Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Another Memorial Day to Remember

Last year I wrote about my Memorial Day Weekend tradition of camping with my family.  I mentioned how the weather usually never cooperates with our plans of camping yet we decided to tough out the weather and go camping anyway.  Last year my Memorial Day Weekend was summed up with the picture below of my tent and my Jeep in our camping area.
Camping last Memorial Day
Camping Memorial Day 2012
Fortunately this year, the weather was a lot more cooperative and was actually one of the best years for weather we have had in a long time!  Last year my wife was about 8 months pregnant and misserable the whole time.  This year was probably one of my favorite times camping because I was able to share it with my daughter who is 11 months old now. 

The area we traditionally camp at for this weekend is not necessarily the most remote area but it is away from the majority of people.  We camp next to a little creek and spend most of our time hanging out by the camp fire catching up with all of our family members.  We also spend a lot of time with family members fishing in the creek catching small Brook Trout.  My daughter loved this part of the camping trip because she decided she liked the feel of squeezing a slimy fish in her hand. 
My daugher holding a fish
The look on her face should tell you how much fun she was having
Of course at her age, she puts everything she can touch into her mouth... everything.... yes including the fish...
The look on my face shows you I was grossed out while laughing :)
I think the nicest part of any camping trip is not necessarily in the location, the activities, the weather, or length of time of the camping trip but rather it is is who it is with and how you spend that time.  While I went up in the mountains to one of my favorite spots since childhood, this camping trip is special because it was the first one with my daughter.  When I would have liked to spend more time maybe shooting guns or fishing in the creek, I enjoyed the time sitting next to the creek with my wife and daughter picking flowers and playing in the grass. 

Little girl picking flowersLittle girl picking flowers
Little girl picking flowers
I don't want to make it sound like that is all we did, but I never thought in all my perivious camping trips in this location that I would spend a good portion of my time picking flowers and playing in the grass while camping.  We did get to enjoy some good fishing trips in the creek and we also spent a lot of time with family around the campfire.  Life does change when you have kids yet the change is more of a refocusing on what really matters rather than changing. 

We ended off the weekend by visiting my grandpa's grave site which has been part of our family tradition for Memorial Day weekend.  We usually take up something my grandpa would have liked such as a pine tree or some other outdoors item.  This year we took a shed antler from a deer and placed in on his headstone. 

I am looking forward to more camping trips with my wife and daughter this summer where I will be able to share with her some of my other favorite areas such as taking her backpacking into some of my elk hunting spots on scouting trips and other hikes into the mountains.  I know this trips may not be my most successful in sneaking around the woods looking for wildlife but as I spend my time wisely with my wife and daughter I have come to the conclusion that the man upstairs makes up for the less successful scouting trips in the end.  

Monday, May 13, 2013

RIBZ Front Pack Review

Ribz Front Pack
On a hike with my daughter and my Ribz Front Pack!
This time of year is difficult for me to write on my blog and its not because I don't have anything to write about but instead its because I would much rather get out and enjoy the outdoors!  So I have forced myself to sit down and write a quick blog post about a product I received called the Ribz Front Pack.

I'm just going to put it out there because I'm sure I am not the only person who has thought this, but at first I was a little hesitant thinking that this product would be a glorified "fanny-pack".  I also had the thought that this was some type of gear specifically for fly fishermen which I "might" be able to use for something else seems how I'm a world class loser when it comes to fly fishing!

When I first got the pack and put it on, I was shocked at how light the pack was at 11 ounces.  I adjusted the waist strap and shoulder straps so the pack fit snug right around my rib cage (hence the name Ribz Front Pack) and I was surprised how comfortable and natural the pack actually felt.  I thought it would make me feel like I was walking around with a spare tire around my waist but the way it fit was very comfortable and natural.

Ribz Front Pack
Carrying my pistol with the Ribz Front Pack on
The first test I put it through was on a hike with my wife and daughter through the mountains while looking for morel mushrooms.  I had seen a wolf just a week ago in this area so I wanted to make sure to pack my pistol just in case.  I know with some of my normal back packs, I struggle to carry my pistol on my hip and adjusting my back pack to carry the load evenly on my hips.  With the front pack, this was not a problem at all.  I enjoyed the fact that it rode high and tight and allowed me to pack my pistol on my side. 

Hiking, Ribz Front Pack
Padding on shoulders moving down a bit.
 I also noticed while walking around that the Front Pack never swayed back and fourth or side to side because the waist strap has an elastic band to keep it snug while your body bends and adjusts.  One thing I didn't like about the pack was the fact that the padding on the shoulder moved around a little while wearing it.  To be honest, I don't know if I would have noticed it except for the fact that I was taking pictures for my review and noticed it in the pictures.  I don't know if the padding would move as much as it did if I had a heavier load in it or if I just need to adjust the straps a little differently.

Fishing, Ribz Front Pack
Fishing away
The second test I used the Front Pack for was fishing down on the river bottoms.  As I mentioned earlier I am not much of a fly fisherman but I love to bait fish, spinner fish, and fish with a lure.  I previously purchased a few small Plano tackle boxes because I thought I would need them to fit my gear in the Front Pack but I was able to fit my normal tackle containers from my tackle box right into the Front Pack!

Ribz Front Pack
Pocket on the left

Ribz Front Pack
Pocket on the right

I was curious to see if the Front Pack would ever get in the way with me casting, reeling in, or changing baits but the Front Pack was once again super comfortable and convenient!  Having the pockets in the front were extremely ideal for quick access to my tackle and extremely convenient while tying on a new lure.  The pack has two large pockets on each side with mesh interior pouches in each pocket.  There are also two smaller pockets on the outer sides of the two large pockets which allowed me to carry nearly my entire tackle box right at my finger tips. 
Back view of me fishing with the Ribz Front Pack
Back view of me fishing with the Ribz Front Pack
After taking the pack on these two trips, I feel that the Ribz Front Pack would be ideal in any hiking of fishing situation.  The website says the pack is also ideal while carrying a load with a regular back pack to help distribute the weight and create easy access for certain gear while hiking.  I would say that the pack would be awesome to use while backpacking and carrying another pack!  For myself, I have been struggling to figure out how to keep backpacking while now having to use a child carry backpack to bring my daughter along with me, but now with the Ribz Front Pack my problem with that has been solved!
While I used the Ribz Front Pack for hiking and fishing, I also felt that this product would be great to use in a blind or tree stand situation so that you had your gear in an easily accessible place.  I know in my tree stand I have a separate place I use to hang my backpack once I get into my stand but now I will use my Front Pack to minimize the amount of movement when I have to get into my pack.  I also feel that this pack would be  awesome to use while bird hunting, both during dove season and duck season to keep my shotgun shells close and accessible at a moments notice.  The pack is a great addition to whatever pack you already have, or it can be a nice pack to use in situations where you know you will be needing access your gear often such as fishing, hiking, or hunting.

You can purchase a Ribz Front Pack off their website in Green, Black, or Camouflage for $59.95.  The Front Pack can adjust from a 26 inch waist up to a 44 inch waist and contains 700+ cubic inches of storage space for all of your gear! I would strongly recommend this pack to anyone who need or wants a very convenient piece of equipment to add to their collection of gear.

I can proudly say that the Ribz Front Pack is not a gloried fanny-pack and that it does not make you feel like you are walking around with a spare tire around your hips.  The pack is extremely comfortable and a wonderful pack!  I can honestly say that it was a lot more than what I expected it to be.  I wouldn't be hesitant at all to recommend this to any of my followers.

Ribz Front Pack in carrying case
Ribz Front Pack in carrying case