The 8 Best Rucking Cities in America – GORUCK ‘Em!

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In a time where so many fitness activities and trends are experiencing stagnating growth or dwindling interest, rucking is bucking the trend.

Maybe it has something to do with its accessibility, humble equipment needs, or because people simply like carrying stuff around outside.

Maybe it’s all of the above.

I think it’s because of something different, though, at least primarily.

Show up to a GORUCK challenge or one of the GORUCK events and you’ll see a ton of people enjoying each other company as they get a serious (and seriously fun) workout in. Even more casual ruck marches allow enthusiasts to burn a ton of calories while improving both their physical and psychophysical performance as they shoot the breeze with a friend or two.

Try doing that in CrossFit!

Today, we’re going to take a look at where people are doing it the best…as in embracing the communal aspect of rucking so well that they can’t help but experience the numerous benefits of the activity.

Welcome to Ruck Town USA!

Best Rucking Cities Selection Process

Don’t worry; I’ll admit it.

Developing a list like this one is going to largely be based on data that is both limited and subjective. However, for the most part, the numbers were pretty straightforward.

@k80_knight
  • For the purpose of creating this list, and given the context of the subject matter, the “best” rucking cities in the U.S. are the ones with the most formally registered GORUCK clubs
  • I used this official list to determine which cities in America have at least three registered GORUCK clubs
  • As of late July 2023, only 7 cities in the U.S. have 3 clubs, while 1 city has 4. There you have your “best” 8 rucking cities in America
  • I included the additional statistic of “Residents-to-GORUCK clubs” ratio for additional context, although this number was not included in the selection process

I understand that there are rucking organizations that are not official GORUCK clubs (ex. “Go Ruck NYC!” “Go Ruck Best Buds!” “Go Ruck Texas Strong!”)…and…I can live with this!

So, now that we have established this bulletproof research design, let’s get to the list!

The 8 Best Rucking Cities in America

NOTE: Outside of the final entry on our list, the order in which these cities are presented is not indicative of their respective “rankings”.

San Diego

goruck

GORUCK-affiliated Clubs: 3

Alleyway Ruckers

San Diego Triton Ruck Club

Team RWB San Diego

Residents-to-GORUCK Clubs Ratio: 460,667-1

Known for its idyllic weather, sand and surf, as well as for being the home to the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet is there any way that San Diego wasn’t going to make this list?

@bailey_brazil

As you might expect, with a large military presence in the city, events such as those organized by local ROTC cadets and others mimicking the famous Murph workout (switching out vests for rucks) can be found with ease. Additionally, San Deigo regularly hosts officially-sanctioned GORUCK challenge events such as the “Basic Challenge”, “Tough Challenge”, and “Heavy Challenge”.

With three active GORUCK clubs to choose from, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a ruck buddy…or twenty. The San Diego Triton Ruck Club and the Team RWB San Diego Club are the most active, each boasting more than 1,000 followers!

Las Vegas

GORUCK-affiliated Clubs: 3

The Road to Rucking

USS Windrunner Ruck Club

Vegas Strong Ruckers

Residents-to-GORUCK Clubs Ratio: 213,968-1

Who knew that rucking was the perfect detox exercise!

@sophhy2121

Yeah…I seriously doubt that anyone recovering from a night at Omnia is doing a 370-mile ruck march the next day, but you get the point. One thing that Vegas is unique for is the extremely long marches some of its local rucking enthusiasts engage in. Whether one wants a more casual rucking experience or doesn’t mind the thought of a 250-plus mile event, the options in Sin City appear to be endless.

Of course, we have to mention Green Beret Fitness’ “visits” to the city, hosting events in the city that are on par with other large-scale rucking organizations.

Linking up with one of the 3 GORUCK groups in the city will be the best bet for finding new rucking companions, with Vegas Strong Ruckers appearing to be the most active of the bunch. I’m sure one of their ~900 members would love to show you around!

Albuquerque

GORUCK-affiliated Clubs: 3

Burque CrossFit/BFit505 Ruck Club

Cantina CrossFit Ruck Club

Gonzo Rucking Crü

Residents-to-GORUCK Clubs Ratio: 187,533-1

The first “surprise” entry on this list. You probably don’t think of New Mexico as a rucking paradise…

Until you consider this…

@ptsdtrbl

Yeah…you probably want to get out there and get rucking right about now!

