Picking the best Veilance pieces is hard. Mead King packed a bag full of the brand, to suss out the most essential pieces for travel.
On a recent trip to Italy, I brought an all-Veilance kit to see how various pieces would fare when traveling. I did pack a little more than I needed just so that I could try out as many different pieces as possible (within reason). I also focused on pieces from the 2019 fall/winter collection, so that they would feel relevant, although I did bring some old favorites like the Haedn Overshirt. Veilance also just announced their spring/summer collection for 2020, but most of these pieces are still available, either from stores or second hand.
What to bring
I took a twelve day trip to Italy, with a few days in Rome and the rest in the Amalfi Coast. Temperatures ranged from 50–65F with lots of rain forecasted. I decided from the outset that I only wanted to bring a carry-on, so everything I chose had to be extremely packable. I initially wanted to bring my Convex LT pants as they are very compact, but decided I wouldn’t fare well in them given the cooler temps and rain. I also wanted to have a good mix of baselayers, overshirts, pants, and jackets so I could have some options. Ultimately, I chose to pack the following:
Tees — Frame LS (alga and navy), Frame Polo LS (black and clay)
Pants — Align MX (laver and black) (reviewed by KobeBean here), Indisce (shale), Secant Comp (black) (for flights)
Midlayers/Hoodies — Dinitz Comp (black and clay) (reviewed by KobeBean here), Isogon MX (laver)
Overshirts — Field OS (navy), Component OS (loden), Haedn OS (black heather)
Jackets — Arris (black), Patrol Shell (laver), Field Jacket IS (soot), Mionn IS (black)
I definitely overpacked in the service of this review. Still, and amazingly, I was able to fit all this into one carry-on. I could have easily gone with 2 pants, 2 shirts, 3–4 Frames, 2 midlayers and the Patrol shell with the Mionn. but I was especially interested to see how the Field IS Jacket performed as it is a perfect do-it-all travel jacket. The Arris I also brought because it is extremely packable, and I could stow it in my Nomin and whip it out if I got caught in a surprise rain shower. The Haedn OS was another indulgence – not very packable, but just so damn comfy.
I was going to bring a Graph Cardigan instead of two Dinitz, because merino is the ideal travel fabric, but as I was heading out the door, I decided to leave the Graph at home since the Dinitz is just snuggle heaven. I also justified it because I wanted to see how the Dinitz fabric fared for traveling since it’s made from a new fabric. In addition to my carry-on, I brought my Nomin V2 and packed my Seque into my carry-on for a laundry bag.
The Frames preformed wonderfully as expected. You could easily do a two-week trip with 2–3 frames. They are easy to hand wash, dry overnight, and retain no smell. I’m not a fan of the SS polo, but the LS polo manages to strike the perfect balance between formal and effortless cool. The clay color is especially versatile, and looked great with both the black and laver Align XS. The alga color Frame is also pretty special.
The Frames can last quite long if they are cared for properly. I’ve had two pairs develop holes and I have had no issue getting them replaced through Arc’s warranty program. I have worn my Frames with the Nomin, and the smooth straps of the Nomin combined with the double fabric on the Frame shoulders prevent any abrasion issues. Your mileage may vary if you use a different pack with a Frame, however.
Despite how great the Frames are, they are known to have durability issues. Veilance is switching to a nylon blend merino for SS20 and beyond, but that is only to increase durability without sacrificing performance.
I am ready to declare the Secant Comp and the Align MX the ideal travel pants. You don’t ever need to bring anything else. The Secant Comp is perfect for flights — airy, light, stretchy, with secure pockets that can fit a passport. Even the hand pockets have a secure drop pocket on the right side that allows a secure fit for a phone, even larger phones like the Iphone 11 Pro Max. The elastic waistband makes it easy to wear — perfect for throwing on to get breakfast. I did manage to get caught in the rain in secants, and while they easily wet out, they did dry very quickly.
The Align MX is the perfect everyday pant for travel. It features no back pocket, but rather secure innovative pockets on the sides that are as useful as a large cargo drop pocket. These pockets also feature internal organization, which might provide the best way to securely store a wallet or phone in areas where pickpockets are an issue. The stretch of the burly weave is also a welcome change from the more constricting Veilance pants of the past (Apparats or Anode Comp come to mind). Technically the Align MX is not a waterproof pant, but I wore them in a torrential downpour and they performed brilliantly. The pants bead water very well and showed no signs of wetting out. They also dry very quickly. As an all-rounder, it doesn’t get much better.
