This past weekend, my girlfriend and I went hiking in Harriman State Park. It was the day after we got git with a few inches of snow. We started in a parking lot on seven lakes drive south west of bear mountain and headed down the 1777 trail through doodletown and up the timp. This was my girlfriends first time using her new flash 18 pack. Here is a review.
The flash 18 is an 18 liter day pack. It weighs only 10oz, so if you like fast and light trips that don’t weigh you down, it could be a solid option. It may have some limitations which we will get into. I would definitely call it a minimalist pack, there isn’t a whole lot to it.
Here is the main opening. Sarah had no problems stuffing her thermarest Z seat, a puffy jacket, rain shell, water bottle, and snacks in the main section. There is a sleeve for a hydration bladder, although its only sized to fit a 2L pouch. There is also a hook attachment hanging into the pouch. The only other compartment, a zippered pouch on the outside section, it was easy to stash a headlamp, map and compass, tissues and hand sanitizer.
The front of the pack has daisy chain loops running the length which you could use to attach bulkier items. You can see the zipper for the front pouch here.
At the bottom of the daisy chain is an ice axe loop.
The top of the bag is drawstring closure, which is mildly confusing to figure out at first. There is a little flap over the closure, assuming it is there to prevent moisture or debris from entering the hole.
The straps are the same straps on the flash 22. For loads less than 10lbs they are a dream. Sarah’s commented it felt like wearing air. The straps have a sternum strap with a built in whistle. There is also a waist strap, although its not designed to transfer load to the hips. I see its usefulness in just holding the pack still while you are scrambling.
Here’s my overall assessment of this bag.
- Super light
- Comfortable with lighter loads
- Water bladder compatible
- Easy entry
- No external water bottle pockets
- Not designed for heavier loads
- Waist belt doesn’t make sense
If you like to carry bottles instead of a bladder, need a little extra space, or prefer a few more compartments, the flash 22 may be a better bet. If you don’t carry more than the 10 essentials on a day hike, and use a water bladder, this pack just might he your dream come true.