I Bought A GORUCK GR2 Travel Bag With Bitcoin. Here's How You Can Too

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Back in 2017, there was a surge in both cryptocurrency prices and conferences. People started making jokes about how crypto conferences were actually the “killer use case” for crypto.

Like many people in the community, I found myself on an airplane once a week, traveling around the world for my next conference, living as a digital nomad. And with a schedule like that, I began looking through reviews of 40-liter backpacks that are carry-on compatible on a global scale.

Personally, I don’t like checking a bag unless I absolutely have to. So, I was looking for one that could handle everything I needed not merely to take with me on a trip but to be my home away from home. I ultimately decided on the GORUCK GR2 because it seemed the most durable with the fewest frills. The ex-competitive skydiver in me loved the familiar materials. A bag I’d never have to worry about once I got it.

When I checked out with my order, I noticed GORUCK had an option to pay with bitcoin. I did a little research and found the article Michael del Castillo wrote about Laszlo Hanyecz (who now works at GORUCK and is the inspiration for my upcoming book, entitled Bitcoin Pizza) and the very first purchase made with bitcoin—two pizzas from Papa John’s.

I found it fascinating that this company had such a close relationship with the cultural history of bitcoin, and I was completely on board. After using the bag for trips around the world, I’d highly recommend the GR2 if you’re looking for a nearly indestructible carry-on.

Here’s more about the bag and how to buy it with bitcoin:

The Specs

The GR2 currently comes in 26L, 34L and 40L sizes, with the option to choose from five fairly muted colors: Coyote Brown, Black, Java, Ranger Green and Wolf Grey. The bag is made out of 1000 denier CORDURA, and it’s strength-tested at over 400 lbs. Granted, you’re probably not going to be packing anything close to that for your flight. But it’s nice to know the construction of the pack will hold up to practically any conditions over a lifetime of use.

All sizes of the GR2 are TSA compliant, measuring 20 and 22 inches in length, respectively. Keep in mind, the GORUCK site recommends that you go with the  26L or 34L if you’re 5’8” or under. All bags contain three compartments and eight well-organized pockets.

The pack is a little expensive, currently retailing at $495, but active duty military members, retirees, and military spouses all get a 25% discount, as do first responders, government employees, teachers and students. I’m a licensed EMT, so I took advantage of the discount!

If you're still shopping around, Tortuga also sells great carry-on backpacks and accepts bitcoin.

Buying The Bag

If you want to use crypto to buy the bag, your experience will be a little different than the traditional online shopping purchase.

• Step One: Add the bag to your cart and checkout. Once you complete your billing and shipping information, you’ll make it to the “Order Confirmation” section. There, you’ll have the option to pay with credit card, PayPal or bitcoin. GORUCK also has the current bitcoin exchange rate posted for you to check before you buy.

• Step Two: Check out using bitcoin, but know that the transaction doesn’t happen immediately. Instead, GORUCK sends you an invoice that includes the bitcoin address for you to send the money to. Note: There are payment processors out there that have partnered with Shopify to accept bitcoin straight on the page (the same way you would use a credit card), but GORUCK’s site doesn’t have that capability yet.

• Step Three: Simply acquire bitcoin from whatever exchange you wish to use (Coinbase, for instance), and then send the appropriate amount to the recipient address on the invoice.

• Step Four: Wait impatiently for your badass bag to arrive.

Using Bitcoin Over Fiat Currency

This example shows there’s obviously still some room for improvement when it comes to making crypto payments seamless, or at least more in line with what people expect when they’re using credit cards or Paypal.

But I’d also argue that a system like Paypal isn’t necessarily as easy as people make it out to be. If you’ve never used it before, you initially get redirected to the site. Then you have to create an account, link a payment method and load up your PayPal balance.

Which is essentially the same thing you need to do if you want to pay with bitcoin.

And yes, a credit card is still the easiest and most intuitive process, but it wasn’t always that way. There was a time during the early days of the internet when people were extremely reluctant to use a credit card online.

Crypto is going through a similar stage right now, and it needs to cross a threshold into the land of accepted norms. There isn’t a huge barrier to using crypto for vendors that accept it, but there’s certainly work to be done on making it easier for the average person.

Once that happens, then we’ll see more widespread use and adoption. Whether it’s a pizza,  backpack or airline ticket, the goal is to be able to use crypto to buy it.

To read more about Bitcoin, Digital Nomads, or Travel, pick up my book, Bitcoin Pizza: The No-Bullshit Guide to Blockchain or follow my work on Twitter or LinkedIn.