Specs at a Glance
- Gender: Women’s
- Weight: 3 lbs 5 oz (size small)
- Frame: Internal
- Ventilated: Yes
- Adjustable: Yes
- Exterior Pockets: 8 + main compartment
- Bear canister compatibility: vertical
- Torso range: 15″-19″
- Hip belt range: 26″-42″
- Sizes: XS, S, M
- Materials: 100-denier nylon ripstop body and 420-denier nylon fabric bottom
- Max recommended load: 35 lbs
Backpack Storage and Organization
The Flash 60 is laid out like a conventional multi-day backpack with a top lid, large main compartment, open front stuff pocket, and side water bottle pockets. It has two mesh hip belt pockets and a zippered pocket on the outside of the stuff pocket that’s great for storing odds and ends that you need to keep track of.
The top lid or brain has a large roomy pocket. That’s where I like to keep a few extra snacks and my hygiene kit. The top lid is floating and attached to the pack using straps, so you can raise it up if you need to overstuff the main compartment or pile more stuff on top of it. The lid is well-shaped and doesn’t slide backwards down the back of the pack, like some top lids do, even when it’s packed full. There’s a second mesh pocket on the underside of the hood with a key fob. This is where I store my first aid-kit, out-of-the-way, but still easily accessible.
The main compartment is large and has an internal hydration pocket, with ports over each shoulder to run a hose. There isn’t a separate sleeping bag compartment, but I’m good with that and don’t really see them as necessary on a 60L pack, although they can be useful on larger ones. In addition to top access, the main compartment has a J-shaped zipper that runs around the stuff pocket and provides access deep into the main compartment so you don’t have to unpack everything to pull out something stored in the bottom of your backpack. I probably wouldn’t use this much because I line my backpack with a trash compactor bag to prevent the contents from getting wet in rain, but I could see its utility for travel or if you hike in a drier climate.
The side water bottle pockets are large enough to hold Nalgene bottles and are easily reachable when I’m wearing the pack. They are made with a lighter weight mesh though, so durability might be an issue if you hike off-trail a lot. If you’re not careful, items stored in the side pockets can fall out when you bend over. My advice would be to keep loose items in closed storage and just use the side pockets for water bottles that are easily noticed if they fall out.
The hip belt pockets are made with the same mesh and large enough to store snacks, a compass, or a cell phone. I prefer hip belt solid pockets, because they’re more durable, water, and moisture resistant, but there’s an easy workaround for that: wrap sensitive electronics in sandwich baggies when it’s damp.
The front stuff pocket is large enough so that I can store my crocs and rain gear in it. It also has a drain hole at the bottle to facilitate the drying of wet gear. I keep my map, bandana, and PLB in the zippered pocket on the front of the stuff pocket, so they’re quickly accessible. This is a great place for a pocket and really adds to the pack’s utility,
Backpack Frame and Suspension
The Flash 60 is a ventilated backpack with a suspended mesh back to keep your back cooler and help dry perspiration more quickly. While the back of the pack is slightly curved to create a cavity behind the mesh, it’s not large enough to interfere with packing, which can be an issue with some ventilated backpacks.
The frame is also adjustable so you can adjust the torso length to fit your measurements exactly, even if you’re between sizes. To lengthen the torso range, you lift the shoulder strap yoke which is connected to the pack with velcro; to shorten it, you lower the shoulder pad yoke. It’s so easy to do and lightweight, you have to wonder why all backpacks aren’t set up this way.
The hip belt and shoulder pads are pre-curved to fit “the” female chest, while the hip belt is flared to provide a better wrap over the tops of female hip bones. There’s a modest lumbar pad at the back of the hip belt to prevent it from slipping and to direct the load to your hip girdle. But it’s barely noticeable and quickly forgotten. The hip belt also adjusts with a pull-forward mechanism which makes it easy to tighten.
The Flash 60 has load lifters, which help pull the load closer to your back so more of the weight is on your hips and not your shoulders. They work in conjunction with the aluminum wire frame, that has a top cross-piece for additional stiffness.
Backpack Compression and External Attachment System
The Flash 60 has a unique “Uplift” compression system that pulls the contents of the main compartment up over the hip belt, raising your center of gravity, and pulling the load closer to your back so you can carry a heavy pack more efficiently. It’s really remarkable.
But the straps used to implement the Uplift system aren’t really set up to attach gear to the side of the pack like more conventional compression straps. For instance, to secure long objects like tent poles in the side pockets. While you can “kind of” make them work that way, the diagonal orientation of the strap is not as secure as a horizontal strap would be.
There are straps at the bottom of the pack however that you can strap a tent body or sleeping pad to. This is a nice feature, often left off lightweight backpacks, but very handy. In addition, there are two ice axe loops, trekking pole tip grips, and upper tool keepers to secure tools and poles.
Comparable Women’s Backpacks
|Make and Model||Ventilated||Weight||Price|
|Arc'teryx Bora 49||No||4 lbs 11 oz||499|
|Deuter AirContact Lite 45+10||No||3 lbs 12 oz||200|
|Deuter Futura Vario 45+10L SL||Yes||4 lbs 7 oz||230|
|Gregory Amber 60||No||3 lbs 9 oz||180|
|Gregory Deva 60||Yes||4 lbs 10 oz||300|
|Gregory Jade 53||Yes||3 lbs 9 oz||200|
|Gregory Maven 55||No||3 lbs 6 oz||230|
|Osprey Aura AG 50||Yes||4 lbs 2 oz||250|
|Osprey Ariel AG 55||Yes||4 lbs 14 oz||290|
|Osprey Ariel Pro 65||No||3 lbs 12 oz||375|
|Osprey Kyte 46||Yes||3 lbs 9 oz||180|
|Osprey Viva 50||Yes||3 lbs 12 oz||180|
|REI Flash 60||Yes||3 lbs 5 oz||199|
|REI Trail 60||No||4 lbs 12 oz||189|
|REI Traverse 65||Yes||4 lbs 11 oz||249|
|The North Face Banchee 50||Yes||3 lbs 5 oz||199|