1 year ago
I’m Jon. I work as a full-time web developer for a large investment manager in the UK but I’m also a part-time Royal Navy officer and photography enthusiast. My bag of choice for carting around my daily-use gear is the GORUCK GR Echo.
Before I met the Echo, I had been searching for a long time for a bag that would be versatile enough to meet the demands of my varied lifestyle – I wanted something that would be as at home in the office as it would on the bridge of a warship. In the GR Echo, I believe I’ve found the perfect mix of portability, durability and style.
I actually first heard about GORUCK on this very website so it seems fitting to write about my bag here. The GR Echo is designed to carry just the essentials which is great for me - I have an unfortunate habit of carrying way more kit than I need. The small Echo forces me to be selective and just to bring the items that I know I will need. That said, you can actually fit a great deal into this little bag and the various sections and expansion options (more on that later) allow you to keep it organised.
The GR Echo is made of the same 1000D cordura as all of GORUCK’s product line. This makes it extremely tough and durable, something the makers are clearly very confident of as all of their kit is backed up by their lifetime guarantee. Designed to ride high on your back to ensure comfort even with relatively heavy loads, the Echo is padded in all the right places. The straps are simple but perfectly shaped and extremely well attached and there’s a similarly well built carry handle on top. The fabric used is also highly water-repellent. My Canon 5D Mark II remained completely dry inside the Echo despite the best of Yorkshire’s summer weather. This bag is tough. It feels like it will withstand almost anything.
The front of the bag is characterised by the lack of any kind of branding. Instead, there’s the signature GORUCK velcro rectangle for attaching a patch of your choice and a simple zipped ‘slash’ pocket ideal for storing travel documents or similar. There’s also a couple of rows of MOLLE webbing. Round the back is the laptop/hydration compartment. GORUCK state that the laptop section is capable of holding a MacBook Air or iPad, however I’ve managed to fit a 13-inch MacBook Pro in there without too much trouble. However, the bulkier your laptop, the less comfortable to carry it will be. An iPad or 11-inch MacBook Air is just about perfect.
Inside the main compartment, you’ll find two more rows of MOLLE webbing which I’ve used to attach a small pouch to help me keep small items such as my headphones, wallet and BlackBerry together. There’s also an elasticated mesh pocket which is perfect for a Kindle or iPad as well as two zipped pockets on the front.
To give an idea of how much you can fit into a well-packed GR Echo, below is my usual loadout for the office:
- Bose on-ear headphones
- 11-inch MacBook Air
- LaCie Rugged 1TB hard drive
- Canon S90 camera
- Maxpedition EDC organiser (full of every day essentials)
- Amazon Kindle
- BlackBerry Curve (hate it!)
- iPhone 4 (love it!)
- Moleskine notebook
- iPad 2
There’s also normally just enough room for a small Thermos of coffee.
I’ve also used the Echo to carry my Canon 5D Mark II along with a couple of lenses when going on a longer walk than my trusty Billingham bag is comfortable or practical for. This probably isn’t the most protective solution, but it works well enough, provided you don’t throw the bag down when you get to your destination!
The GORUCK GR Echo is built to be abused. It gets better looking the more worn it gets. The build quality is bulletproof and the styling is minimal and understated. I wouldn’t hesitate to say that this bag is badass.
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