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OR - REI Flash 18 - Rick McQuet

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  • Rick McQuet
    REI Flash 18 Date: January 25, 2013   Reviewer Information Name: Rick McQuet Age: 44 Gender: Male Height: 6 5 (1.9 meters) Weight: 180 lbs (82 kilos) Email
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 31, 2013
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      REI Flash 18
      Date: January 25, 2013
      Reviewer Information
      Name: Rick McQuet
      Age: 44
      Gender: Male
      Height: 6' 5" (1.9 meters)
      Weight: 180 lbs (82 kilos)
      Email address: rmcquet (at) yahoo (dot) com
      City: Chicago
      State: Illinois
      Country: USA
      Backpacking Background:  I went on family backpacking trips every summer from the 3rd
      grade through 8th grade, including hikes within the Trinity Alps and Sierra
      Nevada.  In the past 5 years,
      backpacking has included multi-day trips to the Ventana Wilderness, Desolation
      Wilderness, and Tahoe National Forest.  In addition, I attend several Boy Scout camping trips each year in
      Illinois and Wisconsin. Each summer, I go on multiple day hikes from our cabin
      in McCall, Idaho.  I endeavor to be
      a light (but not ultra-light) backpacker.
      Product Information
      Manufacturer:  REI (Recreational Equipment Inc.)
      Year of Manufacture: 2012
      URL: http:\\www.rei.com
      Listed weight:  11.0 Ounces (312 Grams)
      Weight as delivered:  10.9 Ounces  (309 Grams)
      Length: 18 Inches (457 Millimeters)
      Width: 9.5 Inches (241 Millimeters)
      Capacity: 1,100 cubic inches (18 liters)
      Color:  Light
      MSRP: $34.50
      Figure 1: Flash 18 (photo courtesy rei.com)
      Production Description:
      The REI Flash 18 (hereafter, “Flash 18”, or “the pack”) is a
      lightweight frameless, top-loading daypack.  It is the smallest of the Flash series made by REI.  The Flash 18 is made of 140 denier
      ripstop nylon.  It has a single
      opening at the top, with a single drawcord closure.  The adjustable shoulder straps are nylon mesh.  There is an adjustable sternum strap
      and an unpadded waist strap, both made of nylon webbing and with quick release
      buckles. Both the sternum strap and waist strap are removable.  The outside has two nylon straps
      running lengthwise along the pack, sewn in a daisy chain fashion.  At the bottom is an additional tool
      loop.  There are no external
      Figure 2:  Flash
      18 Front (left) and Back (right)
      Inside the pack there are two pockets.  The first is a single zippered mesh
      pocket, for securing things such as keys, wallets, cell phones and other small
      items.  The second is a large
      internal sleeve designed to hold a hydration reservoir. An exit port for the
      reservoir hose runs out from the top of the pack.
      There is also a piece of closed cell foam padding, about a
      quarter of an inch thick (6.3 mm), that sits in an interior sleeve on the back
      of the pack.  This has a velcro
      enclosure that keeps it securely closed. 
      Figure 3: Mesh Pocket (left) and Hydration Reservoir (right)
      Field Information:
      I have used the Flash 18 extensively across a variety of
      different uses, about 25 to 30 times total:
      -           Six
      days as both a summit pack and pillow on summer hikes in the Ventana Wilderness
      and Tahoe National Forest (Castle Peak area).  I just rolled it up and stuffed into my main pack while
      hiking.  As a pillow, I stuffed my
      clothes into it.  I did not
      experience any rain or snow during these trips.
      -           Approximately
      ten day hikes in Idaho during the summer, where I typically carry 2 Liters of
      water in a Camelbak hydration reservoir, lunch for two people, a windbreaker,
      camera and maps.  Elevations ranged
      from 5,000 ft to 7,500 ft (1,520 m to 2290 m). Temperatures were moderate,
      approximately 70 F to 80 F (21 C to 27 C).
      -           Ten
      days of skiing during the winter in Idaho, from cold, sunny days to wet, snowy
      days.  I used it both for
      downhill/Nordic skiing and backcountry skiing.  For Nordic, I would carry extra gloves, an extra layer, and
      a small lunch.  For backcountry, I
      carried extra layers, skins, extra gloves, 2 liters of water, camera and a
      small lunch.
      -           Several
      times while running in Chicago.  I
      often run from work to a gym four miles from my office, so I will carry a
      change of clothes in the pack.
      Figure 4:  Wearing Flash 18 (left) and Rolled Up (right)
      I first learned about the pack from a friend of mine, an
      experienced hiker and mountaineer.  He used it for a few day hikes we did together while in McCall,
      Idaho.  I really liked how light it
      was, and yet it seemed to have a lot of room.  I purchased mine at the REI store in Northbrook, Illinois.
      Overall, after using it in many different ways and on
      different trips, I really like the Flash 18.  I have not had any problems with the fit of the pack, with
      the adjustments or durability.  The
      drawstring locking mechanism is straightforward.  The loop in the hydration sleeve that was added to the most
      recent version of the Flash 18 prevents the hydration reservoir from sagging to
      the bottom of the bag as it empties.
      The padding provided protection against any zippers or sharp
      edges in my gear..  However, my
      opinion is that the padding in the pack isn’t absolutely necessary, but it is
      possible that some may prefer it.  If you don’t like it, you can simply remove it.  In contrast, I have read in several
      online reviews that some users have added more substantial or thicker padding
      in lieu of the existing, but I have not experimented with that approach. 
      In addition, the Flash 18 carries loads very well and feels
      quite stable while hiking or even scrambling across boulders. I found the
      shoulder straps to be comfortable, and I could adjust the sternum strap higher
      or lower depending on the load I was carrying.
      I also really like the versatility of the pack.  In general, one can use it as a stuff
      sack for a sleeping bag (though I have not tried that yet), or as a bear bag
      for hanging food (worked well for this use).  I have used it as a pillow, and even as a bag for going to
      the gym.   
      The only small complaint (and it’s a small one) is the
      mechanism that is used to tighten the drawcord.  If you open the bag too quickly, the cord can get twisted
      and then stuck.  You simply have to
      make sure that the drawcord is not twisted up as you go to open the pack. 
      Things I Like:
      -           lightweight
      -           durable
      -           compresses
      to a small size
      -           versatile
      -           inexpensive
      Things I Don’t Like:
      -           the
      closure mechanism
      I am very happy with my Flash 18 and would not hesitate to
      recommend to a friend.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Jamie D.
      PLEASE READ THIS EMAIL IN FULL. IT IS MOST IMPORTANT! Thanks for your Owner s Review. It has been added to the Owner Review Queue and will be picked up by an
      Message 2 of 2 , Feb 1 8:21 PM
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