Figuring out what elements to pack on your travels is always a little daunting. Do I need this tote or this day pack? Do I need these shoes or these boots? It’s easy to overpack unless you analyze every possible element of your itinerary.

I recently packed my REI Co-op Flash 18 Pack for a trip that included kayaking, biking, and hiking, and I’m glad I did.

The lightweight, frameless pack is ideal for zipping through town, as well as toting along on your adventures. Made from ripstop nylon, it’s a top-loader, and has a drawcord closure that covers the top opening when cinched tight. It’s also easy to pull open again when you need something from inside the pack.

Often, such minimal packs don’t have comfortable shoulder straps, but these are lightly padded and breathable, and adjustable for different body sizes. Both my husband and I used it while hiking. The back panel is also lightly padded, and you can slip the pad out to sit on if you take a break where there are scratchy rocks.

Inside the main compartment, there’s a sleeve for a hydration reservoir, and there’s also a hose exit port for convenience. An external zippered pocket is roomy enough for small items, like a phone, lip balm, and sunscreen.

The daisy chain on the front lets you attach necessary items, and there’s an ice-axe loop if you choose to use the pack for mountaineering. The hipbelt and sternum strap are detachable, if those things bug you, but I liked using the sternum strap for my adventures. Need a way to alert fellow hikers? The sternum strap buckle is also a safety whistle.

The REI Co-op Flash 18 Pack comes in artichoke, rose taupe, quiet shade (gray), and black, and lists for $39.95 on the REI Co-op site.

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