MOTM Reviews: Eberlestock J51 Warhammer

I got enough questions on this pack from my fellow rucking enthusiasts that I decided to write up my thoughts.

Short version:

Your choice of pack should always be dictated by its intended use. This is not a pack that you want to use for a Goruck event. But for general use and adventure races, I cannot think of a better pack.


I used this pack for training rucks of up to 100 pounds:


for the ruck portion at Limit of Advance:


and for the 18 hours that I lasted at the SISU Iron.



It hauls. It hauls like hell. I easily carried loads in it that would have crippled me with any other pack that I have tried.

The back opens up butterfly-style over the lower shelf, allowing you to strap nearly anything in. Cases of water, concrete blocks, 5-gallon buckets, whatever.

If you want additional pockets, there are several add-on bags available that zip on to the main pack or attach to the MOLLE webbing.

Top and bottom flaps zip open, allowing more ways to access your gear or allowing oblong objects to go through them and still be held securely.

The inside surface is one big wall of MOLLE webbing, giving you lots of options to tie down whatever you need to carry.

Straps have little Velcro tabs that can be used to bind up extra strap so you don’t have a tangle of loose strap to get caught on things.

While it requires being held upside down to drain, it drains reasonably quickly.

If it is not over-packed, it is small enough to be used as an airline carry-on.


The straps that cinch down around the side pockets do not have the Velcro tabs.

Many of the pockets will hold water if you submerge it. I think it easily came back up 30 pounds heavier than it went in (but as stated above it drained quickly upside down, and positioning zippers at the bottom alleviated this for the half of the pockets that have zippers).

While it is worth every penny, it is a little expensive. For a weekend backpacker, it is probably over the top. But I would have paid double to have had it at the SUCK last year.

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