I was sitting in a bucket seat in a Buffalo transport plane flying into rebel held south Sudan from Lokichoggio in northern Kenya a few years ago and slipped off the bush jacket I had been wearing for the early morning chill. A voice behind me said “so you’re a Rohan man as well”. It was the head of the UN mission to Southern Sudan travelling with me on the same flight. I had on my trusty old Rohan safari shirt bought in 1988 as I started working back then in the Kordofan region of northern Sudan. That shirt has been with me for over 20 years now and still shows few signs of wanting to give up and die. It sums up Rohan for me, reliability, durability and never either actually being in fashion or going out of fashion. Rohan is a fashion of its own for the cognoscenti.
I wear Rohan outdoor clothing in the deserts, bush and indeed cities of Africa, in the mountains of central Asia and on holiday in Wales or Cornwall. I work in the ‘aid industry’ sometimes delivering longer term development projects mostly in rural Africa, but also sometimes in some of the more awful emergencies of the world, the ongoing tragedy of Darfur for example or the aftermath of the Kashmir earthquake in 2005. In such situations I need kit that will not let me down, but will also not fill all the space in my travel pack that I may need for more urgent equipment. I also need kit that will protect me in the most extreme climate but also can be worn, and look good to meet a Minister or senior diplomat in the capital city.
So I stick with Rohan and still on every trip I have my essentials which can range from workmanlike Jungle cargos to the less glamorous but equally vital Rohan underwear and socks. If it packs small, will last long and can be washed dried and ready for wear again next morning, then that is what comes up to scratch for me.
My favourite items? That old safari shirt of course, my cargo pants and the famous Rohan belts which also seem to go on and on and have also been with me nearly two decades (outlasting my original Rohan Bags for which they were originally bought). As long as I need reliable kit to travel I know where I have to turn to get the quality that I need to help me do my job.
Vincent Gainey works in the overseas aid/humanitarian assistance sector.