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REI Flash 62 Review


Backpacking Backpack

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Best Buy Award
  • Currently 3.6/5
Overall avg rating 3.6 of 5 based on 3 reviews. Most recent review: August 13, 2015
Price:   $190 List
Pros:  Lightweight, lots of pockets.
Cons:  Not super durable or the most comfortable, only available through REI.
Manufacturer:   REI

Overview

The newer REI Flash 62 is a big improvement over the previous REI Flash 65. It has a far nicer back panel, better shoulder straps, and more durable material. All this and it is lighter than before! At 3 lbs. the Flash 62 is the second lightest pack in our review. It carries well for most users up to 30-35 lbs. and doesn't feel that good for most people over 40 lbs., making the Flash a good choice for folks who already go fairly light. This would have been the lightweight winner but the Osprey Exos 58 took that title.

REI.com doesn't always have this pack in stock. You may want to check your local REI store or consider another pack by reading our full Backpacking Pack Review.

New Version Update - March 2016
The Flash 62 is no longer available from REI, though you can purchase it from the outlet. If you're psyched on somewhat of a similar pack, you might want to check out the REI Flash 65, which has been redesigned and is REI's current offering. Keep reading to find out more.

RELATED: Our complete review of backpacking backpacks

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Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings

Review by:
Ian Nicholson
Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Tuesday

The New REI Flash 65 vs. The Older Version, The Flash 62


The Flash 62 is currently only available from REI's outlet (while supplies last), but has been discontinued. REI has confirmed that the REI Flash 65 is their current offering and has been completely redesigned, with Flash (in the name of the product) being the only thing that these two packs have in common. Though we have not tested this particular pack, the Flash 65 is said to hug your body comfortably for support and load balance and has a ventilated panel to keep you cool. The 65 retails for $200 (compared to $190 for the 62).

Take a peek at the side-by-side comparison below, with the new sleek Flash 65 pictured on the left and the Flash 62 shown on the right.
Click to enlargeClick to enlarge 

Hands-On Review



Comfort


Built with a fairly minimalist design, is is comfortable for most people for loads of 30-35lbs. The back panel is an improvement on the previous model. The foam used in the shoulder straps was just okay and it did start to pack out a little after several trips. The waist belt at first glance doesn't look like much but it worked surprisingly well. As a whole we thought it was more comfortable than the Kelty Coyote 80, around the same as the Gregory Z-65 and not as nearly as comfortable as the Gregory Baltoro 65 or the Arc'teryx Altra 65.

Weight


Weighing in at 3 lbs. even, it was 12 oz.'s lighter than the next pack we tested (Mountain Hardwear South Col) and two pounds lighter than many of the packs in our review. Great for most people for 2-3 days.

Suspension


The suspension was likely the flimsiest in our review and won't serve most people well above 35 lbs. If you are going to carry 40-50 lbs. and are looking to cut a few dollars by buying this pack…don't do it. This pack won't feel good.

Ease of use


This pack has a few nice pockets. Its large "beaver tail" area is nice for flip flops or layers but smaller items get lost. For people who like water bottle pockets, this pocket worked okay but not great. The zippered pocket on the back of the pack is nice but can be a little hard to get into when the pack is full.

The pack is small enough that most users won't use the lower access point that is similar to a sleeping bag compartment (without being a separate compartment). Getting into the lid when the pack was full was a challenge because it is so long. That said, you can fit a bunch of stuff in there. We liked the reverse pull waist belt.

Adjustability


This pack is not very adjustable but comes in three sizes and most testers felt they could fit into one of those sizes.

Other Versions


Click to enlarge
REI Flash 18
  • Cost - $35
  • Weight - 12oz
  • Winner of our Best Buy award

Click to enlarge
REI Crestrail 70
  • Cost - $240
  • Durable construction
  • Carries very well
  • Great for big backpacking trips and heavy loads
Ian Nicholson

OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: August 13, 2015
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (3.0)

50% of 2 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
3 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 67%  (2)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 33%  (1)
1 star: 0%  (0)
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  • 5
   Aug 13, 2015 - 07:47pm
alxslz · Hiker · Massasoosetts
If you plan on carrying less then 25 lbs and pay $80 bucks like I did on clearence, it's worth it, otherwise get a better pack. Poorly designed frame/belt painful on shoulders if over 25lbs. Hip belt keeps slipping belt does not hold around waist. That's the bad stuff but other than that, it's light weight, many pockets, solidly built. I am going to try to change out the hip belt to correct the design problem and hope to carry 35-40 lbs.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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   Feb 6, 2014 - 04:24pm
Porter M · Backpacker · Richland, Wa
This pack is a good medium sized, light weight pack. It does sacrifice comfort and features to reduce weight which is fine by me. I believe that if you are not wearing thick, heavy cloths then is will be uncomfortable over 25lbs. But I recently snowshoed with it weighing 33lbs and I was fine due to wearing thicker cloths. The one painful spot when its heavy is right on the upper hip bones where the aluminum internal frame ends. The size of this pack is mind blowing for how light it is. This is mostly thanks to it mainly consisting of a single tube with with 2 pockets on it (the back one and the top one.) I like the ability to put bulky items between the back pocket and main pocket but I don't like how water bottles can fall in that gap. The overall durability is questionable due to the light fabric but I'm not too worried since its from REI!

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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by McKenzie Long and Ian Nicholson


Unbiased.