Rucking Tee – Long Sleeve
This is one of the oldest GORUCK apparel items I purchased, and thus I have the most experience with it. This shirt uses Polartec’s PowerStretch Pro fabric which is 74% nylon, 16% polyester, 10% Spandex. The mix is a very heavy, shiny, and smooth fabric. It has a ton of stretch, weighs a good bit, and yet still dries pretty fast.
To understand this shirt you have to understand what it was built for: crawling through the mud while wearing a heavy GORUCK backpack. Over time, most shirts will start to pill from the abrasion of a rugged backpack, however, this fabric was picked because it wouldn’t pill, it wouldn’t break down, it would dry fast, and move well.
After months and months of wearing the shirt for my rucking workouts, I can attest that the shirt checks all those boxes. It’s extremely comfortable and has started to be a go to for me when I am relaxing at home. The stretch is very good and the weight is like a heavy t-shirt. It won’t block wind or insulate you too much, and it will breathe pretty well when working out, but it will never be a very cool shirt, nor will it be warm.
Unlike many of the other workout shirts we have reviewed, the biggest flaw in this shirt is that it has no odor resistance. This is a wash after every wear shirt. That said, I’ve washed and hung dry this shirt dozens and dozens of times and it looks brand new. I’ve come to really like this shirt, but make no mistake, it looks like a workout shirt in every way.
Rucking Sweatshirt – Full Zip
The sweatshirt is the same fabric, PowerStretch Pro, as the rucking shirt. And I don’t mean just the same blend, I mean the same weight and everything. Cut like a full zip hoodie but with a light weight and durable fabric. I originally picked this up because I was looking for something to replace my all cotton hoodie I usually slip on when I get chilly working at home or need to run out really quick.
Since this is more or less the same as the t-shirt above, I’ll add that the cut is great and it makes for a great mid-layer as it easily will slip over any shirt you are wearing. Unlike a fuzzier hoodie, it won’t leave lint all over your shirt nor will it bind on the sleeves if you pull it on quickly.
There are only two downsides to the hoodie:
- Because of the material, the hood will absolutely flop all over when you bend down to tie your shoes. Not a deal breaker, but it won’t have the same rigidity as a normal fleece hoodie.
- Like every other hoodie, it won’t pack down well for travel. It’s always going to be fairly bulky and heavy.
Having said that, I like this hoodie a lot more than the shirt, and I wear that shirt all the time around the house and working out. The hoodie has yet to go on a workout with me, but that’s because of the weather more than anything.
PowerStretch Pro Overall
I have one wish for this fabric, that is that some anti-microbial tech, but it is otherwise really great. I know that GORUCK has had issues sourcing enough of this fabric, and that makes sense because it is quite good. It is dead silent, and it seems to shrug off anything you can throw at it.
Imagine something with the durability of Carhartt jackets, but with the softness of cotton and the movability of yoga pants — that’s basically what you have here. This fabric is ideal for casual and workout clothing, or for any scenario where you are going to abuse the shirt and want it to come out looking brand new.
The material works better on the hoodie as it looks more like some of the newer Nike hoodies that are sold branded for sports teams, thus making it blend in better. Two thumbs up on this, and if they ever start selling the half zip again, I’ll buy at least one.
GORUCK makes their Simple Pants/Challenge Pants/Shorts (Simple, Challenge) out of the same ToughDry® fabric which I previously talked about in my review of the Simple Windbreaker. This fabric is 94% nylon, 6% spandex and is made with the same goals as the shirts above: get wet, get muddy, get punished, and come out of all of that looking new. And it does, remarkably well.
Like with the windbreaker, the pants themselves always look a bit crinkled and they make a bit of sound when you wear them. Certainly not as much as other hiking style nylon pants, but these pants aren’t trying to hide that. The overall cut of the pants, and design, is a mimic of Levi’s 501s which is to say it’s rather classic.
I’ve found these pants to be a bit of a mixed bag. For me they are replacing my Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pants as well as my Outlier OG Climbers (both which I sold as they were too big for me). They are better than the Ferrosi Pants for how I work out. They have less stretch, but the durability of the pant, the cut, and style are greatly improved. They are slightly less breathable, but they are also more water repellant and dry faster than the Ferrosi Pants by a large margin. Ditto with the OG Climbers.
The biggest downside to these pants is the front pockets, they are just a touch too shallow for my liking. That said, the cut of the pocket opening means that next to nothing is going to easily come out of these pants — something GORUCK specifically designed the pocket opening for.
Overall, I like these pants, but I disagree with everyone who says they can pass for casual pants. They are certainly among the best pure hiking type of pants out there, but they still look like nylon.
This is my second go around with ToughDry and it’s quickly becoming a favorite. It dries very fast, it is perhaps among the most durable fabrics I’ve owned, and yet it weighs next to nothing. Both the windbreaker and these pants pack down to nothing. If you needed backup pants, or wanted a backup layer, both the pants and windbreaker are my go to. They can be mashed into the bottom of my bag and no matter how hard you try you will not notice the weight of them.
They are not the stretchiest of materials, nor are they stealth in hiding that they are nylon, but they also aren’t for lifestyle wear (no matter what GORUCK’s website tries to claim). Yes, you can get by wearing them in a pinch, but they are always going to look like workout or hiking clothes. In many areas, for many activities, that will be just fine.
I give ToughDry two thumbs up for sure. If it had odor resistance in it, it would be near the top of my list. That said, I think it dries faster than any other material I’ve tested.
Notes on GORUCK Sizing
Do yourself a favor and never look at GORUCK’s sizing charts because they are non-sensical. GORUCK for some of their products measures the actual garment size. Whereas most companies with shirts measure chest size as the size of your chest, GORUCK just measures the size of their shirts. It makes some sense, but I find it infuriating.
Instead buy the clothing based on the size you normally wear. I wear a large in GORUCK tops, which I also wear in most other brands. I did find that the pants fit slightly larger than listed in waist but shorter in length than you would assume.
While GORUCK has a solid return policy, do note that it is a return the item and wait weeks and weeks for a refund, and order your replacement. You’ll get the refund, but don’t expect it any sooner than 4 weeks. It’s a bit absurd.