You’re going to love the REI Flash sleeping pad: a small, lightweight and comfortable inflatable sleeping pad designed for backpacking, bikepacking and bicycle touring adventures.
I’ve had the new REI Flash sleeping pad for about 6 months now and I’m loving it!
I’ve been riding my bicycle around the world for more than 18 years now and I’ve gone through countless sleeping pads in that time. Some fail right away, while others hang on for a few months and then eventually die a sudden death. Very few of the sleeping pads I’ve ever owned have persisted through the demands I place on my camping gear.
The Vaude Sove, as I’ve discussed in the past, is one of the best inflatable sleeping pads I’ve ever owned. It’s not the smallest or the lightest sleeping pad on the market, and it’s not the most thick or comfortable, but it’s done a good job of lifting me up off the cold, hard ground and keeping me comfortable while I sleep in my tent. More more than four solid years now… the Vaude Sove sleeping pad hasn’t given me even a single problems. It’s a very good sleeping pad and I would highly recommend it.
That being said, the Vaude Sove is a little bigger and a little heavier than I would sometimes like to carry, which is why I went out and bough the REI Flash several months ago. I wanted to get an inflatable sleeping pad that was a little bit smaller and a little bit lighter than the Sove, so I could use it on my ultralight bikepacking adventures.
I chose the REI Flash (in the Regular Wide size) because it’s small (about 4.25 x 10 inches when it’s all rolled up) and extremely lightweight (1 lb. 3 oz.). And unlike other ultralight sleeping pads (such as the Themarest Neo-Pro), the REI Flash doesn’t make a ton of noise when you move around on it at night. Nor is it so incredibly thin that it’s going to pop the moment you lay the sleeping pad on the ground. The REI Flash is possibly the perfect sleeping pad design of its kind – small, lightweight and durable!
The design of the REI Flash sleeping pad is unique when compared with many of the other sleeping pads currently on the market today. Instead of a few long cylindrical tubes of air, the REI Flash is constructed with dozens of small honeycomb-shaped air bubbles. These pockets of air may look a little uncomfortable or off-putting at first, but trust me, the REI Co-Op Flash is an extremely comfortable sleeping pad!
My biggest tip for making the REI Flash sleeping pad even more comfortable: don’t inflate the mat all the way. Inflate it about 80% of the way and leave the remaining 20% of the pad empty. This way, when you lay down on the mat, it won’t feel like you’re sleeping on a hard board of air, but instead, a soft and relaxing bed of air.
The only major downside to the Flash is that is needs to be used with a fair amount of caution. The material used to make the Flash is not extremely thick, and this is how REI has managed to make this inflatable sleeping pad so small and lightweight. But the thinness of the material also means that you need to be more selective when choosing a spot to camp for the evening. Thorns, sticks, glass or any pointy object need be avoided!
If you can avoid popping the Flash, it’s a great lightweight sleeping pad that is perfectly suited for backpacking, bikepacking and bicycle touring adventures of all kind.
To learn more about the REI Flash sleeping pad… or to buy a Flash of your very own, pick one up at your local REI store, or buy it online and have it shipped directly to your home.