FirstSpear TV

GORUCK Moves Some Pack Manufacturing Overseas

In a very transparent blog post, Founder & CEO of GORUCK, Jason McCarthy took a deep dive into his brand and the reasons why they’re moving the manufacturing of some of the very popular packs overseas.

BLUF – They want to control consumer pricing, but they’re not abandoning US manufacturing altogether. They are quite clear on that.

There are plenty of benefits to American manufacturing: communication with vendors is easier, quality oversight is easier because they’re closer, there are low minimum order quantities (~75 units vs. 1,000 units), moving to market is quicker, and there’s the support of American jobs, which has always been important to me. We intend to continue to support and utilize our American vendors (we have four), but not for the items that represent real scale for us.

This is a dilemma that everyone who manufactures textiles here in the US eventually faces. Unfortunately, our industrial base just isn’t that large. Additionally, labor is much more expensive here in the United States than elsewhere. Hopefully, we will see additional growth in our capacity to manufacture textile products are in the US, alleviating the need to go overseas at least to deal with capacity issues.

GORUCKS’s path forward is all summed up here:

• We’ll continue to build limited edition GR1’s in the USA; Black GR1’s and a couple other colorways will be built overseas (specifically in Saigon) moving forward. Rucker and GR2: same deal. The price on rucks built overseas will be less, so this is in essence an announcement of some (but not all) overseas manufacturing and a price decrease to our core rucksacks.

• For example, GR1’s Built in the USA version has been at $395. The models built in Saigon will be at $295.

• The model for us, USA vs overseas is this: where we can provide more value through customization and limited edition colorways and features, we’ll build those in the USA. We’ll build classic versions to scale, at quality, overseas.

The big post is well worth the read. Check it out here.

54 Responses to “GORUCK Moves Some Pack Manufacturing Overseas”

  1. jellydonut says:

    While they deserve partial credit for at least being up-front about it, this does not make it okay.

    I take it they haven’t noticed the trade war going on? The winds are quite clearly going against this exact kind of move.

    Oh well. Time will tell if they made the right move. Either way I won’t support it with my money.

  2. Easy E says:

    Now I don’t own any GORUCK packs and have no intent of buying one (some friends do), but it’s hard to argue against the real issue of being priced so high compared to a sea of packs out there. I certainly prefer anything I can get to be made in the U.S. of A, but there is a large cost difference in some things as the $395 versus $295 price shows above.

    • Bill says:

      If you’re going to drop $300 on a backpack you can probably afford to drop $400 on one made in the US. Thay C-note isn’t enough of a difference.

      • Alpha2 says:

        I feel $295 is still way too much for a pack made overseas.

      • Easy E says:

        Maybe, but what’s the competition at $300 versus $400? A 25% price drop is nothing to scoff at.

  3. SGT Rock says:

    Pfft… buy stuff made in the USA like Mystery Ranch, that way you support American jobs and workers.

    • J.V. says:

      You are aware that a huge portion of the MR lineup is also produced overseas? Not the military line, but on the civilian side.

    • jellydonut says:

      I hope this is sarcastic, MR moved almost all of their production overseas ages ago.

      Now, if you had said Kifaru or HPG, then yes.

      Buy HPG. Better priced than Goruck, and made in Colorado to the exacting standards of the Hill brothers.

      • Gearguy says:

        Jellydonut , HPG is made in Fenton Mo. by First Spear to the exacting standards of Scott Carver

  4. Joe says:

    I don’t fault them for this at all. Everyone wants USA made-or-that, but will rarely pay the price required to make it happen. That being said, $300 for a pack made overseas is going to be tough pill for most anyone to swallow. Especially since you can still get something of the likes of an MR ASAP, made in the US, for the same price.

  5. Chuck says:

    Control your costs, profits, prices and inventory. Transparency is admirable but don’t blame Labor in the USA. Those are your neighbors, friends, and compatriots. Taking care of your buddy is how an economy works and the best companies figure out a way.

    • justin says:

      “You just crossed over into..the twilight zone.”

      In today’s episode, lets lead in on a story of our boys storming the beaches of normandy/omaha/juno to liberate Europe, then follow with a story about moving manufacturing to of all places, Vietnam (may I remind you, a socialist country we also fought and lost many in).

      Is this guy for real?

  6. Nik says:

    They got the fan base and customers over the past few years,now they want to maximize there profits with cheaper products with the same logo. Def a no go. They wont get my money!

  7. Mike says:

    That’s a dumb business move for so little in savings for the buyer. I’d expect a much smaller price for something made in Vietnam.

