User Review: REI Flash 18 Pack
Source: received it as a personal gift
A true multipurpose item, but delicate.
- Comfortable straps
- Simple design
- Nice color choices
- Fairly inexpensive
- Multiple uses
- Holds a water
- Fair price
- A truly multipurpose piece of gear
- Delicate materials
- Closing mechanism is touchy
- Waist buckle falls off easily
- No water bottle holder
The Flash 18 is essentially a narrow, 18 liter stuff sack with a high quality set of shouler straps. Inside the bag at the top is a mesh zippered pocked that can hold a couple of wallets and a couple of cell phones. There is also a sleeve inside for a water reservoir. I have not used this feature for its intended purpose but if I do carry anything that could potentially be messy I just slide it into the sleeve. It also does have a thin foam backpanel which I think can be removed. The bag can be turned inside out and be used as a stuff sack.
The fit of the pack is not a big issue unless you plan on overpacking. The straps are wide, flat, and comfortably curved and it has a sternum strap with an emergency whistle built into one of the buckles. The waist straps are a very simple 1 inch strap. There is no shaped hip belt or anything substantial. One of these buckles fell off already which is a pesky problem.
I would say that the pack tends to fit higher up on the back rather than sit on the hips. This isn't really a concern since the loads with this pack are light, but you can adjust it to fit lower down if you'd like.
The capacity of the pack is pretty good. I can get a camera, fleece, baseball hat, 3 bottles of water, camera, phone, wallet, and snacks into it when I take it to Disney world. I can get a change of clothes in it when i take it to the gym. I think you would have to be an extreme ultralighter to make this pack work for an overnight trip into the backcountry.
The features of the pack are fairly basic: main compartment, zippered mesh pocket, drawstring closure, daisy chain, ice axe loop, coated nylon for weather resistance.
The mesh pocket is located at the top of the bag. This is nice when you want to access or see the smaller items you are carrying. Its location also makes it a bit of a struggle to pull larger items out of the main compartment.
The drawstring closure cinches down fairly well but you will still have a small opening. The closure mechanism takes a little getting used to and it does jam up about every fourth time i use it if I don't take care while cinching.
The outer loop and chains are rather thin. I have read other reviews about this coming apart easily. I think that is probably a concern.
The backpanel is not breathable and you will get sweaty carrying it in a warm climate.