To address the growing demand for ultralight backpacking and bikepacking tents, REI has created its lightest Co-op tents yet: the Flash Air 1 and 2.
REI designed the Flash Air tents as lightweight and packable options for backpacking and bikepacking. The one-person Flash Air 1 has a minimum trail weight of 1 pound 4 ounces while the two-person Flash Air 2 weighs in at 1 pound 15 ounces. Scroll down to the tables for detailed specs.
REI cut ounces with a single-wall build that uses guylines and a vertical pole for structure. Anyone that uses trekking poles can save more weight by using one to support the tent and leave the tent’s included pole at home.
Flash Air: Ultralight Backpacking, Bikepacking Tents
The included vertical pole slides into an attached hub to prop up the tent at nearly a 90-degree angle for a peak height of 42 inches. The hub has two holes to house either the included vertical pole or a trekking pole.
The rainfly acts as a vestibule or, weather permitting, it can be rolled up and onto the roof for more airflow and better views. The big canopy doors are designed to make ducking in and out a breeze, which is always more important in non-freestanding tents.
A difference between the Flash Air tents and other popular REI tents is that this line is non-freestanding, which means the tent requires you to stake it out during setup. Using guylines instead of frame poles helps save weight on the trail.
In keeping with minimalist tents, the single-wall construction is prone to collecting condensation. There are three vents, with two on the back wall to help with airflow. REI recommends leaving wet gear to dry out in the vestibule and pitching the tent in a breezy spot with some safe overhang protection if possible.
A small foot pole lends the long end of the tent some stability and creates more wiggle room. There’s a stash pocket inside, by the door, which isn’t always a standard feature on ultralight tents.
The tent is ready to go out of the box, with stakes, guylines, poles, and stuff sack all included. There are also instructions on the stuff sack — just in case. Like most tents, the Flash Air tent footprints are sold separately for $45 or $55.
REI Co-op Flash Air Tent Weight, Size
Ounces and packability are paramount with the ultralight adventurers, so we’ve broken down all you need to know here.
Packed down, the Flash Air tents are 16 inches long and roughly 7 inches wide; designers intend this to fit inside backpacks or bike panniers. The Flash Air 1 weighs 1 pound 6 ounces with the included poles, and the two-door Flash Air 2 weighs 2 pounds 2 ounces. The footprint is 88 x 35 inches (52 inches wide in the Flash Air 2).
Hikers and backpackers may choose to use a hiking pole or a handlebar attachment instead of the included pole (which weighs 2 ounces). According to REI, 1 pound 4 ounces should be light enough for most weight-minded pursuits without sacrificing durability and packability.
REI Co-op Flash Air 1 Tent Specs
- Minimum trail weight using own trekking pole: 1 lb. 4 oz.
- Trail weight with included tent pole: 1lb. 6oz.
- Packaged weight:1 lb. 10.5 oz.
- Packed size: 16 x 6 inches
- Floor dimensions: 88 x 35 inches
- Floor & vesibule area: 21.3 square feet; 8.4 square feet
- Number of doors: 1
- Price: $187 on sale
REI Co-op Flash Air 2 Tent Specs
- Minimum trail weight using own trekking pole: 1 lb. 15 oz.
- Trail weight with included tent pole: 2lb. 2oz.
- Packaged weight: 2 lbs. 8 oz.
- Packed size: 16 x 7 inches
- Floor dimensions: 88 x 52 inches
- Floor & vestibule area: 31.7 square feet; 16.8 square feet
- Number of doors: 2
- Price: $224 on sale
REI has sold many Half Dome and Quarter Dome tents. It’s exciting to see the brand add to its Flash line of gear and dive further into ultralight gear with the new Flash Air 1 and 2 tents.