What should I wear for my GORUCK event?

Let’s get the caveats out of the way now: Having done a bunch of these events, I’m not too concerned about running a fairly minimal amount of gear. I also overheat pretty easily, and tolerate the cold quite well. If you think bringing an extra layer is a good idea, it probably is. These are just the things I would personally wear, and shouldn’t be viewed as anything other than a baseline to scale up or down from.

Having said that, this is the sort of gear that works for me.


Your primary goal here is to have fun. Don’t overthink it. If the weather is decent, just wear comfortable clothing that isn’t going to hold a lot of water. Bonus points for looking kinda ridiculous.


GORUCK Challenge

You are going to be crawling around rough terrain, carrying awkward things, beating up your hands/knees/shoulders. Wear things that provide at least a bit of protection.


  • Thin wool cap – Arc’teryx LTW beanie
  • Work gloves – Mechanix Wear
  • Wicking T-shirt – GORUCK – How will people know you do GORUCK unless you wear a brand shirt to the event?
  • I prefer longer, durable shorts that give me some knee protection – Kuhl Krux – Yeah, they’re effectively capris, so?
  • Compression underwear – Under Armour Boxerjock – I like the longer 9″ ones, they keep chafing to a minimum.
  • Wool compression socks – Swiftwick Pursuit Four
  • Durable shoes that drain well and have solid ankle support – Inov-8 Roclite 315


You are going to be very wet, and very dirty, for a very long time. Having layers you can add/remove to modulate heat is very helpful. I highly recommend pants for all Heavy events, the meat on your legs will thank you later. Unless your feet really can’t tolerate boots, wear them.


Cold weather events

Multiple thin layers, that can get warm when wet, beat out thicker layers all the time. You’ll be surprised how toasty you can get with a little motion, a wrung out wet wool base layer, compression gear to maintain skin contact, and a good shell to keep your body heat where it belongs. Long tights can make changing socks tricky, so I usually go with insulated shorts/capris as skivvies.


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  1. T. Smith

    11/08/2014 at 11:31 pm

    Don’t you have a log or some heavy awkward shit to carry??


    Thanks for the info!!!

  2. Jon

    11/08/2014 at 11:31 pm

    Looks good, but don’t forget the size guide on gloves…
    Hand circumference minus the thumb:
    Small: 8.0 to 8.5 inches
    Medium: 8.5 to 9.0 inches
    Large: 9.0 to 9.5 inches
    Extra Large: 9.5 to 10.0 inches
    Double Extra Large: 10.0 to 10.5 inches

  3. Russ

    11/08/2014 at 11:31 pm

    For cold weather events, with planned water contact- How do you alternate/peel the different layers off, that you listed above? Esp the socks- Do you start off with the thisn socks alone, or is it a base for the wool socks, worn togther?

    • jamesv

      11/08/2014 at 11:31 pm

      If you are lucky, Cadre will often give you a minute or two to prep for cold water submersion. I get as naked as possible, as fast as possible. After soaking in whatever slushy body of water we’ve found, get out, scrape as much water as possible off and get layers on your chest and head ASAP. If possible, I like to wear a long sleeve wool base layer, compression tshirt, and wind shell as often as feasible. That seems to give me enough warmth without overheating.

      The socks are layered in pairs, thin liner and thick core. I switch the entire assembly whenever I pop off my boots for foot care.

  4. Brent

    11/08/2014 at 11:31 pm

    For cold weather events, do you suggest both pairs of sucks worn at the same time? Meaning, do you wear both the toe socks and the wool hiking socks together? I have read two pairs of socks are not a good idea but I am open to suggestions. My last event was during the summer. I wore a pair of Darn Tough socks and would up with blisters. This time my event will be in cold weather. I want warm feet but also want to avoid blisters. Thank you.

    • jamesv

      11/08/2014 at 11:31 pm

      I wear two layers of socks during cold events. The Injinji keep blisters to a minimum while wicking some water away, and the thicker pair provides much needed warmth.

      • Brent

        11/08/2014 at 11:31 pm

        Perfect. Thank you. I just ordered the toe socks. I will plan to wear those with my Darn Tough Socks for the event. Thanks for the help.

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