EDC Backpacks: The 5 Best GoRuck GR1 Alternatives

Best GoRuck GR1 Alternatives

I am a huge GoRuck fanboy. But some people can’t justify spending $300 on a everyday carry backpack. So we put together this list of our best GoRuck alternatives that will give you the durability you expect from a GoRuck GR1 but without the hefty price tag.

1The Battalion 12L // Recycled Firefighter

The Battalion 12L from the guys over Recycled Firefighter is something that we have been eyeing since it first popped up on our radar.  Recycled Firefighter has made a name for itself as being made in the US with the type of quality you would expect from a bag made in the US. This 12L bag is made from Mil-Spec 1000D Condura with #10 YKK Mil-Spec zippers. For those keeping score at home, these are the same zippers and material the GR1 uses. I already love this bag.

With one main compartment, one zipper pocket on the front and two internal mesh pockets, this bag keeps it simple while still providing plenty of organization. The Hi-Visibility orange interior makes it easy to find things inside the bag by providing contrast, a feature that is more useful than one would imagine.


All stress points are box stitched and heavily reinforced to make sure that this bag lasts forever. This bag will fit your 13″ Mac book and with a little more than 1/3″ of foam on the bottom, it will protect it too. This bag is made to last. The vertical front pocket looks like it would be awkward until you realize that it is designed to be slung in front of you and opened. This attention to how people actually use their EDC bag is why this company is great. The only thing that this bag is missing is molle webbing. This could be a plus or a minus depending on who you are. If you are looking for a bag that doesn’t scream TACTICAL then this is the bag for you. As of writing this the bag is only available for pre-order. But at a price of $129 it is a killer deal for the quality that Recycled Firefighter lives by.

2Rush 12L // 5.11 Tactical

The Rush 12L backpack from 5.11 Tactical is a bag that comes up often on forums when people are discussing EDC bags. The Rush is made from super durable 1050D nylon and has YKK zippers. The materials it is made from are top notch.

511 Tactical

The main difference between this bag and the GoRuck GR1 would be that the Rush is a bag that boasts 16 different compartments, allowing maximum organization. The Rush 12L has an internal admin panel for organizing, a 60 oz. hydration pocket, and a fleece-lined sunglasses pocket to protects your eye-wear. 511 Tactical

Covered in Molle webbing, the Rush 12L can be customized with whatever gear you want to slap on it. Another really useful feature is the compression straps on this bag that allows you to keep it compact and tight which is especially useful when traveling with your bag. This is one of the best GoRuck alternatives in almost all regards.  Averaging around $100, this bag is a steal.

3Lithvore // Maxpedition

The LITHVORE Backpack is a 17L bag which boast a clean look and tough design. Boasting a front admin pouch, bottom shock cord retention to hold any coats or sweaters, two bottle pockets a huge main compartment, this bag has plenty or organization.
Made from 500D Hex Ripstop / 1000D plain weave nylon with YKK zippers, this bag is designed to last. The laser cut Molle system on the front is a little less tactical looking and is made from durable 840D nylon. The nylon seat belt webbing is super smooth on your skin and wont irritate your skin as you wear it. 

The two side water bottle pockets on this bag stretch and are not only great for holding drinks, they also can be a good little spot to throw odds and ends as you go. The ease of access, durability and internal organization available in this bag make it a great EDC bag. This is one of the best Goruck alternatives if you are looking for something with a little more organization out of the box. The price is around $150 and with a construction that is designed for life, it is well worth it.

4Jester // North Face

North Face backpacks are classic and for good reason. They have served as a dependable bag for many people over the years and the brand continues to produce quality gear that appeals to a wide audience. The Jester is a great EDC bag for those who are students or just don;t want a bag that looks insanely tactical.

North Face Jester

The 26L Jester is a larger EDC bag that can hold everything you need throughout the day. Featuring a 15″ laptop sleeve in the main compartment and plenty of organization throughout, this bag has a spot for everything. One thing I like about this bag is the elastic bungee on the front that looks unobtrusive but can be extremely useful should ever the need arise to carry a coat or sweatshirt on your bag. This is one of the best goruck alternatives if you are looking for a bag that blends in and isn’t tactical. With two mesh water bottle pockets and lifetime warranty, you can’t go wrong at around $60.

5The Q Laptop Backpack // Timbuk2

The Timbuk2 Q is one of the top alternatives for a GoRuck EDC bag. One of the main reason’s that people have leaned towards getting a GR1 is that they have an excellent laptop compartment. For those looking for a great solution to carrying your laptop around, The Timbuk2 Q is your answer.  Featuring a protected, side zipping laptop compartment,  the Q gives easy access to any laptop up to 17″.

With a 26L internal compartment and tons of internal organization, the Q has a pocket for everything and room to spare. The fact that this bag contains no Molle webbing means that it does not have a tactical look which makes this a perfect bag to bring to work and back without having to worry about getting weird looks.  A super durable construction, the Timbuk2 Q gets nothing but raving reviews from all of it’s owners. This is one of the best goruck alternatives if you have a more tech oriented lifestyle.

Think we forgot something? What is your EDC bag? Leave us a comment and let us know!