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Video Review Three Rohan Waterproof Jackets by Chris Orange

Video Review Three Rohan Waterproof Jackets by Chris Orange

Really pleased to introduce Rohantime visitors to a super new video review from Chris Orange.
 How to choose a waterproof jacket.

In Chris’s own words…

This is a video about how to choose a waterproof jacket in the midst of so much choice on today’s market. This is a waterproof jacket test. In this short film I review three waterproof jackets from the outdoor clothing company, Rohan, comparing three of their popular jackets that benefit from their Barricade technology that keeps these jackets lightweight, waterproof, windproof and breathable. The jackets I review are the Vertex, Ascent and Elite II jackets, all of which are very capable jackets in all weather…read more

Read more about our Barricade Technology
Read more about Rohan Waterproofs for men and women
Read more from Chris Orange on Rohantime
Chris Orange – chrisorange.com
Twitter: @orange60
Instagram: chrisorange
 

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Rohan Mountain Guide Jacket Review

Rohan mountain guide

Solid, reliable and comfortable in any environment.

All good qualities to look for in your outdoor companions. And they’re certainly all present and correct in the Rohan Men’s Mountain Guide Jacket and Rohan Women’s Mountain Guide Jacket.
It’s the definitive shell for the serious hill-walker and outdoor enthusiast. But with its understated looks and no-nonsense style it’s perfect for general use too. If you only want one waterproof jacket to cover all your needs, this is, without doubt, the one to go for.
mountain guide jacket

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Mark Carwardine talks to Rohantime

Mark Carwardine

Mark Carwardine is a zoologist, outspoken conservationist, award-winning writer, TV and radio presenter, wildlife photographer, and Chairman of the Judging Panel of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.
He co-presented BBC2’s Last Chance to See, with Stephen Fry in which the unlikely pair travelled the world in search of endangered species. The duo paired up again in October for a one-hour special about the consequences of April’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill – Slick, and Last Chance to See – Return of the Rhino which follows up on the northern white rhino story.
Rohantime caught up with Mark after he returned from filming Slick.
Gulf of Mexico oil spill
What was the over-riding emotion you felt after you finished filming Slick, Gulf of Mexico’s oil spill?
I was horrified by how much money and effort had been put into damage limitation through a Kafkaesque PR exercise – which, of course, was BP’s primary aim. Solving the environmental damage caused by the spill was quite clearly of secondary importance. What was particularly atrocious was the announcement that three-quarters of the oil had ‘gone’. This simply wasn’t true – it’s either been dispersed or is unaccounted for, which are completely different things. Unfortunately, big oil companies talk clean but act dirty.

What are the implications for wildlife affected? Have any species been lost forever and how long will it take for the shrimp, oysters and other marine life to recover?
To be honest, anyone who claims to know the long-term impact of the spill is either lying or naïve. The real extent of the damage is simply unknowable at this stage and may not be known for many years.
Brown pelican covered in oil
What is the likely impact on the future of oil exploration?
We are likely to see more and more serious oil spills in the years to come. Most of the easily-accessible oil has gone and, with the USA, the UK and many other western countries determined to reduce their reliance on Middle East supplies, technological and environmental boundaries are being pushed to their limits. The situation is already worse than it seems, because we don’t get to hear about most of the environmental havoc being caused by big oil companies elsewhere in the world. While BP smugly agrees to pay for the environmental clean-up and resulting economic losses in the Gulf of Mexico, oil companies elsewhere in the world are causing just as much harm – even more in some cases – and yet they’re getting away scot-free or shelling out minuscule compensation payments. Unfortunately, it doesn’t make headline news if it is happening somewhere like the Niger Delta.

