REI Flash 18 Climbing Pack

Ultralight and minimalist campers and day trippers are becoming more and more common and people get in touch with the outdoors as they really are. One of the best packs available for hauling in just enough stuff to make it worth it without overloading yourself, the REI Flash 18 is an ultralight’s best friend in the backpack world.

REI Flash 18 Climbing Pack Review

More and more people are getting out and enjoying the outdoors thanks in large part to the ultralight movement. Packing in as little gear as possible and truly enjoying the outdoors as they are, people are learning that you don’t need to bring in incredible amount of stuff to have a good time. While you will need some essentials, almost all of them will fit quite easily into the REI Flash 18. The minimalist and ultralight backpacker’s best friend, there’s a good chance this is the bag you’ve been looking for.

REI Flash 18 Review — First Impressions

The very first thing you’re going to notice about this climbing pack is the fact that it has been designed the ground up to be at lightweight as humanly possible. Using the latest and greatest tools and technologies (as well as 140 denier ripstop nylon), the entire pack comes in at just 10 ounces. If you can warned about money around at all to heavy backpack you’ll never again have that concern when the throw the REI Flash 18 on your back. But just because it’s super lightweight doesn’t mean that it’s a poor construction. Everything about the bag screens high design and good engineering, and you the hard-pressed find a weak spot anywhere on the bag. Every part of the bag feels rigid and tight, with not a lot of give. This is the kind of outdoor backpack has been well thought out, perfectly designed, created beautifully.

REI Flash 18 Video Review

All the storage you could ever want

The big problem with ultralight backpacks is of course the simple fact that you can bring everything in the kitchen sink with you. A lot of times, these kind of space constraints work in your favor. The keep you from bringing too many things into the woods they’ll never need, a forcing you to choose and select only the best gear possible to get the job done. And while that’s all well and good, more and more people are taking ultralight to the next level in looking to make multi-day trips out of it. You need a bag that you can rely on to allow you to bring everything and anything you need within reason. And while you might not find the REI Flash 18 climbing pack to be quite as accommodating as a room at the four seasons, it certainly has enough storage to take most anything you’d like to haul in. With a reasonably sized internal capacity of 18 L, you should have no trouble finding the room to stow your gear.

There are some questions about durability

While there is a lot to love about the Flash 18, the fact of the matter is that the rip stop nylon is the designed to make the bag as light as humanly possible. And as we all know, there are some sacrifices that come along with shedding that weight especially in the realm of durability. The Flash 18 is no different in this respect, as you find that it rips and tears almost all too easily. Other questions abound when you look at the REI Flash 18, as some of the structural choices that it made are a little bit questionable. The waist belt seems almost too big for the rest of the bag, there is knows internal security pouch or key ring, and their plastic pieces placed all over the unit that press into your body when fully loaded. While relatively comfortable during normal use, these plastic pieces almost always find a way weasel into areas that cause the most pain possible.

REI Flash 18 Specs

Best use Hiking
Frame type Frameless
Ultralight Yes
Gear capacity (L) 18 liters
Gear capacity (cu. in.) 1,100 cubic inches
Weight 11 ounces
Weight metric 0.31 kilograms
Adjustable torso? No
Fits torso 17 19 inches
Fits waist/hips 26 42 inches
Material(s) Ripstop nylon
Suspended mesh back panel No
Pack loading Top
Pack access Top
Number of exterior pockets 1 + main compartment
Sleeping bag compartment No
Raincover included No
Dimensions 18 x 9.5 x 8 inches
Gender Unisex
MSRP: $34.50


All in all, there are probably better bags on the marketplace for people were willing to sacrifice a lot of weight for more comfort and stability. But if you’re dead set on shaving as much weight as possible for repack list while still being able to haul in all the essentials, then you would be hard-pressed find anything on the market quite like the REI Flash 18. There are a lot of climbing gear reviews out there who rank the REI Flash 18 is one of the best, but you need to be well aware of all shortcomings before you set out to the woods.

Written by Stan Tyan