It's 2-4-1 time at EverExploring.com!! That's right....two reviews in one convenient post. Which makes sense because these two items work pretty well together. A perfect pair.
I recently purchased an ultra-lightweight pack for long trail runs, hikes, and an upcoming fastpacking trip. I snagged the REI Flash 18 pack since it looked like the perfect size. I also got a hydration system - the Platypus Biz Zip LP 2L.
I took it for a spin in the Finger Lakes National Forest on a 10-mile loop. Let's start with the pack: it's pretty comfortable. There are multiple straps that fasten to lessen any friction issues, and the fastener even doubles as a safety whistle. The inside is pretty sweet with a hydration pocket that has a pad that helps insulate your drink, pad your back for comfort, and is removable and can be used as a seat. You can also turn the pack inside-out because of the drawstring-closure to make it a stuff sack.
The negatives? The shoulder straps are a little scratchy. I would not recommend wearing this with a tank top because even though there are straps that fasten to reduce friction, it's just not enough. My biggest complaint? There is no easy-access pocket on the outside. You literally have to take the entire pack off and open it up if you need any of your stuff. Which means you have to stop running to take it off, put it back on, readjust, fix the hydration hose, etc. I bring my phone with me to take photos (clearly not bringing my 3lb DLSR...) and if I want to take a photo I have to go through the huge process of taking the pack off and digging it out. Ugh!
Overall, a very good purchase. I might just make a quick-access pouch and attach it to the daisy chains on the outside. 3.5/5 stars.
Now on to the Platypus hydration system. Love it. No complaints. Amazing purchase. It's super-watertight, easy to clean, easy to attach/detach the hose, no drippiness on the hose, and it doesn't really even taste like plastic. Wooooah...right? LOVE. 5/5 starts.
The two items together are great, and I would recommend them to anyone who is doing any long trail runs. Just wear a shirt with sleeves and you are all good!
Keep exploring, y'all.