Gear Review: REI Flash 22 Pack

I bought the REI Flash 22 Pack after hiking with regular backpacks for a few years. The last hiking pack (the Karrimor Jura 35-liter Rucksack) I had was a true dream, and hard to compete with, but it wasn’t a lightweight day pack like the dscn3432Flash 22.

That said, I’ve had a roller coaster of emotions with this pack. From the get go, I didn’t like it. It was a disappointment because I absolutely love REI. So I fought it and complained about it through many hikes, but eventually I grew attached to it. Part of that reason was because I’ve had so many adventures with the pack.

This pack has been on my back on buses and bikes and trails all over Wisconsin. It’s been with me on several camping trips, and it’s also been to Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks, in California. My Flash 22 has been filled with four seasons of clothing, snacks of all kinds, work stuff, my computer, and loads of books I’ve devoured.

I’ll give you my personal pros and cons, and final judgment of the pack at the end of the article. First, let’s talk about the specifications and features:

Pack specificationsimg_8819

Name: REI Flash 22 Day Pack

Size: 22 liters

Weight: 1 lb. 1 oz.

Color: Purple & gray (Note: You might notice the same REI Flash 22 Pack, in red and gray, on the back of another hiker in many of my hiking photos. It was unintentionally modeled, courtesy of my wife who is usually hiking ahead of me, unintentionally modeling.)

Bag style: Drawstring, frameless, backpack

Features:

  • Hydration pack pouch and tube outlet
  • Sternum/waist straps
  • Mesh/elastic side pockets
  • Daisy chain for outside gear attachment
  • Drawstring main compartment
  • Top flap with zipper pocket, key hooks, and buckle
  • Quick dry material
  • Inner mesh pouch with zipper
  • Breathable, padded, mesh back padding

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Pros

  • Accommodates hydration pack with water tube
  • Removable sternum/waist straps
  • Sternum buckle has safety whistle

Cons

  • Thin, unpadded straps
  • Not heavy-duty: Over time, holes have developed in the mesh material in the shoulder straps. The straps have also begun to tear away from the rest of the pack.
  • Uncomfortable: Although the back has meshed padding, the pack doesn’t sit well on my back, so I don’t really feel the benefit of the padding.

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Value for money

I bought this pack on sale for $24.99, from an REI store in Wisconsin. The pack was originally $49.99. With all honesty, I think the pack is worth something closer to the $24.99 price. It could be sturdier and more comfortable, and I think there are a few feature changes that would need to be made to make it a pack worthy of $50.00.

My final judgmentpacking-for-a-day-hike-sequoia

I’ve made good use of the pack, but I plan to upgrade when I have the cash. On one hand, the pack holds all my snacks, my rain jacket, my fleece, and all the other little bits I bring with me on day hikes. And I’ve enjoyed having the option to carry my hydration pack with me. Plus, it’s so convenient to be able to fit my 32 oz. Nalgene bottle in one mesh side pocket, and my phone in the other.

Unfortunately, my comfort level with this pack is low. I’d like a pack with wider, padded straps, and I’d like it to be designed to fit to my back a little bit better. Lastly, I want a sturdy pack that will last me a while, free of rips and holes.

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Important update!!

The original REI Flash 22 Day Pack has been discontinued, and replaced with an updated version! I read the specs on the updated pack, and they seem to be almost identical to the original Flash 22, but I went into the store and noticed several other changes to the pack.

Here are the updates:

  • Daisy chain traded for single tool loops at the bottom of the pack
  • Extra padding added to the shoulder straps
  • Extra zip pocket on the outside of the pack, for easy-to-access storage

I’m very happy with the updates that REI made to the Flash 22. After reading several reviews and comments regarding the pack, I think REI really listened and applied that feedback to the creation of a new and improved Flash 22. Anyway, here is a link to the new REI Flash 22 Day pack.

Thank you all for reading!

Feel free to leave a comment, or email me with questions!

Until next time, I’m Two Tents Down!

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Note: Two Tents Down did not receive any gear or money for this review. These are solely the opinions and observations of Two Tents Down.

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