GORUCK GR1 Slick (Huckberry Edition) Review

The GORUCK GR1 Slick retains its ruck-ready toughness while shedding much of its PALS webbing for a more casual design fit for the city.

Our Verdict

8.6 /10
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  • A good size for both daily and travel use
  • It has a more urban, casual design while retaining that tough, overbuilt vibe
  • Thick and well-padded shoulder straps have thin joints for better movement


  • Having a laptop in the rear compartment affects comfort
  • Small everyday carry gear gets lost in the deep front pocket
  • No water bottle pocket despite ditching the exterior PALS webbing

Technical Details

87 %

Carry-on Compliance

View 126/145 Airlines

76 %

Like the Look

Polled on Instagram

  • Capacity


  • Weight (lb)

    2.9 lb (1.3 kg)

  • Denier


  • Dimensions

    18 in x 11.5 in x 5.5 in (45.7 x 29.2 x 14 cm)

  • Notable Materials

    CORDURA®, Nylon, YKK Zippers

  • Manufacturing Country

    United States

  • Laptop Compartment Size


  • Warranty Information

    GORUCK SCARS Lifetime Guarantee

Full Review

GORUCK’s backpacks are some of the most solid and reliable ones we’ve taken around the world for a good reason. The brand specializes in rucking, which is basically hardcore hiking while carrying a backpack loaded with a ton of weight. Whether it’s phone books, rocks, or sandbags, it doesn’t matter so long as it makes you sweat. With that in mind, GORUCK beefs up its bags so they can keep trucking while you’re likely already sore by the trail’s end. Though GORUCK’s bags are indisputably tough, they are a bit over-equipped if you want that GORUCK durability for casual use in the city.

GORUCK GR1 Slick Huckberry Back
GORUCK GR1 Slick | Pretty slick, right?

That is where the GORUCK GR1 Slick comes in. This Huckberry exclusive scales back on PALS webbing and ditches the hydration bladder pass-through for a more streamlined look and functionality. However, that begs the question: does shedding features mean it’s also compromised? Let’s find out!

External Components

The streamlining starts on the outside, and fans of the regular GORUCK GR1 can already tell what’s missing. Firstly, sadly, the hook-and-loop patch at the top is gone, so you can’t add your own custom logo patches. You can stitch one on if you’re really determined, but why not give this strictly-blacked-out aesthetic a chance? It might just grow on you. Yes, we’re almost always partial to black colorways, but they’re just super easy to pair with other colors, you know?

GORUCK GR1 Slick Huckberry Top Part
GORUCK GR1 Slick | 1000-denier CORDURA® fabric in black just looks right.

Also gone are the three rows of PALS webbing on the bag’s lower half and sides. For those not in the know, PALS stands for “Pouch Attachment Ladder system,” and you can think of it as a standard for loops compatible with MOLLE accessories. From a functionality perspective, this is one of the bigger deletions on the GR1 Slick. If you want to hang an accessory, you’ll have to use the top handle or the paracord zipper pulls. On the plus side, this makes the bag look a lot cleaner and minimalist without the loop-and-hook patch and overabundance of PALS webbing. That’s not to say that the regular GR1 looks gaudy, but the webbings did make it a bit too tactical for urban environments—kind of like driving an off-roader in the middle of New York.

At the time of writing, the GR1 Slick is a Huckberry-exclusive, and it’s available in two colorways: Black and Coyote. You already know we’re picking the Black colorway in most of our reviews simply because it’s easy to pair with other colors. However, the Coyote also uses the same 1000-denier CORDURA®, so there’s no difference in terms of feel. The zippers are from the ever-reputable YKK brand, while the strap adjusters are courtesy of National Molding. We’ve no problems with the National Molding adjusters on the regular GR1, and that’s thankfully the same with the GR1 Slick.

GORUCK GR1 Slick Huckberry Carry Handle
GORUCK GR1 Slick | A thick handle makes it better for comfort.

