RIBZ Front Packs
If you have spent any time on The Bloke you will know that I love the Ribz Front packs.
For a long time, I was looking for a solution for keeping bits and pieces nice and handy when I was out in the bush. I really dislike the idea of having to take my pack off each time I want to get something – but I also wanted more storage than what I could hold in my jacket pockets. Pockets, which of course don’t exist when it gets warmer and you are only wearing a t-shirt or singlet. In addition, I was keen on moving some of the weight off my back, and into the front to balance the load.
Finally, I wanted something that would let me drop my main pack and still have a little bit more on me that just my EDC, the contents of my pockets.
I originally was looking at military style chest rigs, which certainly have it when it comes to modularity but I didn’t want anything that military looking.
I stumbled across the Ribz packs online and was immediately interested. I ordered one of the packs shortly after (this one in fact) and used it pretty much every time I was out after that. There were a couple of things I wasn’t sold on though; zip size, straps, little things and later on I spotted there was a new version out – so I ordered a new one. The majority of my concerns were sorted.
Without fail, whenever I wore them, people would ask about the packs. Simply put, they are a great idea and once someone sees one, they generally realise how useful one could be. So much so, that another one of the lads in LandSAR turned up with a RIBZ Front Pack recently.
The packs have two shoulder straps that cross over the back, with a smaller elasticated low back strap. This keeps the pack snug against you and is easily adjusted when you go from wearing a jacket to not. I would generally suggest you wear it high, allowing the belt of your backpack to sit underneath.
A little tip – if you find you are getting hot while wearing this – and it can do – and you are wearing a pack as well – you can just undo the front zip and the backpack will keep everything in place. It works well. Getting cooler, or need to do something a little technical, just zip it back up.
The storage design of these packs is constant across them all. Two large zippered pockets with a large space and dual mesh organisers inside, with a smaller zippered pockets on the outside.
These packs are water resistant. You still need to be a little careful with your electronics or paper maps. A little common sense – pack sensitive items in sealed plastic bags. The bag gets wet, your gear doesn’t.
There are four sizes within the range. Essentially, the medium and large are the same size strapping rig, designed for a 32 to 34 inch waist, but with either 8 liter internal capacity in the medium or 11 liters in the large. If you were planning on using the pack in conjunction with a backpack – then the medium is likely as large as you would ever need. If you wanted to use the front as a daypack as well, then the large option will give you just a bit more size to pack in a jacket, an emergency bivy, or other larger items. Just be aware though – sometimes we have a bad habit of trying to fill any available space and just like a backpack, too much weight in a front pack is still going to be a pain to carry around all day.
If you have a smaller frame – then the small sizes gives you 8 litres of storage. If you are a larger individual – the XL gives you 11 litres. These are guidelines – but just remember the XL doesn’t give you any additional storage over a large.
There are five colour options. Green, Grey, Orange, not quite Blaze, but Orange, Black and Camo.
The camo pattern is called Raptor. It’s a 3D mimicry style pattern that is going to blend in with most other systems.
What you are up to and personal preference are going to dictate what colour you are after. Depending on your school of thought, you might want it to blend in, you might want it to stand out. Remembering that orange is a band of colour that deer are generally less sensitive to.
I now have three of these in use. My hunting pack, my tramping & photography pack and my search and rescue pack. Each has slightly different load outs in them, depending on what I am going to be up too. Fishing is also a good use for them – it is an easy way to keep your lures right with you and I even know of people using them as a ‘baby diaper bag’ in conjunction with a baby backpack.
So there you have it. The Ribz Front Pack. Four Sizes, Five Colour options.
If you are looking for an excellent way of layering what you carry, making sure you have the essentials on hand all the time, this is it.