Drop Veil Wind Shell
Massdrop's Veil is a really light and small to carry simple nylon shell with hood. Easy to carry means you won't be tempted to leave it home and then regret it on a windy summit. Great for any outdoor activity where adding a wind blocker is a valued option including hiking, biking, snowshoeing, and skiing.
- Light and small
- Blocks wind well
- Adds function to other gear
- Light water resistance
- I don't feel the breathing
Massdrop has evolved into Drop these days, but they still sell the Veil Wind Shell under that old name. Simple, yet very functional, the Veil does exactly what the name implies. Weighing 3.3oz/93g for the XL size, it is easy to stash and carry.
There aren't a lot of moving parts to this thing, but let's take a quick look. I apologize for not having pics of it being used on overnight trips, but the times when I wore it were not times for taking pictures. High wind ridges and chilly campsites are both places where I'm too busy to remember the camera, but those were the times I found the Veil most useful.
Fit & Comfort:
The Veil is meant to fit pretty close to the body. You don't want a lot of material flapping around catching the wind. Folks who want to wear it over thicker layers will likely want to size up to allow more space. Runners or cyclists wanting a tight fit should go with the sizing chart below.
I went with the XL despite not being close to those dimensions other than at the shoulders. For me this has worked well with enough room to wear technical jackets like the Ternua Loughor and the Smartwool Smartloft-X 60 Hoodie inside comfortably. There is enough room for low profile jackets like those to retain their loft. If you wanted to wear the Veil over a puffier jacket you may want to go two sizes up. The slight oversize meant I had plenty of sleeve to cover my arms even when wearing a pack and using my arms, but not a lot extra.
Blocking wind is what the Veil is all about, and it does it well. The thin nylon shell is just what you need when the breeze is trying to steal all of your body heat. Close fitting sleeves and hood keep arms and head protected no matter what direction the wind is hitting you.
Minimal is the word I'd use to describe it. The ripstop nylon does have a DWR finish, but much more than a light drizzle will soon wet it out. Misty summits aren't an issue, but actual precipitation is not what this jacket was made for.
It might just be me, but I didn't really feel as though the material was breathing. Certainly it was better than wearing a rain jacket, but I felt pretty well sealed in while wearing the Veil. That meant if I got it steamy it stayed steamy. Given that I generally only put it on when the wind was chilling me down too much or while resting, this didn't pose a problem for me.
The Veil itself is so thin that it doesn't insulate, especially not in the wind. It did make other layers warmer though by protecting them from the wind. I really liked pairing it with technical jackets to create a replacement for the standard puffy camp jacket. The Veil worn over the Smartloft-X 60 Hoodie worked for into the 30s even in wind-blown camps.
Features & Function:
As I said, not a lot of moving parts here. The hood has an elastic edge, but no drawstring. It fits closely around the face and would not likely accommodate a helmet, but could possibly be worn under one.
When not in use the hood rolls up and is secured by a tiny hook and loop fastener, the black patches you can see above. Also note how you can see the reverse view of the interior label. The 15D nylon is very thin and you can see through it.
Cuffs of the sleeves have a light elastic inside, but are not very big to begin with. This close fit is great for keeping wind out, with or without gloves.
The only pocket is this tiny one on the chest. My 6-inch phone just barely fits in there, so newer, larger ones certainly won't.
What does fit in there is the entire jacket! The Veil is compressed into a tiny bundle that can be tucked easily into a pack or even your own pockets.
Construction & Durability:
15D nylon with a light DWR finish, a YKK reverse coil zipper, a few pieces of elastic and enough thread to hold it all together. Very simple design and construction creates a well put together product that does what it says pretty well. I've carried it on every trip for the last nine months and worn it on more than a few. There are no signs or damage or wear and I expect to get a lot of years of use out of it.
Being so easy to carry I brought the Veil along on all of my overnights this year and even stuffed it in the pack for a lot of day hikes. It was used with and without packs. It has hundreds of trail miles on it between my back and pack.
I recall first seeing this jacket a few years back and thinking it seemed sort of silly. Why spend valuable money and pack space on this when you already have your rain jacket with you? Having spent a season carrying the Massdrop Veil I now realize I was silly, not the jacket, heh. For just a few grams and a bit of space the Veil makes a much more comfortable wind shell than my rain jacket.
More than just that, the Veil added function to my other layers. A little wind protection really changes how other gear works, especially the lightweight materials I tend to hike in. I really appreciated how combining the Veil with a technical jacket created a comfortable camp combination on chilly nights. With the shell trapping heat in the down or wool insulation of a light jacket meant for active wear, it became a cozy replacement for a jacket I'd mostly be carrying for insurance in case it got cold.
The 15D nylon feels thin and I worried about tearing it at first. Wearing it on trail it has run into a few trees and rocks along the way and shows no signs of wear at all. Being so thin, whatever DWR was applied doesn't keep real water out for long. It blocks wind but definitely isn't a replacement for a rain jacket, but walking through clouds didn't leave me soaked.
With a tight fit it would work for bike wear, though I have other bike wind and rain gear that would be better ventilated for the job. Carrying the Veil as insurance on a good day would make more sense than putting it on before leaving on an all-day ride.
Overall I have been happy about my purchase, though most of the time I forget I'm even carrying the Veil. I leave it tucked into the lid pocket of my pack until I find myself feeling a bit of a chill. That is when the happy part comes. Whether I'm up on a windy summit or avoiding going to bed too early in a chilly camp, putting the Veil on is like flipping a switch and changing the environment around my body. It comes with me on most every hike or snowshoe these days for that reason.
I've had other windbreaker type jackets before, but this was my first experience with a UL shell.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: 45 USD
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Reviewers Paid: $45.00
2.7 oz / 77 g men's medium
29.5 in / 75 cm
15d ripstop nylon with DWR finish, 100% windproof, 11 CFM breathability
Fabric made in South Korea, jacket sewn in Vietnam