Pick A 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.
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