Ribz Front Pack: A great addition to your backpack system.
If you're anything like me, when you go backpacking you want to carry some creature comforts on your trip. When I'm on a two or three night trip, my backpack system consists of about 4200 cubic inches of space, that's where the Ribz Front Pack comes in handy. This front pack adds over 700 cu/in of room for storage. I like carrying everything from a spacious tent, a few extra snacks and sometimes even a lightweight camp stool. With the Ribz pack I don't have to compromise and pick and choose which items aren't completely essential.
The pack comes in two sizes, regular (700 cu/in) and small (500 cu/in). This tiny pack allows for a few extra items that would have otherwise not made the cut on my trek. I was able to to store three granola bars, a hefty bag of trail mix and some other trail snacks in the pack as well as my GPS unit, compass and map, camera, knife, small first aide kit and notebook... with room to spare.
The Alpine Green pack is made of extremely durable Cordura fabric which has made a name for itself as the material of record for many rugged outdoor products. Having such a heavy hitter as the Cordra brand associated with Ribz automatically gives the pack a more legitimate reputation. I will admit, when I first tried this pack, I was a little hesitant of how it would jive with my backpack and if it would cause chaffing or be really constricting, especially on those uphill trudges when I'm huffing. The pack fit like a glove and rarely did I notice that it was in the way. In fact it made my load more enjoyable to carry (if that's even possible) because the weight was more distributed than on previous backpacking trips where I had the extra pounds on my back.
There were however a couple things that I have to ding the Ribz pack for, although they really are probably out of the control of designers.
First, it's not very breathable. I took a three night trip in southeastern Kentucky and northwestern Virginia in July and it got pretty steamy. I'm sure regardless of whether I was wearing a front pack or not I would have probably been sweating profusely but this pack definitely did not help. It will however make for a great insulation layer on cool Fall and cold Winter hikes!
Second, while the Ribz Front Pack works well with your backpack system it can interfere with the hip belt pockets a lot of backpack companies are putting on their packs now. Really Ribz is a beefed up version of those hip belt pockets so you may not even want to bother messing with them, but if you're trying to fill every available cubic inch of space you may have trouble accessing those with your front pack on. I tried initially storing a few items in my hip belt pockets but gave up soon into my trip because they were to difficult to use with the RIBZ pack sitting right on top of them.
I wouldn't let those minor inconveniences deter you if you're looking for a great front pack or even an alternative to a day pack, which I have used it for (it also makes a great camera carrying case). I've even worn mine while cycling to carry a few essentials that would have been overkill for a backpack so there's a lot of versatility with this pack! You can pick up the regular size Ribz Front Pack for $64.95 on ribzwear.com.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the Ribz Front Pack for free from RIBZ as coordinated by Deep Creek Public Relations. I have not been compensated in any other way for my review. The thoughts and opinions expressed in this article are my own.