Pick Your Pack: REI Flash 18
The REI Flash 18 - a wonderful lightweight pack.
I purchased this pack on a whim... it happened to be an REI Member Exclusive and I liked the colors, plus the price was great, so as any bagaholic would do, I snatched it up. While it is a super simple design, this pack has a great purpose for me. For starters, it rolls into a tiny ball, so it'll be going in my "big" pack on camping trips. It's great for tossing a few essentials together and carrying a lightweight pack on a short trek.
The first time I took it out, I had a thin sweatshirt, a small flashlight, a small knife, my first aid/Epipen/inhaler/pillbox, a small point and shoot film camera, an extra roll of film, a snack bar, and a 32 oz. Hydroflask. The bag had a great deal of space left over, but this light load carried extremely well for a 4 mile hike. It has taken a ride or two to the beach, and been a comfy riding bag. I anticipate that this bag will get a great deal of use. From local day hikes, to longer adventures, to bike rides to the beach - this bag has all the versatility that I need out of a small pack.
- The back in lightly padded so you don't have too much discomfort from the contents poking you in the back.
- The straps are very lightweight and breathable, and very comfy. Lightly padded and slightly stretchy.
- It's an open top loader that cinches with a drawstring, and the opening is then covered by a small flap.
- This pack is hydration compatible with a small sleeve for the reservoir and a hose exit port.
- It has a small zippered mesh pocket that is a great size for phone / wallet / etc. There is also a key hook.
- There are no exterior pockets, just some daisy chain loops for attaching things.
- It has a sternum strap (removable, with whistle) and a basic hip belt (removable, no pockets).
What I Love:
- It is super lightweight and carries very comfortably.
- It's a versatile item to have in a larger backpacking setup. It could be used to stuff a sleeping bag, it could be a pillow, it could be a butt pad on some hard ground, or it could be a convenient little pack.
- It's not expensive. Mine was $34.50, not on sale.
What I Don't Love:
- The closure system is odd - there is a flap that covers the opening, but it doesn't seem like it'd work well in rain. Living in Southern California, I don't really have to worry about rain too often, though! You may be able to cinch it tight enough that it would be safe.