I’ve got an irrational soft spot for GoRuck. The GR1 popped up on my radar a long time ago. Eventually I bought one. (26L) Then another. (21L with the new 210d back) I never owned but often thought about the GR2 to add in some much needed organization, but I never pulled the trigger because the bag just looked too deep for my taste.

I’ve been meaning to write a review on the GR1 but overall, it’s a polarizing bag for me. I love the aesthetic, comfort, and the warranty. Something was missing though and ultimately what I really wanted was something like a GR1 EDC, a more livable material, add the quick access pocket everyone wants but GoRuck has been insanely stubborn about adding to production bags, keep it low profile, and improve the organization a little bit.

I believe this brand new two compartment Bullet is the GoRuck bag I always wanted.

When photos of a prototype at Sandlot Jax started circulating earlier this year, I was immediately hooked. No word on when it would arrive, but it finally popped up on GoRuck’s site just last week. I ordered that very same night, and the bag was here in Canada just four days later.

As an aside for other Canadian buyers, you’ll see very expensive shipping on GoRuck’s site, but it appears to include the customs clearance fee, so when it arrives you just pay duty, but no extra $50 or so to FedEx. It works out better than it looks initially.

The production bag is in a new material, a “robic” 420d ripstop nylon. I personally love it. It’s smooth, very flexible, and feels plenty strong. (though only time will tell how it holds up)

I’ve owned a couple classic Bullet 15Ls, but this was my first “laptop” Bullet, a variant that appeared last year bringing a dedicated laptop compartment, a very solid frame sheet, a little lumbar support, and more strap padding. I was surprised at how this transforms the bag, while the straps are a little thinner than a GR1, they are now extremely beefy and the experience feels very much like a GR1 to me. I think this thing will be usable for rucking at least at lighter weights around 20 or 30lb.

The bag is 11" wide, 18.5" tall, and 7" deep. That is an inch wider than a classic Bullet 15, half an inch taller than a 21L GR1. The 7" depth seems to be a point of consideration for many people and it was for me as well. Bullet Classic and the GR1 are both 5.5" deep, making for a really nice low profile bag that feels glued to your back. Adding 1.5" is a little scary and if you stuff this pack to the gills, it looks really deep and a little strange. However in normal use I’m really happy with it. The bag drapes nicely when not fully stuffed, I like to keep mine that way but that space is there if you need it. 7" is actually still a very low profile bag and in use, it looks completely fine. This is extremely usable space, and well worth the tradeoff.

Weight is a little high at 3.1lbs, actually more than a GR1 (2.8lbs). Comfort is through the roof though, there’s just a lot of fabric here, so I don’t mind.

The Bullet 18L has all of the organization. Literally all of it.

The quick access pocket is here at last, on a regular/affordable production bag. We’ve seen it on heritage editions (waxed canvas), x-pac bags, dyneema bags, collab bags, all of which are insanely expensive. The is also the first I know of that has the QAP and maintains webbing on the shoulder strap allowing you to attach a sternum strap. This is a big win as you need it now that these bags have slippery 210d back panels. The QAP is tight, really just enough for my keys and a minimal wallet, but I’m really glad to have it for precisely those things.

This pack does sacrifice the molle webbing on the front of the bag though, the slick approach is a little better suited to an urban EDC bag and it looks much less tactical as a result. That molle can be nice to lash things to, but I’m ok without it.

The front slash pocket is infinitely more usable than on a GR1. GoRuck’s pretty stubborn with this as well as that pocket is too deep, things get lost in there, but on a GR1 with the 1000d rigidity and the rain flap scraping your hands to bits, it’s borderline useless. Bullet’s are much better here as they have more flex, and no rain flap. Mainly just used for my phone or other very flat, preferably tall things.

Then we come to the beauty of this design, the double clamshell. This GR2 stype front compartment offers two mesh pockets, a built in field pocket, and the standard opaque pocket on the top lid. As many other reviews of this design on the GR2 will tell you, the field pocket and the opaque pocket compete for space, so keep your bulky things in the field pocket or vice versa. Mesh pockets are great for first aid, snacks, hat/gloves/scarf etc. Or you can just lay things in the compartment itself and zip it up.

The main clamshell compartment gains molle webbing like a GR1/GR2, allowing you to attach things up to and including another field pocket. (though I wouldn’t, as this will compete with your quick access pocket, and block off the sleeve in here)

The laptop sleeve is standard GoRuck “bombproof” laptop compartment. I don’t recommend it for laptops. Seriously. GoRuck straps attach at the very top of the bag. Put it on without a laptop and it contours over your shoulders nicely, it feels great and looks great. Put a laptop in, and now you’ve got a board on your back. The countour is gone, there’s pressure on the laptop, you need to loosen the straps and wear it lower than it’s meant to be. I really dislike it and I’m shocked so few people seem to mention this. Look to an Evergoods or Mystery Ranch EDC bag and you’ll see how they give the laptop sleeve some separation from the straps. Perhaps I’m crazy, but I hate having a laptop in a GoRuck laptop compartment. Fortunately that’s rare for me. I just use these for a tablet/kindle or sometimes paperwork. It does however fit a 14" laptop easily on this 18L version.

Overall though, I just love the way this bag looks and feels. Simple, clean, minimal, and it’s super comfortable to wear with those beefy straps. There is now a small white spearhead logo on the bottom right of the bag, which a lot of people actually seem really worked up about. It doesn’t bother me, but if it did it looks like it would be easy to sharpie.

There’s also a 16L two compartment option for the exact same design in a slightly smaller package, and a neat tidal blue + tan colorway available on GoRuck’s site at the time this was written.

I can’t really recommend it enough, this is the GoRuck I always wanted, I think it may be my favorite pack I’ve ever owned.

DISCLAIMER: Purchased with my own money, no affiliation with GoRuck, I’m just a fan.