Not only is Albuquerque boosted by 3 formally established GORUCK clubs, but it offers a plethora of both formal rucking events as well as popular trails and routes for enthusiasts to enjoy.

Like many community fitness events, a number of Albuquerque’s rucking events are combined with run/walks, at times mixing everyone together into a wonderful scrum. Of course, you can always tell which ones the ruckers are, even before you catch sight of their gear.

(they’re the tough-looking ones!)

Speaking of “tough”, one “avid hiker, camper, and rucking enthusiast” from Ohio has this to say about the local “Domingo Baca Trail“:

In a sport where there is no shortage of intense courses/events, that is quite the endorsement!

Houston

GORUCK-affiliated Clubs: 3

F3 Houston

Houston Rucking Club

Texas Strong Rucking Club

Residents-to-GORUCK Clubs Ratio: 767,191-1

Although I only lived outside of Houston for a short period of time, it was long enough to realize that extended outdoor activity from the months of, like, February through November was…tough.

Like…really tough.

That being said, my hat goes off to the men and women of the city’s 3 GORUCK-affiliated clubs, who seem to be able to deal with the heat and humidity just fine.

@janetquintero12

As expected, servicemembers have a strong presence in Houston’s rucking scene, organizing events such as the “Wagonmasters” Jackie Robinson ruck march event.  U.S. Army soldiers have organized toy ruck marches while a local version of the Chad1000x event (which honors the memory of a deceased Navy SEAL while raising awareness of mental health) is organized by the Houston Rucking Club.

For men interested in rucking as a part of a more all-encompassing fitness program, the F3 Houston organization regularly hosts a number of rucking-inspired and rucking-adjacent workouts in locations throughout the city.

Although Houston’s other GORUCK groups are not the biggest or most active compared to some of the others we’ve profiled on this list, combined with F3 Houston, they combine to serve what is by far the most populous city on this list.

Roanoke

GORUCK-affiliated Clubs: 3

Crunch Ruck and Brew Ruck Club

Ferguson Fitness

Unexpected Ruckers

Residents-to-GORUCK Clubs Ratio: 33,337-1

The next entry on our list, Roanoke Virginia, boasts a very respectable 33,000-1 resident-to-GORUCK club ratio. Its 3 GORUCK clubs’ members are regulars at annual rucking events, most notably those raising awareness of veteran suicide.

Roanoke’s rucking enthusiasts weren’t going to allow something as pesky as the Covid-19 pandemic to get in the way of their training. Virtual events, such as the Fallen Patriots Virtual 5k Ruck are smash hits, allowing participants to ruck in a “socially distanced” manner.

Of course, I’ve yet to mention the “elephant in the room”…Roanoke’s breathtaking setting in the Blue Ridge Mountains!

@roanokecollege

With manageable trail options such as the Roanoke River Greenway and Wolf Creek Greenway and the more challenging Star Trail and Buzzard Rock at Read Mountain trail, there is no lack of rucking terrain and scenery options to choose from!

Roanoke’s Unexpected Ruckers! GORUCK club might just win the award for the most amusing club name. For some reason, I just conjure up the image of that nerdy kid who took all of his books home every day, missing the school bus and having to make the long hike to school. I guess that kind of experience just sticks with people sometimes!

Mooresville

GORUCK-affiliated Clubs: 3

Mooresville Ruck Club

Osprey Ruck Club

United By Strength Ruck Club

Residents-to-GORUCK Clubs Ratio: 17,198-1

Talk about a city where the locals are really into their rucking. With just over 50,000 residents, Mooresville North Carolina’s GORUCK clubs-to-residents ratio sits just at 17,000-1…by far the most impressive number on this list!

With so many community events involving rucking, it is clear that the sport is a major component of city life in Mooresville. These events are bolstered by a number of non-GORUCK affiliated organizations that regularly hold commemorative rucking events, such as the Exchange Club of Mooresville-Lake Norman’s Memorial Ruck March.

