got my ruck back, drank my fluid mix and as quickly as they had come the cramps went away. I’m completely sold on the benefits of hydration tablets!

My GORUCK Challenge Gear List

I carried five PROBAR packs with me, plus some team trail mix, for food stops on the challenge. We only had three stops that were long enough to have time to eat. Most of the time I was taking care of more important things like refilling water and emptying out water.

PROBARs are a new product for me. I was sent some boxes of them before the challenge to review as part of my blog and I have to say that after trying a few I love them. Each bar is roughly 450-500 calories and serves as a complete meal replacement. I ate three of these, can’t remember which types, during the challenge and had no issues with hunger or lack of energy from food. I’ll be doing a detailed review of PROBAR soon, so stay tuned for that too.

My GORUCK Challenge Gear List

That’s it, that’s all I carried in my ruck. Pretty much only the things that I needed and nothing more. This is definitely not a recipe or guide for completing the GORUCK Challenge, if you’re thinking about doing one I would highly recommend you take the hardest step and sign-up, it’s all mental after all. Hopefully this loadout will give you some pointers on what gear you’ll need for doing the challenge, be sure to check the official GORUCK packing list for what you have to take.

GORUCK Tough Patch

We started the challenge as 32 individuals hoping to get through the next 11 hours of torture, and we ended up as one team, a unit, a group of amazing friends that I will have a lifelong bond with. I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing another challenge again soon or at least as work/vacation time permits – it was an experience like no other. Sign up and join the GORUCK Tough family, I guarantee you won’t regret it.

Be Sociable, Share!
  • http://www.beuteltiere.org/ Basti Beuteltiere

    Interesting read! I’ve been looking to read about your experiences during (and after) the GRC since you first tweeted about it. Looks like a great experience to you.
    I can imagine what you went through as I had several special ops trainings myself. (Feels now like a long time ago…) Although I will probaply never join a GRC myself (too expensive and too far away for me) let me congratulate you as one who knows what it needs to suceed in such a challenge! (Physicaly as well as mentaly)

    And now: Let’s talk gear! ;-)
    The GR1 is indeed a very alluring pack. Very smart design and very properly build. Bad for me but probaply good for my wallet is that it costs way too much over here in Germany if one considers customs, handling and shipping. Would sell for more than ~400$ here! Too much to explain to my wife why I “need” another pack… ;-)
    Maybe one day I may lay my hands upon one as well…

    Gloves may sound weird to wear in combination with a sport dress. But during my trainings and later on when beeing on mission I really learned to love them. In the end I ended up with a wardrobe full of all kinds of different gloves. Now I know how a woman feels about shoes … ;-)
    Speaking of shoes: Last but not least I’m really looking forward to your review about the Columbia shoes!

    Greetungs from (nearly) the other side of the world,

    Basti

    P.s. Nearly forgot to ask you about the bricks! Is there a “standart sized brick”? Or a requirement how big/ heavy one of those bricks should be? Couldn’t find any information about this on the GR website.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Bricks: Funny you should ask about this. I grew up in the UK with a dad who was a builder, so I have been around bricks for a very long time. Here in the US there are several types of bricks used in construction, but a standard’ish brick is 3x4x8 inches and weighs about 4lbs. Here’s an Instagram photo of my first attempt at wrapping them.

      There were some of my team mates on the challenge that had much smaller sized bricks, that looked like pavers, and upon ruck inspection the Cadre called them out about it even though they weighed almost exactly the same. Generally speaking it’s a standard “house brick” :)

      • http://twitter.com/krisdailey Kris Dailey

        Thanks for the info on the bricks!! I went to Lowes on the weekend to get some to start training and all they had was pavers. Got them anyway but now I will have find some proper house bricks!!

        Congrats on completing the challenge!

