GORUCK Bragg HTB Review, Tips, and Training.

By Caitlin Eiben. Photos: Dan Sell

So I started writing a summary of the 2023 Bragg HTB. It was incredibly detailed, so detailed that you would have felt like you were there. 

Then, 40 “notes” pages later, it hit me…if you want to experience The King of all Rucks, go register for the next GORUCK Bragg event

I’m all about helping people, but no one needs to know the specific details of the events except the people involved. If you were at the event and would like to read my synopsis, I’m more than willing to share.

GORUCK, however, was kind enough to put together this little video to give you a taste of what this event is all about.

For the rest of you, here is what went down, in no particular order:

  • Deck of Death
  • Picnic tables 
  • Pipeline trails 
  • Powerline trails
  • Crop Circles
  • Barefoot hikes
  • A run
  • Service project
  • Donut penalty PT
  • Low crawls
  • Kraken 
  • Bop-It and Rubik’s cubes

That’s all you get from me. Now, let’s focus on how to get you to earn your own Bragg bolts. 

I’ll break this down into three sections: training, gear, nutrition. Obviously, there are so many good options for all three of these areas, but this is what personally worked for me.

Training for GORUCK Bragg Events

This is where I differ the most from people I talk to. I don’t follow a training program. I am a physical therapist and I’d like to think I have a decent knowledge of how to workout effectively, so that’s what I do. 

For this event, specifically, I focused on mini- endurance events with more recovery days between. Once or twice a week, I made challenging ruck club events that ranged from 3.5 hours to 8 hours. These were done over the Pittsburgh winter months and backing out due to bad weather was never an option.

The events included miles, coupons, functional sandbag work, and lots of PT. 

I added a weekly coupon ruck + Deck of Cards every week, where I did a half mile coupon carry followed by 9 cards, repeated until the deck was complete. I would switch up the exercises each week, but made sure to do Cleve’s Deck of Death the week before the event. 

Otherwise, I focused on recovery. My Achilles’ have been bothering me since DC 9/11 Double Tough, so I actually kept my overall miles low and (mostly) avoided concrete. I slept in a splint to stretch, did some self-massage, and made sure to warm up before activity. 

I realize most people are looking for more structure when it comes to training advice and this is where I will refer you to the experts. 

JOE BAKER FITNESSjoebakerfitness.com

Joe not only will tell you what you need to do to succeed at Bragg, but he likely will be doing the event right beside you. 

He is not just an incredible athlete, but he’s a great teammate. He looked out for all of those that trained with him to ensure their success and even looked out for those who didn’t train with his programs. He simply wants everyone to succeed. 

Joe provides weekly fitness programming catered towards ruck and sandbag training.

There’s an accountability group, and for HTBs, Joe ensures everyone training for that specific HTB are in the same group so they can discuss gear, training, nutrition, etc. He also provides a training app to store your workouts and stats to track performance. 

His crew at Bragg was strong AF and they had nothing but great things to say about him, as both a person and a coach. 

HEAVY DROP TRAININGclevelandarearuckingcrew.com/heavy-drop-training

No one cares what you can do fresh. 

HDT is another training program run by an absolute beast, Bryan Singelyn. I did a round of HDT in early 2022 coming off being down for 8 months from a finger tendon repair. I came into that round feeling discouraged and weak, but after just 6 weeks, I felt like I was back. 

The rounds are 6 weeks long. You can choose to do it solo or with a battle buddy (accountability partner). There is also a Facebook accountability group for each round with everyone participating in that round. 

There are opportunities to get points and compete for discounted future rounds. 

He also offers 2 weeks of interrounds, which incorporates more recovery-type workouts. There are also nutrition and yoga options.

Bryan is very passionate about not only his training programs, but also putting on great events of his own: The HDT Throwdown. I’ve done two of them so far and they do not disappoint. If you have one in your area, I strongly recommend that you try them out!

He has a wealth of knowledge in regards to anatomy and physiology and is always available to provide one on one attention if you require adaptations. 

He is an OG GRT and very familiar with what it takes to succeed at events.


You may get some sneak peeks into what goes down at a Bragg event if you do SRT/Tribe considering Cadre DS, himself, runs the show. 

If you follow DS, you already know he’s a freak of nature. He has obvious knowledge of the type of training it takes to be successful at these events.

This option is a $20 monthly subscription with many other perks offered through GORUCK.  Recently GORUCK changed their workout delivery for Tribe and you can get the weekly workouts for free here.


It’s been a long time since I’ve done Pathfinder, but this is where I got my start with ruck-based training. It establishes GREAT habits in not only getting miles in, but the right kind of miles: fast miles, overnight, coupon, elevation, heavy, uneven terrain, etc. 

It’s a 3 month program with many different level options. There are Facebook accountability groups and you get your own Course Advisor to help keep you on track.

Pathfinder also does a bundle with HDT, so you get the miles with the specific guidance on strength training. I’m sure there are more options out there, but those are the ones I’m most familiar with and can attest to their success.

