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George Davis
(nsiderbam) - F

Locale: mid-Atlantic
REI Flash 45 First Impressions on 01/21/2013 18:27:12 MST Print View

full write up here: http://nsiderbam.blogspot.com/2013/01/rei-flash-45-first-impressions.html

It seems like a very nice pack. Slightly over specced weight (35oz vs 34oz) but that's really not a large difference. I really like the floating pack lid as its two pockets make grabbing all those small items you need throughout the day painless. The hipbelt pockets are of average size and made of mesh, so they won't protect anything fragile inside.

The hipbelt and shoulder straps are extremely comfortable...I would say that this is the most comfortable pack I've worn with weight in it, but I've only walked a mile or so with it on so I can't truly comment on comfort yet.

Construction is good, size is as advertised (it's definitely a 45-liter pack -- no more, no less), and the aluminum headrail/delrin rods give the pack lots of stability and stiffness.

Best of all, it's only $130. I'd say it's a decent competitor to some of the other similarly-sized UL packs out there now -- you gain a few ounces but spend a lot less.

Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
Flash 45 on 01/21/2013 18:43:37 MST Print View

Thanks for the initial review! Pack looks promising. When you get the chance, can you let us know how much the lid weighs? I'm trying to get an idea of how much lighter this pack can get. Thanks!

Jared Baker
(simply_light) - MLife

Locale: Midwest, US
Nice on 01/21/2013 19:12:16 MST Print View

I am usually impressed with the price points on packs at REI. Of course when you mass produce them it allows you to be more flexible on the price.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Thanks on 01/21/2013 22:44:21 MST Print View

Thanks for posting. This could be the UL pack I've been wanting either REI or Golite to make for a long time. It will be great if the average wanna be hiker can walk into REI and pick out a 2 pound pack without having to mail order it.

Do you think you will take this on the CT?

George Davis
(nsiderbam) - F

Locale: mid-Atlantic
CT on 01/22/2013 05:34:38 MST Print View

I think I will. I need to figure out how to shave a few more ounces off it though. The easiest step would probably be to take off the pack lid, but that's one of my favorite features :(

Andrew Urlacher
(anarkhos) - M

Locale: Front Range CO
Hooray REI on 01/22/2013 07:16:19 MST Print View

What do you think max loadout would be on this? Unfortunately I tend to load heavy due to food and water. MY brother and I are planning a CT thru this summer/fall and I'm seriously considering grabbing this pack when REI dividend/20% off happens in March. That would be a LW backpack from a reputable manufacturer with an actual load support system for $104.00 before tax! I could finally replace my beloved but overweight MountainSmith bag.

Plus I could totally gut the hydration sleeve and whatnot, shave a little excess. Never been a fan of hydro systems personally.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
Not Impressed. Buttermilk 40 is better at this price. on 01/22/2013 12:59:46 MST Print View

Not impressed. For 4oz more, there's the Boreas Buttermilk 40, which won Backpacker's Editor's Choice for being one of the most comfortable packs they've ever tested for warm weather. Plus, it's more minimalist and easier to shave ounces from since there's no extra stitching (or a lid.) Shave out the hydration sleeve and cut the hidden tie-down straps, and this pack drops under the REI pack's weight.

The mesh is higher quality. The load distribution straps are placed along seams. The hip belt pockets are larger and tougher. The outer pack is silicone-impreganted for water resistance.

Plus, the frame is removable (either the wire frame or the plastic sheet, or both) and it's $20 less than the REI pack on www.theclymb.com, and the sale doesn't expire.

The back padding is a nice complement to my torso-length pad. Very pleased with this pack.
Buttermilk 40


http://www.theclymb.com/brand-event/111818/show-product/172461?f=mi

George Davis
(nsiderbam) - F

Locale: mid-Atlantic
Re: Not Impressed. Buttermilk 40 is better at this price. on 01/23/2013 14:13:32 MST Print View

If anything I'd say that because the Buttermilk is more minimalist (and yet heavier than the Flash), it would be harder to cut weight off of. You can cut off all the same items on the Flash -- hydration pocket, straps, etc. -- and still have more to take off. The lid itself weighs a couple of ounces at least and is detachable, meaning you're not gonna permanently damage the pack if you decide to remove it. The fact that its larger cousin (they reviewed the 55L Buttermilk, not the 40L) was a Backpacker Editor's Choice doesn't really impress me; the same year their editor's choice of a tent was a 4lb 2-person tent that was praised for "withstanding 25mph winds".

I wouldn't say the Flash's mesh is poor quality -- it's just not stretchy mesh. It will catch easier than the mesh on my GG Murmur or ULA CDT, but I doubt it would tear as easily.


Andrew, when are you planning on doing the CT? My brother and I will be doing it starting the last week of July. I'm sure the Flash could handle 25-30lbs easily, above that I'd have to do some testing.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Not Impressed. Buttermilk 40 is better at this price. on 01/23/2013 14:17:37 MST Print View

One thing you cannot measure is the functionality (how easy it is to live out of a pack). This is up to the individual.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
Buttermilk VS Flash on 01/23/2013 18:05:57 MST Print View

My friend has the 55, I have the 40, and they're practically identical- literally just slightly taller and slightly wider, at the price of a few ounces. I don't think the backpacker review is invalid because of the difference. Besides, I don't think the Backpacker award is a closer, just a relevant detail. Good call though- I don't agree with them often.

Idk, I just thought I'd give an alternate opinion. The Buttermilk's design team specifically put packs like the REI Flash in their sights and went to the drawing board to get rid of the extras, cut weight, but maintain functionality- that last part is important. For the price point, I haven't seen another pack match up. It carries like an Osprey.

