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Do any of you use the term Rucking for Backpacking?

I went on a backpacking trip this weekend after nearly more than a year of being off the trail and sheesh it was tough. My body is paying for it today, sigh. Anyways, my partner suggested we 'ruck' more often to train...which I completely agree with BUT does anyone use the term rucking to refer to backpacking? My understanding is that it's more of a British term and not really used here in the states?...




6 Replies

nope, but when I was in the Army, we called our ALICE packs "rucksacks", could have a British origin...who knows

that said, the Army doesn't really use rucksacks anymore, except for training forced marches and to haul your personal stuff on deployments, but even those have changed.  The Army is 100% mechanized, meaning they ride everywhere.  I guess small squad sized infantry have to haul their stuff when on foot, but not for that long. I've been retired for a while...let the stories commence!

REI Member Since 1979

ahh interesting. My brothers in the military, I'll have to ask him if they still train this way. Thank you!



In the UK hiking backpacks have been known as rucksacks apparently from the German, der rücken,  for "back".  I guess hiking backpacks came to the UK via Germany early on.  So it could be that is where the term "rucking" comes from but I never heard it so I suspect it may be regional or modern or even associated with a particular elite...sometimes exclusive groups have their own terms for things.  In the England day hiking is often call rambling although if it is in the Lake District it is known as fell walking.  In New Zealand they call backpacking "tramping".  "Backpacking" outside of the US is more generally associated with extended budget international travel rather than wilderness camping as is the case in the US.

On further poking around I came across this... that claims rucking is a form of exercise involving walking with the weighted probably a modern term.


Oh yes rambling! I confused the word rambling for rucking, duh. Thank you!



Hi @Lindahikes - That's a great question!

My understanding is similar to @OldGuyot's findings. In the United States, rucking generally refers to hiking with a heavily weighted backpack as a form of training. We have seen other members in the community talk about rucking in this way. With that, it might be a great form of training for you and your partner!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Yep gotta get my rucking on...I'm so out of shape these days haha