View Full Version : REI Flash 65 or Osprey Atmos 65 for thru hike?

05-20-2011, 12:00
I was just wondering if anyone has experience with either of these packs. I have tried both on with about 27 pounds at my local REI and both felt comfortable (while walking around the store for 10 minutes each) However which one would be more of a "wiser" choice for Thru hiking the AT? I believe the Atmos is approx. 6oz heavier then the Flash. Also which one is more durable and more likely to last the entire hike?

05-20-2011, 12:25
Each is a good pack, and you really can't go wrong. They've both been used successfully on thru-hikes. Unless you plan to drag them over sharp rocks all day, durability should not be an issue. If it were me, I would choose on features -- I like big outside mesh pockets, good hip belt pockets, and a comfortable suspension.

The nice thing about REI is that you can buy a pack, wear it around the house for days, even take it on an overnight trip, and they'll swap it out if you end up not liking it. (And that can happen -- sometimes only a long day on the trail will reveal fit or comfort issues.)

Feral Bill
05-20-2011, 12:35
A longer trial with more weight would be a good idea. An hour or more each with 40 pounds would be good. Then do what bigcranky says. Try one for a weekend or more and return if it doesn't fit well. If both fit very well, choose on price, features, color or whim.

05-20-2011, 13:52
Yes, get the blue one. You can't go wrong with a blue pack.....:)

05-20-2011, 19:26
I have both
osprey looks fancy, is cooler in hot weather does better with slightly heavier loads, has more pockets, has a better place for a bladder, and a real frame. The pack is more expensive, hevier, and you can NOT get drinks out of the side pockets while hiking especially when the pack is full. also if you put the bladder in the air panel part there is no hole for the tube so you have to cut one or not close the zipper fully, then it tends to open then slip off the frame.

the REI only has stays, so when you over stuff it the back panel bulges out in the center of the back. But you can take the stays out and adjust them for your specific back. It also has better pads, it is a little hotter in hot weather. It has less pockets but it has 3 MAJOR advantages, price, weight, main pocket volume. I can fit nearly twice as much volume in my REI pack. I can not fit a single bear can in my opsrey horizontaly. I can stack 4 vertically in my REI.

05-20-2011, 21:23
I use my REI flash 65 for 2-5 days hikes. It is extremely comfortable up to about 35lb's and very spacious. I keep two 1liter nalgene cantenes in the side pockets. I have removed the toplid and a few superfluous things on the pack for my liking to save weight since it has so much internal space.

05-21-2011, 06:34
I used the Atmos 65 on my thru. It was comfy and bombproof.

05-21-2011, 17:53
thanks alot everyone for the input. I did try on the Flash and it fit well as i walked around REI for about 20 minutes but I agree with bigcranky about trying it for a weekend. I think I will try both for a weekend each being that I live only about an hour from Harpers Ferry I am planning on two weekend trips there doing sections of the AT. Another thing is which one is more durable? I understand that sometimes big brands with big prices arent always better gear (ex Northface) so I guess it really is personnel preference. Spokes did the Atmos last the entire trail and did u ever regret going with that specific one. I have read reviews for both and most reviews are for weekend or shorter hikes so if anyone has used one of these packs on a week or longer hike (ideally thru hikes) please weigh in the pros and cons. Thanks again for everything.

05-23-2011, 16:04
REI has an unlimited return policy. Keep your receipt (or buy it with your member # so they can track it later in their database) and you can return it basically forever...which I hope doesn't get abused so much they change the policy (hasn't happened yet).

Both good packs. Personally I would say REI Flash. Lots of options, great design, you can detach the top lid and/or plastic frame insert and have a great 60-liter pack at 2 lbs, down from 3 lbs stock. REI's store-brand stuff is well made. Plus you can exchange/repair/replace it at any REI store.

If you go Flash, try on the 50 also but I would say, for the few ounces difference, go with the 65. Better to have more capacity & not need it than need it & not have it. The kangaroo pocket on the back is REALLY convenient.
Great pack, deserves a lot more attention than it sometimes gets.

05-23-2011, 16:18
i was going to buy the flash 65 for my thru hike but while trying it on at R.E.I. the sales dude thru hiker told me not to get it because it would fall apart after 2 months.
Don't know if that happened to him personally but figured id provide the input

05-23-2011, 19:57
.....Spokes did the Atmos last the entire trail and did u ever regret going with that specific one. .....

Yes it did last the entire thru hike and I never had any regrets. It was still going strong on the trail while others were searching for fishing line to sew up the busted seams on their packs!


I plan to use it again on an end-2-end hike of the Long Trail this year.


05-23-2011, 21:25
I have over 1000 days of use on my osprey and its starting to fall apart, but i still plan on taking on my JMT hike. I can not comment on the flash.

05-23-2011, 23:24
i was going to buy the flash 65 for my thru hike but while trying it on at R.E.I. the sales dude thru hiker told me not to get it because it would fall apart after 2 months.
Don't know if that happened to him personally but figured id provide the input

I know of several people who has successfully used the REI Flash series of packs for thru hikes. Sounds like the individual you spoke with at REI needs a bit of an education of their own gear. Hard to get good people on the low salaries REI pays, so what can you expect?

05-24-2011, 15:50
Search the Flash and you'll find a lot of reviews from people who've used it just fine on one or more thru's. These are sturdy, well built packs. If one did start to fail, any REI store will replace it on the spot.

There may be some confusion with some earlier UL line that REI introduced before the Flash. I've heard from an REI guy they were of maybe flimsier fabrics and less sturdy than the Flash models. I never saw one so can't say. Either way, the Flash series are just fine, very well built, no worries.

05-24-2011, 21:10
Large internal frames seem a bit risky for your back comfort. Take five minutes to look into one of the externals made by Kelty. The Kelty Yukon 4800 is solid, but they have larger and smaller packs.

05-29-2011, 01:41

The "dude at REI" must have had an axe to grind. I've had the Cruise UL 65 (the predecessor pack) for 3 years and hundreds of miles. Still looks almost new.

I added side pockets to increase the volume and the ease of getting at necessaries like potty kit, stove & fuel, water treatment stuff and 1st aid kit.


05-29-2011, 02:34
I used the Flash 65 for a 2 week section hike. If you check out the rei.com website you can read the reviews of the pack. And I have to agree with many of the reviews. The bag is pretty good. There are some weird design features.

The side water bottle pockets are tight. You can't add the water bottles after the pack is loaded. Do it before to solve this problem.

The plastic back panel warps and cause the lid to slide around.

The load adjusters get lost under the lid.

The vertical compression straps are attached to the pack under the mesh pockets. So inevitably they fall deep inside and you are always digging them out.

But the weirdest feature is that big external pocket. It is too small. awkward. And the space between it and the back of the pack is meant to hold rain gear. Trouble is it is too small and since it is nylon and not say mesh whatever wet thing you put in there will remain wet.

The good:

The pack is light. And with some mods you can get it really light. I got mine down to 1lb 10 oz.

It is comfortable and stays put after you adjust it.

If you are ambitious you can do what I did and rip out that pocket and sew in a mesh one. If I were you though, why not pick up a ULA or a gossamer gear backpack? They are lighter, more adjustable, and and about 10 times more functional.

double d
05-29-2011, 09:04
One thing to keep in mind with the Flash (which is a really great backpack in my opinion): REI is a great outfitter-you get a lifetime of service from them if you buy the Flash.