DIY Rucking Weights: All you need to know

So you’re either a beginner rucker who wants to figure out what to use as a rucking weight in their ruck, or an experienced rucker who needs some replacement weights quickly. Either way, you’ve come to the right place to learn about DIY rucking weights.

This article is a one stop shop for everything you need to know when it comes to making cheap alternative DIY rucking weights.

Now, we do advise that you generally use rucking weights.

However, if you’re just starting out, a ruck may be an expensive purchase and you may want to ease into things.

In other instances, you may just need an extra weight while you wait for a regular weight to get shipped to you.

Completely understandable. This article will show you how to make weights for rucking.

Let’s dive in.

What are the different DIY Rucking Weights?

Ruck Pill

While a Ruck Pill may sound complicated, it isn’t a tough pill to swallow – or make. It’s simply a sandbag that has been taped, to make sure the sand can’t escape.

They’re the most popular rucking weight in the DIY category and it makes sense. You don’t need much to make them. Let’s take a look at what you’d need to add them to your rucking arsenal:

  1. Sandbags
  2. Sand
  3. Duct tape (we recommend 100 MPH Tape)
  4. Scale (A regular weight scale will be fine)
  5. A Marker or Sharpie

These are the steps to follow to make your own ruck pill:

  1. Select your workspace carefully. You’re going to be dealing with sand, a material that can easily spread and get into places you don’t want. Keep a broom or vacuum handy if you’re doing this inside
  2. Next, fill the sandbags. You can set your sandbags for different weights, based off of what the sandbags themselves can carry. Having multiple sandbags allows you to build up your weight carry, the same as if you had different weights.
  3. Now that you’ve filled the sandbags, it’s time to secure them with your chosen tape. Make sure you write down each bag’s weight so you can use the marker to write it down on the ruck pill itself.
  4. Next, wrap the bags completely with your desired tape. Double or triple wrap the pill if need be. The last thing you want is for sand to come out. Besides the weights being less useful, you’ll also spend time cleaning out your ruck.
  5. Write the proper weights on the sandbags with your marker.

You’re good to go and ready to ruck.

Medicine balls

Another option for you to consider are medicine balls. These are weighted balls generally used for exercise and training as well as rehabilitation.

However, they can also double as great rucking weights.

When used with other materials, such as towels or rolled up shirts, they can be effective weights if you don’t have proper rucking plates.

Remember that towels or rolled up shirts and other such materials will be necessary as due to the size and dimensions of the medicine balls, carrying more than one can cause issues for your ruck and for your back.

Wrapped Bricks

Wrapping bricks is another useful tool in the arsenal of a DIY Ruck weight maker. They’re usually readily available either in your home or with someone you know. They’re also rather inexpensive at your local hardware store or big box hardware store.

Similar to the ruck pills, you’re going to want to wrap them with tape, again preferably 100 MPH tape. This is going to smooth out the edges. You don’t want the brick edges to needless damage your ruck.

As most bricks are a standard weight, it also allows you to be versatile and properly control and know just how much weight is going into your ruck.

You can also tape the bricks together to make weights that will better fill your ruck and make things easier, reducing the odds of something poking against your back.

Gym Weights

Any kind of gym weight can be used as a rucking weight.

  • Dumbbells
  • Kettlebells
  • Weight plates

These can be a little trickier than you might think. If you’re using plates then that’s fine and will be easy to manage. However dumbbells and kettlebells have a unique shape to them. It’s tougher to pack them into your ruck without taking some precautions.

Luckily, the precautions aren’t that complicated. Towels or rolled up shirts as well as other “softening” items will do just fine.

The goal is to avoid a situation where halfway through your ruck, something shifts in the ruck and now you have part of a dumbbell jutting against part of your back.

That’s going to affect your rucking pace both in the short term and the long term if you don’t address the issue.

The rest of the ruck will be uncomfortable and it will affect your ability to properly recover.


Books have more use than just reading. Besides, reading while rucking is going to be rather difficult! So lets put those books to a better use by sticking them in your ruck.

Also, books are a great way to space things out in your ruck and add some weight in the process. The last thing you want to be dealing with is post-rucking back pain.

They’re actually quite versatile, so consider using them as part of the weight you put in your ruck.

Large Groceries

Last but not least on our list is large groceries. What would fall under this category? Well a lot, actually.

You have options such as large bags of dog or cat food as well as grains such as different kinds of rice or barley.

All three of them come in varying sizes and shapes and can be used as a means to bolster the weight in a ruck.


As you can see, there are lots of different DIY options for rucking weights. You don’t have to use rucking weights at first or even at all. There are plenty of ways around that.

That being said, do consider using proper rucking weights. They’ll help streamline your rucking experience.

Further, they’ll allow you to pack more in your weight, both from a weight stand point and anything else you may need.

We’re always trying to figure out how many calories we can burn through rucking and having the proper weight and gear is crucial.

Happy trails, let’s get to it.