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Ribz Front Pack | Reader Review

Ribz Front Pack Reader Review

Please join me in welcoming Maggie and Wesley as the first readers of Brian’s Backpacking Blog to become guest gear reviewers!

Brian was so gracious to provide me with some Ribz Front Pack from RibzWear to test out and review for all my fellow BBB readers. I was finally able to get out of the office and into the woods for a short backpacking trip in SE Arkansas with one of my friends, Wesley.

  • Capacity: 500+ Cu In (Small) or 700+ Cu In (Regular)
  • Fabric: 210 Ripstop
  • Weight: 11.1 oz. (Small) or 11.7 oz. (Regular)
  • Waist: 26-36 in (Small) or 32-44 in (Reglular)

We each wore the Ribz Front Pack one full day, so you’ll get both the male and female perspective.

Ribz Front Pack Reader Review

Wesley wore the Ribz for the first day when it was a little on the warm and humid side. Once we figured out how to get it on him (it had been a long day’s drive, so cut us a little slack ), he loaded it up with his phone, camera and 2 maps.

His immediate remarks were about how surprisingly comfortable it fit, even with a full pack on his back. As we started hiking, he started to note how warm it was and how the Ribz were getting soaked through with sweat. Despite that, none of his electronics or maps got exceedingly wet. However, if it is warm outside and you know you sweat quite a bit, he suggests putting your items in a dry bag or Ziploc to keep them from getting sweat-soaked.

Ribz Front Pack Reader Review

Wesley really enjoyed having the camera available at a moment’s notice to take pics of the scenery or any wildlife we happened upon. The same goes for having the map right there without having to dig in his pants pocket for it. Once we made camp, he took off his pack & the Ribz and they were pretty saturated, but nothing inside was any worse for wear. By the next morning, they were dry and ready for the next reviewer to try.

The second day was my (Maggie’s) day to try out the Ribz. And, luckily for me, a storm had come through the night before with a cold front so the temperatures were almost chilly for my review day. Once I played around with all the straps and adjustments, I was able to get the Ribz to fit snugly across my abdomen.

I wore it over a thick, dry wick shirt and a down vest. I couldn’t have been more pleased with the comfort of the pack, as I was admittedly a little worried about how it would fit a female versus a male. And as an added bonus, the insulating quality of the durable fabric kept me warm all day long. I even had to unzip my down vest about halfway through the day to vent.

Ribz Front Pack Reader Review

Just like Wesley, I loved having quick access to my camera for pictures and to the map to check our progress. Having everything securely zipped up also helped me not second guess whether any of my loose gear had slipped out of my pants or pack side pockets. Next time I wear them, I will definitely make more use of the space I didn’t take advantage of in the Ribz. I could have fit my lunch and snacks in there as well, to free up some space in pack and keep those items handy.

All in all, we both loved the Ribz Front Pack and would recommend them to anyone who finds themselves digging around in their pack more than once during a day of hiking on the trail or even those who find their pockets overloaded with things they need to keep handy. Here are some specifications that might be useful:

  • 2 big pockets on each side
  • 2 smaller front pockets
  • Comfortable shoulder straps
  • Elastic back strap
  • Zipper up the front
  • Velcro closure on back of pack next to sternum
  • Straps allow adjustment for comfortable fit for both males and females
  • Don’t even notice it once you’re hiking
  • GREAT for cool/cold weather
  • The extra layer on the front of your core keeps you well insulated
  • Toasty/sweat-soaked for warmer/humid weather
  • Keep ziplocs/dry bags if you sweat a lot

Suggested Items to Carry

  • First aid/emergency items
  • GPS
  • Point and shoot camera
  • Toilet paper/wipes
  • Snacks
  • Sunglasses
  • Map(s)
  • Knife
  • Headlight
  • ANYTHING you don’t want to have to stop, remove pack, dig around for, repack, etc.

