After taking the GR1 for a three week trip across five cities, I felt ready to review this bag in detail. For those of you who are into quality gear or one bag travel, Goruck is probably no stranger to you. Founded by an ex green beret, Goruck is certainly no ordinary brand.
The quality of the GR1 is well known and well proven by many others. A lot of my gear are purchased with the idea that I could care about it as little as I can during my travels. The last thing I want my experience to be distracted by are my things. So if I have to be extra careful with my fragile bag, it would defeat the point. Goruck GR1 is perfect for that. I didn’t have to care because if it could go through hardcore Goruck Challenges without a problem, I should not be worried using it for city exploration. Even if I somehow do damage it, Goruck has a lifetime warranty where they would repair the bag for free for most cases.
During my travel, I put it on any surface, stuffed it, swung it around and did what ever I want. Not a single scratch. Not ever was there a hint that it might break or fail in any way. The material and stitching made the quality apparent even just by seeing and touching it.
This bag was a perfect fit for my aesthetics. The all-black, no-logo look is so minimal yet has an edgy, punk-rock look. While some might find it too much of a military bro look, the complete black colorway does not make me feel that way. I assumed getting the green or digicam might cross the line though.
There was also a period when GR1 offered you a chance to customize the bag via their Goruck Workshop, so taking off the molle and vecro patch would definitely make it a lot less military and more minimal. I missed the window to do this as I was waiting for a deal. The external molle seemed like it would be useful at times, although I haven’t had the chance to use them.
The bag comes in two sizes and I would recommend anyone above 5″11 to get the 26l. The fact that you can use it for one bag travel as well as everyday carry was a huge motivation for me to get it at this size. I don’t find it too big for an EDC, but since it’s a little squarish in shape, it doesn’t feel as good without enough things to fill that shape.
I used one Cordura mesh bag from Supreme for my jacket and one for my underwears and handkerchiefs. I used one Muji packing cube for the rest of my clothes. I have also a small sling bag that goes in the bag when I am not using it on its own. I put my toiletries in there when in the bag. This set up works pretty well for me. I could easily dump stuff in lockers at the hostel and head out with just my laptop and other essentials necessary for the day.
The Goruck itself offers minimal organization, but the space in the main compartment would fit a variety of configurations such as mine. I used the molle in the bag to keep my water bottle upright with a carabiner. The fact that it opens completely makes the organization process a lot easier. The front of the Goruck is hard to access if you stuff your bag, since it goes pretty deep and is a flat compartment. Nonetheless, it is adequate for things that I need easy access to, like my mobile charger. I also use them for things I need to store temporarily, like when I empty my pockets at airport security.
There are two pockets on the back of the main compartment. I used the top pocket to store small electronic accessories like my laptop charger and universal adaptor. The bottom is a little less easy to access, so I use it to store things that I would like to keep more secure and don’t access too often, such as my passport.
The best part of the bag is the laptop component. I never knew this was an essential until I got this bag. The easy access to my laptop is key for someone like me who works while I travel and travels to multiple cities in a single trip. Airport’s security checks are a breeze for me now. While you can unzip the laptop compartment on two sides, I could easily access my 15″ MacBook Pro just by unzipping the top.
I would definitely recommend the bag if you are looking for one bag travelling. That said, I am on the minimal side when it comes to packing (the weight of my bag was about 8kg). For travelling though, I would recommend that you bring along a small sling bag so you can travel lightly for times when you don’t need to take your laptop out.