With Russia about to start drilling in the Arctic what are the implications for this pr
Artic oil spillistine environment?
The high Arctic, and of course the Antarctic, are among the last frontiers for oil exploration and drilling. Thank goodness, although the future is still far from certain, signatories to the Antarctic Treaty agreed to a moratorium on drilling for oil for a minimum of 50 years. Meanwhile, the Arctic is not so safe. What happened with the Exxon Valdez oil spill, in Prince William Sound, Alaska, doesn’t bode well for any oil activity in the Arctic. The remote location made an effective response very difficult and, more than two decades later, significant quantities of oil can still be found in the region. I believe there are three main issues here: some parts of the world should, quite simply, be sacrosanct; oil companies need to be forced by law to make environmental concerns top priority; and we consumers need to reduce our demand for oil (by using it more efficiently and by finding alternative energy sources).
Do you think large global commercial organisations will always put profit ahead of ethical and environmental concerns?
For the most part, yes. There are global commercial organizations that make a genuine effort to be ethical and environmentally-friendly. But they are most definitely in the small minority. I think the biggest problem is that politicians do little to encourage big business to take environmental concerns seriously. Even in Britain, where politicians should know better, they have finally grasped the fact that there are votes in green issues – but they still don’t seem to understand that those green issues are vitally important in their own right.
Whilst the full implications of the BP oil spill became apparent it was difficult to see how we the ordinary people could register our horror at all that took place.  Do you think there is a need for more platforms for people to express their feeling during these events and give transparency to public scrutiny?
One of the problems is that we all rely on the press to tell us what is happening. And in my experience – certainly at press conferences in Louisiana during the Gulf of Mexico spill – the (mainly American) press believed pretty much everything they were told, without question. Perhaps even worse, as soon as President Obama made the announcement that most of the oil had ‘gone’, the story disappeared from the news altogether. We’ve moved on to other things now – and most of the world is under the impression that everything is back to normal. It’s very hard to know what we can do as individuals. But we do need to keep big oil and its responsibility for the environment on the top of the agenda – which means badgering MPs and MEPs to do just that.
A number of environmental activists embrace social media as a way of achieving public scrutiny to some of the actions of large corporations. Are you a fan of social media, do you see it as an aid to conservationism?
It’s amazing how effective social media can be in getting environmental messages to a big (and wide) audience very quickly. On a small scale, I experienced this myself recently after a clip from Last Chance to See found itself on YouTube. The clip showed a critically endangered kakapo (a flightless nocturnal parrot from New Zealand) trying to mate with my head – and it’s had more than three million hits so far. As a result, the kakapo in question (a male called Sirocco) now has his own website (with an introduction by the Prime Minister of New Zealand, no less) to promote conservation issues. The New Zealand Department of Conservation has been flooded with donations and offers of help, too. Having said that, I’m afraid I have to admit that, from a personal point of view, I don’t twitter and don’t have a Facebook page – I can barely cope with emails and phone calls as it is.
Critically endangered kakapo
What are the greatest challenges the planet faces at the hand of man?
Such big questions! There are so many ways to answer this one. Population growth is obviously fundamental. Every ill you can think of – whether it be pollution, climate change, poverty, starvation or habitat destruction – has its roots in over-population. No-one can deny that the bigger the population, the thinner the world’s resources are spread. Having said that, climate change will probably have a bigger impact on more species than anything else in the not-too-distant future; and the biggest problem here is that it is so insidious and difficult to predict. But, in the meantime, I would say habitat destruction is the biggest immediate threat to the world’s wildlife. In Indonesia and Malaysia, for example, the conversion of primary rainforest to palm oil plantations may be the single most immediate threat to the greatest number of species.

What is the greatest aid to conservation of species: knowledge and understanding, money, or remoteness from human activity? Is there one country leading the way with conservation?

