The Last Rugged Backpack You'll Ever Buy

GoRuck builds packs that are stout enough to take whatever you can throw at them. The 34-liter GR2 is the Goldilocks of the company’s line-up, just large enough to fit a weekend’s worth of suits and shoes, tools and coveralls, but small enough to comply with carry-on regulations. And while that’s true of just about every other pack of this size, the GR2 was designed as a tool, not as a fashion accessory. 

I recently strapped mine to the back of a Ural Sidecar, then rode from Seattle to Los Angeles with the thing bouncing through the worst wind, rain, and snow I’d ever ridden through. The water-resistant GR2 kept everything inside good and dry.

And more importantly, in one piece. There’s an armored compartment large enough to fit a 17” laptop snug against your back. GoRuck calls the thing “bombproof,” and while that may be a slight exaggeration, it has managed to keep my MacBook Pro safe through two years of constant commercial flight. The pocket can also serve to hold a hydration bladder, though not while it’s lugging your electronics.

There’s MOLLE webbing inside and out, making personal organization easy. Attaching any number of small pouches is simple — good for holding your toiletries or your ammunition. Or, you can rely on the clever storage sewn into the thing.

Of the GR2’s many attributes, the best is that it opens flat. Both the main and secondary compartments unfurl so that you can see everything, and the zippered pouches in each make it easy to find what you’re looking for, be it a charger, a book, or a hard drive. The only downside is that those pouches can be difficult to open without completely unzipping the pack. No big deal in a hotel room, but no one wants to risk dropping a pair of underoos in the mud while hiking.

And you can hike with this thing. Unlike the pretties from the big-name chain outfitters, the GR2 is made to be worn day in and day out. The straps are wide, well-cushioned, well-stitched, and spaced far apart to give your neck and shoulders a break while lugging a load through LAX or down the South Rim. Additionally, the top handle is reinforced to prevent tearing.

The GR2 is not cheap, but such quality items seldom are. GoRuck makes each bag here in the States, and every last one comes with the company’s Scars Lifetime Guarantee, which says the company will repair any damage for a reasonable charge. This isn’t a piece of kit to use and toss. It’s the last bag you’ll ever buy. [$395; goruck.com]