GORUCK Rucker 3 Review

Disclosure: Links to other sites may be affiliate links that generate us a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Rogue's Cyber Monday sale is still featuring some HOT DEALS. Check them out while they last!
GORUCK's Cyber Week sale is live! Save big on events like the GORUCK challenge, and more.

Let’s review the Rucker 3 backpack from GORUCK.

This is the 3rd generation of GORUCK’s Rucker backpack – it’s made specifically for fitness training purposes.

GORUCK Rucker 3 Versus Rucker 2
That’s the Rucker 3 on the right – with the reflective panel and blue MOLLE. It’s a 20L ruck (the only version available at launch.) The other bag is a 25L Rucker 2.

We’re going to focus on these features, and what is new and improved from the last version (the Rucker 2).

The Rucker is the ultimate backpack as fitness tool – and is a far better choice than the GR1 or Bullet for this purpose. And now it gets even better with this 3rd version.

Why? That’s what we’ll explain in this review.

In this review of the Rucker 3 we’ll take a close up look at Rucker 3 Versus Rucker 2.

GORUCK Rucker 3 The newest version of the Rucker is now available. How has it improved? Less abrasive straps, improved frame sheet, reflective stripe, and a lumbar pad - our review ruck is on order - check back soon for full details - for now click through to see the details.
GORUCK Ruck Plates The best weight for your GORUCK backpack is the ruck plate. Yeah, they are expensive - but the take up the least amount of room so you can pack useful items and they are quite secure in the proper GORUCK rucksack.
GORUCK MACV-1 Rucking Boot Footwear for rucking? Wear any shoe that is supportive and comfortable. But, if you try the MACV-1 you'll be doing yourself a favor. It's a spot-on mix of support and cushion - great for the heaviest exercises in this program but also outstanding for miles and miles of weighted ruck marching.
GORUCK Sandbag & Ruck Training Program There's an amazing variety of tough workouts you can do with little more than a weighted backpack, a big bag of sand - and some fiendish creativity. Let Cadre DS show you the way in GORUCK's Sandbag & Ruck Training.

GORUCK Rucker 3 Review on YouTube

Why read when you can watch?

Here’s a short overview of the Rucker 3, from our YouTube channel:

GORUCK Rucker 3 Strap Improvements

Here’s one BIG improvement.

The undersides of the shoulder straps use a new, less abrasive material called: 210D HT (High Tenacity) CORDURA.

GORUCK Rucker 3 Versus Rucker 2 - Shoulder Straps
That’s the new 210D Cordura on the Rucker 3 on the right, and the 1000D on the left. You can easily see how the new material is smoother – and it is less abrasive.

It’s smoother, slicker, and it is not abrasive.

You can see the difference in these side by side shots with a Rucker 2.

GORUCK Rucker 3 Versus Rucker 2 - Straps 2
Another shot highlighting the difference. The Rucker 3 is the one with the larger sternum strap buckle (on the right)

Overall, this is a good thing. We’ll have to wait and see how durable it is.

Can you ruck in a tank top or other sleeveless shirt?

Yes, but remember the top side of the shoulder strap is still 1000D – and the underside of your arm is going to rub on that – over and over and over…

I wouldn’t go long distances shirtless or without sleeves, personally. Short distances are OK.

The back panel uses the non-abrasive material as well.

The straps have the same amount of foam inside (as far as I can tell) and also look the same from the top.

GORUCK Rucker 3 Versus Rucker 2 - Straps Top
From the top, no change in the shoulder straps. Still tough 1000D Cordura
GORUCK Rucker 3 Versus Rucker 2 - Strap Dimensions
The overall shoulder strap dimensions are unchanged, same width, same amount of closed cell foam on the interior. They are nice – I have no issues with 40+ lbs for hours and hours with the Rucker.

GORUCK Rucker 3 – Improved Framesheet

For those of us that use the Rucker with just a plate – the original framesheet in the Rucker 2 was a disappointment.

GORUCK Rucker 3 Versus Rucker 2 - Frame Sheet
This is the Rucker 2. The frame sheet didn’t go the full width of the back panel – I’m folding it in here to show you…

It was not stiff enough and tended to curl over when you had a plate up in the elevated plate pocket – and nothing else in the pack to give it support.

It then gave a bouncy, trampoline effect with every foot step.

They’ve fixed this with the Rucker 3. The frame sheet now runs the entire width of the bottom of the pack – and it works much better under these conditions.

GORUCK Rucker 3 Versus Rucker 2 - Framesheet 2
Not so with the Rucker 3, the framesheet goes the full width of the lower back panel. It now works acceptably with nothing but a plate in the elevated pocket.