Features-wise, the GR1 Slick keeps it minimal, with only a beefy and comfortable top handle. One notable omission is the lack of a water bottle pocket. Yes, the GR1 fits more in an urban setting, but we’d still appreciate a place for our trusty 21-ounce Hydro Flask. Touring cities can be thirst-inducing, too, you know? The regular GR1 did not have a water bottle pocket either, but at least its side PALS webbing made the option available.

The harness system was already relatively simple on the regular GR1, but GORUCK found a way to simplify it even further. Yep, you’ve guessed it: they also ditched the PALS webbing here. There’s nowhere to attach a sternum strap (there isn’t one included) or route a drinking tube. The Slick lacks the hydration bladder pass-through from the laptop compartment anyway, so that’s not a huge loss.

GORUCK GR1 Slick Huckberry Harness
GORUCK GR1 Slick | The shoulder straps also lose their webbings from the regular GR1.

All of that said, the shoulder straps are still the thick and well-cushioned ones we’ve seen on the regular GR1. They might even be too thick for the relatively modestly sized 21-liter version of the GR1 Slick, but that also means they should be quite comfortable to wear. Additionally, we like how thin they made the top joints, allowing the straps to move around more freely and easily fit a wide range of torso sizes.

Also worth noting is the lighter 210-denier fabric underneath the shoulder straps. Past iterations of the GR1 had 1000-denier throughout, and some users reported that the fabric’s rougher texture caused shirts to pill and even rip. We didn’t encounter that issue when testing the regular GR1, but we’re glad to see GORUCK address the issue with a lighter denier. It’s especially more fitting with the GR1 Slick’s more casual use case anyway, but it’s worth noting that regular GR1 iterations now also use 210-denier fabrics underneath their shoulder straps and back panel.

GORUCK GR1 Slick Huckberry VELCRO
GORUCK GR1 Slick | You can replace this or ditch it altogether.

On that note, the back panel has nine sections of paddings, split by narrow air channels for breathability. The rear panel is relatively stiff, thanks to the removable frame sheet. If you want an even more rigid feel, which some do, you can upgrade to a Kydex frame sheet. Similarly, having a laptop in the laptop compartment also affects the back panel’s structure.

Fit Notes

GORUCK GR1 Slick Huckberry Side By Side
Left: Tom Wahlin, Height: 6’2” (188 cm), Torso: 19.25” (49 cm) | Right: Kristyne Defever, Height: 5’5” (165 cm), Torso: 17” (43 cm)

Given its thick shoulder straps, we aren’t surprised that it’s comfortable to carry the bag. We were also expecting a bit of stiffness, but that seems to have been mitigated by the switch to the lighter 210-denier for the straps’ underside. We’d understand if some folks would pine for a sternum strap, but our honest assessment, at least for the 21-liter version, is that it’s simply unnecessary, especially if you’re using this more as a daypack than a rucking backpack.

GORUCK GR1 Slick Huckberry Strap
GORUCK GR1 Slick | The shoulder straps’ thickness ensures comfort.

As we’ve mentioned, having a laptop in the rear compartment makes the back panel even stiffer. Those who prefer a more contoured back panel may find it more comfortable to carry without a laptop inside, which is how we feel. It’s a tough trade-off, so we’ll let you decide.

Inside The Backpack

The GR1 Slick has a front pocket with a slightly diagonal opening. It’s not too steep, so it doesn’t make reaching the very bottom of the pocket easier, no matter which side you put your hand in. That would have been nice, though, since the pocket is relatively deep, so much so that we only feel comfortable using it for bulky items like a packable jacket or tech pouches.

GORUCK GR1 Slick Huckberry Front Pocket
GORUCK GR1 Slick | The front pocket is too deep for really small gear to be easily accessible.

Also, note that a fabric welt partly obscures the zipper track, and when you combine that with the fact that this pocket gets squeezed by a fully packed main compartment, we find it tricky to access small gear. We definitely recommend using a tech pouch or a small organizer like the TOM BIHN Ghost Whale Organizer Pouches. Additionally, there is no overhead space tucked above the zipper, just in case you’re thinking of stashing something there.

