Ribz Frontpack


In the world of backpacks, there is a niche category of products that positions compartments and pouches over the chest. Called “frontpacks,” these gear-carrying modules are made by small companies like Aarn Designs, Syncpack, and LuxuryLite.

You usually wear a frontpack in tandem with a backpack. The theory is that a load up front will move weight forward on the body to counterbalance a heavy haul on back.

ribz front pack backpack.jpg

Easy access to food, a GPS device, a camera or sunscreen is another advantage. (I have a review of five frontpack models here: gearjunkie.com/frontpacks)

A recent entrant into the frontpack realm, Ribz Sportswear of Coronado, Calif., offers a pack with up to 600 cubic inches of usable space. The company’s namesake Ribz pack has four large zippered pockets mounted in a vest configuration and sewn on a suspenders-type harness.

Loaded up, the pack can tote a half-day’s worth of gear or add significant capacity for a long trip. I put in energy bars, a map, a compass, a small camera, a hat, survival items, sunglasses, and a few other small essentials.

ribz front pack.jpg

In my test, the Ribz pack (www.ribzwear.com) carried fine. It distributed a load on my shoulders and put weight comfortably up front.

Wide shoulder straps made of heavy-duty nylon are designed to distribute weight yet remain comfortable when worn under a backpack harness. To connect the two compartments, the RIBZ pack has a low-profile strap in the rear that fit under a backpack with little issue.

The Ribz pack, which costs $65, is beefy and well-made. The nylon fabric is durable. It weighs 10 ounces and wears light and comfortably alone or with a pack.

If you’re in the market for a frontpack, Ribz Sportswear is a solid new up-front option.

—Stephen Regenold writes about outdoors gear at www.gearjunkie.com.

Posted by marc miller - 11/18/2009 10:01 PM

The new version is a lot more fitted. Can be adjusted to fit loose or really tight… check the newer version. http://www.ribzwear.com/

Posted by Adam Galfond - 11/17/2010 09:54 AM

I’ve thought of something like this for years so when I saw it I had to give it a try. I consider myself a minimalist but still always want to be sure I have all the equipment needed for a long trip. I just returned from a 3 week trek through the Sierras and couldn’t believe how comfortable and how beneficial this pack turned out to be. I love having a portion of my gear accessible from my chest and I definitely felt a huge differece in transferring a portion of my weight to my chest. My personal favorite feature is being able to drop my pack off at camp and still be fully equipped for running around. Definitely is going to be a part of all my trips going forward. Thx for the hot tip junkie!

Posted by Tom - 02/02/2011 12:54 PM

I just talked with Ray Richardson over at Ribz and the new line of Ribz should be out in mid Feb 2011. We will also be selling the new Ribz at 7summitsgear So stop in and check out the new line.

Posted by Tom - 03/01/2011 11:20 AM

I just wantedt o let everyone know that the new Ribz packs are now available. Check them out at 7summitsgear. One of the newest Ribz is the FALL CAMO. capacity: 800+ Cu In and made out of 600D Cordura which makes it super strong. Its weight: 18 oz.

Posted by Tom - 06/15/2011 02:26 PM

Just wanted to let everyone know with are new site up we have a special on the ribzwear pack. 7Summitsear

Posted by Tina - 11/23/2011 01:30 PM

I want a lightweight frontpack that DOESn’t require a backpack to keep my chest warm while cycling and provide easy access to gloves, scarves, cellphone, drinks etc.
Is there such a thing? I’ve been wearing a Camelbak backwards but the straps slip off unless I’m wearing a backpack

Posted by Tom - 01/26/2012 06:07 PM

New 2012 Ribz front pack. Everything has been upgrade. 2 new sizes 700+ CU in and 550+ CU in. Check them out at Ribz & 7Summitsgear

Posted by Sylvia - 05/12/2012 09:08 PM

Hey guys—I read all your posts before I bought a RIBZ and I am SUPER pleased with it—and with the service! I’m not a big hiker, but I needed a pack that I wouldn’t have to take off to sit comfortably or to remove stuff. Also, for anyone with a CHL ticket, it is perfect, as items in the inner compartment are shape shielded by the outer pockets. It distributes the weight comfortably, the fabric & construction are good, and I expect to enjoy this pack for a long time. I give it 5 stars!

Posted by Rüdiger Flothmann - 06/26/2012 04:39 PM

We wrote an review in german language. Feedback is welcome!

Posted by Charles - 07/01/2012 09:11 PM

Bought mine in April this year. Took it on a 2 week mountain hike. Had troubles with it from the beginning. Back and shoulder straps kept tangling up. When untangled, it sat great on my front and was convenient. But the continual struggles to untangle the straps has left me looking for something similar without strap entanglement.

Posted by Ted - 01/27/2013 10:56 PM

Must be smarter than the gear you wear. If you can’t handle straps you should probably stay out of the woods and join your local mall walking group.

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