The Indisce pants are a shield in rain and provide the most comprehensive weather protection in a Veilance pant outside of the Sequent. The drawback is that they do not offer the same stretch as the Align MX. They have their own comfortable perks however like the soft fleece-like lining on the interior. Because of this, they are more suited for colder temps than the Align MX, which are unlined. I do recommend you size down on the Align MX. For reference I take an M in the Secant Comp, 32 in the Indisce, and a 31 in the Align MX.
Man, I just love the Dinitz Comp Jacket. The paneling provides visual interest, the fleece snuggles you as if you were wearing a blanket, and it layers very easily. The clay color way is probably the most unique looking and goes great with the Laver Align MX. The hand pockets on the Dinitz are nice, but not that useful for storing anything. Even a phone feels cumbersome in them and you can definitely feel the weight of the phone against your body.
It provides a lot more warmth than the Graph, but definitely does not travel as well. Over the course of the trip the black Dinitz attracted a significant amount dust and lint. A wash had it looking like new, but if you are traveling for business I would caution against the Dinitz. Fleece is a material that will attract dirt and not look as slick and professional as a Graph cardigan after extended wear. You could get away with it if you bring a lint roller.
I also brought the isogon MX in Laver, which is a popular Veilance piece for good reason. Great stretch, wind resistance, it beads water well, and is made from a very durable material. The Isogon MX is designed to be worn as an outer layer, but I sized down to S to wear it more as a durable hoody midlayer. Just a personal choice, and as someone that owns a lot of Veilance, I didn’t feel the need for another jacket, but I wouldn’t recommend this use case for most people. I just did not like how the size M looked on me unzipped — it’s just cut a little bigger to accommodate layering. I did find myself reaching more for the Dinitz just because of how comfortable it is, but the Isogon MX (like its counterpart pants, the Align MX) is a perfect all-rounder.
Overall I would say the Field OS is probably the best travel shirt that Veilance makes. The pockets are perfect for secure storage and the air permeability is great for keeping cool and comfortable in warm weather, while the material is still substantial enough to keep you warm on cooler days. It’s also the most packable Veilance OS, and easily slips into a backpack.
The Component OS in my opinion is less a shirt and more a jacket replacement. I vastly prefer the cuff system and buttons on the Component compared to the Field (and even the Haedn). The large chest pockets are more useful and comfortable than the hip pockets of the Field, however the ease of use for the Field’s chests drop pockets wins out for storing common things like sunglasses or lip balm.
The Haedn OS is a luxury non-essential item, especially for travel. It is fleece-lined and insanely warm and comfortable but doesn’t provide any unique benefits like the Field’s air permeability or Components storage and versatility. The Haedn suffers from a lack of pockets and is made from thick material that doesn’t pack down well. It took up as much room as my Field IS for reference. A jacket like the Mionn provides more warmth, is more packable, and offers much more storage options. The wool face of the Haedn is harder to care for on the road where stains, lint and dust are a concern. I do think the Haedn is an amazing piece that has its own defined use-case, but that happens to not be travel.
The Patrol Shell is a fucking tank. Definitely my new favorite AV shell, overtaking the Monitor. The Patrol’s high hand pockets are fleece lined and sit at a perfect place to rest your hands. I really love that Veilance has decided to line the pockets of more of their pieces with microfleece. I have seen it on the Navier, Node Down, and Euler, and I hope the trend continues. (Just don’t eat some ribs and then put your hands in your pockets).
The hip drop pockets on the Patrol are the same seen on the Field and the pre-FW19 Node Down, and are good for holding a phone comfortably. There is a zip pocket on the sleeve that’s too small to fit a large phone but perfect for small things like lip balm. I was in two heavy downpours and was toasty and dry throughout, to the point where I couldn’t even tell it was raining. The Laver color is also an absolute jaw dropper. I didn’t really use the internal pockets much, but I really appreciate how the internal zippers and pockets are also done in the Laver green. Very nice little detail. The Patrol shell actually packs down quite well, just a little bit thicker folded up than the Arris.