  8. Will says:

    This is unfortunate but it is a thing. There are a number of OEM suppliers here in the US that could likely build their packs at an affordable dollar figure, I deal with all of the companies who can do it.

    That said, there are a number of packs running around SSD users right now that are likely built in the same factories they’re going to use. So, before you turn your nose up at GO RUCK, check your inventory of packs and determine if you’ve bought a foreign made pack. They are a company interested in making a better margin on their packs, you can’t fault them for that… you can simply vote with your wallet.

    I’ve looked at their packs in the past, online and in my hands. Personally, they do nothing for me… so this doesn’t sway me one way or the other. However, keep things in perspective… they sell an experience… the packs are a product extension.

  9. It is going to be a problem for a while longer. Everyone is quick to say go full USA, then when it is time to pay up they complain how much the price is like you just punched their first born. They also note and I can relate on the post how sometimes it isn’t due to lack of trying, on some products USA is going to be worse quality at a higher cost.
    That said, when it comes to high end tactical nylon goods, the USA is pretty hard to beat in quality and design, and apparently GORUCK did $19,529,753 in revenue for 2018, doesn’t exactly look like they were hurting on demand.
    Also noted in the blog they just straight up raised the prices to make the products look more “elite”. I give props to anyone who can pass off tactical as designer fashion, but once you reach the crazy town prices, the saying you have to go overseas excuse starts to looks flimsy. Material prices are definitely going up, but if you cost more than Crye and First Spear, then something else is also going on, and in this case it is the price of the brand.
    Although off-putting personally if I was a perspective buyer, apparently there are some folks out there into it, seemed to work for TAD as well. ¯\_?_/¯

    • ALMOR says:

      Your first paragraph encapsulates the issue at hand. We have a population addicted to cheap shit, but want American made at Walmart prices—and we all know how you get those prices.

      We live in a great country, but it’s a big world, full of many talented people who work hard and those products are worth every penny. But if someone needs to live in an all American America, you’ll need to stop giving your money to Walmart, Amazon, BestBuy and all big-box retailers. Oh, toss away your smartphones and computers too.

      Great point MSM.

    • Luke says:

      I’m suspicious GoRuck was getting ripped off a bit by their factory, as you say other quality MIUSA brands are far more price competitive. Similar price point buys you a far more complex tri-zip from MR (yes, the MIUSA ones) or a HPG pack with a full suspension and not some crude single curve straps with no sternum strap.

      How do you mean “seemed to work for TAD?” last I checked all their equipment and all but their hardshells are still made in the US.

      • ANIBAL PEREZ says:

        Luke, I’m pretty sure he’s talking about marketing your brand as a fashion item to justify the cost, which is definitely something TAD has pulled off pretty well, great products, but similar and better can be had for lower prices and still US made

    • Paralus says:

      If they are doing so to pass savings on to consumers, that would be one thing, but if the prices stay the same, then it is quite a different animal.

      Nike said they had to move overseas so they could remain competitive. $100 dollar Nikes are still $100 and the savings were passed on to shareholders. Great for Nike shareholders, bad for former employees, and a wash for consumers.

      First they axed the textile workers, then they started moving manufacturing overseas, now they are moving knowledge like legal, computer oding, etc.

      Eventually folks need to wake up to the fact that if all our s*** is made overseas or by robots, then who in America is going to be buying it if Americans aren’t working?

  10. Bill says:

    You spelled Ho Chi Minh City wrong

  11. James Francis says:

    I appreciate his transparency, but his product lives and dies on reputation and straight fandom. It’s a premium priced product, and the MADE IN USA tag is part of why many are willing to fork over the premium pricing. They could have diversified and created new products made overseas, not transition what is arguably their flagship product into an import. Mystery Ranch has done a decent job balancing this. Also, Vietnam? Really? At least MR imports are made in the Philippines. The optics of transition your MADE IN USA to Made in Communist Vietnam is comical. I’m a big fan of GoRucks and have bought several for myself and as gifts over the years, but this isn’t the 90s anymore, there are other competitive options.

  12. Lasse says:

    For a vertical company to sell a glorified bolt bag made in Vietnam for $300 means that they net a solid profit per pack- no discussion here. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re getting a 65%++ margin per pack at that price.

    Also, the reason for the price jump in 2011 was because of cotton prices reaching an all time high. Roughly 220% higher than what it is today and was in 2010. To expect a ~35% price increase yearly isn’t realistic, neither raw materials or labor jump that much a year without warning.

    The city is named Ho Chi Minh, not Saigon.

