I only had this bag in my possession for a couple days before returning it. I did not think to photograph it sadly, but here are some very quick thoughts.

I need to write up a post on the regular GoRuck GR1 someday, I haven’t gotten around to that yet, but when I do I’ll update this post with a link. It’s a legendary backpack for anyone who is into backpacks, and there’s a lot to be said about it as it’s quite polarizing and unique.

But for this post, a couple very quick thoughts from my brief time with the Kaidan 3.0 21L GR1. You can read all the details in the design article, but essentially this was the standard GR1 with “Ultra” fabric on the exterior, a very new, insanely strong, insanely light material without the crinkle of Dyneema. The interior of the bag is fully lined in blaze orange (unusual for a GR1, normal variants do not have interior lining, you just see the back of the 1000d fabric). Front molle is removed, but retained on the straps so you can still use a sternum strap. Rain flaps are removed all around, which makes the front slash pocket infinitely more usable. It also features the much loved quick access pocket at the top of the bag, which for whatever reason GoRuck has been extremely stubborn about offering on the 1000d variants.

Cutting to the chase, why I immediately returned this bag. I could not believe how rigid and boxy it was. I really like outdoorsy packs as that’s typically how I tend to use them. My favorite thing about GoRuck bags like the GR1 or Bullet are how low profile they are, very slim to the back, tapered at the top. The appearance of this bag was completely different, it was my first exposure to this ultra fabric and I just hated the way it looked. It doesn’t drape, it’s a big square box regardless what’s in it. The top corners of the bag are very pronounced perhaps because of the removal of the rainflap. It looks very out of place for the outdoors, it looks and feels much more like luggage, which is reasonable as it is a travel oriented collaboration. The fabric does have a slightly leathery feel.

The weight was listed as higher than a standard GR1 on the website, however JB Outside did his own measurements and it actually came in as the lightest GR1 ever, even with the interior lining, 2.49lbs (when they listed it as 3.05, very peculiar). For reference a regular 1000d GR1 21L has an actual weight around 2.56lbs.

I loved the dark grey and orange combination, and having the quick access pocket on a GR1 has been a goal of mine for ages, but not this time.

Given the astronomical price, and how uncomfortable I felt with the actual use and appearance of the bag, it was an easy call to return for me. I set it next to my 1000d 21L GR1 and there was no question which I’d rather use. I think this would be much better suited for it’s intended audience (travel), and EDC to the office.

And that’s it, really nice bag, but insanely expensive, and turned out to not be well suited to my lifestyle in ways I didn’t expect. Thankfully GoRuck’s return policy is very generous, they refunded as soon as I sent them tracking info which was really cool of them.

As for a 1000d (or even 500d) GR1 with that quick access pocket, maybe someday…