Over the past several months, I’ve been testing out the newest version of the RIBZ Front Pack. It’s made out of 210D water resistant ripstop nylon, and weighs in at about 11 ounces. The capacity is between 500 to 700 cubic inches, so it’s much roomier than you might expect. It has a simple but clever design, with straps that go up and over the shoulders, and another strap around the waist. To put it on, there is a heavy zipper between the bags, so it goes on like a coat and zips up the center. From there, cinch the straps up and you are ready to go. I tried the medium size that cinches down well even though I’m a bit smaller than the size torso it’s intended for, but this also allows it to go on over a coat or hoodie easily.
I took the RIBZ Front Pack out on a few Rocky Mountain beaver surveys. I’ve done a lot of these, and the protocol is to hike all the water in a given section, recording all the beaver. For this, I need my GPS and a few other pieces of equipment, including my basic survival kit, including a water bottle with water filter, snacks, batteries, and all the other things needed on a day hike. These surveys can take as little as a few hours to all day to complete. As I normally use a hydration pack to carry all this plus water, the RIBZ Front Pack is a godsend, because now I can slim down what I am carrying and have access to it all at my fingertips. I used to have to take off my backpack at every beaver dam, then keep my notebook, GPS, and pen balanced while I was taking notes or hiking up the stream to the next dam or lodge. The RIBZ Front Pack has plenty of room for my gear, and would have been great for some of the other surveys that I have done where there was much more to record at every stop, sometimes with miles or mountains between them.
I did wear my day pack just to get a feel for the RIBZ Front Pack with it while hiking. This was a delight, as it did balance the weight, and taking my pack on or off wasn’t any different than when I didn’t have it on. Initially, I thought that it would be in the way and that I would have to find another way to wear it, or that it would get in the way of my movement when I have to quickly get out of sight of the bull moose I seem to find all the time. (Maybe I should make some more noise when I’m walking around?)But that wasn’t the case. It’s there when you need it, without being annoying.
The RIBZ Front Pack would make a great modern replacement of the mountain man’s bag, as you have everything that you need to survive right there, and very handy. I fully intend to give it a more thorough workout fishing this summer, and hiking to some of the more remote places that have the fish nobody else is willing to work to get. After a few surveys I even went to my boss in the Forest Service and told her just how much easier this made the work, and strongly recommended them for the next field crew to have for the ease it gave in working in the woods. Having the front access not only improves comfort, but it’s a genuine advantage for anyone that needs to get to snacks, gear, or tools easily and frequently while out and about. ribzwear.com
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the RIBZ Front Pack for free from RIBZ (www.ribzwear.com), in consideration for review publication