      • http://www.beuteltiere.org/ Basti Beuteltiere

        Thanks for the info. That means a challenge proven pack would weight around 10-12 kilos. Offers a better view of what you’ve been throu. It’s about the same weight we used during my forces trainings. Although we normally rejected “artificial” weights and loaded our packs with our standard equipment.
        I’m more and more tempted to join a challenge myself…

  • Eugeneius

    30lbs lost for Goruck! That’s awesome Brian, well done man.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Kinda amazed myself too. I had not planned to drop weight, it just kind of happened from all the extra workouts. TOTAL respect for the folks that do this on a daily basis and keep us safe!

  • http://www.cc-chapman.com/ C.C. Chapman

    Way to go man on getting ready for the challenge AND for completing it!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Thanks CC. I have a pretty good support network and a very understanding wife! It also helped that I have several very good friends that have already completed a GORUCK Challenge and gave me some advice on what to train for. None of them gave away all the details, but enough to give me some key areas to focus on. It’s just as much of a mental challenge as it is physical.

      I had no intention of dropping a lot of weight to prepare, but have to admit that it is a nice benefit of all the training. I know you’re a big fan of the GORUCK packs, have you done a challenge or plan to do one in the future?

      • http://www.cc-chapman.com/ C.C. Chapman

        Jason keeps pushing me to do one and perhaps someday…

        • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

          He can be very persuasive! If you ever choose to do one and it’s on the East Coast I’d be honored to be part of your team. Just give it a few more months ;)

  • http://www.appalachiaandbeyond.com Tim

    Wow! I don’t think I would have lasted 30 minutes on that challenge. It sounds like a blast and a great way to get/stay in shape. I didn’t notice this on the pic you posted before, but it appears the flag is backwards. Just sayin. :P Congrats again on the accomplishment.

    • http://www.beuteltiere.org/ Basti Beuteltiere

      Tere’s an intention why this flag is “backwards”. As far as I know it’s a tradition related from the cavalry riding into battle. This flag symbolizes the forward movement of a troup and is still in use among special forces.

      • http://www.appalachiaandbeyond.com Tim

        Interesting. I didn’t know that. I’ve learned something new. That makes sense too now that I think about it more. If the flag is on a carried pole as in a “Guide On” (I think that’s the right name for it) and moving forward it would indeed be in the position as the above picture.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Here is a great post on the GORUCK site that explains the reversed flag. Snippet: “The reverse flag dates back to the Army’s early history when both cavalry and infantry units would charge ahead as the Stars and Stripes streamed back. When moving forward, therefore, the star field is always to the front as the red and white stripes flow to the back in the breeze. Today, the reverse flag is worn on the right sleeve of military uniforms and symbolizes the courage and respect of those who serve.

      The US flag and all it represents is something I was (and will always be) willing to fight for, and we at GORUCK have made every effort to ensure that GORUCK is a brand that lives up to its association with the USA and Special Forces. Our abstract of the US flag is meant to highlight our pride as a company at having all of our gear built in the USA, by American workers, with American craftsmanship.”

      • http://www.facebook.com/divonbriesen D.I. von Briesen

        I’ve always been of the opinion that a so-called “properly facing” flag on the right shoulder looks like the stupidest thing ever. Stars forward has to be more important than stars on the left. Any flag should and will be seen from both sides, so with the stars forward, you’re simply looking at the other side of the flag- it’s not “backwards” any more than looking at a door from the other side makes the door backwards.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      The challenge is very physical for sure, but it’s also largely mental. You’d be surprised what you can do, whether you’re fit or not, when you’re part of a team – that’s the point – it’s not a race. Heck if I can do it, anyone can do it!

  • http://www.appalachiaandbeyond.com/ Tim

    Interesting. I didn’t know that. I’ve learned something new. That makes sense too now that I think about it more. If the flag is on a carried pole as in a “Guide On” (I think that’s the right name for it) and moving forward it would indeed be in the position as the above picture.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Thanks CC. I have a pretty good support network and a very understanding wife! It also helped that I have several very good friends that have already completed a GORUCK Challenge and gave me some advice on what to train for. None of them gave away all the details, but enough to give me some key areas to focus on. It’s just as much of a mental challenge as it is physical.

