Today we’re going to talk about the new endurance trend that is both practical and great for Long Steady distance cardio, along with what kind of bag you need to do this activity. It’s called Rucking, or ruck marching, and the only gear you need is a Ruck Backpack and something to add weight to the sack.
Table of Contents
- Rucking History
- Ruck March Benefits
- So, YOU Want to Start Ruck Marching
- Final Thoughts
Rucking has its roots in the military, where soldiers would wear a 100lbs rucksacks filled with food and provisions and march for hours through cities, forests, mountainous regions, and hilly terrains. Read our Rucking guide if you would like to become more about this activity.
Ruck March Benefits
The idea behind rucking is that, unlike walking or jogging, walking while carrying weights improves endurance while at the same time helps build muscle.
Benefits of Adding Weight
You can add as much weight as you and your ruck backpack can handle. This helps improve posture and burns more calories. When you start you might only want to add 10 or 15lbs and only walk for a half mile. Of course, this depends on your fitness level. If you’re a relatively fit individual with a strong posterior chain, then load up your sack and get after it.
Practical Benefits of Carrying a Ruck Backpack
Practically speaking, including ruck marching makes sense. Everyone wants to build a bug out bag. And these bags tend to weight around 40 to 50 lbs. Yet, who puts the bag on and walks a couple of miles?
But wait, I can already hear you saying, ‘you’re gonna drive to whatever location.’
Maybe. I truly hope it works that way for you.
But, we’re talking about an event happening that’s caused you the need to bug out. What if you must abandon your car for whatever reason? Looks like you might be needing to carry the heavy ass bag for miles now.
Start including Ruck Marching!
My Saturday Morning Rucks
I personally like to make my Saturday morning workouts a nice 2 to 3-hour march with about 50lbs in my ruck backpack. It’s an issued workout from the routine I follow, Tactical Barbell. You’ll find the workout in the Endurance Sessions of the Tactical Barbell Conditioning book. It’s called Ruck Up.
Rucking becoming Popular Amongst Civilians
Because of its many health benefits, rucking has is becoming a popular fitness activity, with a growing number of ruck marching events being organized to help push people to their limits both physically and mentally.
So, YOU Want to Start Ruck Marching
If you want to take part in the next ruck marching event or want to go solo rucking, then you will want to get yourself the perfect rucksack for the job. The good news is that there are plenty of options available when it comes to rucksacks, which could sometimes make it difficult to find the right rucksack for you. Here, we are going to look at the features that every rucking backpack should have.
Choose the Perfect Size
Both rucksacks and backpacks are rated according to their capacity. If you’ve purchased a backpack or rucksack before, then you will know that this is done is liters. For instance, rucksacks and backpacks come in sizes that range from 21L to 60L and bigger. The higher the “L,” the more you will be able to fit in the rucksack. However, it’s important not to get yourself a large rucksack since you won’t be hiking or camping. Since you are only going to use the backpack to carry weighted plates, it’s okay if you go with a medium sized backpack that fits you well.
Ruck Plate (Weight Plate) Compartment
See if you can get a ruck backpack that has a ruck plate compartment. This is where the weighted plate is kept so that it doesn’t encounter the other provisions you’ve packed for your trip. These specialized compartments for the ruck plates are also to ensure that the load stays stable and comfortable to carry throughout your hike. This is a crucial factor for any rucking enthusiast since it keeps them safe from back injury. So, the first thing that a rucking backpack will need is a ruck plate compartment.
Nothing can be more annoying (and inconvenient) as the zipper of your backpack breaking while you are out in the open. Therefore, you should always look for backpacks that feature high-quality zippers. Also, when choosing a rucking backpack, make sure that the zipper pull is silent and doesn’t rattle or jangle while you are moving it about. This is the mark of a well-made zipper.
If you are looking to go extreme with your rucking workout, then you will want to get one that offers a sturdy design as well. This is especially the case if you plan on taking part in a challenging rucking competition where there won’t just be hiking with a heavy backpack on, but also doing squats and other exercises. A poorly designed rucksack is likely to get easily damaged. Since rucking is a tough sport, you will need to find a backpack that’s up for the challenge.
Velcro Patch Area
Those who are rucking enthusiasts usually go with rucking backpacks that have a Velcro patch area. That’s because if you want to take part in a ruck march, you will also probably want to put on some patches to show off your personal style or to just be identified as part of a group. Patches have always had a major role in rucking events, so don’t miss out on getting a backpack that doesn’t have any patches.
Since you’re going to be out in the open, you are also probably going to experience unexpected rain. When that happens, you will need a rucking backpack that is also rainproof to a certain degree. To keep your backpack safe from the rain, choose one that’s not only waterproof but also has a handy cover for the rain that you can slip on once it starts to pour.
Wide Padded Shoulder Straps
This might be the most important feature to consider while choosing a rucking backpack simply because it is going to determine whether you will be comfortable or not during your ruck march. The straps of backpacks are made differently. For rucking purposes, you should always choose a backpack that has wide and padded shoulder straps that will make the backpack comfortable to carry and won’t take its toll on your shoulders once the ruck march is over. Also, opting for wide and padded shoulder straps is always best since skinny shoulder straps will dig into your shoulders and can be painful due to the weight you are going to be carrying in the backpack. You will also want to choose a rucking backpack that is able to distribute the weight of the rucking plates equally throughout the bag so that you’re not uncomfortable.
Chest and Sternum Straps
For extra safety, rucking backpacks also come with chest straps and sternum straps. Getting a backpack that has both is recommended mainly because it will make sure that the bag does not shift around while you walk because of the weight. Chest and sternum straps not only help secure the backpack to your body, but they can also help you vary the load on your musculature.
Waist Strap and Hip Belt
Choosing a rucking backpack that has a waist strap and hip belt will allow some of the load to be distributed to the large muscles of the hips, which will help you as you carry the rucksack. Since the weight is going to be distributed, it won’t cause fatigue or pain on your lower back. This is also recommended for those who go on a ruck march using heavy loads or for long ruck marches. Just understand that smaller ruck backpacks might not have this feature. 40L is the smallest I’ve seen that has a waist strap and Hip Belt.
Choosing the right Ruck Backpack might seem daunting at first. But hopefully, after reading this article you have learned something and can buy with confidence. I cannot stress enough how important I personally feel about including ruck marches if you have a bug out bag. If you’re not preparing to carry that thing from point A to point B, which could be miles apart, you might be in for a big surprise when your neck, lower back, or some other spot on your body starts aching badly. Good luck and be prepared!