Forum Index » Make Your Own Gear » REI Flash 30 Redux: Leaner, Faster, Lighter!


Display Avatars Sort By:
Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
REI Flash 30 Redux: Leaner, Faster, Lighter! on 12/26/2011 00:46:39 MST Print View

Saw these on clearance at REI a couple weeks back ($40), and knew I had to get one as a project pack. I had actually owned one a year ago, loved it, but the seams ultimately blew out, and I got a refund instead of an exchange.

Anyhow, here are some stock images of the "before" at 24oz

flash frontflash back

I had a couple free days this past weekend so I decided to mod it. Now it weighs 15.9 oz with the stiff foam pad, or 14.1 oz without it. Volume has been increased to ~35 liters

The "after" pics:

mod1
mod2
modback

Modifications include:
1) Removed the lid and replaced with a cuben fiber roll top
2) removal of all the excess backpanel padding at the shoulder and lumbar area
3) removal of heavy ice axe tool holders, and replaced with a lighter sturdier velcro holder
4) removal of 1 ice axe tool loop
5) Stitched on an outer stretch pocket
6) removed the vertical compression strap and buckle form the pack front
7) trimmed straps, used lighter bungee cordage

I could probably drop it down by another ounce, if I replaced the crazy big waist belt buckle and webbing. All in all a great cheap project that has resulted in the perfect weekend pack for me.

At its current weight, volume, and feature set, I think it's pretty comparable to a lot of other offerings by the cottage manufacturers we love, but at an awesome price point.

Thanks!

Edited by Konrad1013 on 12/26/2011 00:50:07 MST.

Daniel Allen
(Dan_Quixote) - F

Locale: below the mountains (AK)
Re: REI Flash 30 Redux: Leaner, Faster, Lighter! on 12/26/2011 01:31:25 MST Print View

Love it!

Is this fairly similar to the modified Ion style we commonly call "The Poor Man's Burn"?

Also, have you tried it out yet? does removing the outer shoulder/lumbar padding make much difference in comfort?

I have the Flash 30's older, greener, lighter brother, the Jet Ul 30, and I'd love to make those particular removal mods on it (no sewing skills required!), if it doesn't impinge comfort.

-Daniel

Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
Re: Re: REI Flash 30 Redux: Leaner, Faster, Lighter! on 12/26/2011 02:04:55 MST Print View

"Is this fairly similar to the modified Ion style we commonly call "The Poor Man's Burn"?"

Exactly! But in this case, it's more akin to the poor man's Prophet hehe

On my last REI flash 30, I removed the lumbar pad and actually found improved comfort. When the lumbar pad in place, I could definitely feel it when the pack was overloaded, causing some discomfort.

I haven't tried to new modified flash 30, with the shoulder padding removed, but based on all my other frameless packs that have nothing but fabric on their backside (e.g. golite jam, ULA relay, etc) the lack of shoulder padding should not make any difference in perceived comfort.

James Stewart
(Jstewse) - F

Locale: New England
Flash 30 redux on 12/26/2011 06:06:13 MST Print View

Looks awesome, nice work. Was it difficult to sew the stretch pocket onto the front like that?

I'd agree that you could probably shed an ounce of two from the hip-belt, but that seems to be an area of packs where there's lots of personal preferences.

todd harper
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: Sunshine State
Re: REI Flash 30 Redux: Leaner, Faster, Lighter! on 12/26/2011 08:37:59 MST Print View

Konrad that's a sweet Christmas gift! When should I expect it? :)

You did a great job.

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Presence
Re: REI Flash 30 Redux: Leaner, Faster, Lighter! on 12/26/2011 10:26:21 MST Print View

Nice job! I find that redoing gear like this is fun and rewarding.

Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
Re: Flash 30 redux on 12/26/2011 13:12:13 MST Print View

Thanks guys!

James, yeah it was somewhat difficult to sew on the stretch pocket.

Making the pocket itself wasn't that bad. It's simply stretch elastic that I cut into a tapered shape, stitched webbing binding tape around the sides for durability, and lined the top edge with stretchy fold-over elastic (commonly used on the edges of homemade diapers)

Getting the thing onto the front panel required me to undo all the side seams to just about halfway below where the side mesh pockets start. I just couldn't figure a way around that, because the arm of my sewing machine wouldn't be able to get in there otherwise (I don't think any sewing machine arm would allow this awkward angle). If you were to sew it by hand, you could probably get away without tearing at the side seams, but then again, that's a slow process with lower durability (probably)

Hope that helps. Thanks!

Edited by Konrad1013 on 12/26/2011 13:14:12 MST.

Nicholas Martin
(namaniac)

Locale: SoCal-High Desert
Nice work! on 12/26/2011 20:14:28 MST Print View

Ive been wanting to do this to my Osprey Exos 42.....maybe this will push me to get started!
Looks great though and at $40...thats awesome!

David Wilson
(fastmtnbiker33w) - F
how did you do the backpanel? on 12/26/2011 22:05:18 MST Print View

Did you just unstitch everything on it? Or did you completely remove the panel and replace it after you trimmed the straps/removed the airmesh?

Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
Backpanel on 12/26/2011 22:26:36 MST Print View

Hi David,

Short answer-There are two ways you could mod the backpanel: the easy way, and the OCD way. I chose the latter.
Simple way is just unstitching everything without touching a single pack seam, whereas the OCD way is partially undoing some of the seams to remove as much fabric as possible, and to get a cleaner overall appearance.