    I had no intention of dropping a lot of weight to prepare, but have to admit that it is a nice benefit of all the training. I know you’re a big fan of the GORUCK packs, have you done a challenge or plan to do one in the future?

  • http://www.cc-chapman.com/ C.C. Chapman

    Jason keeps pushing me to do one and perhaps someday…

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    He can be very persuasive! If you ever choose to do one and it’s on the East Coast I’d be honored to be part of your team. Just give it a few more months ;)

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Here is a great post on the GORUCK site that explains the reversed flag. Snippet: “The reverse flag dates back to the Army’s early history when both cavalry and infantry units would charge ahead as the Stars and Stripes streamed back. When moving forward, therefore, the star field is always to the front as the red and white stripes flow to the back in the breeze. Today, the reverse flag is worn on the right sleeve of military uniforms and symbolizes the courage and respect of those who serve.

    The US flag and all it represents is something I was (and will always be) willing to fight for, and we at GORUCK have made every effort to ensure that GORUCK is a brand that lives up to its association with the USA and Special Forces. Our abstract of the US flag is meant to highlight our pride as a company at having all of our gear built in the USA, by American workers, with American craftsmanship.”

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    The challenge is very physical for sure, but it’s also largely mental. You’d be surprised what you can do, wether your fit or not, when you’re part of a team – that’s the point – it’s not a race. Heck if I can do it, anyone can do it!

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Kinda amazed myself too. I had not planned to drop weight, it just kind of happened from all the extra workouts. TOTAL respect for the folks that do this on a daily basis and keep us safe!

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Bricks: Funny you should ask about this. I grew up in the UK with a dad who was a builder, so I have been around bricks for a very long time. Here in the US there are several types of bricks used in construction, but a standard’ish brick is 3x4x8 inches and weighs about 4lbs. Here’s an Instagram photo of my first attempt at wrapping them.

    There were some of my team mates on the challenge that had much smaller sized bricks, that looked like pavers, and upon ruck inspection the Cadre called them out about it. Generally speaking it’s a standard “house brick” :)

  • Jay Smith

    It was awesome to be in the challenge with you man, and I look forward to future GORUCK events with the group from 192 (Ascent, I am looking at you!). I had a very similar load out to yours save for shoes and food choices.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I feel the same way Jay. Meeting over beers at the ruckoff was one thing, but going through the challenge with you and everyone else was an entirely different, and rewarding, experience.

      I’m up for any of the GRT alumni events, but won’t be able to do the Ascent this year because I’ll be climbing Mt. Whitney in CA. Ascent 2013..? Let’s pick some events (Trek, Scavenger) and dates and make sure we get a bunch of #192 together for some fun.

      What food did you take with you on the challenge? I don’t think I was anywhere near you when we had food.

      • Jay Smith

        I wont be doing Ascent till 2013 myself so we got time ;)

        My food was GU Packs, Coconut Water packs, M&M’s, Builder’s Energy Bars and some energy chews. I lost half my food to that nasty creek water when we lost strap privileges.

        • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

          Ah yeah – pitch black, waist deep walking along in the creek, and losing strap privileges – good times. Looks like you threw the paleo diet out the window as much as I did for the GRC :)

  • Jay Smith

    It was awesome to be in the challenge with you man, and I look forward to future GORUCK events with the group from 192 (Ascent, I am looking at you!). I had a very similar load out to yours save for shoes and food choices.

  • Knotty

    What a great adventure. Sure sounds like your planning paid off.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      It helped, but I wasn’t entirely prepared. The not knowing is part of the fun!

  • Knotty

    What a great adventure. Sure sounds like your planning paid off.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    I feel the same way Jay. Meeting over beers at the ruckoff was one thing, but going through the challenge with you and everyone else was an entirely different, and rewarding, experience.

