I got the REI Flash 18 Pack from REI a few years ago as a present from my parents. I’ve been using it a lot for hikes and car trips over the past few years and it has worked well for me. If you are thinking about getting a pack for short hikes and to pack your stuff in for a walk around town, then this pack is right for you.
At a gear capacity of 18 liters, the REI Flash Pack can hold a good load for short hikes or walks around the town or park. This pack is great for packing the 10 essentials and some other items along with them. With interior mesh organization pockets, it’s easy to put small things in for quick access. I use the smaller pockets for my compass, lighter, and flashlight. It works very well. There is also another bigger internal pocket that covers the entire side of the pack that is against your back. This pocket is great for a hydration pack, whose tube can exit the pack through a hydration exit port located at the top of the pack. Or, if you’re like me and don’t own a hydration pack, the big pocket is also great for maps of your hike, papers, and flatter items, like a notebook or travel guide.
However, the REI Flash Pack is not that great for larger loads. The thin mesh straps are great for hikes with lighter loads, but with a heavy load, the straps tend to dig into your shoulder a bit. For me though, doing short 10 mile hikes, this wasn’t a problem. If you are also looking for a whistle on the strap, this pack comes with a clip-whistle on the strap that can go across your chest. (great for emergencies or signaling your friends)
I am very happy with the Flash 18 Pack and love the minimal weight combined with great durability.(I have the gray pack, but there is also an option for a black, green, or maroon colored pack) For those of you who need a durable but relatively cheap pack (reduced from $30 to $20), this is definitely the right choice for you.