The Beginner's Guide to Packing Your Ruck Sack


Stepping into the world of rucking is like embarking on an epic adventure. It's not just a test of physical endurance but mental endurance, too - especially when it comes to packing. Efficient packing is crucial for any successful rucking event. It can mean the difference between enjoying the journey or counting down the miles until it's over. This guide is your starting point for mastering the art of ruck packing. Read on to ensure you hit the ground running (or walking, more accurately) with confidence and comfort.

The Essentials of Rucking Pack Packing

Choosing Your Pack

Durability: Opt for a backpack that can withstand the rigors of rucking. Military backpacks or "tac-packs" are a popular choice due to their robustness and ergonomic design.

Comfort: Look for a pack with adjustable straps and adequate padding, especially on the shoulders and back panel. Comfort is key during long rucking events.

Size: Your pack size should match the length of the event and the amount of gear you need to carry. A 20-30 liter pack is sufficient for most beginners.

What to Pack

The Weight: The core of rucking is the weight in your pack. Beginners should start with a weight that's about 10% of their body weight. Use ruck plates, sandbags, or even books as your weight.

Hydration: Staying hydrated is critical. A hydration bladder is ideal for easy access to water without needing to stop and dig around in your pack.

Nutrition: Pack energy bars, nuts, and other snacks high in protein and carbohydrates. These will keep your energy levels up during the event.

First Aid Kit: Always be prepared for minor injuries. Include basics like band-aids, antiseptic wipes, and blister bandages.

Weather-Appropriate Clothing: Pack an extra layer of clothing, especially for colder climates. Consider moisture-wicking fabrics to keep you dry and comfortable.

Footwear: While not packed, wearing the right footwear is crucial. Choose shoes with good support and traction, designed for long-distance walking or hiking.

Read Best Shoes & Boots for Rucking!

Packing Strategies

Weight Distribution: Place heavier items close to your back and higher up in your pack. This positioning helps maintain proper balance for reducing lower back strain.

Accessibility: Keep essential items like snacks, hydration, and your first aid kit within easy reach.

Compartmentalization: Use packing cubes or Ziplock bags to organize items. This not only keeps your pack tidy but also makes it easier to find what you need without unpacking everything.

Training Tips

Start Light: Begin with lighter weights and gradually increase as your endurance improves.

Practice Walks: Regular practice walks with your packed ruck will help you adjust to the weight and improve your packing technique.

Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to how your body responds during rucking. Adjust your pack, weight, and packing list based on comfort and performance.


Q: How often should I ruck to prepare for an event? 

A: Start with once or twice a week, gradually increasing frequency as the event approaches. Remember to make time for rest and recovery. These can be almost as important as actually training.

Q: Can I use any backpack for rucking?

A: While any backpack can technically work, those designed for rucking or hiking offer better support and durability for weighted activities.

Q: What's the most common mistake beginners make?  

A: Overpacking is a common pitfall. Pack only what you need, focusing on essentials that contribute to your performance and safety.

Wrapping It Up

Efficient pack packing for rucking events is a blend of art and science. By focusing on essential items, choosing the right gear, and packing strategically, you can start your ruck strong. Remember, the goal is not just to endure but to enjoy the journey. If you keep these tips in mind, you'll be well on your way to becoming a stellar rucker. You'll be ready to face any challenge with confidence and ease.

As you prepare for your next rucking event, remember that practice, preparation, and patience are your best allies. Happy rucking!

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