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REI Flash 45 First Impressions
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Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Price on Buttermilk on 01/24/2013 14:31:33 MST Print View


Check the link I put in my original message; the Buttermilk is $110.

Mike Mahoney
(tiquer) - F

Locale: In the dog house, lately
A short field test on 01/27/2013 10:46:53 MST Print View

I bought my Flash 45 on Thursday. It weighted in at 34.8oz sans tags for the medium. The “Lime Spritz” is pretty bright and I’m glad it is just trim. First impressions of the material and general construction are good. It the mesh on both the hip belt pockets and the big floating pocket on the front looks and feels good. I would have to believe that if either where to get a tear it would not go unnoticed. The rip stop main body looks and feels good although, I will use a liner, to insure the gear stays dry. They have been more than generous with all the straps and after couple shake downs, I will have them trimmed down. The main compartment is lager than I had thought it would be and I have no doubt that my regular spring load of 23 / 25lbs will fit with room to spare. The lid is very similar to the one on my Flash 65 and may be a little more water resistant, due to the flap that completely covers the main compartment zipper and what appears to be a heaver coating on the inside. The shoulder straps and hip belt retain the classic REI style. The foam(?) padding looks thin but adequate and as with all of the features, only field tests will tell.

I loaded this flash with 17.5 lbs of gear and water and went for a walk. For those of you that my live in or near Charlotte, NC, there are a couple nice county parks, that have some walking trails. Bunny trails to be sure, but better than a road walk. I was out for about 5 hours and maybe 15 miles. Most of the gear I had brought was mostly for bulk and weight. I had a Sublite sil in the big mesh pocket on the front for awhile. That is where I usually had it in the 65. After about an hour I move it inside the pack. I actually slid it down inside the bladder pocket.(which I will probably remove) I was a just a little too uneasy even after I used one of the provided bungees that came on the pack, that it might fall out. I left it inside the rest of the day but I’m not sure it will stay there. I like my tent on the outside. For me, it lessens the problems of putting away a wet tent, which is always a problem when you are walking the AT in the spring. I also used a 1-liter Smart water bottle in the left side of the big mesh pocket. At first it wanted to almost lay down away from me, so I took out a beanie that happened to be in one of the stuff stacks I had put in. I rolled the beanie up slid it down next to the bottle and everything stayed in place. I had no trouble getting the bottle in and out with the pack on. Again, I use this system with the 65. The tall smart water bottle is what makes this work for me. It did not take me many adjustments to get the feel I like, and after the walk I did not have any pain or soreness in my shoulders or neck.

I only get enough time to actually get out and actually hike a few weeks and around 500 miles a year. If that makes me a “tourist”, I can live with that.

Well this got a lot longer that the original intent. This is my first online review, so I hope you got at least a rudimentary idea of what to expect from this pack


Stephen Komae
(skomae) - MLife

Locale: northeastern US
can't wait on 01/27/2013 17:07:34 MST Print View

I ordered one of these a few weeks back and it finally arrived for in-store pickup. Looking forward to trying this out as my main pack this year once the snow melts away.

Regarding the Buttermilks 55, I've put a lot of miles into this pack and I can't decide if I love or hate it. I constantly miss having a floating lid, the mesh pockets aren't as stretchy as (but far more durable than) the Granite Gear AC Blaze 60, and it's not quite as comfortable as my (older) REI Flash 50, nor the AC Blaze. I will say to its credit, though, is that it manages to be a very durable, rock-solid pack at a reasonable weight, considering how much I've overstuffed it and dragged it through rocks and vegetation. It also carries excellently summit-style with the compression straps pulled in tight and just a couple things. If it had a slightly taller collar it'd be ideal for all 4 seasons.

I'm hoping the Flash 45 carries more comfortably and retains a good amount of durability. If so, it'll definitely win out over the Buttermilks for me with its lid and Flash-like comfort.

Steve Meier
(smeier) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Close to a Circuit on 01/27/2013 18:34:31 MST Print View

I looked at the REI Flash 45 recently in the store and was struck by how close it resembles the ULA Circuit--I mean right down to the J-style shoulder harness. The fabrics didn't seem as durable on the Flash as on the Circuit but I think REI finally hit the nail on the head with the pack--lightweight, comfortable if it performs like the Circuit, and very functional. It reminded me of a KIA-why hope for a great product when you can just copy the design it from a proven winner!

