I mentioned that I’d gotten a GORUCK SK26. I’ve been using it daily for a month and I’m into it. I haven’t carried a backpack on the regular since high school (’89!) and it took a couple of days to find the sweet spot where the straps were snug enough to be comfortable without having to contort myself to get in or out of it.
The bag is almost absurdly overbuilt. The fabric is thick 100D Cordura which feels like it should wear forever. The straps are crazy thick and almost too stiff at first. From what I’ve read, they will break in over time and end up with almost a custom fit for the wearer. We’ll see. The extra thinkness in the straps also helps make heavy loads more comfortable (I can vouch for this).
The open plan of the bag lets you have access to all 26L in whatever configuration you believe best. I have a couple of standard EDC-dork things hooked to the internal PALS webbing: a couple of velcro straps, some small lights, and some carabiners. I’m a paracord bracelet away from being a doomsday prepper. The “SK” in the name of the bag refers to the “slick” look of not having any of the PALS webbing on the outside of the bag. Since my daily use was going to be carrying to the office I didn’t think the full-on techincal look was a good fit. A backpack is hardly professional office wear but I’m not as far over the line of propriety as I would be with buckles and straps and bungee all over the outside of the bag.
It’s tricky to see in that photo, but there is an elastic pocket there below the PALS webbing. It’ll hold a standard file folder easily. The folded down portion of the bag there has a closed zippered pouch and separate zippered mesh compartment. I haven’t used those much yet but they will end up being useful at some point. Probably. There is also a zippered slash pocket on the front of the bag for quick access if you need something at hand right away.
The SK26 wasn’t 100% office-ready for me. I need a way to carry my coffee mug, pens, notebook, and some more EDC junk (pocket knife, leatherman). I purchased a Tom Bihn Vertical Freudian Slip to fill these gaps. It fits almost as though it was designed for the SK26. This combination results in exactly what I want to carry to the office every day. The other side of the Slip has 4 pockets for carrying papers and folders. I fit a large Moleskine squared notebook in there with no trouble. Like every other piece of Tom Bihn I own, the quality of the manufacture is top-shelf.
I was able to justify (to myself and the Household Appropriations Committee) the cost of the bag by it’s versatility as more than just a glorified briefcase. I had occasion to need to haul a dozen LPs I was selling this weekend. I removed the Freudian Slip and the SK2 swallowed them with plenty of room to spare. That photo above is 25 LPs in the bag. I could have probably snugged another 2-3 in there but 25 is a good max. capacity number for rating purposes. FYI, 25LPs make for a heavy load but those straps I was talking about made it almost comfortable to carry.
I didn’t even mention the laptop compartment that lives under the straps of the bag outside of the main compartment but that’s because I don’t carry a laptop every day. I have no idea how effective it is.
After a month of daily use I’m firmly in favor of the SK26 as an every day office carry bag. I have some travel coming up this summer so I will have more points of reference as to the bags versatility. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Thank you for your review.!! I am also working in office for most of time. I am struggling to buy GR1 and SK26.
All of the external webbing on the GR1 made the difference for me. I didn’t want to give off super-poser vibes. I just wanted to have a kick-ass backpack.
Thanks for the comment!
I saw your comment at http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/goruck-gr1/ and it sent me here. I just wanted to say thanks for your review & pictures.
You’re welcome. Thanks for commenting!
Did you remove the Velcro patch on this SK26?
Kelly, there wasn’t one to remove on the SK26. I did add that pin, though.
Hi Michael. Long shot, but these are hard to find these days: any interest in selling? Or trading for a coyote sk26 + cash?
Chris, thanks for the offer but I’m too attached to my SK26 to trade it.