Rucking Vs Weighted Vest (Differences, Advantages & Disadvantages)

While serving in the special forces, physical fitness is a very vital element whose importance cannot be emphasized enough.

Having worked in the forces for a couple of years, fitness became part of me and even after leaving, I realized that keeping fit was something I was not about to compromise on.

Fitness is not only physically comforting but also mentally nourishing. Consequently, I have maintained fitness routines such as rucking, up to date.

If you are not into physical fitness or any military practices, then rucking might be an unfamiliar concept for you.

It is therefore wise, to begin with, a brief introduction before proceeding. Rucking is a form of exercise where you walk while carrying a substantial amount of weight in a huge backpack.

The purpose of the weight in the backpack is to enhance resistance in your legs, shoulders, and back.

Rucking serves as an effective form of cardio and at the end of each rucking session, a lot of calories are burnt.

Even though it is performed simply through walking, this does not imply that the activity is as easy as it sounds. Rucking demands a lot of toughness and tolerance.

All the same, with time you would find it being an enjoyable and fulfilling outdoor activity. Some people opt to use typical rucksacks while others use weighted vests for the exercise.

What Is the Difference Between Rucksacks and Weighted Vests?

Here are some of the factors that distinguish rucksacks from weighted vests:

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1. Weight distribution

Rucksacks distribute the weight ununiformly and can therefore make you uncomfortable while walking around.

The unevenness can even hurt your back. On the other hand, weighted vests have an even distribution of weight and are hence safer and more comfortable.

2. Versatility

Rucksacks are mainly efficient while performing activities that involve walking. On account of this, they are limited to the number of purposes they can serve.

Weighted vests can be used for a variety of purposes, besides hiking. If you would like to work out at the gym, you can put on the weighted vests to carry out several exercises like push-ups.

3. Stability

The more the weight in your rucksack, the more the imbalance. The imbalance emanates from the center of mass shifting to the wrong position.

Once this happens, you tend to lean forward and this leads to a harmful posture that will hurt your neck, shoulders, and back.

When using weighted vests, balance is a guarantee and you can therefore maintain proper posture all through.

4. Load volume

Normally, rucksacks only weigh up to 20 kilograms (45 pounds). When rucking for a long distance, this weight is safe and sufficient.

However, the weight is inadequate if you are only walking for a short distance, such as less than 8 kilometers (5 miles).

Weighted vests can weigh up to 100 kilograms (220 pounds). This weight is enough, especially for a short rucking session.

5. Personalized loading

For a rucksack to be comfortable, the weights added may require to be tailored. Such customized weights are quite expensive.

For only 45 pounds, you will spend between 100 and 150 dollars to purchase such weights.

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Weighted vests may also need tailor-made weights. Even so, most of them match standard weights, which are less costly.

6. Cost

Weighted vests are more costly compared to rucksacks. With the factors or rather, differences listed above, it is no wonder that weighted vests cost a little bit more.

Without considering other factors, a basic quality rucksack may cost about 50 dollars while a weighted vest of a similar standard may cost 100 dollars or just slightly less.

Pros And Cons of a Rucksack

From the differences expounded above, here are the pros and cons that you can derive:


  1. Rucksacks are quite affordable.
  2. While rucking, a portion of the weights in your rucksack can be items that you will need during and after the exercise such as water, snacks, a pair of boots, and perhaps a change of clothes.
  3. Rucksacks are very efficient if you wish to join the military or you just want to go through exercises similar to those of the forces during training.


  1. Uneven weight can end up hurting your body.
  2. Rucksacks can only be used for a few purposes.

Pros And Cons of a Weighted Vest


  1. Safe for use due to balance and uniformity of the weight.
  2. Ideal for casual rucking.
  3. Can serve numerous purposes.
  4. They are flexible and easily adjustable.


  1. Can be quite expensive.

Depending on your rucking objective as well as other preferences, you can choose between the rucksack or a weighted vest. Either of the two will enhance the effectiveness of your workout.

Just be keen to use the weights as required. For this, you can consult a fitness instructor for guidance, to ensure safety and success in the course of your rucking sessions.