If you could own only one Veilance piece, it should be the Mionn. It’s simply the most versatile Veilance jacket out there. The Mionn paired with the Patrol shell provided far more utility than the Field Jacket IS, which was sad to see since the Field IS is my favorite Veilance jacket. I still am unsure about how I feel about the new Terratex outer fabric on the Mionn versus the old ripstop, but the use of Coreloft Continuous insulation is a definite improvement. The new zipper is an improvement as well.
If you couldn’t already tell my Veilance sizing is all over the place. I take an S in the Patrol but an L in the Mionn. Despite the size difference, the Patrol easily accommodates the Mionn.
If you are interested in either the Patrol shell or the Mionn, here is my rationale for the disparate sizing: I tried an M in the Patrol shell and it works well with the down layer, but the shell by itself was just too large for me. The size S shell is perfect and with the liner it fits well but doesn’t allow much room for layering. No big deal because if I am wearing the down liner, I prefer to just wear a Frame. I’m rarely in a place cold enough that would require more than that. The Mionn in M was a good fit but was too cropped for me — my Frames would poke out underneath when zipped up. The L is a little oversized but I actually really like the fit of it. It’s the perfect grab and go jacket.
The Field IS jacket, with its built-in insulation, is actually incredibly versatile. I’ve worn it in temps from 20–65F, which is quite the range for a FW jacket. Despite being in the Veilance lineup since the brand’s inception, they haven’t quite dialed in the fit in my opinion. M, my regular Veilance size, is too big, and sizing down to the S works but can be tight in the shoulder area if you have broad shoulders.
I prefer the Field IS over the Field LT because I think the field jacket silhouette looks better as a bulkier, beefier piece. The pockets are iconic for a reason — so easy to use and they hold their shape well over the years. It’s Gore-Tex Pro, but not overly crunchy. The jacket doesn’t pack very easily and takes up a lot of room in your luggage. It’s a great jacket, but not so great for travel when space is a concern. A shell paired with a Mionn takes up much less room and performs better due to its versatility.
Ahh the Arris. Ol’ Mr Reliable. By far the best fitting Veilance jacket, it seems everyone looks good in an Arris. Because there were chances of showers throughout my trip, I always kept the Arris in my Nomin, just in case. This proved useful on two days. I have not had the staining issue on the Gore-tex C-knit fabric, but I know that is a concern many have. The overlapping hand pocket system on the Arris is useful, but I sometimes forget which pocket I put my stuff in and have to go through both. Still, it’s an innovative way to increase storage on a close fitting jacket. I also love the notched cuffs and hem, which gives it a slightly more aggressive look. Definitely a good jacket to travel, just don’t expect to be able to layer much with it. The C-knit is more breathable than Gore-Tex Pro, making the Arris more suitable in warmer temps.
If I had to pick an essential Veilance travel kit it would be: Frames, Field Overshirt, Align MX, Secant Comp, Graph Cardigan/Sweater, Patrol/Monitor Shell, and the Mionn IS. The Arris is a good option if you want to pack an emergency shell. The Graph Cardigan ultimately wins out over the Dinitz comp because of the merino and the nylon facing, which repels particles and lint much better than the Dinitz. The Align MX is not fully waterproof like the Indisce pants but should be good enough in 99% of situations. The Align MX pockets are also perfect for travel offering a secure organization system. The Field Overshirt is a good option to bring. Leave the Field LT/Field IS at home when traveling as the overshirt provides the same ample storage, while the Monitor or Patrol are more resistant to abrasion than the Field LT. The Field IS is an amazing jacket, but the utility of pairing a Patrol/Monitor shell with a Mionn outweights the Field IS by itself while taking up similar space in luggage.
For warmer weather trips, where rain is not forecasted, I suggest bringing the Nemis, Convex LT pants, Secant Comps, and the Component OS.
P.S. If you are into Veilance and hungry for more intel, join the Veilance community on Reddit, and check out the Veilance index with info on all the different pieces, put together by Veilance savants KobeBean and JohnGal. A version of this article was first published on their Medium channel, Reigning Chumps.