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We all like bags and packs. Some would refer to preppers as pack rats or even hoarders due to the amount of gear and supplies we keep. I know most folks are always on the hunt for that one bag or pack that just fits the bill for most uses. Whether it be a bug-out / go bag or even for hitting the trails; you know we are always on the lookout for products or services that make your lives easier when it comes to preparedness. This is where I would like to introduce RIBZ Sportswear. You can read the preview I had written about them here. After checking out their awesome website, I contacted the team at RIBZ and needed to order one of the Front Packs.
Though I had reviewed pictures of the Front Pack on the website and understood the concept, I truly did not know what to expect. Let me first start by saying this review was going to be exclusive to our beginning hiking series, but something happened to whereas I had to change it in order to give the Front Pack an honest review. You will see why, so keep reading. Now let’s begin.
When I opened the package, I was surprised to find the pack was in its own portable sack. Impressive and we were off to a good start. So I removed the pack to find an interesting design. I needed to lay it flat on the table in order to see how this was to be worn. Once I had the straps in order, I was good to go. The material is a tough, but lightweight cordura. The adjustments, zippers, and straps all seemed solid. I was taken back by the lightweight design as I had expected a pack of this size to be heavier, but it only weighs in at a feathery eleven ounces. So how does it feel?
Once I had all the straps in place, I put the Front Pack on and I was very surprised. The shoulder straps did not feel awkward, nor did the bags themselves. It is evident that this pack was designed to hug the body and carry the load close to you. There are quick pull adjustments on the front of the pack which allow you to get the feel you need while carrying a heavy load. Mind you, RIBZ suggests you keep this to a max of ten pounds. But you are well aware that we have to push the envelope.
My first outing with the Front Pack was a ten mile hike in the mountains. I decided to pack extra bottled water, various food, camera, glasses, and other necessities. I feel I loaded the pack out, but I didn’t feel I could hurt it. I also used my regular hiking backpack for this trip. I was loaded out, but didn’t feel overwhelmed.
It did not take a lot of time to get used to the pack. I was able to use my trekking poles, and I did not feel the pack obstructed in any way. In fact, at times it felt so natural, that I did not feel it on me. The quick access to the front pockets allowed me to grab my water, bars, iPhone, and whatever else I needed in a hurry. While there are two access points on each side, they were easy to locate without having to stop an fuss with anything like going into your backpack.
When you are on the trail, you usually cannot wait to get to a destination and take off your backpack. With the Front Pack, you don’t sweat it. I was able to reach the top of the mountains and I ditched my backpack, but not the Front Pack. Not only was it not cumbersome, but it was very convenient to be able to have my goodies on hand at all times. I can see this as being a good pack for a quick hike from the campsite. But is that all there is to the Front Pack? Not at all.
The reason why I could not categorize this pack into our hiking only series was because of its versatility for preparedness minded folks. The folks at RIBZ have claimed the Front Pack would be good for backpacking, fishing, hunting, and snowboarding/skiing. While I agree with these claims, I feel they sold themselves short. If you are into firearms tactical training, or even just plinking at the outdoor range, you want this pack!!
I decided to take it with me to our private range and run some drills. While I know it was not designed for this, I was overwhelmed by how it blended in with the overall scheme of things. I used it during drills with my AK-47, Shotgun, and pistol. One word on its performance; outstanding! With both long guns on a single-point tactic sling, this pack did not hinder my ability to draw either weapon. Very cool.
Like I said earlier, I know this pack was not designed with tactical in mind, though it was designed in part by a U.S. Navy SEAL, it was no surprise that it performed very well. I was able to carry ammo for my pistol, rifle, and shotgun all in the different compartments as well as using the inner compartment within the main pocket to carry my Glock 23 nice and snug.
The last test I put the Front Pack through was the ability to use it as a bug out /go bag. I chose the smaller (500+ Cu in) black bag as it does not bat an eye out in public. Though it does seem odd, but in a SHTF situation, no one may pay extra attention to it unless it were something über tactical. The configuration would help you carry a decent load, while give you the ability to be hands-free and ready for whatever comes your way. You can keep it loaded at home or in your vehicle and be ready to go with gear. I was able to get at least two days worth of goods (water, first-aid, food, misc.) into the pack, so this makes for a viable option for survivalists as well.
In conclusion, I have not been this excited about a product in a long time. The versatility and practicality of the Front Pack just amazes me. The team at RIBZ Sportswear have hit a grand slam with the Front Pack. With an MSRP of $59.95 for either size and color, you cannot go wrong with this. I would highly recommend anyone give a serious look at the Front Pack as it will stand up to whatever you put it through.
Until next time, stay safe out there.