*Coach Helder may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post

Rucking has been gaining in popularity over the past few years. More people are getting out in nature and experiencing the benefits of Rucking. And let’s face it… Anyone can get started with rucking, just with items that they have laying around their home.


On one my recent rucks, I had a few new members. A couple were rucking for their very first time. 

Lots of questions came up during this ruck. I was asked questions ranging from proper training and nutrition to specific gear that they should pick up for their rucking needs. 

Since a rucking gear list conversation, dominated the remainder of the ruck… I figured that I would share some of the items that I consider essential when rucking.

I’m leaving shoes, socks and a rucksack (backpack) off this list. Without these items, you wouldn’t be rucking. So let’s just say that they are a given when it comes to rucking. But in addition to that, they each deserve their own detailed video and detailed post. I will address these pieces of gear at a later date, so join my mailing list to stay posted.

So Let’s Get Started

-Extra Socks
Mid through the ruck and/ or when getting caught in a storm, is a good time to change out your socks. Keeping at least one extra pair of socks in your ruck is a must.

Proper hydration is sometimes overlooked when rucking. If you wait until you are thirsty, in order to drink, it’s too late. An ample supply of water is a must. I recommend a 2-3L hydro pack for rucking. It keeps you hands-free and water is always easy to access. With the hose dangling at your side, you are even encouraged, if not continuously reminded, to suck down that water!

-Tracking/ Fitness App
There are many free options when it comes to tracking and fitness apps. These apps will track your distance and pace. This enables you to focus on other aspects of your ruck. You can even set these apps to call out your distance and pace at mile intervals. There are apps for your phone, watch and many other devices.

I prefer a protein powder that I can mix up and consume, while still on the go. There are food bars, gels and many options for easily consumed fuel sources while on the move. However, there are rucks where we do factor in a lunch break, usually with an awesome view and tranquil location. It really depends on your mission. Just be sure to plan accordingly and keep your meals light.

-First Aid Kit
Having a FAK to address hot-spots and blisters alone, warrants it being included in any rucksack. But as you know, a FAK is crucial for any event and adventure. Being prepared is a big part of rucking.

-Communications (Comms)
Anything can happy on a ruck. Sometimes we are in locations where a phone may not work. For these exploratory rucks, having a ham radio is a important. You have a better chance of reaching help if you or a ruck member gets into trouble. Other items such as whistles and signaling devices are small, essential and easy to stage in your rucksack.

A ruck may run longer than planned and night begins to settle in faster than expected. You may also encounter dark tunnels and overpasses during your rucking adventure. For these situations, it is imperative to have illumination devices. Flashlights and headlamps are always at the ready with most veteran who ruck. But reflective tape, vests and jackets are also a smart addition to your rucking gear list.

-ID/ Money/ Wallet
May sound like a no-brainer to you but you wouldn’t believe how many people forget their wallets in their car. Sometimes, they leave them in the car on purpose, thinking that there is less chance of them losing it. Unfortunately, there are times when identification and money are needed during our rucking adventure. Remember to bring your wallet with you.

-Rain Gear
Personal rain gear is smart to keep in your pack. But in addition to that, I recommend a tarp or rain fly. Sometimes the sky opens up out of no where. Having a tarp to huddle under and ride out the storm is something that has saved me more than once. My fellow ruckers were also thankful that I had that piece of gear.

-Paracord & Duct tape
When it comes to repairing your rucksack, paracord and duct tape is usually all that you need. They also have a multitude of other purposes if required. Keep some of each in your backpack for future repairs.

When you are headed out to unknown areas on your rucks, having a GPS is always a good idea. It will let you know where you are and how to get back home. Once again, we cannot always rely on our mobile phones in off the grid areas.

-Lip Balm & Sunblock
Sometimes the rucksack feels light, your feet feel good, but… the unexpected sunburn on your arms and legs brings you agony with each step. Wind and sun will also wreak havoc on your lips. Be sure to lather up and re-apply throughout the ruck..

A cover will protect you from the elements and if you sweat like me… It also makes for a great sweat barrier; protecting your eyes and face.

No, not just to look like a cool operator in the middle east. But the shemagh has countless applications for rucking. You can use it for rucksack padding and comfort. It can be used as a first aid sling, pack repair, wipe sweat from your face while on the move, and countless other purposes. With social distancing a priority, it can also be used as a face covering during a ruck. You never know when you have to make a head call (use the rest room) publicly, during a ruck. A shemagh around you neck is always at the ready/

These are general essentials that I just shared with you. Climate, location, and temperature also factor into gear list decisions. But for general purposes, the items mentioned above will keep you, good to go, on your ruck.

Contrary to hiking and trekking with a backpack, adding weight to your pack when rucking is actually encouraged. For me, I would rather add items that I may need on my ruck, to get to my ideal carrying weight, as opposed to just adding things that are heavy. It really depends on your focus and of course, your goal(s).