One of the few things the GORUCK GR1 is lacking is a sternum strap. A sternum strap is a key feature when carrying heavy loads for an extended period of time. It allows your shoulders to relax a little and stabilizes the load. Add-on sternum straps are actually kind of hard to find. I was surprised when the local REI said they no longer stock them. The gentleman working the rental counter was kind enough to help me find some parts to piece one together, and I’m very happy with the results.
The key to sternum strap placement is not positioning it too low on your chest and not overtightening it. Otherwise, it will make it difficult for you to fully expand your lungs and rib cage. I like it as high as I can get it without touching my neck, just below where your collar bones connect to your sternum. Tightening the strap too much will place a lot of load on your chest as well. I like to add just a bit tension to it so the shoulder straps are held in place without any effort from my shoulders. The nice thing is that the sternum strap is easily adjusted on the fly. I find myself constantly varying it for comfort. Having the ability to make small adjustments goes a long way in making prolonged use comfortable.
The sternum strap had a plastic clip for retaining the drinking tube, but about 20 minutes into our mini-ruck, it was gone. It was sheared off taking the pack on and off. The kind of activities found in the challenge will certainly weed out items not fit for abuse.
A set of grimlocks on the shoulder straps also make great ways to restrain the drinking tube. It’s easy to open and close and is rated at an 80 pound breaking strength. These won’t replace a set of carabiners, but they are very convenient for smaller/lighter items.