Although this article is geared to the reasons why LDS missionaries should choose the 21L GORUCK GR1 backpack, you can also watch my video review below on why the GORUCK backpacks are worth the money. I’ve had one since 2015 and use it all the time. It’s my only travel bag when flying.
When I think of people who use backpacks daily, missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints come to mind first, probably because I was one and used a backpack (crappy one that I’ll discuss later) Every. Single. Day.
A few months ago, I polled 22 current and returned missionaries serving all over the world in every climate and multiple terrains. 90% of them used or use a backpack or satchel and reported they wish they’d had a better backpack that was more comfortable and lasted longer. Some of these elders served 25+ years ago (like me) and still remember their crappy backpacks. I’m late to the game now, but below is a great solution for you and your children.
Before I go any further, I know that the current official guidance for LDS missionaries states: Backpacks may be used for luggage but not for daily missionary activities. But, let’s face it, there are many missions throughout the world that allow backpacks for daily use, aka: proselyting. They are the best option when carrying weight and/or multiple items b/c your hands and arms are free and you’re walking upright w/out a bag bouncing off your hip or rear.
As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), heading on a mission is an incredibly significant journey. Whether you’re going to a bustling city or a remote village, your backpack becomes more than just a vessel for carrying belongings—it becomes a trusted companion on your mission. In this post, I’ll explain why the GORUCK GR1 stands out as the ideal backpack for LDS missionaries, especially Elders, or young men.
Stealth and Professionalism
In many mission environments, maintaining a low profile and projecting professionalism are crucial. The GORUCK GR1’s sleek and understated design allows you to blend in seamlessly while exuding an air of professionalism and preparedness. Its discreet appearance and lack of external branding make it ideal for situations where drawing attention to yourself may not be desirable. Whether you’re teaching a lesson, attending a meeting, contacting on the street or simply navigating daily life in your proselyting area, the GR1’s stealthy design helps you maintain a professional demeanor while carrying all your essentials with ease and in comfort.
Durability and Reliability
One of the most crucial aspects of any mission backpack is durability. LDS missionaries often find themselves in various environments, from urban settings to rugged terrain. The GORUCK GR1 is built to withstand the demands of these diverse landscapes. Constructed from military-grade materials and boasting a bombproof design, the GR1 can handle whatever challenges come your way. Its tough Cordura fabric, robust YKK zippers, and reinforced stitching ensure that it can endure the rigors of daily use, keeping your essentials safe and secure throughout your mission.
It will also be a backpack you’ll use when you return home–whether it’s for college, work, or every-day carry. Plus, with the Scars Lifetime Guarantee, you break it, they fix it. They are meant to be used and used often. It’s the best manufacturer guarantee on the market. I’ve used it so I know firsthand.
Plus, how often do missionaries get caught out in the rain? The GR1 is water resistant and cleans up easily when it gets dirty or muddy. And if you take a fall while riding your bike down the street at 20 mph, it probably won’t damage your GR1–it’s tough. If it does rip, they will fix it.
Versatility and Functionality
Versatility is key when it comes to mission backpacks, and the GORUCK GR1 excels in this aspect. With its thoughtfully designed compartments and organizational features, it offers ample storage space for everything you need to carry, from an extra jacket or raincoat to snacks to Books of Mormon and Bibles to study materials and electronic devices. The main compartment is spacious enough to accommodate bulky items like books, while the interior and exterior pockets provide convenient access to smaller essentials like pens, notebooks, keys, and water bottles. Additionally, the MOLLE webbing allows for customization with additional pouches or accessories, adapting to your specific needs and preferences. In addition, the Bombproof Laptop Compartment next to your back is extra reinforced and has a false bottom so that when you set your ruck down, your laptop (or tablet) won’t even notice.
Comfort and Support
You may be on your feet or bicycle for 9 hours/day so comfort is essential. When I was a missionary, I used a Jansport backpack. I’d load it up with books to give out and with my heavy scriptures (quad). The weight sat low on my back, not high. The straps were thin. There was no padding between my back and what was inside my backpack. Many missionaries had back pain b/c they had horrible backpacks that weren’t meant for carrying weight, especially for extended periods of time.
The GORUCK GR1 is engineered for maximum comfort, with extra padded shoulder straps, a cushioned back panel, and a sternum strap (sold separately) that distributes weight evenly and reduces strain on your shoulders and back. It’s designed to carry the weight high on your back, therefore more comfort and you can carry more weight. Whether you’re navigating crowded city streets or hiking through rugged terrain in a remote village in Brazil, you can rely on the GR1 to provide the support you need to stay comfortable and focused on your days tasks.
-You can personalize with a patch–maybe of the country you’re serving, state; or your initials, CTR, JC, a scripture, or anything else. I’m working on some custom patches to offer missionaries here soon. If you’re in a sketchy area or in a foreign country, you may not want a bright USA flag patch. The locals may take to you more if you sport something local to the area, like their flag.
-You can and will use it after your mission. It will last no matter the abuse you put it thru.
-Price is high–starting at $335 for the 21L GR1. Why? All GORUCK gear and clothing has sticker shock, but it’s b/c of the quality and lifetime guarantee. Try it out.
GORUCK has several backpack/rucksack options. I have the GR1, GR2 and Rucker. I single out the 21 liter GR1 here b/c I think it’s the best option for Elders/missionaries b/c of the size and simplicity. The GORUCK GR1 is the ultimate backpack for LDS missionaries, offering unmatched durability, versatility, comfort, and professionalism. With its rugged construction, thoughtful and simple design, and lifetime guarantee, the GR1 isn’t just a backpack—it’s a trusted companion on your journey for the next two years and beyond.
If you’ve found a better backpack option for your mission, please share. It’ll be hard to convince me there is one with better quality than the GORUCK line, but hey, I’m open to hearing what you’ve used.
Please send me pictures of you or someone you know with your GR1 (or other GORUCK rucksack or kit bag) on your mission. I’ll share them here. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I also wrote an article on the best pants for LDS missionaries. You can read that here.