If you’re looking for literally, one of the lightest, barely-there daypacks in existence, the REI Co-Op Flash 18 might just be the one. Weighing a scant 10 ounces while stilling a decent 18 ounces, it’s perfect for grabbing, loading up with water, snacks and a rain jacket, and hitting the trail, without any pretense or fuss. The outside is as slim and sleek as it gets – no external pockets. There is a daisy chain with ice axe loop in case you need to hook on some more gear.
The back panel is just ever-so-slightly padded, for a little bit of extra comfort without the weight. The padding even comes out to be used as a sit pad once you reach the summit. The Flash 18 has lightly padded, breathable, stretch-mesh shoulder straps, detachable hip belt and sternum strap, an internal sleeve and hose exit port if you want to attach a hydration bladder. And that’s it. The drawstring up top keeps it closed when you’re on the go.
The Flash 18 can be had for just about $40, if not less, and of course comes with all the guarantees and quality you can expect from REI Co-Op products. And despite it’s small size, the straps are adjustable to fit us on the larger side. If you’re an ultra-minimalist and just want the cheapest, simplest bag you can find, the choice is clear. And, you get your choice of whatever array of colors REI is currently offering. Sweet deal.