I think it’s a combination of factors. Gone are the days when we focused entirely on species conservation. Nowadays we have a more wide-ranging and pragmatic approach, protecting biodiversity more than individual species (although special protection for individual species is obviously necessary when they are critically endangered). We’re also involving local communities. Conservation can only succeed if we take this approach – it is absolutely crucial to help local people to benefit from wildlife and wilderness areas. Otherwise, when they are struggling to keep their families alive, why should we expect them to care about endangered species? It is the only way forward. As far as leading countries are concerned, that all depends on the measure. Colombia, Venezuela, Costa Rica and Zambia immediately come to mind, though, because they protect exceptionally large proportions of their land. I do know which country I would put at the very bottom of the list – and that’s China. It is directly responsible for a great many of the major wildlife conservation issues in the world today.
Where in the world have you been most shocked by rapid destruction of the natural environment?
Rainforest destructionMost recently, it would have to be Madagascar. I remember flying down the east coast in 1989, over an almost continuous swathe of rainforest that stretched as far as the eye could see. I returned exactly two decades later – and there was virtually no forest left. Madagascar is destroying its tropical rainforests frighteningly fast and, of course, when the forests go so does all the endemic wildlife. Since the coup last year, the situation has deteriorated further and even the so-called protected areas are being pillaged.
Working with Stephen Fry in Last Chance to See must have been a real treat? Were there similarities to working with the late Douglas Adams?
Working with Stephen was great fun. We’ve had lots of laughs during nearly seven months of travelling together altogether and have become great friends. I think we’ve only had one argument – and that was over a giant jumping rat in Madagascar (long story). In fact, we’re planning many more trips in search of endangered species and conservation stories together. Without him, of course, Last Chance to See would never have got off the ground – and, with him, it attracted a large and varied audience. My big aim in life is to get conservation to more people and the way to do that is by making it entertaining and interesting – there is no need to preach or to talk doom and gloom all the time. Talking of similarities, travelling with Stephen was a little like travelling with Douglas Adams’s spirit: both 6ft 5ins, both with brains the size of planets and both looking at the world from a different angle to most other people.
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Is, or was Stephen really interested in conservation?
I don’t think he was particularly interested – at least, no more than most people. But he’s passionate about it now and is actively involved in several conservation projects. The same thing happened to Douglas Adams after our original expedition travelling the world in search of endangered species in the late 1980s.
Did he send a lot of tweets whilst you where filming?
Of course! I think he has over two million followers now (only Lady Gaga has more, as far as I know).
How did you decide where to go – it’s not exactly the same as the original book is it?
The main aim was to retrace the steps I had taken with Douglas Adams exactly 20 years earlier. For various BBC reasons, we had to restrict ourselves to five of the original eight endangered species (kakapo, Amazonian manatee, Komodo dragon, northern white rhino and aye-aye) and we added the blue whale to replace the Yangtze River dolphin, which had become extinct.
Where there any real shocks?
The biggest shock was that two of the original eight species have become extinct in the intervening 20 years: the Yangtze River dolphin in China, which has gone forever, and the northern white rhino in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is now extinct in the wild.
Yangtze river dolphin - Northern white rhino
In the manatee episode you say that being involved in conservation can be dangerous at times. Did you have moments of danger?
Stephen Fry broke his arm very badly in three places, while we were in the middle of the Amazon on our very first shoot. That was incredibly bad luck. People always ask me about encounters with dangerous animals, but I’ve very rarely been hurt by animals – and, on the few occasions I have been, it was my fault. To be honest, I’m most concerned about people when I’m travelling and, doing conservation work over the years, I’ve been mugged, shot at, ambushed, beaten up and thrown into jail more times than I can remember.
Do you have a favourite animal?
So many! Kakapo, aye-aye, manatee and great white shark immediately come to mind. Then there’s blue whale… oh, and humpback whale… and grey whale, of course. Rhinos, too. And badgers here in the UK. Actually, come to think of it, no I don’t have a single favourite animal!
Do you think the animals would be better off without us?
Probably. Tony Banks, MP, once said: ‘I am one of those people who, in their darker moments, can’t wait for an asteroid to smash into the Earth so that nature can start all over again’.
Do you think humans are ultimately doomed to extinction?
All species become extinct eventually – it’s just that we’re rapidly speeding up the process. I doubt very much if we are the end point of evolution. In fact, there’s an intriguing theory that we will never make contact with intelligent life on other planets, simply because when civilizations such as ours reach a point at which they might be able to communicate across the universe, they self-destruct.
Are you a pessimist or optimist?
I range from optimistic to don’t know to desperately pessimistic, depending on what I had for breakfast. To be honest, I think we’re barely holding against the tide – but we can’t possibly give up.
What could we all do to make a difference?
If I had to pick just one thing, I would say choose a subject, or an endangered species, or a habitat that you feel passionately about – whether it be global warming, mountain gorillas or oceans – then identify a conservation group that is working in that field, and support them in any way you can. Support their campaigns, help to raise urgently-needed funds and offer your time. Personally, I would pick one of the smaller, specialist groups, because they tend to spend their money more efficiently, know what they are doing, and get more done. If everyone did that, the world would be a much better place.
What would be your advice to anyone seeking a career in conservation?
The best advice is to volunteer. A great many people now working in paid jobs in this field – even directors of prominent international charities – started their careers as volunteers. Volunteers have four major advantages over people who do not volunteer: they are demonstrating that they are seriously committed (many people have the right degrees, but far fewer can demonstrate that they want to work in conservation with every bone in their body); they are gaining practical experience; they are getting a foot in the door (the best way to be in the right place at the right time when a vacancy for paid work arises); and they are developing a much clearer picture of the kind of work they really want to do.
Where do you go on holiday and where’s your favourite place in the world and the British Isles?
My favourite place in the world is my bed, because I don’t get to spend much time in it. My ideal holiday involves being maximum distance from airports and airplanes. And I particularly love the quieter parts of Cornwall and Scotland. I have been known to go to places like New York for a holiday, which is about as far removed as possible from my usual wilderness haunts.
What changes to the travel industry in the areas you’ve returned to have you seen and have any changes had a positive or negative impact?
Wildlife tourism has changed beyond all recognition in the 25 years I have been travelling. Returning to places I first visited decades ago can be a shock, because there are nearly always fewer animals and more people. Of course, there are exceptions, but usually where once there was only camping now there is a small hotel, and where once there was a small hotel now there is a big hotel. It’s good that so many people are interested in wildlife these days, and that so much wildlife is accessible these days, but it’s crucially important that it’s managed properly and that both the wildlife and local people benefit too.
What piece of kit or equipment would you never leave home without on your travels?
I rarely go anywhere without at least 30 kilos of camera equipment. Photography is my passion and I’d rather leave home without my trousers than without my camera.
Have you used Rohan clothing on any of your trips?
Of course! I particularly love the Rohan shirts. They don’t need ironing (I throw them into my bag, unfolded, and when I pull them out they look as good as new) and they dry in an instant. They’re perfect for the kind of travelling I do – in fairly tough conditions far from the nearest washing machine. And, I must admit, I hate ironing so much that I wear them a lot at home too.
Have the big changes in outdoor clothing over the years made you more comfortable on your travels?
Yes, definitely. I wasn’t around in the days when Ernest Shackleton and his crew wore such inadequate gabardine and woollen clothes, of course, but the changes have been phenomenal over the past 25 years. Now we have everything from waterproof and breathable Barricade to non-iron, quick-dry shirts that protect you from UV radiation. It does make travel easier and more comfortable.
What are the top 5 items on your kit list?
You mean apart from camera equipment and Rohan gear?! Well, I would say: binoculars (no naturalist should leave home without a pair), powerful torch (so much wildlife is nocturnal), book (for all those long waits in airports and hides), notebook and pen (my memory is so bad I have to write everything down) and satellite phone (it has saved my life on two occasions and is often the only way to keep in touch with home).
Read Mark Carwardine other posts on Rohantime Soapbox Badger Cull – My Favourite Last Chance to See
BBC Two Sunday 20.00 Stephen Fry and the Great American Oil Spill

