10 Essentials to Gear Up for a GORUCK Challenge

I don’t think you can ever fully prepare for a GRC. That’s part of their beauty.

I was going through some of my older posts when I recently came across my GORUCK Challenge Review from last year’s Class 093 in Washington, DC. Whether you’ve already signed-up or contemplating challenging yourself with some good livin’, you’ve probably started to consider what gear you’ll need to survive the night.

When I signed up, I sweat over the prep. Would I need one headlamp or two? How many pairs of extra socks should I bring? Long pants or shorts? Do I need energy bars, caffeine pills, a Swiss Army knife?

Well, if you read the reviews, you’ll quickly discover that “over-gaming” it is a common mistake of rookie Ruckers. If you’ve got a GORUCK Challenge on your radar, read over this top ten list of essential items to help ease your anxieties and get you primed for good livin.’

Note: I’ve got a few affiliate links in the list below that will take you directly to Amazon.com. If you happen to make a purchase I’ll earn a few sheckles. There’s absolutely no risk on your part and it won’t cost you a penny extra.

  1. Ruck: a GORUCK has no equivalent in my book, so that is what I recommend. I borrowed a GR1 and was able to fit all my gear, water bladder and six bricks comfortably (relatively speaking). The straps fit snugly, water drains with a simple flip of the bag, and the bag washed easy with a hose and quick scrub-a-dub.
  2. Water: 3L Camelbak Reservoir, filled. Water is THE most important item that you will need whether it is hot or cold. Don’t skimp on H20.
  3. Shoes: comfortable running shoes with adequate padding (non-minimalist).
  4. Socks: I used a pair of injinji Toesocks and covered them with another pair of regular merino wool socks. An extra pair in your bag isn’t a bad idea.
  5. Hat: preferably a GORUCK Tac Hat, but something warm and waterproof if cold and/or raining.
  6. Light: Any decent headlamp will do. I used a P-Tec Byte Headlamp. It’s ultra-light and semi-water resistant. (Tip: you can crazy glue the seams to seal it up.)
  7. Gloves: I used a pair of Mechanix Work Gloves that were a little too thin for the cold and not great when wet. Try something warm and water-resistant.
  8. Top: If cold, a decent windbreaker with a hood is a good way to go. Don’t underestimate the power of a windbreaker. I used a sleeveless compression under and a long-sleeve cold gear compression top over in addition to the windbreaker. This kept me warm enough in winter in DC. Once the sun came out, I could have lost the windbreaker. Also, the compression gear dries quick after you hit the water.
  9. Bottom: I wore a pair of spandex with Billabong board shorts after changing in and out of my compression pants about five times right before the start of the Challenge. A lot of that was nerves, but it was also that I was concerned about spending the night in wet pants. I think I might use a pair of Convertible Trail Pants that tear away at the knees next time to spare myself from having to decide last-minute.
  10. Food: Peanut M&M’s, cashews, banana. Nuts are great for energy, bananas prevent cramps, and M&Ms make me happy. Again, water is most important, not food. Have a decent meal before your Challenge.
  11. BONUS: Liquid bricks. 🙂

Again, keep things simple and don’t over think the Challenge. I don’t think you can ever fully prepare for a GRC. That’s part of their beauty. They are all unique and they are all challenging. To reach true good livin’, you’ve gotta first get through the suck. It’s all part of it, so just embrace it. Pack everything that you need, but only what you need.

Are you prepping for a Challenge? What gear do you plan to pack? Let us know in the comments below.


GORUCK ChallengeAbout GORUCK Challenge:

The GORUCK Challenge is a positive extension of GORUCK’s goal to bring people together: miltary/non-military, men/women, young/old. Our Special Operations Cadre teach every class what a team feels like, how to stay cool under stress, and why camaraderie in Special Forces is so high. In our estimation, people are good, and capable of much more when they work together, for each other. To learn about Mud Run Maniac’s GORUCK Challenge experience, go here →

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Mud Run Maniac
Mud Run Maniac

I'm the proud owner of MudRunManiac.com, specializing in mud run training and tips! The mud run community is growing fast and I’ve made it my responsibility to keep you up-to-date on the latest and greatest mud running topics.

2 comments… add one
  • shawn Oct 8, 2012, 11:35 am

    Great advise Paul. I am 3 weeks out from my 2nd GRC. The first one I did it was100 degrees. I drank about 3 gallons of water that night. The next is in Cleveland at the end of Oct., who knows what the weather will be. I’m still on the fence about shorts or pants, anything that dries out quick is a must.

    I recommend a few extra buckles and zip ties for emergency pack repairs. It might not be your pack that needs them, someone on your team with a busted pack could create issues for the whole team. Keep your goodies in something that is crush proof. My stuff was smashed into a fine paste. It was like an M&M flurry without the ice cream. A couple of my energy gels busted open too.

    Most important thing to bring is a good attitude. Without one you will never make it.

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