Below is the text for my IR for the REI Flash Sleeping Pad. The HTML with
pictures can be seen in the test folder at: http://tinyurl.com/n3p254a
I look forward to your comments and edits.
REI FLASH INSULATED AIR SLEEPING PAD
TEST SERIES BY KATHLEEN WATERS
August 24, 2013
NAME: Kathleen Waters
EMAIL: kathy at backpackgeartest dot com
LOCATION: Canon City, Colorado, USA
HEIGHT: 5' 4" (1.60 m)
WEIGHT: 125 lb (56.70 kg)
Living in Colorado and being self-employed, I have ample opportunities to
backpack. There are over 700,000 acres/280,000 hectares of public land
bordering my 71-acre/29-hectare "backyard" in addition to all the other
gorgeous locations which abound in Colorado.
Over the past 15 years, my husband John and I have also had the good fortune
to hike/snowshoe glaciers, rain forests, mountains and deserts in exotic
locations, including New Zealand, Iceland, Costa Rica, Slovenia and Death
My hiking style is comfortable, aiming for lightweight. I use a tent
(rainfly if needed). Current pack averages 25 lb (11 kg) excluding food and
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: REI - Recreational Equipment, Inc.
Year of Manufacture: 2013
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.rei.com
MSRP: US $99.50 for Regular Size/ $109.00 for Long Size
Sizes Available: Regular/Unisex & Long/Unisex
Size Tested: Regular/Unisex
Listed Weight: 1 lb (454 g) Regular Size
Measured Weight: 1 lb (454 g) Regular Size
Colors available/Tested: Lime Spritz
Listed Packed Measure: 4 x 5 in (10.2 x 12.7 cm) Regular Size
Measured Packed Measure: 4 x 9 in (10.2 x 22.9 cm) Regular Size
Listed Dimensions: 72 x 20.5 in (182 x 52 cm)
Measured Dimensions: 72 x 20.5 in (182 x 52 cm)
Listed Thickness: 2.5 in (6.3 cm)
Measured Thickness: 2.5 in (6.3 cm)
Listed R-Value: 3.2
.Baffle construction with water-resistant PrimaLoftR synthetic down
.Flat valve technoglogy to manage pad inflation; 2 flat valves are used, 1
for inflation and 1 for deflation
.30-denier ripstop polyester with a polyurethane lamination
.Low-volume, tapered, mummy-shape design
Included Stuff Sack
Made in Taiwan
I have been looking for a sleeping pad more compact than my current one and
after perusing the REI website, I decided to give the REI Flash Insulated
Air Sleeping Pad a try. After checking out the specifications on the
website, the Flash's mummy style, under a pound (454 g) weight, and small
packed size put the Flash on the top of my wish-list. Even though my
current pad is self-inflating, I decided I could handle a bit of
huffing-and-puffing. The REI website provides a video on the Flash but
disappointingly, it really didn't offer much insight/info beyond the website
descriptions and specifications, though it did show me where the inflating
versus deflating valve was located.
The Flash pad comes with its own lime green and black stuff sack that closes
tight via a pull cord closure secured by a push-lock. Various
specifications and descriptions for the Flash pad are printed on the
black-colored portion of the stuff sack and inside are instructions for
inflating/deflating and care of the pad. The stuff sack appears to be of
quality construction with no visible flaws and fits closely to the Flash pad
- so closely, I was very wary about my ability to get the pad back in once I
had it out!
When my Flash pad arrived, I was very excited by its light weight and small
size; however, the measured size of the Flash in its stuff sack is not
anywhere near as small as the listed 4 x 5 in (10.2 x 12.7 cm) on the
website. My measurement was 4 x 9 in (10.2 x 22.9 cm), That's still
smaller than my current - uh - former sleeping pad, so I'm happy with the
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
Conveniently detailed on a sewn-in tag inside the Flash stuff sack are three
sets of instructions: "To Inflate", "To Deflate" and "Caring for Your Air
To Inflate: "Open the inflation valve and blow until the pad becomes firm.
Close the valve once the pad is fully inflated."
To Deflate: " Open the deflation valve. On a smooth surface cleared of
sharp sticks or stones, roll (or fold) pad toward valve until all air is
forced out. Close Valve."
Simple instructions, but really the process is sort of self-explanatory, I
To clean, REI recommends washing the pad by using a mild detergent or
degreaser with a soft brush on a fully inflated pad after having closed the
valve. After washing, rinse and let the pad air dry.
Some other hints and tips are printed on the instruction tag, such as using
a ground cloth to protect against punctures, not using any external pump
(guess I'd better practice my yoga breathing!), not using the pad as a
flotation device and to keep the pad away from flames and heat.
Should I have a senior moment and have to repair my pad, according to the
care tag, I can purchase a repair kit from REI online or by phone.
TRYING IT OUT
Removing the Flash pad from its stuff sack, I found it was secured with a
hook-and-loop compression strap and a plastic cinch buckle. After loosening
and removing the compression strap, I noted the pad was folded in thirds
length-wise before it was rolled up. I was hoping I would be able to able
to duplicate the folds and the tight roll so as to be able to put the Flash
back in its stuff sack when the pad was not in use.
The inflate valve was easily located at the top of the pad - the valves are
labeled so I didn't really need the website video. I took a deep, deep
breath and blew 29 times over the course of 1 minute to totally inflate the
pad. Ta-da! The big bad wolf has nothing on me! Not bad. Not bad at
all! Never mind I was light-headed and ready to lie down on that pad right
then and there - which I did. Ah, it was comfy soft yet firm and I could
absolutely imagine a good night's sleep. But I have to finish this report
Deflating the Flash was simply a matter or pulling out the deflate valve at
the foot of the pad and by the time I composed and typed the above paragraph
(1 minute or so), all the air had escaped. I folded the pad in thirds
length-wise and starting from the top of the pad, rolled it carefully and
tightly to the end. On the very first try, I was able to put the Flash pad
back into its stuff sack almost as neatly as it was when it arrived. I did
have to take it out, however, because I had forgotten to fasten the
compression strap around it before I did so. I suspect I will not bother
with the compression strap once I am using the Flash pad in the field. Once
less thing to lose.
Oh dang! Now that the Flash has been stowed, I can't take a nap!
Autumn is my favorite time of year to go hiking and backpacking with winter
as a very close second. There is something very exciting about tramping and
sleeping outdoors in the colorful landscape and the crisp cooling air of a
While it is still very hot here at the moment, I know the season change is
right over that next mountain ridge and I am really anxious to get out on
the trail and try out the REI Flash Insulated Air Sleeping Pad.
I was looking for a smaller, lighter pad and this one sure is that! I love
the compactness of the pad and am optimistic this will pack nicely in my
pack. On first try-out, the Flash has firmness and appears to be very
comfortable. Time will tell.
My sincere thank you to BackpackGearTest.org and REI for the opportunity to
try the Flash out! Please check back in late October to see if I slept like
a babe-in-the-woods or a bear-in-the-woods!
Kathleen (Kathy) Waters
This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.
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