Today GORUCK launched a second version of my favorite travel backpack, the GR2. This new version is slightly smaller, having a 34-liter volume as opposed to 40 liters in the old one, and it’s designed to be more comfortable for shorter people to wear. I love my GR2 to death but I have to admit if I were buying mine today, I’d probably go with the smaller one.
The original GR2 can be a bit too much for some people. My girlfriend, for example, can’t pick it up when it’s full, and I find it a bit tiring after a few hours on my back. I don’t know how much of a difference 6 liters will make in practical use, but if you were slightly put off by the gargantuan size of the original GR2, now you have another choice.
That said, I don’t think this is about reducing weight, but increasing comfort due to the way the ruck sits on your back instead. It’s all about the shape of the ruck, rather than the size itself: the original GR2 is a pretty tall backpack, and sometimes it bumps against my butt when I’m wearing it. Personally I never found this to be uncomfortable enough to be a problem in real world usage, but of course your mileage may vary.
Here’s a couple of pictures from my review of the original GR2 over at Tools & Toys, showing the ruck on me and my girlfriend for reference:
Top: original 40-liter GR2 on my back (5'7”). Bottom: original 40-liter GR2 on my girlfriend's back (5'5”).
The recommended sizing guide goes: if you’re under 6 feet tall, go for the 34-liter version. 6 feet or taller, go with the 40-liter version. That seems a bit extreme to me. I’m 5'7" and I’d say I’m at the limit where the backpack is still reasonably comfortable to wear. Again, your mileage may vary, so please take these comments with a grain of salt.