    I’m up for any of the GRT alumni events, but won’t be able to do the Ascent this year because I’ll be climbing Mt. Whitney in CA. Ascent 2013..? Let’s pick some events (Trek, Scavenger) and dates and make sure we get a bunch of #192 together for some fun.

    What food did you take with you on the challenge? I don’t think I was anywhere near you when we had food.

  • Rob

    Okay, say someone is interested in doing this…how would they train to get into better shape for it?

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I’m no expert on fitness, but my approach was to first read everything I could about the challenge and what I would physically need to be able to do. Here are some great starting points:
      Read these:GORUCK Tough: An account of GORUCK Challenge Class 031What’s a GORUCK Challenge? A 13 Hour Adventure that Will Introduce you to YourselfGORUCK > Events > Training > Tips

      Then I learned to run. I hadn’t been able to run any real distance in years, but making a switch to barefoot running style helped me break the 5k mark. From there I increased until I could run 6-8 miles comfortably. I added my ruck to the runs, increasing the weight gradually and added CrossFit 5 days a week to my workouts.

      That got me in better shape than I have been in since college and is pretty much what I am sticking with after the challenge, although I’ll admit I have lightened the ruck load by half :)

      I’m not an expert on training, I did what I thought was necessary to get ready for the challenge. Would I change my workouts for the next challenge – absolutely, but that’s a topic for a whole other blog post :)

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    It helped, but I wasn’t entirely prepared. The not knowing is part of the fun!

  • Rob

    Okay, say someone is interested in doing this…how would they train to get into better shape for it?

  • Jay Smith

    I wont be doing Ascent till 2013 myself so we got time ;)

    My food was GU Packs, Coconut Water packs, M&M’s, Builder’s Energy Bars and some energy chews. I lost half my food to that nasty creek water when we lost strap privileges.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Ah yeah – pitch black, waist deep walking along in the creek, and losing strap privileges – good times. Looks like you threw the paleo diet out the window as much as I did for the GRC :)

  • http://twitter.com/krisdailey Kris Dailey

    Thanks for the info on the bricks!! I went to Lowes on the weekend to get some to start training and all they had was pavers. Got them anyway but now I will have find some proper house bricks!!

    Congrats on completing the challenge!

  • http://about.me/mikepetrucci Mike Petrucci

    Congrats Brian. I knew you could do it and I’m proud to see that you signed up and followed through to the end. Welcome to the family.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      You had a lot to do with it at every stage. Your blog post and account of GORUCK Tough on ITSTactical started it all as fas as I am concerned.

      You convinced me to suck it up and register a challenge (the first mental part) and you gave me some solid advice on what to expect and what NOT to do (i.e. don’t over think it).

      I owe you a lot and definitely a couple of beers, so I hope that we can team up soon for one of the fun alumni events. First round is on me!

  • http://twitter.com/mikepetrucci Mike Petrucci

    Congrats Brian. I knew you could do it and I’m proud to see that you signed up and followed through to the end. Welcome to the family.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    You had a lot to do with it at every stage. Your blog post and account of GORUCK Tough on ITSTactical started it all as fas as I am concerned.

    You convinced me to suck it up and register a challenge (the first mental part) and you gave me some solid advice on what to expect and what NOT to do (i.e. don’t over think it).

    I owe you a lot and definitely a couple of beers, so I hope that we can team up soon for one of the fun alumni events. First round is on me!

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    I’m no expert on fitness, but my approach was to first read everything I could about the challenge and what I would physically need to be able to do. Here are some great starting points:
    Read these:GORUCK Tough: An account of GORUCK Challenge Class 031What’s a GORUCK Challenge? A 13 Hour Adventure that Will Introduce you to YourselfGORUCK > Events > Training > Tips

    Then I learned to run. I hadn’t been able to run any real distance in years, but making a switch to barefoot running style helped me break the 5k mark. From there I increased until I could run 6-8 miles comfortably. I added my ruck to the runs, increasing the weight gradually and added CrossFit 5 days a week to my workouts.

