The REI Flash 65 Backpack- a product review

I got an REI Flash 65 because I wanted to lighten my load, and I could save about 3 pounds over my previous pack by using the Flash 65.  My friend Kevin Anderson had said he bought one, and really liked it.  So I bought one for an 8 day backpack we did with the Boy Scouts of Troop 100 in 2009.  Kevin's Flash 65 was new that year, and mine was brand new on that trip. 

This is Kevin at Edna Lake in the Sawtooths, with his new Flash 65.  The Flash 65 was given the Backpacker Magazine 2009 Editor's Choice award, and was noted in the April 2011 issue as one of "the best values ever".  I have to agree.

Mine weighs 3 lb 2 oz, which is more than 3 pounds lighter than my previous pack.  At 65 liters it easily handles gear and food for an 8 day backpack, and is super roomy for a weekend trip.  It has a big pocket on the top flap, a big scoop pocket on the back which can hold a snow shovel or lunch food, elastic mesh side pockets for things like water bottle, tent poles, fishing poles, stove fuel, bear spray, or other things too long to go in the pack, that you don't want in the pack, or things that need to be readily accessible.

The shoulder straps and waist belt are comfortable, and substantial but not overpadded.  There is a small pocket on one of the waist belt straps for small items like sunblock, chap stick, sunglasses, etc.  The accessible pockets are handy, because the main compartment has no dividers and has access only from the top.  If this is required to keep the weight down, that is fine and I got used to not getting into the main compartment very often during the day.

There are lashing points all over the pack, so like Gary Fujino above, you can attach something to the bottom of the pack, or attach camp shoes to the back of the pack, or strap down a rain coat or jacket.

The one thing that keeps this from being the perfect pack is that the top flap does not turn into a day pack.  This defect can be easily remedied by bringing a strap or two to allow the top flap to be carried over the shoulder or with a strap around the waist .  The pack comes in S, M and L, and I would highly recommend this pack for up to 8 day trips.