GORUCK Ruck Plate: Do You Need One?

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Testing the best way to ruck with weight, using the GoRuck GR1.

First things first: If you haven’t read our comprehensive review of GoRuck’s exceptionally tough GR1 Rucksack, go ahead and check that out.

All finished? Cool. Because while the GR1 is our most highly regarded bag for travel in any location on Earth, it’s also tailor made for rucking; all that overbuilt design isn’t just for carrying around cans of soup and books (though we tried that too).

So in this quick review, we’ll introduce you to the joys of loading up your GR1 and getting the best workout of your life, courtesy of the GoRuck Ruck Plate.

What Is Rucking?

Just to be totally clear before we get into the nitty gritty, let’s take GoRuck’s definition of rucking as a starting point:

“Walking with a weighted rucksack (aka backpack). It implies action, energy, and purpose. Rucking requires strength, endurance, and character — and builds it, too.”

Got it? Great, moving on.

GoRuck Ruck Plate Hands On Review

Your Pack, Organization, and You

What do you think the most weight you’ve carried in a backpack is? 

If you’re an average commuter, then your laptop, keys, phone, a sack lunch, and etc. won’t ever weigh much more than 10 pounds. 

Carry around a bit more for a weekend trip outside your home city, and you might want to pack a camera and a large water bottle, potentially upping your weight to 15 pounds or so.

Dedicated backpackers and hikers often handle 20 pounds and up—and this is getting into true rucking territory.

And the more weight you carry, the more conscientious you need to be about exactly how that weight is distributed. Because the further away it is from your center of gravity—i.e. the longer the distance between your gear and your skin—the more force it will exert on your standing structure. Pack inefficiently, and you’ll end up using more energy to get less hiking in.

With that in mind, let’s talk about the Ruck Plate.

Why Do You Need A Ruck Plate?

Though it may not seem like a huge difference to the uninitiated, concentrating your pack’s weight into a plate that rests against your back is brilliant

By keeping the bulk of your burden directly next to your back, you accomplish two things: More efficiently loading your body’s skeletal and muscular structure, and keeping the contents of your pack from banging against your back as you walk.

If you’re using one of GoRuck’s stellar packs—for exercise, travel, or as part of your everyday carry—then adding a ruck plate is one of the smartest things you can do. They’re perfectly compatible with the brand’s bags, and fit seamlessly into the provided ruck plate slots inside the GR1 and Rucker. 

And just like the rest of GoRuck’s gear, their Ruck Plate is made for the long haul: A 90,000 pound break strength means it’s basically indestructible.

How Much Weight Should You Ruck With?

If you’re ready to take up rucking as a form of exercise, a Ruck Plate is such a smart investment. But you’ll have to decide: What’s the right weight to start with?

GoRuck recommends starting with 20 pounds, and increasing that weight in increments of 10 pounds—maxing out at no more than about ⅓ of your total bodyweight.

Because I have a background in strength training (and am a fairly big guy as well, at 6’3” and over 200 pounds), I started with a 30 pound Ruck Plate. 

That was enough to give my shoulders and calves a serious workout over the first few weeks, and I am now moving up in 5 pound increments each week by adding… Well, whatever I have around the house. And with the Ruck Plate as a base for the weight, adding odd objects into the pack doesn’t seem to disrupt the balance or weight distribution to a point where it makes my rucking uncomfortable.

GoRuck Ruck Plate

Ruck Plate vs Other Weights

You might be wondering at this point: Couldn’t you just load up your bag with standard weight plates? 

The kind of weights you use for adjustable dumbbells or barbells will get close to the same performance as a Ruck Plate, but never quite replace it. The specific shape of the Ruck Plate is what really sets it apart from other free weights; it’s designed to fit snugly in GoRuck’s packs, but does a good job of fitting into the laptop slot of other bags, too.

I’ll make a confession here though: After using my Ruck Plate as the basis for my rucking weight, I didn’t notice a huge difference in experience when I also added a 10 pound standard weight plate to the bag. It seems that as long as the Ruck Plate is the bulk of the weight in your pack, it’ll provide a smooth ride that lets you focus on your workout.

Final Verdict

Overall, I’m entirely satisfied with the way a Ruck Plate emphasizes the GoRuck rucking experience. It’s fast becoming my go-to workout, and I’m working up towards 20 miles a week of rucking by the end of summer. 

Care to join me? Then check out our guides to the essential GoRuck gear to get you started rucking today.

Price: $95+

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