I rip right through open-holed, "cheap" mesh by accident about once per pack. Toss a Leatherman in a pocket and forget about it for 2 miles, and it's gone. I don't like it, I'd rather have the good stuff.

I can only assume your review of the REI's mesh pockets as "probably tougher" is based on clairvoyance! Haha!

When I see a "minimalist" pack that has a sewn-in frame, a lid, and less-than-ideal mesh pockets (when outer pockets are a huge part of minimalist packing) I like to think it's a nice way to trick tourists into spending extra to be like the racers they see on the cover of a magazine. I think there are 5 better ways to spend money, and the Buttermilk is one suggestion from me.

No problem if you disagree :D

George Davis
(nsiderbam) - F

Locale: mid-Atlantic
Re: Buttermilk VS Flash on 01/23/2013 20:14:26 MST Print View

I wouldn't call it clairvoyance, but you're right -- it definitely wasn't experimental data. It is a open-holed webbed mesh, but isn't simply string. It's very similar to the thick nylon mesh upper you get on a tough pair of trail runners. I guess I'll just have to see how it handles out on the field.

And I definitely agree with the whole "minimalist" thing...it's all based on point of view. If you ask anyone from this forum what comes to mind when you say minimalist, they'll respond with "Zpacks Zero" or "GG Murmur". If you ask the typical REI customer/weekend hiker that carriers a 50lb pack for three days, they'll say that anything under 50 liters and 5lbs is minimalist. I wouldn't say REI is being inaccurate in their wording...just catering to a different market!

I've never tried a Boreas and hadn't heard of them until two or three months ago, but would like to try one out sometime.

Tyler Miller
(FightingTheTide) - F - M

Locale: Southeast
Hip belt size? on 01/23/2013 21:17:10 MST Print View

How true to size is the hip belt? The large's specs online say the hip belt is for those with a 34"-46" waist. I have a 31" waist and a 21.5" torso. It doesn't seem that the big pack companies cater to guys like me.

For the record - I'm saving up for a custom pack.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
Mesh on 01/24/2013 00:38:22 MST Print View

George,

The extra ounces on the Boreas go straight into the backpanel. It's a nice pack. I think you're on to something with the mesh on the Flash, I've been hoping for something above the quality you get on, say, a Kelty, but even strong meshes have been letting me down since I've started backpacking. I'm an instant skeptic, but a potential convert.

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: Not Impressed. Buttermilk 40 is better at this price. on 01/24/2013 07:15:09 MST Print View

I wouldn't go by anything Backpacker mag says. They like the gear best from companies that advertise in the magazine. Serious conflict of interest there.

Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
Flash on 01/24/2013 07:20:04 MST Print View

I haven't seen the Flash 45 yet, but have to say that I love the Flash 18 and the Flash 30. Based on that I expect to be very happy with the 45 as well.

BTW upon checking... It looks like the difference in weight is a lot more than 4 ounces. The specs I see are 2 lb 2 oz vs 3 lb 1 oz, a difference of 15 ounces. That is almost half again the weight of the Flash.

Then there is price... I much prefer to buy from REI for the dividend, the ease of return, and the fact that they are local. If I buy from them, the Flash is $129 vs the Buttermilk at $185.

Edited by staehpj1 on 01/24/2013 07:31:58 MST.

Andrew Urlacher
(anarkhos) - M

Locale: Front Range CO
CT September on 01/24/2013 07:23:47 MST Print View

George,

My brother and I are most likely going in September, he's doing wildland firefighting this summer and if we have another supremely dry summer they may keep him on into the fall. I may end up going by myself. I'll just have to wait and see how everything plays out. 95% of the time I end up solo, which is fine for me.

So I'm pretty sold on the Flash 45 right now, I'm pretty impressed with both the discussions here on BPL as well as other online research. I've recently downsized my other gear quite a bit but I'm paranoid about using a 45 liter pack. I've only ever done long hikes with a 55 or larger, so once I have everything squared away I'll load my 55 and see how comfortable I'd be with a smaller pack.

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: Flash on 01/24/2013 07:29:41 MST Print View

Did anyone ever get to weigh the lid on the Flash.

Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
Re: Re: Flash on 01/24/2013 11:37:43 MST Print View

> "Did anyone ever get to weigh the lid on the Flash."

I just bought one today...

2.5 ounces for the lid.

The whole pack is 2 lb 2.5 ounces for my size medium without any snipping or trimming and there is a lot of stuff that could be trimmed off. All of the various webbing is way longer than most of us will need. Also the pouch for the water bladder could be removed. Without the lid and with all of the straps trimmed it would be several ounces under 2 pounds. Even with the lid on and with some other trimming I think you could pretty easily get below 2 lb.

My initial reaction is that this is a very nice pack. It seems very comfortable and well designed. Granted I have thus far only loaded it a walked around the block with it. It looks very durable to me. The mesh actually is heavy duty especially compared to that on most of the ultralight cottage industry models.

Edited by staehpj1 on 01/24/2013 11:50:54 MST.

Paul Johnson
(johncooper) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Re: Re: Flash on 01/24/2013 11:58:12 MST Print View

Will this pack fit a bear can? If so, will it fit sideways or only vertical? Bear can is a bearikade weekender or similar.

Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
Re: Re: Re: Re: Flash on 01/24/2013 13:51:05 MST Print View

My Garcia bear canister almost fits sideways. It might even be able to be jammed in sideways, but I was shy about damaging the pack. The Weekender is a little shorter and only very slightly larger diameter, but not tapered, so I am pretty sure it would fit sideways.

I actually think I like the canister being in vertical orientation, I can fit a lot of stuff in next to it.