    That got me in better shape than I have been in since college and is pretty much what I am sticking with after the challenge, although I’ll admit I have lightened the ruck load by half :)

    I’m not an expert on training, I did what I thought was necessary to get ready for the challenge. Would I change my workouts for the next challenge – absolutely, but that’s a topic for a whole other blog post :)

  • http://samh.net/ Sam Haraldson

    Great write-up, Brian. T-minus 18 days and counting until I embrace the suck.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      You kept that quiet! It is gonna suck, to begin at least, but if I can do it anyone can do it. Any special preparation or training that you’ve been doing? Other than beer of course ;)

      • http://samh.net/ Sam Haraldson

        Lots of ruck running on pavement, dirt, through puddles, etc. Picking up big rocks while hiking, and daily doses of push-ups and pull-ups. I’ll pass I’m sure but it’s going to be very, very exhausting!

        • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

          You work with those guys so probably already know better than most. Learning to ruck without using the straps wil help you too… that’s when the suck kicks in. You’ll have a blast though, can’t wait for you to have gone through it and hear what you think afterward. Most of my UL friends can’t comprehend it or just think I’m crazy :)

          • http://samh.net/ Sam Haraldson

            *double post removed*

          • http://samh.net/ Sam Haraldson

            Learning how to make straps that aren’t straps isn’t a bad idea either? Sneaky uses for a couple of carabiners anyone? Just gotta be careful not to piss off the cadre methinks. I’ve been taking some heat from some UL’ers for this gear but in all honesty I, like you have been down the UL road and no it’s limitations. I see nothing wrong with backing that philosophy up a bit and finding the balance between durable, long-lasting gear and lightweight gear.

          • http://www.hikinginfinland.com/ Hendrik Morkel

            ULers who give out shit about doing a GORUCK Challenge are clinging to the status quo and aren’t open-minded – which is one of the cornerstones of UL for me. Ignore them.

            Great achievement, @bfgreen:disqus and looking forward to read about your Challenge, @sharalds:disqus!

          • http://samh.net/ Sam Haraldson

            Fuck ‘em.

          • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

            Agreed!

            I like knowing how to go UL, I’ve been perfecting my use of it for years, but just because I choose to do a GORUCK Challenge doesn’t mean I am a sell out (for those of you passionate enough to email me and tell me so “privately”).

            Preparing for my GRC, participating in it, and the camaraderie that I felt with my team mates is second to nothing else I have done – period. I already know I’ll be doing it again…

            @sharalds:disqus and @HendrikMorkel:disqus I can’t wait for you both to experience this for yourselves and to become part of the GRT family. Gonna be epic guys :)

          • http://samh.net/ Sam Haraldson

            Sellout? What is this, the 90s grunge scene? Probably the same people who are constantly telling others about how they like to “hike their own hike”.

  • sharalds

    Great write-up, Brian. T-minus 18 days and counting until I embrace the suck.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    You kept that quiet! It is gonna suck, to begin at least, but if I can do it anyone can do it. Any special preparation or training that you’ve been doing? Other than beer of course ;)

  • sharalds

    Lots of ruck running on pavement, dirt, through puddles, etc. Picking up big rocks while hiking, and daily doses of push-ups and pull-ups. I’ll pass I’m sure but it’s going to be very, very exhausting!

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    You work with those guys so probably already know better than most. Learning to ruck without using the straps wil help you too… that’s when the suck kicks in. You’ll have a blast though, can’t wait for you to have gone through it and hear what you think afterward. Most of my UL friends can’t comprehend it or just think I’m crazy :)

  • sharalds

    Learning how to make straps that aren’t straps isn’t a bad idea either? Sneaky uses for a couple of carabiners anyone? Just gotta be careful not to piss off the cadre methinks.

  • sharalds

    Learning how to make straps that aren’t straps isn’t a bad idea either? Sneaky uses for a couple of carabiners anyone? Just gotta be careful not to piss off the cadre methinks. I’ve been taking some heat from some UL’ers for this gear but in all honesty I, like you have been down the UL road and no it’s limitations. I see nothing wrong with backing that philosophy up a bit and finding the balance between durable, long-lasting gear and lightweight gear.