GORUCK Rucker 3 – Reflective Panel

I ruck in the dark near roads quite a bit, so this is a solid win.

GORUCK Rucker 3 Versus Rucker 2 - Reflective Panel
A built-in reflective panel just makes sense… and here it is.

GORUCK Rucker 3 – Lumbar Support

They’ve added a 10 mm EVA foam lumbar support on the back.

It’s using the same 210D material.

GORUCK Rucker 3 Versus Rucker 2 - Lumbar support
You can see the raised foam lumbar support. It’s a great improvement.

I like it. The lower back is one of the areas where I would get rubbed raw (even through a shirt!) on really long rucks.

GORUCK Sternum Strap Improvements

You’ll get the new version of GORUCK’s Sternum Strap with the Rucker 3.

What’s new?

GORUCK Rucker 3 Versus Rucker 2 - Sternum Strap
The new sternum strap (Bottom) is much beefier. The strap is wider, and the buckle is bigger. That’s the old version in the top of the photo.

It’s bigger, and in the case of chest straps – bigger IS better.

First of all, the chest strap gives you a way to control where the straps lay on your shoulders and traps.

You can dial things in for precise comfort, or make a change as needed to stave off fatigue.

The sternum strap is highly recommended if you are going any distance with weight.

GORUCK Rucker 3 Versus Rucker 2 - Chest Strap 2
Another view showing you just how much bigger the new version of the chest strap is.

The strap itself is now wider – that means it cuts into your chest / pecs less when tightened.

The buckle is much bigger and more robust.

GORUCK Rucker 3 Versus Rucker 2 - buckle
New version on top, old version on bottom.

I’ve over tightened and broken lesser chest straps – while in the middle of a LONG hike.

The only possible downside to the new chest strap? It makes a much louder CLICK when you snap it in place.

it’s also slightly shorter overall length than the previous strap (I’d say about 3/4″).

GORUCK Rucker 3 – What Hasn’t Changed

In comparison the Rucker 2, a whole lot has been kept the same.

GORUCK Rucker 3 Versus Rucker 2 - Same
A lot has been kept the same – and that’s good.

And that’s a good thing.

GORUCK Rucker 3 Versus Rucker 2 - D Ring
D Ring for hanging your hydration bladder.

There’s still an elevated plate pocket, and an elastic pocket.

This means you can carry your ruck plate high (and highly secure) or lower as you desire.

The Rucker will work with both the GR1 style ruck plates (taller and skinnier.)

GORUCK Rucker 3 Versus Rucker 2 - Elevated Plate Pocket
Elevated plate pocket with velcro flap still there, as is the elastic pocket.

There’s still a D ring for your hydration bladder.

GORUCK Rucker 3 Versus Rucker 2 - Hydration Tube
Route your hydration tube through here…

There’s also a velcro panel up top to route the hydration tube.

All the same zippered pockets and what not – all the same.

GORUCK Rucker 3 Versus Rucker 2 -  Grommets
Rucker 3 has four handles, including on the bottom. There’s the drain grommets also.

GORUCK Rucker 3 – How Did I Test?

How did I arrive at all these conclusions?

Extensive testing on the ruck march – and in GORUCK’s Sandbag and Ruck Training program.

I’ve compared the Rucker 2 and Rucker 3 side by side.

NOTE: The only version of the Rucker 3 available now is the 20L. The Rucker 2 used in testing is bigger volume – it’s a 25L.

I’ve used the Rucker 3 for ruck marches ranging from 3 miles to 7 miles (to date).

Long range testing is still in progress, and coming soon.

GORUCK Rucker 3 – Best Fitness Backpack In Summary

When it comes to fitness, the Rucker 3 is even better than it’s predecessor.

It’s cheaper compared to some of the other GORUCK packs, but more importantly it has features specifically for fitness workouts.

Handles, an elevated plate pocket, padded straps – and more.

The big differences with the Rucker 3 that make even better are the improved framesheet, the new, less abrasive material on the straps and back panel, and the built-in reflective stripe.

Get the Rucker 3 and you can’t go wrong.

GORUCK Rucker 3 Versus Rucker 2 -
Rucker 3

Photo Credits

Some product photos on this page are property of GORUCK.

This website is not affiliated or associated with CrossFit, Inc. CrossFit is a registered trademark of CrossFit, Inc.

Affiliate Disclaimer

We are an affiliate of GORUCK. If you buy training programs or gear after clicking the links in this article, we receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps us to bring you in-depth information and content on these training tools.

GORUCK Rucker 3 Versus Rucker 2 - 30 lb plate
30 lb Ruck Plate fits in the elevated plate pocket.