REI Co-op Flash 45

Lightest

Specs

Weight 2 lbs, 10 oz

 

Our take The weight-to-capacity ratio of this hauler made it a favorite among testers. Designers trimmed fat by just using a thin steel perimeter frame, which still supported 30 pounds on a three-day trek through Arizona’s Aravaipa Canyon. Instead of a full—and heavier—foam backpanel, raised pads cradle the back (and promote airflow). The Flash also saves weight with a packbag made out of wispy, 100-denier nylon (a 420-denier base adds durability).

The details Testers praised the Flash’s four side pockets, especially the two smaller ones that let you access a water bottle with the pack on your back. “I liked the snaps on the bottle pouches, as I could slim them down to fit my tall-and-skinny Hydro Flask,” one tester says. A large mesh front pouch holds a puffy and shell.

Trail cred “I spent large portions of the Aravaipa trip struggling through sand, but the Flash never made it feel like I was fighting against my load,” our Arizona tester says.