COMPETE : Ruck Dump & Gear Inspection


Ruck Dump Success Depends on Developing a System

“You will NOT rise to the occasion but instead fall back on your training.”

Don’t think that when the pressure is on you’ll be able to get it done. I practiced putting everything into my ruck over and over until I developed a system. The key is that everything just needs to be in the ruck but not necessarily where you want it to go. There will be time for rearranging later.

My sequence went like this:

  1. Weight (plate went in elastic pocket)
  1. Water (bladder went on top of the elastic pocket (Hose was not hooked up. I left my hose attached to my ruck strap with my web dominators but did not attach it to the bladder until the rcuk dump was over )
  1. MREs (these I stacked into the bottom of my ruck nice and square)
  1. Clothes (I had my stuff separated into bundles, rolled up, and then secured with hair bands because Jen did it that way and I thought it was a great idea. Except for my rain jacket, I left that folded flat because it took up less room that way.)
  1. Flats” (This is what I called my extra water bladder, empty vapur bottle, contractor bag, empty dry bags, and rain jacket, etc.)

Now zip each side 3/4 way up and stand ruck up on its bottom. I was on my knees for this. 

  1. Littles” (this was all the misc stuff like food, gloves, sunscreen, ruck wrap, etc. I had that stuff banded together in packets too.)

Next stuff all the Littles in the top and finish zipping the ruck closed.

Stand up and put the ruck on your back.

Time needs to be under 45 seconds.

Don’t try to stuff things into your dry bags or put them into pockets! Just get it in the ruck for now.

Now practice, practice, practice.

Do it in “real time” with the Facebook Live Feed from previous events playing. This will help with “stress inoculation”. Keep doing it for the entire time including when the gypsy camp people are getting special attention. It helps to pretend the cadre are yelling at you.

Recruit people to play cadre. You’d be surprised how many of your friends and family will enjoy heckling you while you try to stuff everything in your ruck.

We started the event with everything packed into our dry bags and in place in our ruck. When it was time for Gear Inspection during the Admin portion, I found it easier to get out each item from where I had packed it instead of rooting through a pile of stuff.

Jason was walking around saying we were going to have to dump everything out anyway so I didn’t spend a lot of time putting stuff back where it belonged. So I just put it neatly in a row or stack.  Shannon had a system of where she placed items outside her ruck. That way she knew where each thing was as she went to repack it. After the “Show and Tell”, she would put the items on the ground in their “assigned” spot. Try to do it the same way each time. Then do it with your stuff willy nilly too. Have a system to make it faster and avoid re-dos but practice a Cadre Shark Attack version too.

When “Show and Tell” a.k.a. Gear Inspection was over, the Ruck Dump was called. We had just a little time to empty our dry bags and ruck then stand up with our ruck upside down held in front of us.

When they yelled “pack it up”, I knelt down and followed my system for repacking. The extra food threw me off just a little so I missed passing on the first try by the final zipper. (Everything was in the ruck but I didn’t have time to finish zipping and stand up. Same for Shannon.

We didn’t sweat it though and dumped our stuff into neat-ish piles. Don’t shake your ruck and fling stuff all over the place. You won’t be doing yourself any favors. Don’t dump out your little stuff like the foot care kit. Leave everything together in their packets (if they will let you). If you get it right on the first or second attempt you are less likely to draw notice and be subjected to that kind of attention.

Shannon and I both passed easily on the second try and then got to sit down at which time we were allowed to repack everything exactly how we wanted.


  • Have a system for repacking when it is dumped out and not in dry bags.  
  • Bundle small items together. Roll clothing into sets and secure with hair bands or rubber bands. Keep some things flat for easier packing. 
  • Know where everything is. You do not want to call attention to yourself by taking too long to find what they are asking for. 
  • Practice until you can’t get it wrong. Don’t stop just because you got it right once or twice.
Also have a system for where everything will go after the Admin portion. Sometimes you won't have much time for Priorities of Work during the event and you don’t want to be trying to find your windbreaker or gloves or spare batteries when you are sleep deprived and stressed.

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