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The Rab Veil 12’s Comfort and Versatility Make It the Only Running Pack We Need
The Rab Veil 12’s Comfort and Versatility Make It the Only Running Pack We Need
Jul 24, 2024 2:42 AM

  Rab Veil 12 Reviewed Price: $180

  Weight: 10 ounces (without flasks)

  Size: S-L (Unisex)

  Capacity: 12 liters

  Pole Storage: Yes

  Hydration: Flasks and bladder

  Running packs can often feel like a cumbersome-but-necessary evil: you’d rather not have to wear one, but you need to be able to carry essentials with you. Good packs will lessen this burden by doing a number of things well, and great ones will make you forget youre even wearing one at all.

  The Rab Veil 12 fits into the latter category. It’s a true quiver of one that’s equally suited for an hour-long morning jog as it is for an all-day weekend outing, or even a 100-mile adventure. If you like to do runs of different lengths, but only want to buy one pack, this is the one for you.

  This fall, our testers took it out on a variety of outings, including a midday run on the 13-mile Mesa Trail that meanders beneath the Flatirons in Boulder, Colorado, a quick five-mile road session before work, and a four-mile jog to one of the many beautiful alpine lakes in Rocky Mountain National Park. That last mountain adventure truly showcased the Veil’s performance: Imagine arriving at a river, 10 miles into a run and more than ready for a water refill, reaching behind your neck to the shallow pocket where you stashed a filter, quickly replenishing your flasks, and grabbing a snack from a side pocket—all without taking the pack off. That’s the kind of seamless convenience the Rab Veil 12 provides, which allows runners to adjust layers and get what they need without needing to stop for lengthy transitions. That general ease, plus the pack’s comfort and organization, are why it’s one of our favorite hydration packs of the year.

  Pockets The standout feature of the Rab Veil 12 is the sheer number of pockets, their volume, and their easy accessibility while on the run (you can grab and stow things in nine out of 11 of them without taking off the pack). Two large zippered front pockets can easily hold the biggest iPhone on the market and whatever other items you need to keep safe—keys, cards, a Garmin InReach—with room to spare. In addition to dedicated pockets for two 500-milliliter soft flasks, there’s an open pocket behind each of the flask pockets for stuffing snacks or even an external battery to charge a phone during a long outing. You’ll also find large stretchy mesh pockets on the side, a pocket at the back of the neck, a large open compartment on the back, and plentiful bungee cords for strapping bulky jackets. When fully packed, the Veil 12 holds more than it looks like it can, but doesn’t feel oversized and cumbersome when it’s mostly empty.

  Comfort The pack is comfortable to wear for hours at a time, both when it’s mostly empty and when it’s stuffed full. We appreciated the 10-ounce pack’s light weight, while still packed with tons of features—from extra storage to pole carry—that let us tote everything we needed without changing how the pack wears. The pack is built around what the brand calls ‘Mono Mesh Chassis,’ a transparent layer made of durable ripstop and an airy mesh that Rab claims is 50 percent lighter and retains 70 percent less water than other similar constructions. Testers confirmed that it added breathability and reduced the excessive back sweat common when running with a pack. The chassis is also designed to add support and reduce bounce (and it does both things well). Stretchy side panels combined with bungee cords on the sternum allowed us to customize the fit perfectly while on the go, which made the pack feel more like part of our body or an extra layer of clothing—and less like a backpack.

  Performance The Veil 12 is a trusty companion for runs of all lengths, but it really shines on all-day adventures. The pack has a spot for everything you need while on the move: a filter, sunscreen, chapstick, water, a wind shirt, fleece, a snack, or your phone to consult a map or take a photo. On an 11.5-mile out-and-back to Black Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park, one tester appreciated that the large back compartment made it easy to stash a puffy, which he threw on at the lake at 10,600 feet. Our testers liked stuffing most of their gear in the front and side pockets for easy access and saving the larger compartment for lighter layers. They reported that the water flask compartments were “slightly bouncy,” but not enough to be annoying.

  Comparison The competitive Salomon ADV Skin 12 feels a little more compact and snug than this one, but the Veil outshines it in the breathability department.

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