Author: Drew Joseph, ABE
Carry Introduction: Ruck, or rucksack, is frequently taught as a wearer's first back carry with a woven wrap, as it is symmetrical, reasonably quick to get up, and can be done with many different sizes of wraps, depending on the variation or tie offs. It is also a single layer carry, which can make it easier for young infants, and for breathability during hot weather. The single layer nature also makes it a bit tricky for getting a comfortable long term carry, as there isn't as much fabric bearing the weight of the baby. Careful tightening can help with that, as can a more supportive wrap, but some caregivers still find ruck to be an uncomfortable carry.
There are some tie off variations that I include here, but ruck is also the basis for a few other carries in our series, so it's definitely a good carry to try out to build your wrapping repertoire, even if ruck tied in front doesn't become a favorite carry.
If you are new to woven wraps, here is a great post to get you familiar with them and with key terminology. BWI of Atlanta has also created a video on wrap basics and terminology.
For some information on how much fabric should be between you and baby, and how to make a good seat, Modern Babywearing is a good resource.
And as always, please keep in mind some basic safety considerations from Babywearing International.
There are different ways to get baby on your back - the tutorial below shows a superman toss. For other methods, please check out this video.
Babywearing Faith's Ruck
Meredith's Ruck with a newborn (experienced wrappers only)
Wrapping Rachel's Reinforced Ruck
Wrap You in Love's Ruck tied Tibetan
Zoebear's chest belt variations
Step by step picture tutorial
I like to face my child away from me, holding onto his shoulders and the wrap, then swinging him up over one of my shoulders so that he lays down on the top of my back (please note bribery). Try to keep your wrap tails separate. Keep a hand on your child at all times.
There will be excess wrap between the two of you. Taking the bottom rail, pull horizontally right at the height of your child's knees so as to take out any excess fabric, ensuring that the seat acts as a knee to knee hammock (this Modern Babywearing blog post describes this concept in full).
If you prefer to spread the passes instead of keeping the bunched, that carry is now called "reinforced ruck". I don't show it here, as spreading additional passes (instead of keeping them bunched) is slightly more difficult.
Personal Review: I really like ruck, even with my 35+lb 3 year old. When I'm looking to really see how well a wrap will stand up over time, ruck is my go-to carry to test. It's quick, and the wide variety of tie offs and variations means that no matter what size wrap I have, I can ruck with it. Ruck tends to be the first back carry that I teach, depending on a wearer's needs and comfort level, and it really helps me assess if I (or other wearers) are tightening the carry well. I don't go for ruck when I'm expecting to wear for a long period of time, though. It's definitely a carry I keep in my wrapping toolkit!
Tips: The two most important things I like to point out for ruck is to pin the seat with the reinforcing passes - this really helps to secure the seat, and keep it from slipping out from baby's bottom. The other tip I try to emphasize is tightening really well across the entire width of the wrap - not just the top or bottom rails. Making sure that you tighten in the middle helps to prevent a saggy carry.