Ryan here. — Caitlin didn’t mention this, but I did want to throw in that you can also get our free GORUCK Training guides. We have training guides for GORUCK Light (basic) , Tough, and Heavy. We also offer free daily Ruck WODs for those looking for more ways to train.

But, mostly listen to this next paragraph. It is the real key.

The main advice I have with training is to simulate event situations. Don’t just lift at a gym. Don’t just ruck. Do ruck PT and sandbag work. Don’t choose only the nice days to workout outside. Wake up early, stay up late. Dunk yourself in water before your ruck. Carry things, drag things, throw things. Make it suck. Don’t stray from your plan unless you’re making it more challenging. Don’t stop when you’re tired. Stop when you’re finished. 

Nutrition for GORUCK Bragg Events

Again, this is going to differ greatly depending on your own personal tastes, but for the long event weekends, I like to stick with whole foods.

I’ll break down what I ate into categories: 

  • Carbs: dried fruit (mango and cranberries) and a homemade power bowl (canned chicken, rice cooked in butter and olive oil for calories, chickpeas, tomato, cucumber, onion, olives, feta cheese, lemon, parsley, salt)
  • Protein: beef jerky 
  • Fats: almonds
  • Caffeine: dark chocolate covered espresso beans and 5-hour energy
  • Hydration: plain water in bladder (I also recommend Tailwind for extra calories) and LMNT in a collapsible Hydrapak.

Yo! I love LMNT and drink it daily! If you want to give it a try, click this link and you’ll get a FREE 8-count Sample Pack with your first order. I recommend your first order being the 12-count Variety Pack to try the flavors and find the one you like. Add it to your cart and the FREE sample pack should magically appear. Check it out here.

This was the first 48 hour event weekend where I felt fueled and hydrated the entire time. 

Like I said, food is going to vary tremendously, but I encourage you to find things that are calorically and nutritionally dense. You want to take up a small amount of space, but keep your body fueled.

As far as hydration goes, sip small and often. You never want to be chugging liquid because Cleve will probably make you do 50 8-count bodybuilders in the near future. 

Drink even when you think you aren’t thirsty, especially when it’s cold out. 

For electrolytes, especially those dense in sodium, balance it out with plain water. You don’t need your stomach cramping in the middle of the event from taking in too much salt too quickly. 

Gear for GORUCK Bragg Events

I had the pleasure of experiencing the Bragg Double Heavy in 2021 (Here’s a link to an Under The Log podcast about the Bragg Double Heavy). By “experiencing”, I mean my congenitally deformed knee dislocated 12 hours in and I shadowed the rest of the event. I saw so many people dropping because of the cold. Despite being January, it wasn’t THAT cold out. The first night, it was only down to the low 50s with rain, which is what the expected temps were for this weekend. 

This is where you have to listen closely. 50 degrees and rain is MUCH different than 50  degrees, rain, AND being submerged in water, especially during rest breaks. It’s the Bragg Heavy. There’s a 102% chance you will be submerged in water at some point.

I’m not going to repeat all of my findings, but you can read the results of from my cold/wet gear testing here.

Basically, my advice is similar to nutrients. You want to pack the warmest, but smallest/thinnest/lightest layers possible. 

The Bragg Heavy typically presents a little bit bigger of a challenge considering it is usually warm during the day and cold at night. It’s almost easier if it’s just cold the whole time because you don’t need to worry about overheating in your layers or overpacking your ruck.

This is what I wore: 

(starting temp 75, partly cloudy,  dropping to low 50s with rain overnight, then back to 60s with clouds)

Worn at start: 


  • Patagonia Houdini Jacket 
  • Patagonia Hooded Nano Jacket
  • Arcteryx Zeta LT rain shell
  • Extra socks

I deferred my silk baselayer on top due to the starting temps. I removed my wool leggings in the morning. 

Overall, I was plenty warm, except a brief moment during story time at daybreak. A nice penguin huddle/group hug fixed that right up. 

(starting temps low 40s, dropping to mid 30s, then sunny and 50s)

Worn at start:


We didn’t submerge during the Tough, so I was plenty warm the entire time. Too warm once the sun came up. I didn’t have a chance to take off my wool leggings until hour 13, or so. 

60s and mostly sunny

Worn at start: 

  • Short sleeved UA shirt 
  • The same pants, shoes, and socks from the Tough because I didn’t have time to change.
  • Sunglasses


There you have it. My significantly abridged Bragg summary and some tips. 

I felt better after this event than I did after any other ~48 hour event. I planned and trained meticulously and with intent. I stayed focused and did my best to stay confident.

I truly don’t think I’d change a thing, except to keep getting stronger. You can always be stronger. 

That’s all I have for you. I hope to see you at Bragg in the future

Of course, you should totally follow Caitlin on IG if you want more rucking inspiration. She’s always putting in the work. And, now that you know how to get ready to take on the GORUCK Bragg, King of all Rucks, head over to GORUCK and find this or any other event to sign up for!

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