I got a request to review the Ribz Front Pack (retail price approximately $60 at http://www.ribzwear.com/store/), in exchange for the product for free. The Ribz company did not place any restrictions on my review, so what follows is my honest assessment of the product.
I got the unit just before my cruise vacation (cruising is one of my favorite forms of vacation), so I figured I’d try it out instead of my usual vacation tote, which is a relatively uncomfortable, but convenient, contraption that I wear across my chest. I don’t really have a good photo of that tote, and right now, I can’t even find the thing, but I was wearing it for the photo my wife took for the cover of her first book on cruising, which you can see here (click on the cover to see a larger version which shows the tote a little more clearly).
The Ribz Front Pack comes in a handy carrying bag which resembles a miniature duffle with a drawstring. On the right is a photo I took of the pack just after I opened the package. The little duffle is on the lower left part of the photo, with the Front Pack laid out on the right, and the instruction sheet shown on the upper left. The instructions were pretty straightforward, and I decided to do my test of the Front pack when we stopped in Cozumel (shown in the photo at the beginning of this post. The main reason I have for using a tote on a cruise is to have a place to put purchases, and also a place to put all of the items I normally carry in my pockets, which makes going through the security checkpoints much easier. I didn’t use a backpack with this product on my review test, but I will probably do so in the future.
First impressions: 1) Lightweight. 2) Sturdy. 3) Clever design. 4) Lots of zippered pockets. 5) Moderately ugly color (the one I got was Alpine green. It comes in 3 other colors. If I had a choice, I might have gone with the one they call “stealth”).
The process of putting the Front Pack on took a bit of practice, but it was not particularly difficult. I was a bit concerned that it might be a bit small for my rather non-athletic, portly figure, but it fit well at the the large end of the adjustment strap. It comes in two sizes, “small” and “regular.” The one they sent me was “regular.” I have a 44 inch waist, so if you are much larger than that, you probably won’t be able to use the Front Pack. Then again, I would expect the vast majority of their target demographic (young, athletic hiking and camping enthusiast) to have a smaller waist than I do.
The zipper that connects the two parts of the pack in the front was much easier to deal with than I expected. In addition to being much more comfortable than the old tote, The Ribz Front Pack held about 10 times as much stuff, and did so comfortably. It did not hinder my movement at all, and I pretty much forgot I had it on most of the time I was wearing it. It stayed put, and didn’t flop around, which was one of the annoying things about my old tote. Not only was it more comfortable than my old tote, but it was even more comfortable and convenient than a fanny-pack.
To the left is a photo my wife took of me trying out a bicycle-mounted blender we saw at the tourist trap (minus the blender jar — that would have involving buying a grossly overpriced drink).
My verdict: I’m not really in the target demographic for this pack (although, as a prepper, I recognize that I may be called upon to do some hiking and camping whether I like it or not), but I liked it, and found it useful. I think this would be a great item for a prepper to keep next to the bug-out-bag. It would be a handy place to keep things that need to be accessed quickly, such as a first-aid kit, a flashlight, or your fire-starting materials. I don’t think I would keep my main gun in there since I already have a good concealed-carry holster, but I would definitely keep a spare gun and some extra ammo in it.
If you should have any questions about the Ribz Front Pack that I did not adequately cover in this review, please feel free to ask them in the comments. It might take me a day or two to get back to you, but rest assured that I read every (non-spam) comment.
I guess I should add that my wife didn’t really like the appearance. She thought it made me look too nerdy. Since I really am a nerd, I pretty much discounted that. As I mentioned, I wasn’t all that fond of the color, but the pack was useful enough that I can overlook the appearance. I plan to take it with me on future vacations just because it’s a handy way to go through the security checkpoints without having to take time to empty out all your pants pockets. When I’m not vacationing, it’s a good place to store the extra gun and ammo.
Disclosure of Material Connection per FTC Endorsement Guidelines 16 C.F.R. Part 255: I received the Ribz Front Pack at no cost to me from Ribzwear as coordinated by Deep Creek Public Relations in consideration for review publication. I received no other payment for this review. I am not (as of the time of this writing) an affiliate of Ribzwear. However, I do have an affiliate relationship with Amazon.com. Any purchases through Amazon links on this site, including products from Ribzwear, may result in commissions paid to me.
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