Designing a comfortable multi-day pack is no easy feat. These large packs need to accommodate a wide array of gear, they need to be as light as feasibly possible and they need to support a lot of weight without putting strain on the back or shoulders. Those goals clash and that’s the reason it’s so tough to find a pack that brings the best of all elements—versatility, ease of use and comfort.
We’ve tested many multi-day packs, most of which fail to create a good balance of the above elements, but REI Women’s Flash 58 is the best fusion with minimal sacrifice we’ve seen.
The ultra-light 58 liter pack weights less than three pounds when empty. It’s made with super light 100-denier nylon, and reinforced with 200-dennier nylon in spots that typically see the most wear-and-tear. The light aluminum frame is the star feature, allowing enough give for easy movement while also taking the pressure off the shoulders and centering the weight on the hip belt.
The cushioned hip belt is a sturdy base and includes pockets for stashing small items. Convenient pockets and compartments are included all over the pack, from the shoulder strap to the sides and there’s even an easy access zippered pocket on the front face of the bag. Finishing off the comfort features—there’s a mesh back with an air channel to keep you cool on long treks and well-placed foam padding for extra support.
Sacrifices are typically a given when it comes to ultra-light packs, they usually lack in storage or cut weight by using a weak frame, but the Flash 58 leaves nothing out. There’s plenty of organized storage space, one of the best frames available and it remains remarkably light.
Be sure to get all packs fitted by a professional before use to avoid injury and find more information about the Flash 58 here. The pack is available at REI for $189.00.