I made alot of mistakes in preparing for Goruck Selection. LOTS! Hmmm...where to start?
I guess one of my biggest mistakes was not paying very close attention to Jason McCarthy's blog post about packs and packing. It was late in the training and I had trained with a GR2 for 2 years. I did not think it was wise to go to a GR0, but I was wrong.
I was also wrong about what I put in it and paid for it severely.
Too much stuff is too much stuff no matter what it is. I definitely had too much despite having everything on the mandatory packing list. (hint...that may not all be mandatory)
I think I know what I would pack for the exact same event if I did it again, but if the event was somewhere else, like Bozeman, I would have to put serious thought into it.
Wherever you go, the Cadre are going to toss your pack so you would be wise to make sure that you can pack and unpack all your stuff in around 30 seconds. If you can't do that, you will fail for many different possible reasons.
My gear was perfect when I showed up. I had thought out everything except them tossing my shit to the extent they did and literally giving me 30 seconds to repack. I lost my Nalgene water bottle somehow and that small loss made a big difference later.
I crammed so much stuff in my ruck in such a disorganized way that I could not find anything in there. Everything I brought was useless because I couldn't get to it in the time I was allowed. Everything got wet and soaked up tons of water. My pack weighed 61 pounds when I got back to the hotel. I am sure that it was closer to 70 at many points during the event while just getting out of the ocean.
I broke my bladder and was given time to fix it, but not enough. I opened the ruck, looked for my spare, felt around and just zipped it back up without changing it out. Now, no Nalgene meant that I only had an Aquafina bottle that I found on the ground as my water source. This is a bad, bad situation. No food and no water is not a prescription for passing Selection. If you are in this situation, fix your problem, do not do what I did...you will not make it. Don't lose your Nalgene. Keep it inside your ruck until you are walking and put it in the mesh outside Molle pocket. You will need it and you will drain your bladder and the bottle, trust me. When you are given the opportunity to fill up your water, fill the Nalgene and the bladder all the way to the top, every time. Do not worry about the weight of this water. You have to have water and it is the only nutrition that you will be given. Drink, drink, drink.
During one evolution, we put all our packs in a pile and jumped over them for about 30 minutes. We were told to just grab a random ruck and take it to the beach. I grabbed the first one I saw, which was a GR0. I could not believe how much lighter it was than my ruck; probably 15 pounds. It was at that point that I knew I had made a big mistake with my own packing. 15 pounds is a TON. Do yourself a favor and go minimalistic, waterproof and simple.
If I could do it over again, I would follow Jason's advice to the letter.
Here is what I would take:
Gear worn to start line
Running shoes-worn to the event
1 pair socks worn to the event
One tshirt worn the whole time
Running shorts which you will wear the whole time. These can be light running shorts or Ranger Panties
Underwear which you will wear the whole time, or go comando
PT belt worn the whole time
Which pack and what would be in it:
GR 0 with huge drain holes or GR Echo with huge drain holes. Smaller the better. Make sure you have a waist belt like this or make your own, a chest strap and ways to hold your drinking tube to the shoulder strap
1 pair of Boots-well broken in. I used the Under Armour Valsetz and Under Armour Valstez RTS. Either are fine but I might lean a little toward the RTS for a beach event as I am slightly more comfortable running in them. Many other boots are on the market, but you need to buy 2 pairs and wear them throughout your training so that you dont wear out your event pair in training.
1 pair socks, waterproofed in dry lightweight dry sack
Source bladder, at least 2 low profile. Only bring the one tube but bring extra bite valve
Vaseline- small tube kept in outside pocket of ruck. Some prefer Body Glide. Either is fine...whatever works for you.
Sunscreen-small tube or stick
Long sleeve undershirt
Extremely light jacket
2 4 foot Climbing Runners
Wide mouth Nalgene bottle, biggest that you can fit into the ruck
Mesh outside Nalgene holder Molle to side
Headlamp...waterproof with red lens
PT belt sewn on ruck
Pants-5.11 Traverse with BDU Belt
100 mph tape if room. No need for full roll. 1/4 or 1/8 roll should be fine.
Foot kit, pared down with precut tape, 10 pieces, needles, thread, alcohol wipes. Waterproof and small. Make sure to practice with these items. If you are planning on taping feet with Leukotape or other, do it in training first.
35-40 pound plate, whatever size needed. A plate like this can be manufactured at a welding facility and have it at whatever weight you need to get your rig to 45-47 pounds. Check out SHplates as well. I like this one
Take the smallest amount of stuff and have the highest amount of metal weight to get your whole rig to 46 pounds dry without food or water. There are other places that sell very nice stainless plates perfect for this application.
Outside of ruck:
A couple of carabiners onto Molle in case you find a use for them
Mesh Nalgene bottle holder
PT belt sewn permanently to the ruck
NOTHING ELSE...no morale patches, nothing that will draw attention to yourself, DEFINITELY do not have your boots hanging off the ruck or anything else that will make you look like a gypsy. You will not make it...guaranteed.
When wet, water should go straight through without increasing weight much and this should be practiced over and over. If the weight does not return to around 48 pounds within 5 minutes of coming out of the water, scratch that packing plan and try again. Figure out a way to make it work that way.
Goruck packs have all sorts of nice pockets. Get used to not using them. Cram your shit in the ruck during training because that is how it will be during the event.
Pack any way you want to but make sure whatever you take can be taken out of the bag, and repacked in 30 seconds, max...practice this over and over in dark and light. Practice doing this in the middle of a 12 mile ruck for time in both dark and light. Practice with your gear wet and with it dry.
Practice doing things like changing out your bladder in 20 seconds, changing one sock in 30 seconds, filling water bottles and bladder in 30 seconds and getting back on the road.
Practice taking every single thing out of your pack and then repacking in 30 seconds. Then do Murph for time with your ruck and stop after 10 rounds to refill water, stopping again to change out bladder and stopping a third time to change a sock. This is similar to what you will be doing in the event. Your heart rate will be high, you will be confused, covered in sand and will have only a few seconds to get what you need and move on. Practicing this will pay huge dividends if you really want to pass an event like this.
You can not be too well prepared and you can not practice soaked with water enough.
You are allowed 1 lb of food during the 48 hour event, but that doesnt mean you can just eat whenever you want to. They take the food and give it to you when they want to. I made it almost 20 hours and never saw the slightest opportunity for food. They did not even hint at offering us food. I do not think that the survivors of the night got anything to eat or drink for more than 30 hours and that was 1 small Gatorade that they did not even bring. Dont overthink the food. You wont get much or any of what you bring. A couple of bars and you are good. In hindsight, I spent way too much time thinking about food and practicing situps and not enough practicing my packing, unpacking and streamlining my gear.
I will write another post on how I trained for the lack of food and how I would do it again if I decide to take on Selection one more time. Things would be different for sure. I was not fully prepared for the complete lack of nutrition. I think that only 2-3 guys were even close to being prepared for it and only one finished. The other ended up in the hospital with Rhabdo, Renal failure and tubular necrosis. This event is NO JOKE.