Side Notes

  • Dries fairly quickly if it does get wet
  • Zippers are heavy duty and shouldn’t have trouble with wear
  • Very comfortable
  • Convenience is the #1 reason to buy
  • A little pricey, but worth it if you take a lot of trips or have to stop every 15 minutes to pull something out of your pack

Wesley offered to keep the Ribz for me until I needed them again, how sweet of him, huh? The Ribz pack will definitely now be a staple of all my backpacking trips from here on out. (I may even try them out soon on some long-distance bike tours coming up.) Happy trails, y’all!

About the Reviewers
Maggie Canady is an avid hiker, backpacker and mountain biker, along with any other activity that involves her being in the woods. She is a member of Tennessee Trails, the Great Smoky Mountains Association, and Mid-South Mountain Bikes. She’s also a Bama alum, a Memphis native and a HUGE Dolly Parton fan.

Wesley Smith is an avid outdoor enthusiast.  He hikes, backpacks, kayaks, rock climbs, skydives, camps, and mountain bikes regularly.  Most of the outdoor activities take place in The Natural State of Arkansas.  He recently spent a week in the Rocky Mountains.  He is also a member of Mid-South Mountain Bikes. He spends his spare time reading and researching gear.

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Disclosure: provided Brian’s Backpacking Blog with a complementary Ribz Front Pack for the purpose of this review.

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  • It would be handy for fly fishing as well.

    • John, I believe that fly fishing and fishing in general s one of their biggest markets for this front pack. I loved the concept, was (unfortunately) too busy to test it out myself, and a big believer that this could be a great addition to any standard pack to provide easy access to essential items. So many uses!

    • I think it would be great for hunters as well.

    • It has way more storage capacity than you would think. With multiple pockets to organize your gear for easy access, it would be great for fishing.

  • looks like it could be useful as a good bug out bag to have on your person at all times – one may find oneself in a foreign country one day. the derigure fire, water, shelter [plastic tarp/space blanket] can easily fit inside and still leave room for camera batteries GPS…will definitely research this with an eye towards purchasing one.

    • Hi Steven, I wasn’t able to test this pack out, but Maggie and Wesley did a great job. One of my original thoughts was that it could serve as a bug out pack in my truck and could be thrown on at short notice to wear comfortably with all my necessary gear stored upfront in easy reach – I thought I might be way off the mark, but hearing you suggest it confirms my initial thoughts.

    • I also carry a small emergency only waterproof bag at all times. Its very small (pocket size). It contains several means of fire, 550 cord, small knife, emergency blanket, etc. It fits perfect in the ribz. If something were to happen and you get separated from your pack, if you packed the ribz right, you could survive from your ribz.

  • well, bought one, it’ll be waiting for me on return to the States. Will post my review then. But LOOKS good and the review of Maggie and Wesley was enough to encourage me to get one to try. I am in the Western Desert, so I will have hot weather advice/experience to share…

    • Wow, that didn’t take you long. If you have time and want to do it, I’d be happy to add your thoughts, impressions, review to this one when you’re back and have time to put it through its paces – that way we’d have them both in one place. No pressure, just an open invitation :)

    • Let us know how you like your pack when you get to test it, Steven!

  • Brandon

    What trail did they backpack? I live in NE Arkansas and the only trail I know of in SE Arkansas is the cane creek trail. If that is the trail they backpacked I would be interested in some info about the trail. If one of them have an email address I can contact them at that would be great!

    • Brandon, I’m not going to share their email addresses on here, both of their Twitter names are in the bio at the bottom of the post if you’re a Twitter user and want to connect with them. I’ll encourage them to reply to these comments and let you guys figure that part out. Always good to make local connections!

      • Brandon

        Sorry, I thought about their email privacy after I posted. Of course I have a twitter account, I follow you (hikerb), lol!I didn’t notice their twitter accounts, I’ll contact through twitter. Thanks!