  • http://www.hikinginfinland.com/ Hendrik Morkel

    ULers who give out shit about doing a GORUCK Challenge are clinging to the status quo and aren’t open-minded – which is one of the cornerstones of UL for me. Ignore them.

    Great achievement, Brian Green and looking forward to read about your Challenge, sharalds!

  • sharalds

    Fuck ‘em.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Agreed!

    I like knowing how to go UL, I’ve been perfecting my use of it for years, but just because I choose to do a GORUCK Challenge doesn’t mean I am a sell out (for those of you passionate enough to email me and tell me so “privately”).

    Preparing for my GRC, participating in it, and the camaraderie that I felt with my team mates is second to nothing else I have done – period. I already know I’ll be doing it again…

    sharalds and Hendrik Morkel I can’t wait for you both to experience this for yourselves and to become part of the GRT family. Gonna be epic guys :)

  • sharalds

    Sellout? What is this, the 90s grunge scene? Probably the same people who are constantly telling others about how they like to “hike their own hike”.

  • http://www.beuteltiere.org/ Basti Beuteltiere

    Thanks for the info. That means a challenge proven pack would weight around 10-12 kilos. Offers a better view of what you’ve been throu. It’s about the same weight we used during my forces trainings. Although we normally rejected “artificial” weights and loaded our packs with our standard equipment.
    I’m more and more tempted to join a challenge myself…

  • http://www.facebook.com/divonbriesen D.I. von Briesen

    I’ve always been of the opinion that a so-called “properly facing” flag on the right shoulder looks like the stupidest thing ever. Stars forward has to be more important than stars on the left. Any flag should and will be seen from both sides, so with the stars forward, you’re simply looking at the other side of the flag- it’s not “backwards” any more than looking at a door from the other side makes the door backwards.

  • John Donewar a.k.a. Newton

    Brian,

    I see by your post that you used compression type shorts under your running shorts.

    Hydration is key but how did you handle the drain aspect since the compression shorts do not have a fly?

    Newton ;-)

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      You had to ask the “pee” question didn’t you? Well I used the age old technique of pulling down the top of my shorts, sticking it out and peeing – as fast as I possible could. Oh and it’s a GORUCK Challenge so DO NOT wander off to pee on your own unless you want your team to be severely punished, and hate you later!

  • Coffee_Master

    Where did you refill your camelback during the challenge?

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Our team had to carry huge water tanks as part of the team weights or “tokens” which allowed us to refill at scheduled points along the route as cadre permitted. It was so hot that we had to stop at a gas station and ask to use their outside water faucet to refill our tanks.

  • Coffee_Master

    I weigh 150 lbs, 6′ 2″. I try to do cardio/pushups/pullups and free weights at home working out, which I’ve been doing for about 6 months. Recently I setup the 6 bricks and taped them in pairs and I plan on increasingly the weight slowly in a ruck and go for long walks/hikes. I’m trying to figure out how in shape you really need to be, what is the way to test myself to know? I’d appreciate any advice or tips, thanks.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I’ll tell you what the guys at GORUCK told me – it’s mostly mental, don’t over think it! That said you’ll want to be in reasonably good shape to take part, but remember that it’s a team event designed to break you down and push you beyond what you are capable of as an individual. “You WILL experience the TEAM, even it takes all night” as Jason would say.

      I started by learning to improve my running while wearing a weighted pack. I started with two bricks and worked my way up to the six plus water bladders and supplies – a full 2L water bladder adds a lot of weight too so plan for that. I ended up having to adjust the way I ran wearing my ruck. Look up “pose running” or “airborne shuffle” on YouTube to get an idea of how you will need to run during the challenge. You’re not going to be doing any normal running.

      Practice doing bear crawls, crab walks and lunges with a weighted ruck and make sure you’re able to run 2-3 miles without stopping and I promise you you’ll be fine. I don’t want to give you a blow by blow account of a challenge because that would spoil the excitement of not knowing what you’re in for.