(strong806) - F
Re: Circuit on 01/27/2013 18:57:46 MST Print View

Looking at the Circuit (39 ounces) versus the Large Flash 50 at 36 ounces, you get 18 liters more for only a 3 ounce penalty (0 ounces if you remove accessories), but almost $100 more in price.

I guess it is just a matter of your budget and volume needs? The bear can comments were helpful.

For the price I'm tempted to just buy the Flash 50 to see how I like it. I have the REI UL 60 and have been pleased with how it carries, and would have too much room if I used alot of stuff sacks or compression. I like using the pack as a stuff sack.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Idiot Proof UL Pack on 01/27/2013 19:12:52 MST Print View

I'm hoping to check one out in the local REI soon.

I'm not sure I need one but I view it as an "idiot proof" pack for the average Joe. I'm guessing it will carry as much weight as a Golite Jam (probably more) with a lower price and easier packing (no virtual frames to mess with). That makes it very attractive as a pack I can recommend to hikers who aren't gear geeks like me.

Here is my "Idiot Proof" list for a lightweight hiker

1. REI Flash 45 or Exos 46
2. Big Anges Fly Creek 1 or MLD Duomid
3. Any sub 2 pound down mummy bag.
4. Short length Prolite pad

Add in odds and ends and you could have a 10-11 pound baseweight with no special "Ultralight" skills required. I love how UL hiking is becoming more accessible.

Tyler Miller
(FightingTheTide) - F

Locale: Southeast
Size Large Torso on 02/18/2013 10:54:04 MST Print View

Can anyone speak to whether the size large torso is fit for someone with a 32" waist? I know the specs say 34"+

Edited by FightingTheTide on 02/18/2013 11:03:27 MST.

Tyler Miller
(FightingTheTide) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: Size Large Torso on 02/19/2013 14:02:52 MST Print View

I found some time to try one on today, and to my surprise, the large actually fit my waist. This is the first large of any pack that has actually fit this well in the torso AND waist. (21.5 torso, 32 waist)

I loaded it up with my gear, plus ~12 lbs. to simulate consumables, and it was incredibly comfortable. I think I had about 28 lbs. in it. Between 20 and 28 lbs, I could tell the pack was bulging a little more (none at 20 lbs), but after putting it on and tightening the load, it wasn't really noticeable. I think this pack, as already mentioned, is a great step in the direction of lightweight backpacking from a major manufacturer. Certainly not the lightest, though.

The front pocket fit my tarp and bivy incredibly well, the top lid held my rain jacket and wind jacket, while the body of the pack was plenty spacious for my quit, pad, small items, and a load of winter clothes. There was room to spare (not much) for food in the end. So for a guy like me, just getting started and on a tight budget, this pack is a win all around. I can imagine a summer load would offer a lot of room for consumables.

G Sticks

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
MY first impression on 03/10/2013 13:12:20 MDT Print View

I'm checking out packs to use as my first ultralight pack for weekends and I picked up a Flash 45 from my local REI yesterday. In the store, the Exos 46 (which I had been planning on getting) dug into my lower back - bummer because I like Ospreys a lot. Anyway, I carried the Flash around the store and it felt good so I took it home to play around with. I just did about 2.5 miles with it loaded to just over 30 lbs, and it carried very well. I found the hip belt especially to be quite supportive. I wouldn't say it's the best load transfer I've ever used, but I was trying to max it out to see how it handled and after my short walk I was not getting any soreness. I haven't modified anything yet (don't know if I'm keeping it) but there looks to be tons of loops and straps that could be removed. Overall I like the organization as well, it looks well thought and like most REI stuff, it will please most people most of the way, but will be a perfect pack for only some. Certainly the proof in the pudding would be how it feels after a 20 mile day rather than a 2 mile day, but I thought this might be useful for anyone considering it.

Looking forward to getting a 50L Jam and comparing the two, as that's the other pack that I've been considering.

