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Choosing a ruck mainly for fitness training.

Discussion in 'EDC Bags' started by Tamagutchi, Mar 28, 2014.

  1. Tamagutchi

    Tamagutchi Loaded Pockets

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    I plan to buy a ruck mainly for the purpose of loading it with small sandbags and increasing the weight over time.

    I know many have experience in this sort of thing through military training. I have not previously exercised in this manner and do not presently own a bag that is well suited to this.

    I am looking for a bag as well as advice on structuring a rucking program. I plan to stick with walking rather than running.

    I have been looking at some bags. $250 is an upper limit though I'd prefer to find something good that is significantly cheaper. I am figuring that good adjustability and padding as well as waist and sternum straps would be important for this type of use. I am figuring 40 to 50 lbs would probably be the limit on the amount of weight I would want to put in the bag.

    Some bags I have been considering and researching.

    Brute Force BR-2

    5.11 Tactical Rush 24

    5.11 Tactical Rush 12

    TAD Litespeed Fastpack

    TAD Fastpack EDC

    Maybe something by Maxpedition or Tactical Tailor but not sure what might fit the bill.

    The Goruck bags look very nice but also lack a waist strap and are very expensive. The Brute Force bag looks very similar, is cheaper, and includes a waist strap.

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks.
     
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  2. FL Woods Bum
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    FL Woods Bum Your Grace!

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    I would suggest the Rush 24 if you are going this route and think you will need that much room for weights. It compresses down pretty good. There is also enough organization within the Rush 24 to spread the weight out around the bag vs. just dumping it into the bottom of the main compartment. It will be a lot better on your back if you spread the weight out through the bag, which is why a lot of people seem to be moving to weight vests. vs. backpacks these days. Good luck!
     
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  3. docer
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    docer Loaded Pockets

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    I used to do weighted training and i really liked the weighted vests. The weight distribution was much more even and you had a lot less chance of hurting yourself with overcompensation. I supplemented this with a couple of layers of ankle weights when i felt i needed more. Also you can hide a weight vest under a light jacket so people dont constantly ask you what you are training for.

    But whatever you get, good luck!
     
  4. switchblade906

    switchblade906 Loaded Pockets

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    GoRuck. That's what these bags were made for!
     
  5. TARFU
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    TARFU EDC!!!!! Junkie

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    With that much weight, I'd stick to internal frame packs to save your back. A couple that you don't have listed are the new Maxpedition backpacks - the Xantha and Zafar.

    Both meet your requirements with good adjust-ability, padded weight belts, and sternum straps. They are on the higher end of your price range, but I'd suggest you stick there. A cheaper pack won't hold up given what you're planning to use it for.
     
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  6. Tamagutchi

    Tamagutchi Loaded Pockets

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    Xantha looks pretty intriguing for my purposes.
     
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  7. Barchack

    Barchack Loaded Pockets

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    I agree that the GoRuck packs are made for this exact purpose.
    That being said...I would buy an Alice pack. You can find a good surplus Alice for cheap. I've carried for more weight than that for loooong distances in an Alice and it worked great. You can upgrade the shoulder straps and kidney pad as you see necessary, but a stock Alice pack will suit you fine and it will never, ever break on you.
    If you are just going to walk with it, you don't need or want an internal frame pack.

    ETA:
    If you're gonna bike with it, an external frame pack like the Alice isn't ideal. However, external frame packs are exactly what you want for just walking with a heavy load, especially if it's going to be loaded down with odd objects like bricks or sandbags. Having a dedicated Alice pack for this kind of exercise is a good idea, so you're not trashing an EDC or biking pack by loading it with junk for exercise. Sounds like a good, inexpensive investment. Of course, if you're gonna have a dedicated pack, a vest is a solid option, too.
    Internal frames shine for more movement like scrambling. This hasn't changed just because inter frames are sexier.
    It's timely that Carryology's latest interview with Dana touches on this.
     
    Last edited by Barchack, Mar 30, 2014
  8. Tamagutchi

    Tamagutchi Loaded Pockets

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    Thanks for all the responses. It is giving me a lot to think about.

    I like the idea of a weight vest. The biggest issue becomes that it is single purpose. I am really starting to ponder the possibilities for also doing hiking with some fairly decent weight and wearing this to carry items for mountain biking on and off roads and for distances that might be as long as 30 miles at a time.

    Also trying to get my mind around the usefulness of waist straps and an internal frame. These seem like they could be quite important if the bag is on the body for long periods of time. I do plan to be wearing this pack for extended periods. Not running but much walking and on the back as I ride my bike.
     
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  9. Fukurai
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    Fukurai EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    From what you want to do, I'd take a look at the GORUCK packs. They're build to do this kind of stuff. I don't own one though, so can't tell you more about it.
     
  10. tmedina

    tmedina EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    Barchack is absolutely right on the money. ALICE packs are cheap, durable, and built for this. Hit almost any surplus store, do some browsing, and you'll be able to get an ALICE ruck for well within your budget. And if you tear it up in the process, it's cheap enough to replace with minimum fuss, money, and tears.

