The History of Rohan Action Bags

Rohan Action Bags - 2014

With the Action Bags in the new Spring/Sumer Range it’s  a really good time to look at the history of Action Bags. Ben – Rohan Keswick who has an impressive knowledge of Rohan history has recorded the history of Acton Bags. The photo’s below are all taken from the Rohan Gallery which has a collection of early Rohan catalogues.

Rohan ‘Bags’ have been in production in the same style and fabric (Airlight-50% polyester 50% cotton) since 1983. This year Rohan have produced ‘Action Bags’ as an alternative to ‘Bags’, still Airlight material, but a different design offering ‘a more contemporary style of fit and a new pocket layout’.

The name ‘Action Bags’ has actually been used twice before.

To quote from a 1987 Rohan Catalogue, ‘Bags with a bigger bum and thighs. Elasticated waist, generous hips, tapering towards the ankle. Action Bags look almost like Normal Bags but they fit other people’.

rohan action bags

More recently in 2005, as part of limited ‘Blue Label’ range, a number of Original Rohan items were updated using ‘cutting-edge fabric technology’. The 2005 Action Bags were made from Schoeller3xDry a mix of 46% cotton and 54% polyester. The upper pockets were similar to ‘Bags’ but had two lower leg pockets and side adjusters on the waistband.

Rohan Action Bags 2005

From a visual perspective the leg pocket on todays ‘Action Bags’ makes them look more like the original first version of ‘Bags’ which were around from 1980-82

John Cleare - Fording Su-Baschi River

Photo: John Cleare Mountain Camera  – Fording Su-Baschi River  

From a fabric point of view Polycotton was used by Paul and Sarah Howcroft in the very first designs in 1972. The first Salopettes, then Breeches and Jackets were all a mix of Polyester and Cotton, though not the same as Airlight. The first full length trouser in Polycotton before ‘Bags’ were ‘Trotters’ in the late 1970’s

rohan trotters 1980

One other trouser should get a mention to complete the ‘Action Bag’ story and that is the ‘Action Pants’. These were ‘Airlight’ fabric but a much looser cut and different design-there were a couple of different designs of these from 1983 to 1987.

Rohan Action Pants and Moving On 1987 Catalogue

So that wraps up ‘Action Bags’-just the tip of the iceberg in the history of ‘Bags’ and all the offshoots from over 30 years of a design classic.

How many Rohan products do you have with ‘Bags’ in the title from this list and mentioned above?

Please let me know if I have missed any!

Double Bags, Dry Bags, Base Camp Bags, Convertible Bags, Warm Bags, Epic Bags, Easyfit Bags, Classico Bags, Children’s Bags, Special Bags, Bags Shorts, Bags Shorts Long, Winter Bags, Hot Bags, Bags Shirt and Bags Belt!

Ben Evans – Rohan Keswick


Rohan Heritage

One Comment

  1. I had a pair of red Action Pants. I loved the shape and the colour, but for some reason they had a strangely chilly coating inside that felt like waterproofing and which made them really quite unpleasant to wear. No matter how often I washed them, it didn’t come off and in the end I gave up and got rid of them.

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