REI’s Flash Pack
REI’s Flash Pack

What’s a light backpack for hiking several hundred miles?

I'm looking for a lighter backpack around 1,000 cubic inches to hike several 100 miles. I'm right now using a REI Flash UL Pack which is good for a four-day hike but its weight is 10 oz. I know there are lighter packs. Is there any that you would recommend? Keith Waynesboro, PA

REI’s Flash Pack

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Well, Keith, as a matter of fact, I don’t think there IS a lighter pack around—at least not one that can carry 1,000 cubic inches of gear, has straps, etc. Ten ounces is pretty darned light when you think about it, and that’s what REI’s Flash UL Pack ($25—so it doesn’t cost much, either) weighs. Even GoLite (, a company that hangs its hat on light gear, can’t manage to come out with a daypack that weighs less than 14 ounces.

REI’s Flash Pack REI’s Flash Pack

I honestly think your best bet is to MAKE one. After all, even the Flash UL isn’t much more than a light stuff sack with a couple of skinny straps. You can get a stuff sack that weighs literally 1.8 ounces—the Sea to Summit Ultra-Silk Dry Sack ( in the 20-liter size ($23). Then, find some lightweight strap material and sew on the straps. You might even buy a second dry sack, cut it into strips, then fold those on themselves and sew them up into straps, then attach to pack. If you can’t make one that weighs six ounces, you aren’t trying hard enough.

Please, please, Keith—send me your packing list for a four-day trip. I’ll post it on the site.

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