    • corsair says:

      The factory they are contracting with to produce their packs likely has minimums that are far higher than what GR is used to or, can handle. Thus, they are passing the low-production penalty onto the consumer. Outdoor brands that produce their backpacks operate at a 45-50% margin, highly unlikely that GR is getting close to that.

      It will always be Saigon.

      • Lasse says:

        If they can do 1000 packs, it’s the usual minimum. With it being select colors and outside of the usual production calendar, they’ll most likely have a fair price. It isn’t BPP, but it ain’t bad.
        The companies I’ve worked for have all been 50% and up margins on packs, and that’s wholesale. The cost numbers I’ve seen for various outdoor packs doesn’t justify a vertical $300 tag without an insane margin.

        If you look at the GR pack and compare it to other Vietnam made packs, it’s overpriced.

        It might be capitalist as fuck to produce in a communist country- which happens to be the best god damn place for mass manufacturing of packs.

    • Luke says:

      I may be missing something, but how did cotton prices effect a nylon product?

  13. Davy Crockett says:

    Last week, the Crossfit Games competitors used Goruck GR1’s during a 6k ruck running event, and McCarthy appeared in the announcers’ booth to talk about the benefits of rucking and superiority over weight vest running. He is trying to expand their customer base by positioning their pack as a piece of training equipment and knows that you can’t sell as many at the higher price. CrossFit community will spend money, but few will spend $395 for a backpack even if it is extremely well made.

    • SSD says:

      Why was this hung up? You used a different email address.

    • ArmyAmmoGuy says:

      GoRuck was also used/featured in the Rogue Invitational prior to the Games. SO yea, they are setting themselves up for the Crossfit masses to spend their dollars on any GR pack

  14. Amer-Rican says:

    Antifa love them some communism, too… Talk about jumping the rice paddy.

  15. Jay says:

    Total Sellouts. Wish them the best and their greed.

  16. Davy Crockett says:

    SSD, genuine question: Why was my previous comment regarding the Crossfit Games event rejected? I understand and appreciate your right to exercise editorial control over your site, but I didn’t think it disparaged anyone. Just curious.

  17. Chris B says:

    I’ve been pretty happy with my Kifaru packs. Got my E&E pack from them in late 2006 for my vehicle bail out bag while contracting in Iraq and put about 20 months of use on it before coming back for 9 more years of use on the military side and it’s still going strong. I liked it enough that I got a second E&E (I’m weak when a good deal pops up), a Zulu (now discontinued), and an X-Ray. All have been great packs that I used in the civ and mil sides with zero issues. When I end up looking for my next pack, they’ll be the first I go to, but the way the ones I have are holding up, it could be a while.

    Down side, they’re built to order so sometimes there’s a waiting period. Upside of that, they’re built to order in the USA! Can’t comment on customer service because I’ve never had any issues with their product. *Just my experience. Your results may vary*

    • Papa6 says:

      Agree 100%! My money has been going to Kifaru since 2003. I still have, and use, the first KIfaru I ever bought; an original Marauder.

      I’ve finger-f**ked GoRuck packs and my 16 year old Marauder is still a better pack. There is no way I’d purchase a $300 knap-sack made in Ho Chi Minh City.

      • Chris B says:

        Definitely a believer in buy once, cry once when it comes to price and quality (watching for sales from the higher end companies helps with the crying issue and my wife’s financial oversight vetos). And the crying I did for buying Kifaru
        turned into a big smile long ago.

        I had about the same opinion about go ruck’s stuff. I have packs that can do everything theirs can and are practical for what I do. If all I was doing was hiking around a major city I’d still put them way down on a visually low profile list because I think there’s better options that are not a cross fit type style accessory. I like their idea about what go ruck is about and I’d like to try one of their events someday, but I’ll be bringing my own ruck.

  18. Loopy says:

    ATS, Tactical Tailor, Eagle Industries, Kifaru, Crye, T3. And for the tactical lifestyle types, TAD. No need to overpay for a GR1 when there are plenty of other solid made in the USA options out there.

    I will say the 25% earned service discount for GoRuck stuff should be part of the discussion when talking about price points.

  19. CapnTroy says:

    Yeah, I hate to hear about the US losing even more jobs, especially on manufactured items that are used by solid citizens…but at least they didn’t pull the same shit that TAD did years ago when they announced that they were moving production overseas AND keeping the prestige pricing.