@howardhouse2008

In a sport where beer is so greatly revered, it should come as no surprise that the city’s Brew Ruck event draws quite the crowd. The 2023 edition of the event partnered with a local hunger-fighting nonprofit, hauling in over a quarter ton of canned food in the process. Whether that is a testament to how much Mooresville loves rucking, helping the needy, or beer is up to you to decide!

(probably all three!)

Mooresville’s stalwart presence on this list is not only a testament to the city’s rucking prowess but also to the state of North Carolina as a whole. As we’ll soon see, it’s not the only city of rucking fanatics in the state!

Jacksonville

GORUCK-affiliated Clubs: 3

River City Ruckers

Ruck U Jax

Ruck Around and Find Out

Residents-to-GORUCK Clubs Ratio: 318,205-1

To anyone with even a basic knowledge of the rucking world. Jacksonville’s inclusion on this list should come as no surprise. As the “sacred home” of GORUCK (as well as its premier fitness events, the GORUCK Games and the Sandlot JAX fitness event), it is easy to make the argument that Jacksonville is the “capitol” of rucking.

With three active rucking groups (plus a few in close-by suburban areas, to include the GORUCK Club HQ in Jacksonville Beach, that we did not include when compiling these rankings), Jax punches above its weight in its residents-to-GORUCK club’s calculation.

@aperfect30

While many of these events focus solely on presenting intense physical challenges for elite and casual athletes and ruckers, others have a more “determined” focus. This takes the form of events such as the Travis Manion Foundation’s 9/11 Heroes Run, honoring all of those who lost their lives in the September 11 attacks and the wars since then. It also takes the form of rucking to a local tavern or brewery, with many rucks actually getting much heavier (and slightly more difficult to balance) on the return trip home!

To the hardcore enthusiasts out there, Jacksonville is the rucking bucket list city in America!

Wilmington

GORUCK-affiliated Clubs: 4

Cape Fear Ruck Club

Mama “G” Ruck Club

Port City Ruck Club

Reignited Ruck Club

Residents-to-GORUCK Clubs Ratio: 28,863-1

As promised, our second North Carolina entry on this list! Wilmington actually clocks in as the “champion”, at least in regard to the total number of GORUCK-affiliated clubs on the list. It is the only city on this list with 4 clubs (although at about 28,000-1 resident-to-club ratio, it comes in slightly behind Mooresville in this metric).

@bellapipkin

Wilmington takes its appreciation for service members past and present to the next level, with its local branch of the Irreverent Warriors group holding rucking events restricted to veterans, active duty, national guard, and reserve military personnel. If you fall into one of these groups and want to get a ruck in with your fellow servicemen and women, look no further than Wilmington!

In addition to being a hotbed for officially licensed rucking events (such as the GORUCK Tough Challenge) Wilmington is the site of ruck training exercises (like the PathFinder Horizon Ruck Training event). With resources like that you really don’t have an excuse to not get in shape and prepped for your next march or challenge and with so many die-hard ruckers in town, I’m sure these always sell out pretty quick!

Find Your Club and Get Ruckin’!

See your city or club on the list? If so, I would say it’s time to organize one of the aforementioned “Beer Crawl Ruck” events to celebrate!

(Drinks are on y’all, though; I’m not paying!)

If your city didn’t make the list, fear not! It’s not difficult to find a club and get going whether you’re an experienced rucker or are brand new to the activity.

For those who are still on the fence about rucking’s longevity, I can assure you that trends don’t lie; rucking is going to be with us for a long time. You just know there is staying power when even the top athletes in the world are testing their rucking prowess and capabilities.

To close things out, you have one of two tasks to complete this afternoon:

  • Immediately move to one of the 8 cities on this list
  • If you already live in one of these cities or you can’t make the move until next week, link up with a rucking club near you

…and if you’re still not convinced, read up on the numerous benefits of rucking. I’ll call the movers in the meantime!

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AUTHOR

Tom, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, ISSA-CPT, PN1-NC, DPA, CAPM has been CrossFitting for over 10 years. He has participated in a number of team and individual CrossFit competitions across Europe and the United States. He was the 2012 Chick-fil-A Race Series champion (North Georgia Circuit) and has put together a few gnarly garage and basement gyms in his time!

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