Simple way: Get in there with a seam ripper. It'll take you maybe 25-30 mins tops. Just take the seam ripper and remove all the stitching that holds the black binding tape on the borders of the padding. Once you do this, you can easily remove the foam padding material underneath the wicking mesh of the padding. For the lumbar pad, seam rip as much as you can, and once you get to the area where the lumbar pad meets the pack bottom's seam, just trim it with scissors, so you don't have to actually undo that bottom seam. Same thing with the shoulder strap padding...seam rip all the black binding tape on the padding borders, remove the foam padding, and get close to where the shoulder straps are sewn to the pack, and trim with scissors there, leaving a bit of raw fabric exposed.

OCD way: I wanted to remove as much weight as I could, so I didn't want any of the padding material left over. That meant I actually undid the pack bottom seam to fully remove the lumbar pad. I also didn't want to leave any raw edges, so I used some of the binding tape material on the shoulder strap padding to encase the raw edge where I trimmed the padding. You can see that in the pics...it gives it more of a finished look. I had to sew on that binding tape material across the trimmed edge of the shoulder strap padding, so that meant I had to undo the side seams enough so that my sewing machine could get the right angle.

Edited by Konrad1013 on 12/26/2011 22:34:58 MST.

Steven Adeff
(TinCanFury) - F

Locale: Boston
Re: REI Flash 30 Redux: Leaner, Faster, Lighter! on 12/27/2011 08:49:30 MST Print View

nice!
I have mine sitting in my closet but am now seeing the GoLite sale and wondering if it's worth keeping. 16oz is quite the reduction. Do you happen to know what the weight of the various pieces you removed are?

GoLite has the Peak on clearance now as well, but at 26oz.

Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
weights of removed parts on 12/27/2011 09:13:00 MST Print View

Hey Steven,

I will weigh the removed parts when I get home. The heaviest part was the lid itself though.

Steven Adeff
(TinCanFury) - F

Locale: Boston
Re: weights of removed parts on 12/27/2011 09:26:34 MST Print View

That's what I figured, it seemed the heaviest when I was playing around with it, but wasn't sure what the foam back pads added.

I don't know if I'd bother with the roll top addition if I were to mod mine, but I really like the new back pocket!

Eric Botshon
(Ebotshon) - F
Buldging on 03/19/2012 12:20:43 MDT Print View

Konrad,

I have this pack and was thinking about doing some of those mods. Never thought about removing the lid pocket since its not detatchable - great idea.

Whenever I pack it full the bottom buldges into my back and no matter what I do, I can not avoid this. I see you had the same problem in your "3 season Overnight/Weekend Gearlist" post with your old pack.

Do you still have the same issue? Or does it not bother you?

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Buldging on 03/19/2012 12:47:00 MDT Print View

Eric,
I just got this pack and took it out this weekend. I think that bulge is supposed to be there, to sit in the small of your back and offer support. It appears the pack is shaped that way on purpose.

Jeff J
(j.j.81) - F

Locale: Oregon
Flash 30 lumbar pad on 03/20/2012 05:41:17 MDT Print View

It sucks. It chaffed me bad enough that my girlfriend asked what happened. It clearly is there by design; it just doesn't work for me. I'm slow to cut things off because I don't want to regret it, and this is one cut I wish I had made sooner.

I really like this pack; it has the features I like: lid, side pockets, simple but noticeable belt, sternum strap, ice axe loops, right volume, and just long enough. Konrad's post about it from way back was what made me really consider it. There's a few compromises but I can live with them.

Jeff

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Flash 30 lumbar pad on 03/20/2012 11:10:06 MDT Print View

That goes to show how important individual fit is. I like that lumbar pad, so far at least.

I think I'm really going to like this pack for overnighters or weekend trips. The volume is *almost* too small, but it just fits my 3-season kit and a few days of food. Though, this is my first small pack and I don't have any others to compare it with.

Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
Lumbar pad on 03/21/2012 17:02:10 MDT Print View

Eric, I hated he lumbar pad because it would dig into my back. To be fair, this only occurred when I really overloaded the pack. For small loads (like on day hikes) the lumbar pad was never an issue. But with a overnight or weekend load, the pack would be full enough that the lumbar area would have very little give, therefore causing the lumbar pad to feel like a rock against the small of my back. While lumbar pads are usually great and help give support, I feel like the one on he flash 30 was simply too pronounced.
With it removed, I feel that the pack conforms to the actual shape of my lower back more.

Eric Botshon
(Ebotshon) - F
Lumbar pad on 03/22/2012 06:06:16 MDT Print View

I am definatly going to give it a shot and cut it off. It's comfortable with it when not overloaded, but I intend most of my use to be with it packed for an overnighter or weekend, not a day trip.

If it doesnt get more comfortable I'd love to send it back to REI, I wonder If they would take it even without the lumbar pad...

Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
REI on 03/22/2012 08:37:49 MDT Print View

yeah, they'll take it back. When I blew out the seam on my first flash 30, it was returned sans lumbar pad. If they give you crap for it, tell them honestly that you tried to make the pack more comfortable and in the end it simply didn't work and you aren't satisfied. But I think you'll be fine...the removal will result in a perceivable difference.