Friday, August 30, 2013

Gear Review: REI Flash 52 Backpack Women's

I ordered the REI Flash 52 Backpack for our recent trip to hike about 60 miles of the Appalachian Trail since mine was getting old and there were so many newer, lighter packs out there.  I read a lot of reviews for different women's packs and decided to go ahead and order this one.  Because there are no decent stores that carry hiking equipment in South Florida, I went ahead and ordered it from  I checked their measurement guide and found that I fell right in between the medium and large sizes.  Since the large offered more cubic inches, I went ahead and ordered that one.

It arrived pretty quickly in the mail and I was excited to open it.  I loved the number of pockets as well as their placement.  It's a pretty light pack at around 3 lbs.  I was also able to use the rain cover from my old REI backpack so that saved me from having to pay for another one.  I then made the mistake of not testing it out before hitting the trail.  When I reached GA, I ripped the tags off the new backpack before filling it with my gear.  On the first day of my hike when the shuttle driver dropped us off he commented on how my backpack looked way too big for me.  Uhoh.  At this point I was committed and didn't have a choice.  The first day of hiking with it was fine but after that my back started hurting a lot from the straps not being properly positioned since the pack was just too tall for my torso.

Other than the size I still loved everything else about the pack.  On our drive back to Gainesville, FL we decided to stop at the REI in Atlanta.  Can I just say that REI has an amazing return policy?!  They took back my wet, muddy, used backpack and gave me a brand new one in size medium with no questions asked!  One of the employees even took the time to load it up with some weight so I could walk around the store with it to make sure that the medium was the correct size.  When I returned it the backpack was also on sale so they gave me a credit for that which I used to buy a new orange mesh camping chair.  So now I have another new backpack, a mesh chair, and REI will continue to get my business!

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