This is the continuing saga of my questionable choice to sign up for the Minneapolis GORUCK Challenge.
As a participant in the GORUCK Challenge, I will have to carry 6 bricks in a backpack, while completing various tasks, for 12 hours, in a row, starting at 10:00pm. I make good choices.
The obvious first question is, what kind of bricks are required? I haven’t been able to find any guidance from GORUCK on this topic, and there are various types of brick available. Bricks vary in size, exact shape, and some even have holes in them (possible weight advantage!). But I quickly elected to let go of the ridiculous level of analysis that I was beginning, walk into Home Depot, and buy the first 6 bricks that I see. So after dropping just over $3.00, I had my precious stones.
I took roughly the same approach in selecting my first backpack. I went into my basement, looked at the various packs on the camping gear shelf, and picked the one I wouldn’t mind destroying. I chose a JanSport backpack that I purchased at the JanSport Outlet in the late 90’s. It has seen random light duty use over the years on day trips, plane rides, and during college. I don’t think it’s ever been tasked with something quite like a load of bricks. I doubt that this will be the pack that I choose to use during the GORUCK Challenge, but who knows. We’ll see how it holds up.
The recommended GORUCK GR1 seems like overkill to me. Which is really out of character for me to say, but given my experience with much less expensive backpacks I just don’t see the return on investment… yet. I have various packs and bags from the likes of The North Face, REI, Lowe Alpine, Chrome, and Nashbar, all of them costing less than half of the nearly $300 price tag of the GR1, and none of them has ever failed on me. Of course, I’ve had several JanSport school backpacks that have exploded over the years. Typically, the zipper fails, but I’ve also blown out seams and torn straps. But those bags were cheap discount store bags. The JanSport pack above at least seems a little more robust. We’ll see; it might be fun to watch this thing disintegrate.