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Backpacker Magazine – Gear Guide 2013

Gear Review: REI Flash Insulated Air Sleeping Pad

Features abound in this three-season sleeping pad from REI.

by: Kelly Bastone

REI Flash Insulate Air (Ben Fullerton)
REI Flash Insulate Air (Ben Fullerton)

[best features]
This three-season mattress uses smart features to elevate the basic air pad: Like the Klymit Static V (left), the Flash uses extra-big baffles on the perimeter to keep sleepers from rolling off. “I’m tossy-turny, but the guard rails kept me from slipping onto the tent floor, and even my pillow stayed put,” says one tester after a week of camping in Tasmania. She also issues props for the separate deflation valve, which releases air in a hurry to make packing up easier.

The 2.5-inch thickness proved sufficient for smoothing out lumpy sandstone in Arizona’s Havasu Canyon. PrimaLoft Infinity synthetic insulation and a 3.2 R-value kept testers warm down to 30°F, and the 30-denier ripstop polyester held strong against sharp rocks and grasses. But comfort doesn’t come fast: Blowing it up takes several minutes and plenty of lung power. $119; 1 lb.; 72” x 20.5” x 2.5”; rei.com

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FULL PRODUCT SPECS: REI Flash Insulated Air regular



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READERS COMMENTS

Star Star Star Star Star
e clarke
Sep 25, 2013

Flash is the best pad out there. Valves are identical to the Exped. Unbelievably comfortable sleeping on back, side or stomach. No annoying crackling like the thermarest. But don't blow it up with your mouth! Drill a hole in a wine cork that fits the valve, put the cork thru a corner of a garbage bag and secure with a rubber band. Fill the bag with air and squeeze it into the pad. Takes less than a minute. In the morning, deflates in seconds.

Star Star Star Star Star
Tage Aaker
Sep 24, 2013

I have this pad and it inflates faster than any pad I've had before or any pad that my friends have. I've heard people have trouble blowing it up, but I've found I can inflate it less than a minute easily.

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