      It sounds as though you’re in pretty good shape and have a good work out regimen already. I’d recommend some basic crossfit training for those that aren’t as organized as yourself. At the end of the day it’s gonna suck and it’s gonna hurt – know that upfront (which you probably do and is why you signed up right?) and embrace it. If you have concerns shoot me an email and I’ll be happy to answer them privately.

      When is the date of your GRC?

      • Coffee_Master

        As far as being in shape, I look like more of a runner, I’m not that bulky. I do need to practice running a lot more, and learn how to pace myself so I don’t burnout by going too hard. I didn’t sign up for a GRC yet, I wanted to get more to where I feel I need to be and that’s why I’ve been asking some people who did one. The next GRC is in March in my area. Thanks for your helpful response.

        • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

          Sign up now! It will give you the goal to aim for and it’s probably the hardest part. Don’t wait until you’re ready or you’ll never be ready. Just sign up!

  • http://twitter.com/stevemullis Steve Mullis

    Are you me? I’m built almost exactly the same (6’2″, 150-155lbs generally, built like a runner) and am doing the GORUCK in D.C. on 3/2. One thing to note that is hidden on the GRC site: DON”T RUN WITH YOUR RUCK! It’s dangerous to run with that much weight on your back and they say so. Walking at a brisk pace is enough.

    I’ve taken to treating my ruck and its bricks like my baby, I take it everywhere right now to get used to the weight as a constant (dog walks, work, gym, etc.) I also do workouts with the weight as part of my weekly workouts: pushups and air squats with weight, flutter kicks while holding ruck and I also hold the ruck over my head for as long as I can bear for several rounds.

    Good luck!

  • John Donewar

    I sent this message to GoRuck the other day with the included picture.

    Subject: GORUCK Events

    Message:

    “Each brick should weigh 4-6 pounds.”

    I went brick shopping and came across some pavers at Home Depot. They are solid, 1 3/4″ x 3 7/8″ x 7 3/4″ and weigh 4.2 pounds (4 lbs 3.2 ozs).

    I am registered for the May 4th, Austin GoRuck Challenge starting at 22:00.

    My question is will 6 of these “pavers” be approved by the cadre for use in the challenge?

    John

    And I received this answer from GoRuck.

    GR Info

    Hey John,

    Your bricks will not be weighed only counted and they should be wrapped with your name and address on the outside. It’s four bricks if your under 150 lbs and 6 if you’re over. Those are the only criteria.

    -Julie at GRHQ

    So apparently my choice of bricks/pavers meets the criteria.

    • John Donewar

      My so called included picture disappeared from my post so I have added it here. ;-?

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      My two cents:
      1) Why wouldn’t you simply go with traditional (standard) house bricks, unless you can’t find any that is?

      2) Someone on my GRC team had pavers in his pack and upon visual inspection by the cadre at the start of the Challenge they were deemed inadequate right on the spot. From that point forward the cadre singled that perosn out for some special treatment as if they had been deliberately trying to cheat – which I know was not the case.

      The pavers may weigh the same and they may meet the “criteria”, but choose to use them at your own risk. It could be a great way to kickstart your GRC :p

      • John Donewar

        Brian,

        I guess it’s my wanting to work within GoRuck’s rules and the Lifetime Membership in BPL coming out in me. ;-)

        Edit added:

        Also here is some updated information concerning this subject that I received from Jason on the GoRuck web page “Wrapping Bricks”. It’s in the comments section.

        John
        April 10th, 2013
        @ 12:22 am
        Jason,

        “Bricks – four if you are under 150 pounds, six if you’re over. Life isn’t fair. Each brick should weigh 4-6 pounds.”

        I went brick shopping and came across some pavers at Home Depot. They are solid, 1 3/4″ x 3 7/8″ x 7 3/4″ and weigh 4.2 pounds (4 lbs 3.2 ozs).

