REI Flash 65 Pack – Award winning backpack.
It isn’t all that often that you see a generic brand win an award from an outdoor industry magazine. Granted REI isn’t the typical generic brand, but it is compared to names like North Face and Marmot. Considering the big names it goes up against in the Backpacker Magazine – Gear of Year issue, it is nothing short of impressive that the REI Flash 65 Pack was the Editors Choice in the 2009 issue. So if you ever thought that REI gear was nothing more than a cheap lookalike, you are sadly mistaken. You may even kick yourself for buying the more expensive counterpart the REI Flash 65 Pack. You may be surprised at just how much this little generic brand pack has to offer.
One feature that I found cool about the REI Flash 65 Pack was just how versatile it was. When I say versatile, I don’t mean it can do something simple like turn into a duffel bag or travel pack. No, the REI Flash 65 Pack has some really cool versatility features. My favorite of which is its ability to be transformed into an even more lightweight pack. With the REI Flash 65 Pack, you can get rid of things like the packs frame sheet, top lid, and even the says. This converts the pack into an extremely feature rich lightweight backpack.
When it comes to features on the REI Flash 65 Pack you are better off asking what it doesn’t have, rather than what it does have. The list of features for this bad boy just go on and on. One small feature worth pointing out is the packs compression system. Under the lid of the pack there is a vertical compression strap that runs the length of the pack. This allows you to cinch your pack up in a manner that pulls your load closer to your back where it should be.
The quick & dirty:
Where you can get one:
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Why they rock:
- Minimalist configuration weighs a scant 2 lbs.
- Precurved hipbelt is designed to cradle your hip bones for a natural fit and evenly distribute load weight without sagging
- Hipbelt webbing system allows you to use a natural forward pulling motion for quick, easy cinching and precise adjustment
- Hipbelt has a zippered pocket for on-the-go access to essentials such as snacks and lip balm; lash points on the other side let you attach a camera bag or GPS pouch
- Precurved, dual-density padded shoulder straps match your anatomy for nonbinding comfort and stability
- Back panel features mesh-covered, perforated foam for breathability and a fixed suspension system for low weight and easy use
- Twin aluminum tubular stays and a precurved, perforated HDPE framesheet maximize structure and minimize weight
- Under the lid, an over-the-top compression strap pulls the load in close to your back and provides a place for lashing on climbing ropes or other bulky items
- Over-the-top compression strap has a thin storage pocket to stash a few small essentials; includes a key clip and a rip-and-stick closure to secure cash and ID
- Deep, catch-all front pocket keeps large, often-used items within easy reach
- 2 mesh pockets on each side hold water bottles and other stowables
- Water-resistant zippers on top and front pockets and a rip-and-stick closure on the pocket underneath the lid allow you to safely store valuables away from the elements
- Multiple lash points on the top pocket and front of pack provide attachment points to carry additional gear
- Quick-release bottom straps accommodate a sleeping pad; side compression straps secure both large and small loads for increased stability
- Hydration sleeve and hanging clips hold a variety of reservoirs (sold separately); dual exit ports allow you to route a drinking tube over either shoulder
- Simple, lightweight tool attachment points let you quickly lash trekking poles, ice axes or other tools to the pack
- Sew-free construction on lash points helps reduce weight without sacrificing strength
- 140-denier ripstop nylon construction provides increased durability without added weight; polyurethane coating adds weather resistance
Seat-of-the-pants rating: 9 out of 10
When you see how much the REI Flash 65 Pack has to offer and then you see how low its price tag is, you will be hard pressed not to want to buy it. It really is an awesome buy, as is most of their other REI backpacks. Like I said, if you have been in the habit of passing up REI gear because you thought is was just cheap knock offs, you are in for a big surprise my friend.
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