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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Gear Review: REI Flash 62 Ultralight Backpack

Today's gear review is going to be on the REI Flash 62 ultralight backpacking pack.  I got this pack after trying many different packs to see what worked for me the best.

Alittle background on my use with the pack:
      I used this pack for many of the training hikes leading up to my summit of Mt. Whitney and also to backpack through Yosemite.  The training hikes that this was used on included Mt. Baldy, Mt San Jacinto, and I used it car camping to see if everything fit that I would need.  The pack got alot of trail miles this year and nothing has failed or ripped.

First impressions are that it is a great fitting pack with tons of storage and great features.  Below is the description from the REI website
  • Superior load transfer and stability allows you to comfortably carry hefty loads; it's achieved with a new perimeter frame and structured hipbelt, all with no added weight
  • Precurved shoulder straps match your anatomy for nonbinding comfort and stability; perforated foam allows body vapor to pass through for improved comfort
  • Updated, fully structured hipbelt cradles the hips for a natural fit and offers impressive comfort and load transfer for an ultralight pack
  • Hipbelt webbing system lets you use a natural forward pulling motion for quick, easy cinching and precise adjustment
  • New molded, mesh-covered EVA back panel offers comfortable, ventilating performance that rivals heavier packs
  • New tubular aluminum perimeter frame provides excellent load support and stability while minimizing weight
  • Top-loading main compartment can also be accessed from a zippered opening at the bottom; floating top lid can be extended to create additional volume
  • Hydration pocket holds a reservoir of your choice (sold separately) for drinking water on the go
  • Floating front pocket maintains volume even when the main compartment is fully loaded; it offers convenient storage and allows more compressible gear to be stored behind it
  • Large mesh side pockets hold items for quick access
  • Hipbelt has zippered pockets on both sides for on-the-go access to essentials such as snacks and lip balm
  • Water-resistant zippers let you stash valuables away from the elements
  • Lightweight Speed Hook attachment points let you strap tools and bulky gear to the pack; quick-release straps at the bottom offer easy attachment of a sleeping bag or pad
  • Side compression straps help secure both large and small loads for increased stability
  • The Flash 62 is made with ripstop nylon that provides durability without increased weight; polyurethane coating adds weather resistance
While I feel that this pack DOES live up to the description from the REI website here are some of my observations of this pack.  While hiking the straps seem to get loose with time and that starts to cause your back to get tired.  The hip belt seems to be the biggest offender in that I am almost constantly adjusting how the pack fits.  I typically carry about 40Lb's (Fully loaded including food and water) so I am thinking that this pack just is not built to handle more than 30lbs.

Here are the list of pros and cons on the pack;
  1. Lightweight
  2. Lots of space to store gear and other accesories
  3. built in hydration sleeve
  4. external hip belt pockets (BIG PLUS)
 Some of the Cons

  1. Does not do well with heavy loads (above 30lbs)
  2. straps seem to loosen as you hike
  3. built for ultralight backpacking
Overall I would recomend this pack because it is REI brand and if you dont like it after you use it or if it does indeed fail they will take it back with a smile.  I have not had anything fail, but if it does I know that I will be covered under REI's great policy.

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