Towards the back is the laptop compartment we’ve mentioned before. We dig the L-shaped opening since it gives us a wide breadth of space to take out a 16-inch MacBook Pro easily. There’s even a decently-sized false bottom and a bit of padding underneath for protection. Even though the bag is from a rucking-focused brand, we’re happy they included basic yet thoughtful tech-related features.

GORUCK GR1 Slick Huckberry Laptop
GORUCK GR1 Slick | A 16-inch MacBook Pro fits.

The laptop compartment is also where you can access the removable frame sheet, tucked through a slit, in case you want to replace it or upgrade. However, it’s not really necessary if you’re mostly carrying this around the city. As we said above, carrying comfort out of the box is more than acceptable.

The main compartment opens like a clamshell through two reverse-coil zippers protected by a fabric welt. The zippers tend to stick around the corners, especially when the bag is empty, and there’s not enough structure to prop up the fabric. It’s not as pronounced as it is on the GR2, though, so it’s no deal-breaker by any means. We like GORUCK’s choice of paracord zipper pulls since they’re immune to jangling and making distracting noises.

GORUCK GR1 Slick Huckberry Webbing Close
GORUCK GR1 Slick | There are still PALS webbings inside in case you want to hang MOLLE accessories.

The first thing you’ll probably notice about the GR1 Slick’s interior is the lack of a liner, and you’ll probably assume this gives the bag a cheap-ish, barebones vibe, but this is not the case. Based on our experience, a liner sometimes makes a bag feel saggy and messy when it creates a weird gap between it and the exterior fabric. That’s not to say liners can’t be good, as brands like Aer and Bellroy use them in their gear just fine. However, the lack of a liner is not a huge loss on the GR1 Slick since the 1000-denier CORDURA® exterior fabric already fills the role and perfectly matches the bag’s beefy vibe.

GORUCK GR1 Slick Huckberry Interior Pockets
GORUCK GR1 Slick | The leather tag is indicative of this bag’s Huckberry connection.

Organizing gear is fairly straightforward since there are not too many pockets in the main compartment. A document sleeve at the back has three rows of PALS webbing above it. At the front side, there’s a wide zippered pocket where you can store everyday carry items like keys, a wallet, a smartphone, and a pair of wireless earphones. Directly below that is a large zippered mesh pocket for bigger items like gloves, a buff, or your laptop’s wall charger. There are enough pockets to handle the basics, and you can add more organization by adding MOLLE pouches to those PALS webbings.

GORUCK GR1 Slick Huckberry Packing Cubes
GORUCK GR1 Slick | We dig how open the main compartment is and how easy it is to pack.

All that said, what we really like about the GR1 Slick is its open main compartment. The space feels maximized without a liner. Plus, most pockets stay flat against the back and front sides. Combined with the clamshell-style opening, it makes for a very convenient packing process. It honestly packs more like a travel backpack despite its relatively small size. It’s a good balance of space, accessibility, and organization that makes the GR1 Slick viable for weekend traveling and everyday use.

Usage Timeline

Initial Usage

Condition: Excellent

  • Very similar to the ordinary GR1, just paired down – we like the slick style without the patch and PALS for everyday, urban use, even if it looks a bit naked
  • We like that the Huckberry version is made in the USA as GORUCK moves a lot of their manufacturing overseas to Vietnam
  • The light leather patch on the interior is a nice touch, and starts nudging the bag more in the Huckberry direction of the partnership
  • GORUCK x Huckberry GR1 Slick Tag
    GORUCK x Huckberry GR1 Slick Tag
2 Weeks of Use

Condition: Excellent

  • So far, it’s felt more at-home in urban environments than the regular version of the GR1, though still very similar otherwise
By Tom Wahlin
Created February 6, 2024 • Updated February 6, 2024
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