        Would any of the cadre have an issue with a participant over 150 pounds using 6 of these “pavers” in the challenge?

        jason
        April 10th, 2013
        @ 1:31 am
        John – no Cadre will fault you for that, it’s more about the spirit of it than the specifics. Have fun and train hard.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tom.lapaglia.7 Tom Lapaglia

    Hopefully you still check in here. Thanks for a really thorough review of your pack and contents. For the SitLight pad, do you recall which size you chose? Tom

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Hey Tom, the SitLight pad that I used was a medium size and came as standard with my Gossamer Gear Gorilla backpack. They are sold separately on the GG website, but to be honest and good piece of EVA foam padding will do the trick.

  • Stacey Tovar

    This is exactly what I was looking for! Thank you! Just one question: Which Ruck did you use?

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Great to hear this was helpful for you Stacey. My ruck was the GORUCK GR1, it’s just about perfect for everything. I believe that as a female you are only required to carry four bricks, so you could easily use the smaller ECHO ruck (my daily Crossfit pack) or the RADIO RUCK which can still hold six bricks but is smaller than the GR1.

  • AllDayRuckoff

    Great information! My only suggestion would be the addition of a dry bag to protect your food from water exposure. Nothing worse then taking out food and seeing that salt water has gotten into it!

  • Pratz

    I’m a little late to the discussion (ok, way late!) but wanted to point out this was a very well written article with the intent of helping people out. Great job! I’m thinking about doing the GRC this fall and your article does provide good ideas around which I can experiment and see what works best for me. And congratulations for completing the challenge! If you are still reading this thread, I did have a question though: the GR1 does not come equipped with a sternum strap. Did you have any issues because of this (or the lack of)? Thanks again!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I do still check for comments :) I get asked about sternum straps a lot and you’re correct, the GORUCK rucks dod not come with them.

      For my Challenge I added a sternum strap to my GR1 by stealing pieces from other backpacks that I already had. Once I had the parts it was easy to attach them to both shoulders straps via the MOLLE loops. The sternum straps were not necessary for the majority of the challenge and rucking in general, the weight of the pack will keep it on you, but it was a life saver when it came to doing bear crawls and stopped the ruck from hitting me in the back of the head.

      Since then I believe that GORUCK sells a sternum strap that can be purchased separately. You could also just go buy a replacement sternum strap at REI for a fraction of the price. Be warned, there are parts of the challenge where you will be constantly taking your ruck on and off and swapping it with others, make sure you don’t have your sternum strap buckled unless you really need it or it will slow you down and put you in a world of (cadre) pain.

      I’ll end by giving you the same advice my friends gave me when I was thinking about doing the challenge. It’s mostly mental and the hardest part is signing up. You’re way more capable of amazing things that you realize, so sign up and do a challenge and see just what you can really do. // Brian

      • Pratz

        Thanks for the tip Brian. I did sign-up and just received my ruck (Java) amongst other things. I ordered their sternum strap too, so now I have it in case I need it. The yoga brick is an awesome idea BTW. I did read some of your other blogs (compass navigation, etc) and found them extremely informational. Keep up the excellent work!

        • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

          Thanks! Well it sounds as though you are all set. The yoga brick weighed almost nothing, but helped raise the center of the weight higher up and off of my lower back/spine. If I were taller (or if I had the GR0) I may not have needed the yoga brick. Congrats on signing up. So what is the date of your challenge and where will it be?

          • Pratz

            Sept 12, Chicago. Since I got plenty of time, I was thinking about stretching the 6-week plan into a 12 week one to better prepare the body. Did you follow their 6-week plan? Plus I have a couple of half marathons in spring & summer I’m busy training for, so it’s going to be a good mix of running and goruck training.

          • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

            I don’t think there were any “training plans” when I did it (June ’12). I did a lot of running, push-ups, squats, lunges, and then joined a Crossfit box. It was Crossfit that got me in shape. I stuck with it ever since. 40lbs down and better than ever!