    • Yes we did Cane Creek. We hiked in to the backpacking shelter and set up camp outside the shelter. We opted to sleep in our hammocks. The trail was great! I was very shocked at how well maintained and well blazed the trail was.
      We hiked and mountain biked the trail. We never passed another person on the trail. We saw deer and wild hogs. The last 5 miles of the trail is on the levee. You are kind of exposed in the open on the levee. The levee has thick grass and was a tire sucker on a bike, but the view of the lake was nice.
      Check out the Arkansas State Parks website for more info. Im from NE Arkansas as well.

    • I’d highly recommend it Brandon. The shelters were super nice and so was the entire park. The interpretive ranger was psyched to see some backpackers! :)

  • Brian, this is cool that you were able to do this. I love this idea! And a great job to the reviewers!

    So, my question (to any of you I guess?) is how do you think this would work as a front carry “case” for a Nikon D40 DSLR (or any other DSLR and maybe an extra lens or filters)? Do you think that it has enough capacity/volume? As well, do you think it would be a safe place? It looks like it is in a place that may or may not be hit often if the pockets are full and using trekking poles.

    My wife likes to carry her camera when she does go with me, but of course carrying this monster is such a headache…and literally a pain in the neck! If this would work to carry some of her camera gear, maybe it is something I should look into for her before our next hike.

    Thanks for the review!


    • It might if you separate the lens and the camera.

    • Yeah separating the 2 would be about the only way it would fit.

  • anwar

    i would like to buy it..does backcountry com sells it too ?

    • I don’t know, did you look?

      • anwar

        lol. i had. only in ribz own site i think

  • James C

    Pardon the unrelated question but am I the only person that is paranoid of tearing UL fabrics like my down sleeping bag because of a rough fingernail? I’ve never seen “nail file” listed on a pack list but I feel like my nails need to have been perfectly filed smooth before I get in that sleeping bag not to mention silk liner socks, or the light weight long johns. Am I just being paranoid?

    • Umm, yeah kinda. I guarantee you that very few of us file our nails before a hiking trip to prepare for “not” tearing the fabrics. I don’t know what gear or fabrics in particular you are referring to, but most of my gear is extremely tough and resilient to snags and tears – the fabrics are far stronger than you may think. That said I HATE the feeling of snagging a rough fingernail on fabric (hate it!) but I’ve never torn any because of it, or far worse. I think you’ll be surprised how strong your own gear is, so don’t be so worried. And if it does get a tear use that as an opportunity to learn about patching your gear!

  • That looks like a fab way to carry the important items without burying them in my backpack. I don’t like to take short stops just for a snack and haven’t yet found a good way to keep munchies (and my emergency med kit) within easy access. I’ve used an Osprey grab bag but it wasn’t ideal. This pack looks interesting. I wonder if the shoulder straps would get in the way of my backpack straps…

    • The shoulder straps never get in the way of my backpack straps. Very comfortable.

      • Great to know! I’ll definitely have to add it to my birthday want list now.

  • Rebecca

    I like having a male and female perspective for the same pack! Great review, we’ve been dying to try out a Ribz pack, we just might have to break down and get one.

  • geospud

    Already on my Christmas List

  • Richard Mock

    I would like to have seen how much weight it could comfortably hold over what kind of terrain. Nothing personal but that was a pretty uninformative review.

    • Richard, to be fair the reviewer was a reader of this blog and not accustomed to writing in-depth comprehensive gear reviews – I think they did a pretty darn good job. I have no problem with you asking follow up questions, but don’t feel it was necessary to include your second sentence.

      According to the Ribz website, it recommends a maximum of 10 lbs of weight (5 lbs for each pouch) and I’d think that was about right. It’s not intended to be a heavy gear holding device. It’s meant to provide easy access to those items that you can get at in your backpack.

      I don’t understand you terrain question. The Ribz front pack doesn’t care what terrain you’re on, dry, hot, wet, cold it’s all the same. The water resistant ripstop Cordura fabric is pretty tough, more so that most UL backpacks.

      • Richard Mock

        My bad

  • I’ve been considering adding a front pack to my gear for this summer’s 900-mile walk through Spain on various routes of the Camino de Santiago. This may be just the ticket. Thanks for the review.