If anyone is considering ordering one but doesn't live near an REI, shoot me a PM and I will answer what I can and send pics of any details on the pack that you want.

Edited by VoiceOfSticks on 03/10/2013 13:37:53 MDT.

Loki Cuthbert

Locale: Portland, OR
my girlfriend just got this pack on 03/10/2013 15:16:08 MDT Print View

My girlfriend bought this pack to replace her lady's arcteryx bora. Her last big step in ultralightyness. Her gear fit great with a 11 # base weight. We did 22 miles out at Eagle Creek and she said it fit and felt great. Especially liked that the shoulder and sternum straps didn't mash her lady parts.

There is a retarded amount of extra straps to be trimmed on this pack and we're going to be doing that in the next few weeks. The floating lid also doesn't cover the opening of the bag all that great, but that's why we use trash compactor liners right?

One of the best parts of this pack is the price. As an rei item you can get a 15% discount if you register for their gear email stuff. She paid $105 for it with free shipping.


Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Flash on 04/07/2013 17:21:40 MDT Print View


How are people getting on with this pack? I am looking at it replace a Six Moons Designs Swift that I had fit issues with.

I already have a Flash 62 in medium and from speaking with REI the fit is the same so I know that will work, of course if I don't like it I can bring it back.

Between the 20% off and my dividend I can get it for practically free, but the vouchers runs out tonight.



Edit: Just ordered one

Edited by stephenm on 04/07/2013 19:29:03 MDT.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: Flash 45 on 04/08/2013 10:42:01 MDT Print View

Could anyone with a Large post a torso length measurement? (base of back panel to mid point between shoulder straps)

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
re re Flash 45 on 04/08/2013 11:01:13 MDT Print View

David if I'm at REI I'll try and measure one for you.

From the specs you'd think it has an internal frame but its really not stiff at all. Its really more like a frameless pack.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Flash 45 on 07/28/2013 18:36:05 MDT Print View

Finally got around to using the Flash 45 on a quick overnight, I must say I am well impressed with it.

How are folks getting on with theirs?

Daniel Pittman
(pitsy) - M

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Flash 45 on 07/28/2013 20:15:04 MDT Print View

I really liked the Flash 45, although I went with the Pinnacle 35. I think the construction and layout on the entire Flash line is great, and they're definitely worth the money. I loaded a 45 with 25-27 lbs of gear and the pack was easy to adjust and carry around the store for a half hour or so. Because I dislike mesh pockets, and don't carry water bottles outside my pack, the Flash had features I didn't need. I prefer the panel loading of my Pinnacle, and it has one large waterproof pocket with drainholes perfect for a wet tarp or rain jacket. Having a smaller pack forces me to choose my gear more carefully. However, when I start planning a longer walk the Flash 45 will be on my short list for sure.

George Davis
(nsiderbam) - M

Locale: mid-Atlantic
Flash 45 on 07/29/2013 00:38:09 MDT Print View

Just finished some 85ish miles on the TRT (ended up coming home early) in a little over 3 days using the Flash 45. I'd have to say that overall, I liked it a lot. I packed pretty light (tarp and bivy, etc.) but carried 7 days of food with me as well as 2 liters of water at all times, so over the course of the trip the total pack weight didn't dip below 24 pounds.

I found the pack comfortable and easy to live out of. The floating lid with two pockets (one on the top, one on the bottom) made stowage of often-used items easy -- especially onces that I didn't want to chance falling out of the back mesh pocket like my map or phone/wallet. The main compartment was large enough for my quilt/bivy/pad/clothing/food, although it was packed to the brim and bulged a bit on the first day of hiking. Fortunately, it is easy to compress; one strap connects the back mesh pocket to the top of the bag near the haul loop and can be tightened; there are two additional side straps that can be used to compress the pack, as well as attach things to (drying clothes, etc.). Not once did I feel that the delrin rods collapsed or gave in due to being over packed.

The only thing I didn't like was how the mesh pocket got really tight if the pack was full. I was able to fit a 1-liter platypus bottle on side of the pack, but had to take the pack off to put them back in.

Anybody have any other questions about the pack?