    An added bonus of a hard, external frame is the ability to provide lash points. Instead of letting your sand bag (or bags) settle at the bottom of your pack, flatten your pack against the frame and lash it down with 550 cord or bungies or whatever. That will keep the weight secured, not bouncing around, and tight against your spine, optimizing the weight transfer directly to your hips.

    I strongly advise against a soft pack - primarily because of the nature of the weight. A sandbag is a relatively compact, heavy weight that will settle into the bottom of your pack and seek to pull you backwards. That translates into added strain on your shoulders, back, and butt as the sandbag bounces while you move. Try walking around with a soft backpack and a small dumbbell for weight and you'll see what I mean.
     
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  11. Tamagutchi

    Tamagutchi Loaded Pockets

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    Great post. Thanks. My highest priority is being able to position and stabilize the weight so that I don't injure my lower back.

    I notice several people recommending the Goruck packs. I know these are used for the Goruck challenges but they, to me, don't appear to be optimized for the sort of use I am discussing. It certainly could be a matter of me not understanding or missing something. Can someone explain why one of these packs might be good for this purpose?
     
  12. Tamagutchi

    Tamagutchi Loaded Pockets

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    Any thoughts on a pack that might constitute an improved or idealized take on the Alice Pack?
     
  13. TARFU
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    TARFU EDC!!!!! Junkie

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    You're spot on - they're not. There isn't any specific design aspect that makes GoRuck better for rucking. In fact, I could (and have) made a strong argument that compared to TAD, Kifaru, or even the Maxpedition packs I mentioned, they're worse. What GoRuck has done is sprinkled magic marketing pixie dust on their packs, which creates the illusion that they're better.

    They're good packs but if you don't snort the dust then you see them for what they really are. A relatively well made Slick 1000D Cordura pack that has inherited a near mystical reputation built on a really savvy social media based marketing plan implemented by a fitness business that also happens to sell nylon gear. No more, no less.
     
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  14. TARFU
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    TARFU EDC!!!!! Junkie

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    I get the arguments for the Alice pack and they're right if that's the only thing you're going to use the pack for. But, you're not going to EDC an Alice pack so by going another route, you could get some additional use out of your investment in between work outs. Just my two cents.
     
  15. tmedina

    tmedina EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    You can poke around the Interwebz and find after-market upgrades. The ALICE was a mainstay of the US military for years and a lot of troops found it worthwhile to invest in upgrades - Tactical Tailor leaps to mind, although I'm sure there are others.

    You can, undoubtedly, find superior framed packs, but they're also going to cost more and are not, generally speaking, "modularized" - with an ALICE, you can replace various components as they fail or you buy upgrades.

    Addressing your specific list:
    1. I would never, ever use a 5.11 pack for this. They're soft "inner frame" and don't handle concentrated weight well. I tried the "grocery run" with a Rush 72 and was not impressed. I ended up selling the pack shortly afterwards. The sternum clip is utter rubbish. Disclaimer: I am not a fan of the RUSH series of packs and wouldn't use one if you paid me.

    2. TAD, I am told, puts out a great product, but they're also bloody expensive. I'd be afraid to use something that expensive as a rough-use exercise pack - YMMV. Also soft packs.

    3. Maxpud falls into the same general category as the 5.11 rush series for me.

    4. I've never used a Brute Force pack, but judging by the pictures for the BR-2, it secures the weight against the back panel, which eliminates the danger of the "tail flop" I mentioned above.

    5. Tactical Tailor does offer some packs, but they also some pretty impressive ALICE options. They also offer the "MALICE" pack (Modified ALICE) - the entire system from them is $362. Which is a bit of overkill, unless you really want an excellent, all-purpose rucksack.

    Finding an ALICE pack is your cheapest option and is still multi-purpose enough to be useful aside from rucking. The BR-2 is your next best bet, given that it's already built for, and configured around, moving under heavy load.

    My two bits, for what they're worth.
     
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  16. TARFU
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    TARFU EDC!!!!! Junkie

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    What exactly would you use an Alice pack for other than rucking/hiking?
     
  17. tmedina

    tmedina EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    Hauling or moving large and/or heavy objects around. Which sort of qualifies as rucking/hiking, but just in-town.

    Example: when I buy a 50 pound bag of rice and have to haul it back to the house via walking/public transit. Or a grocery run that involves walking more than a couple of blocks while buying more than a bag or two of groceries.

    *shrug* I'm weird, I know.
     
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  18. Tamagutchi

    Tamagutchi Loaded Pockets

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    Thanks for these great responses. I am a pretty quick study and am trying to get my head around the features that are most necessary for a pack optimized for rucking and the landscape of packs out there that would fit.

    I probably over-emphasized that the main use for this would be to pack it with sandbags and use it for fitness. It will be used for that on nearly a daily basis but I would also like to use it packed with other things for riding my bike (Seems like comfort and being able to keep it from shifting around would be essential for that) and using it as a general hiking pack.

    Once again thanks for the great responses,
     
  19. Tamagutchi

    Tamagutchi Loaded Pockets

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    It would be great to be able to load a bag up securely with groceries and ride the mountain bike home from the grocery store.
     
  20. TARFU
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    TARFU EDC!!!!! Junkie

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    LOL. It would be really good for that. I guess I don't like walking around in an Urban environment looking like I'm back from a deployment. Especially since I didn't... come back from a deployment.
     
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