Gear Reviews

REI Flash Women's 32 Sleeping Bag

I have to preface this review with the fact that this sleeping bag is no longer available for purchase through REI, though if you are shopping elsewhere (Craigslist, Ebay, etc.) and you stumble upon this bag, maybe this review can help you. The closest comparable REI bag currently on the market is the Joule.

Name: REI Co-op Flash Women's 32


  • Length: Regular (66 in)/ Long (72 in)

  • Weight: 27 oz/ 30 oz

  • Style: Mummy

  • Fill: Top & Hood 700-fill down, Backside synthetic

  • Temperature Rating: 32* F comfort, 23* F lower limit

What I Like:

  • Versatility: I love this bag. It was my first backpacking sleeping bag, so it definitely holds a special place in my heart. It got me through sweltering hot nights in the Peruvian rainforest and freezing nights in the Sierra Nevada. It is my #1 choice as a summer bag, and realistically, can be used as a year-round bag in some locations (like the Bay Area). This is great in hot conditions: unzip it (zipper goes way down, almost to the bottom) and lay on top - you can pull the front over you like a blanket if you need to. I have also used it in freezing temps (high 20s- low 30s) comfortably, without a beanie or socks, and only wearing lightweight merino wool base layers (I do tend to sleep a little warm, though, and have a great sleeping pad).

  • Weight: I was naive to weight considerations when buying my first backpacking gear, but this is a great lightweight bag, coming in at under 2 lbs for either size.

  • Packability: It packs down pretty small, saving lots of room in your backpack.

  • Fit: I never feel too confined or constricted in this mummy bag. I am able to sleep on my stomach/ side if I unzip a little bit pretty comfortably.

  • Fill: I never understood the reasoning of the combo of down/ synthetic, but the synthetic is on the bottom, so you don't have to worry about compressing down, but you still get the insulation of down on your top, so I guess that's cool! The newer, comparable version is full down.

What I Don't Like:

  • Zipper: The one major complaint I have is the zipper. It does get caught a lot, and the only way to smoothly get it to zip is to use two hands.

Overall, this is a great first backpacking sleeping bag for 3-season use.