Rohan has been around a long time, but it’s a new label for me.
I thought I’d write today about a ‘new’ clothing label I’ve found – Rohan.
Rohan isn’t new, of course. Hikers and ramblers have been wearing their clothes for 40 years, but I bought my first things from them only recently. Aside from the horrendously difficult ordering process (about which I ended up in an email exchange with customer services), I have to admit that I’m impressed.
It was my friend J who put me onto them. J and his wife are dedicated ramblers and have been wearing Rohan clothes for over 20 years – some of his trousers are still going strong after that length of time. Rohan have a reputation among younger hikers of being a bit fogey-ish, which suits me fine, to be honest. The last thing I want is to trek across the landscape in fluorescent pink jammers and Rohan have a history in hill-walking gear, relatively long and roomy, rather than the modern skintight Alpine look.
The range is relatively small – this is not a fashion brand, after all – and quite expensive, so I treated myself first off to some bits in the ‘souk’ sale section.
First up, I was looking for a waterproof and lightweight country (not town) coat that comes below my knees. (I would’ve liked a longer one, but it was over 200 quid.) Why manufacturers haven’t worked out that it rains in summer, I don’t know. You can get great waterproof coats for winter, but in summer, you’re stuffed if you want to keep anything below your knees dry.
I was looking specifically for a country colour in order to blend into the landscape and this sage green Windshadow mac in ‘Conifer’ is really nice – I can now nip behind a bush for a pee without alerting every passing driver to my presence. I also really like the fabric, which is a sort of dry, matte finish that I can’t really describe. But what I wasn’t prepared for was the weight, or lack of it. I didn’t know, but Rohan are well known among the walking fraternity for the light weight of their clothing, and this coat weighs 240g, which is eight ounces. I hardly know I’m wearing it.
I expected to keep this coat for dog-walking and rambling but in fact I’m wearing it all the time because it’s actually smart enough to wear in town after all. And it packs up so small and tiny that I can stuff it in a handbag for a quick pac-a-mac style coverup. By the way, it has a drawstring waist, so when I wear it, the shape is very different.
I also wanted a country-colour gilet with a more waterproof finish than my fleece ones. I have a few soft fleece gilets from Lands’ End but they are really only OK for indoors – when outside, you need a bit more slick if the rain hits you. They are also a bit too brightly coloured for hiking. The Spark gilet met these criteria – I got it in a nice chocolate brown colour, which is reversible, once you remove the label, to a sort of pinky-burgundy, though I don’t actually see myself wearing that side. Once again, it weighs nothing – at 125g, it’s like wearing a feather, which could be important when trekking back up a hill at the end of a long day.
My final purchase was a pair of thick fleece gloves, the Shivling, in a brighter colour. I go for brightly coloured gloves because they’re easier to find when you drop them, is all. These are very thick and nice quality, so I will be getting more in the future.
Rohan don’t only make rambling clothing. They also make general travel clothes for town and country that repel mosquitoes, are uncreasable and can be washed out in the sink. Next on my wish list is their ‘troggings’, which are pull-on outdoor-fabric pants in a jogging style, which sound just about right for my shit-up-to-the-eyeballs life.