I’m a big fan of backpacks, having used dozens of different brands over the years. While in the Amazon, with nowhere to use a roller bag, I’ve even used two at a time – one hanging forward on my chest while the bigger one hung on my back. But, I’d never experienced a front pack, dedicated for just that purpose, until recently.
I’ve now taken two trips with the RIbz Front Pack and I’m sold. There must be dozens of reasons these bags make sense. Each time I’ve used them, a few more become apparent. So what is a Ribz front pack?
Essentially, you get two separate packs with two compartments each – one large and one smaller. Each has its own zipper on top for each access. The larger compartment has two sewn-in stretch dividers on the back wall that keep smaller items from sliding around in the pack. The two units zip together with a large, easy to use zipper in the center front after slipping the straps over your shoulders. Easy to pull tabs let you adjust the height and girth to suit your body type.
Think about all the things you put in your back pack, that really you wish you had at your fingertips: binoculars, GPS, camera, camcorder, notebook and pencil, energy bars, snacks, sunglasses, hat and gloves, compass, water bottle, first aid kit… Do I need to go on? Those things get put in the backpack, not for convenience, but, out of necessity. They are just too bulky to put them all in your pants pockets.
That’s where Ribz comes in. With a form fitting design, this is a four-compartment pack you can slip over your chest, that will accommodate all those items, or whatever you want to keep handy. The front packs were designed to not interfere with your back pack straps and could also be worn in place of a backpack or a day pack.
Granted, many larger backpacks have built-in day packs, but the fact remains, stuff on your back just isn’t handy to get to. After two blown rotator cuff injuries, I can’t even reach the water bottle on the side of my back pack without slipping it off one shoulder. Now I don’t need to.
Made with Cordura fabric, these front packs are durable and can carry a load. Actually, the weight distribution and balance of using a front pack helps to offset some of that load all centered on your back. The adjustable tabs allow the wearer to adjust the packs tight for strenuous activities like climbing or loose for more casual activities.
With over 700 cu. in. of additional storage, ultralight backpackers are going to love Ribz. The empty pack weighs almost nothing (9 oz.), but it certainly adds a ton of convenience.
I’ve found that Ribz really comes in handy for my photo expeditions. While I’m still searching for the ultimate photographer’s backpack, Ribz has given me some crazy new and great options. Loading additional lenses, off-camera flash, batteries, memory cards, lens cleaners, camcorder, even an extra DSLR camera body; I can be mobile all day without having to return to my car. Best part is that all the gear is instantly available and easy to get at.
An added advantage is that it creates a sturdy shooting surface for those times when I don’t have a tripod with me. Bracing my elbows into the pack, they stay put and give me a steady three-point grip on my DSLR or camcorder. By just twisting at the waist, I can do a super-smooth pan with my camcorder.
In April 2013, Ribz will be also be available in a smaller size if you don’t need a full 700 cu. inches. They are also making some enhancements to the straps and shoulder pads. Check out their full line on the Ribz website: www.Ribzwear.com. You’ll probably wonder why you’ve been putting all your things in a backpack for all those years.
Doug Bardwell, based in Cleveland, OH, writes about interesting new travel technology topics, across the country and around the world at DougBardwell.com. Feel free to drop him a line at email@example.com with suggestions for future products to be reviewed. If you've ever used one of the products he's reviewed, please leave your thoughts in the comment box below. To get his stories delivered to your inbox, click the RSS feed or the "Subscribe" button above or follow him on Facebook , Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a Ribz front pack for free from Ribzwear as coordinated by Deep Creek Public Relations in order to complete this review.[