Opting outside: The Ruck vs. the Weighted Vest


Weighted Vest vs. Ruck            


A lot of people have taken to walking or hiking with a weighted vest or Ruck as source of beginning, continuing or enhancing their fitness program during the shut down.  It’s an outstanding choice and I’m about to go into detail as to why.

The question is though—which is better? Vest or Ruck?

My question to you then becomes: What are you training for?


  • General Fitness
  • Event (Like a Goruck or a distance hike)


In the case of General Fitness, my choice would be the weighted vest.  Here’s why

  • More evenly distributed weight. Weight plates/sandbags are distributed front and back on just about every weighted vest.  That will sit better on your shoulders and make the added weight more comfortable.
  • Tighter fit to body.
  • Good Sources: 5.11 Tactical, Condor Sentry, Goruck (coming soon)
  • Con: Can’t use for carrying other gear.

The case for the ruck:

The ruck or Rucksack has been around for eons.  Humans figured out how to carry stuff on their backs a long time ago.  The military has been on this this train for the better part of recorded history.  Rucks have become better engineered with more space and better weight distribution over time.

Why the ruck?

  • Typically greater weight capacity than the vest
  • Can carry stuff other than “ruck-weight”.
  • Good Sources: Goruck, 5.11 Tactical.
  • Con: Weight distribution. Rucks have certainly gotten better over the years, but they still put the weight on the back of your body.

As far as the use goes:  Set either the vest or the ruck up with the weight that you want to carry.  Start with a lighter weight and work your way up.  Then you can simply start walking.


  • Core engagement
  • Cardio Capacity—steady state with a consistent elevated heart rate will build your cardio. If you can keep your heart rate between 120-150, you will really see some benefits.
  • Calorie burn. 30+ minutes will burn at least a couple hundred calories. Regular rucking will burn energy and help you to potentially shed some pounds (If that's your goal).
  • Outside—sunlight, fresh air, vitamin D, the list goes on. It’s always good to be outside.


So give it a try—you don’t need really fancy equipment.  Just a ruck or vest (with some weight) and a good pair of shoes.

Have fun!


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