Monday, May 27, 2013

RIBZ Front Pack - Gear Review 2013

The RIBZ Front Pack is a unique product designed and engineered to make the transportation of gear a more comfortable and convenient activity.   Manufactured by Ribzwear in Coronado, California, the RIBZ Front Pack seems to be their only product - and kudos to them for doing it well!

This Memorial Day Weekend I had the chance to put the RIBZ Front Pack into action while hiking the Oyster Dome trail in the Chuckanut Mountains of western Washington State.

My backpack was loaded with gear that needed to be transported to the end of the trail, leaving minimal room for my 10 essentials, food, water, GPS, camera, tripod and additional clothing for the poor weather conditions.  The RIBZ Front Pack provided me with that extra storage lacking from my backpack.  Much to my surprise, having all that gear easily available at my fingertips proved to a fantastic benefit! 

Think about all the times you have been hiking and 'considered' stopping for a snack, a drink, a hat, gloves... but instead of stopping you just press on because you know your stop will take at least five minutes:  Removing the pack, getting your supplies, replacing your supplies, putting your pack back on, adjusting your layers, straps & belts.  RIBZ Front Packs can have all that stuff immediately available while you continue to hike.

I kid you not.  This thing is a time saver. 
The RIBZ Front pack comes packaged in a nice compact form, with it's own storage bag.  The product packaging (and website) promotes Cordura material and although I'm not an expert, this stuff feels like quality material - very durable.  It  handled my all day / rainy day outing without any trouble - it did a great job keeping water out and it remains in like-new condition.

Just as interesting was how much more balanced I was when the load was more balanced between the front pack and the back pack.  The hike today involved navigating some seriously large mud bogs - lots of balancing on logs and hopping from rock to rock.  The new distribution of weight allowed me to navigate this obstacle course with much more confidence than on previous trips.

 The Front Pack goes on like a jacket - it's hard to see here but there is a zipper in between the left and right sides of the pack.  The adjustable shoulder straps are easy to position and the whole contraption somehow manages to keep out of the way of swinging arms & hiking poles.  Straps the cross in the back and at the waist level keep the whole thing anchored to your midsection - there was no problem with it swinging or shifting during my hike.

Once the Front Pack is on your body then your regular (but now completely optional if you pack light) backpack goes on just like usual.  The Front Pack doesn't get in the way at all.  Completely amazing!

 Each side has two zippered pouches.  A large pouch with additional internal webbed/netting pockets and then a smaller zippered pocket on the very front (easily seen above).

 This pack was revolutionary for me.  It's a whole new world!  The versatility this pack offers is just amazing!  Hiking, fishing, skiing, running... this pack was designed to fit those needs and it does it well!

RIBZ Front Packs have been on the market for a few years now and it appears they may be expanding their lineup with a variety of materials and colors this summer.  Visit the online Ribzwear Store to find out more.  Their website contains detailed info about their products, but even more interesting is to read about the founders of the company and the history as to how their product came into development (co-created by a US Navy SEAL).

In my opinion, front packs serve a valuable purpose in the world of outdoor activities.  Based on my hands-on experience using a RIBZ Front Pack on the trail, I would highly recommend the RIBZ Front Pack to anyone considering a front pack purchase in the near future.

Feel free to share your experiences or ask questions via the comments section below.

Happy Hiking!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a RIBZ Front Pack for free from Ribzwear as coordinated by Deep Creek Public Relations.

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