    • Luke says:

      Did I miss the TAD move overseas? they apparently moved back, last I checked nearly everything on their site was made in the US

      • CapnTroy says:

        The move I reference was a number of years ago…I really haven’t bothered to visit them since…

  20. Raul says:

    I bought s GR1 some time ago. Also some of their shorts/pants. Overpaid a bit because of the Made in the USA label. Stuff is great quality, with the described change, I will dive into Loopy’s post above. Too bad for GoRuck, just a shame.

  21. SamHill says:

    We saw this with tad gear, I bought my wife a ladys jacket one time, made in USA. Some time later, bought her another color, made in China. Nobody is really happy to see that. Then again, times are tough, economic slowdown. What are you gonna do?

    Maybe sew some giant crossfit logo on the new ones and they’ll buy it. The crossfitters can carry their snacks and headbands to the gym when they come to leave the gym looking like a bunch of 5 year olds just trashed a daycare. Those guys will buy it. I got a buddy who injured his back jumping around in a multi-hundred dollar crossfit vest that doesn’t even stop bullets. What are you gonna do? SMDH…

    • Luke says:

      TAD doesn’t make any jackets in China. Might want to double check where you purchased it and see if it’s authentic.

      • Eddie says:

        A few years back TAD shifted its production to China. After the negative backlash from fans they moved it back to the US. All of the current TAD sweaters are still made in China.

        I did notice they are trying their best to make everything in the US (materials and sewing) these days as opposed to being sewn in the US of foreign materials, which (IMHO) is a great.

      • SamHill says:

        You are mistaken, Luke. I have a women’s jacket, purchased directly from tad with a made in China label, as well as an earlier one with a made in USA label. Now, if you click on the technical details page, many of the items list where they are made.

  22. corsair says:

    Domestic production is very tough. The supply chain is painfully limited and so are factories that can do the assembly, if you’re not bound by Berry compliance, you’re likely flying-in your raw goods (great price was off-set by the massive minimum you had to buy and the cost of shipping) or, you’re paying a crazy amount for the limited pool of domestically made options.

    The lack of talented know-how in the sewing/textile labor force is a glaring problem in this country, which is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to lack of domestic production. Not sure whom GR is currently using domestically for assembly work: maybe they’re going out of business, they got a much bigger contract that ate-up their production time squeezing out GR or, GR is simply making a business decision to compete on the larger mainstream market. Vietnam is where a majority of the outdoor industry has their backpacks made, the minimums though are enormous.

    Not sure of the revised tax code, was hoping POTUS would’ve inserted some tax benefits for those starting up factories in textile production and assembly.

    It will always be Saigon.

  23. Ex11A says:

    No thanks. If I feel the need to Go Ruck, I’ll put on my American made and issued Belleville 790s and my American made large ALICE pack.

  24. NousDefions023 says:

    A difference of $100 between the import and US made pack? Looks like a strategic increase of profit margin to the unsuspecting consumer or the consumer that doesn’t care if it is made domestically or not. At that price i’d rather fork over the extra $100 to get the US made pack, but I wouldn’t buy anything from GORUCK now anyways.

  25. Grant says:

    These guys were always so overpriced anyways, I never even wanted to buy their packs because there are much better options out there for much less money. Glad to see they’re at least decreasing price accordingly.

  26. Phil says:

    Back to their original prices.

  27. mark says:

    For what its worth, DSPTCH is making Made in USA backpacks out of 1680D ballistic nylon with a lifetime warranty, for $180-$240 retail.

  28. Your neighbour says:

    Listen, most the the folks commenting here are missing the point. Goruck and their products are steered towards physical fitness. Their rucks are purposely and thoughtfully designed to carry weight plates. The goal is to ruck up and march towards a healthier and happier version of yourself and building a better community.

    Most of the SHTF and Doomsday Doctor Preppers would never consider becoming fit or buff, they are too busy dreaming about slaying zombies or imagining some BS 72 hour emergency scenario where they somehow triumph and come out on top.

    My advice? Load a bit of weight into a pack, ruck up and go for a walk. Repeat the process – eat well, drink water and get some sleep. I guarantee you’ll feel healthier and happier than you’ve ever been.

    That’s Goruck.

    • Eddie says:

      Fitness is what GoRuck has become. When they released the GR1, the GoRuck Challenge was a way to promote how insanely tough the bags were. The Challenges became very popular and they began to market them separately as fitness and team building events (the bags themselves were still a big part but people started to participate in events with non-GoRuck packs regularly).

      I believe GoRuck has become more of an events company and would like to become a bigger player in the bag industry. My only wish is that they would differentiate the new bags by using the spearhead logo on the velcro field instead of the reverse USA flag logo, since the bags are not made in the US, but obviously it is their choice what to use.