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Rohan Mountain Guide Jacket Review

Rohan Review

Trail Magazine Jacket Review November 2010

The November issue of Trail Magazine features their annual waterproof jacket review by Graham Thompson. Graham tested 84 jackets across four categories General, Winter, Multi-activity and Lightweight. The Rohan Mountain Guide Jacket finalist in the general category.
Rohan Mountain Guide Jacket
Men’s Mountain Guide Jacket
Solid, reliable and comfortable in any environment.
Solid, reliable and comfortable in any environment. All good qualities to look for in your outdoor companions. And they’re certainly all present and correct in our Mountain Guide Jacket.
It’s the definitive shell for the serious hill-walker and outdoor enthusiast. But with its understated looks and no-nonsense style it’s perfect for general use too. If you only want one waterproof jacket to cover all your needs, this is, without doubt, the one to go for.
It takes advantage of our advanced Barricade™ technology in a 2-layer construction with a rugged polyamide face fabric and a mesh liner. So it’s totally waterproof and, with our Active Diffusion™ technology.
The outer fabric has been treated with our high-specification Permanent Water Repellency™ finish to ensure that water beads up on the surface and the fabric never wets out. This is really important: breathable fabrics rely on a humidity differentially to work. Moisture vapour transmission is highest when it’s warm and humid on the inside and cold and dry on the outside – if the surface of the fabric is wet, then breathability is inhibited. Our PWR™ treatment ensures that doesn’t happen.
The Mountain Guide features two big chest pockets which are mesh-lined to maximise breathability and are situated high enough to clear a rucksack hip belt. There are two internal pockets – both sensibly located underneath the storm-flaps but outside the main zip. One is large enough for a map and doubles as a Packpocket™. The other is smaller and perfect for keeping your wallet or compass safe and secure – but close at hand. Read the full review

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Pinnacle Jacket Feedback

Observations on the Rohan Pinnacle Jacket.

I’ve been looking with interest at the new Pinnacle jacket. Looks good, but there’s a few things I’d want changing before I shelled out that amount of money.

The tag-line about nothing you don’t need is one I like, but I really wonder who really needs a link-up zip for under-layers when they’re doing serious mountaineering? If I link in an insulation jacket to a shell I get a few extra things: more time faffing with zips (especially if I want to change layering), more weight, more bulk, more cost, more heat lost through the gap at the front in the insulator and more prospect of my shell dragging up my under-layers underneath me. What I can’t see is anything particularly positive! I think there’s a good reason why most brands leave them out of their serious mountain jackets, and I’d like to have seen the Pinnacle follow the others on that point.

I think it’s truly a progressive step to use a proper waterproof zip onthe main zip, as we all know what “water resistant” really means. But I’d like to know why it’s worth putting one on the main zip while leaving two long and potentially leaking vents with the lower specification zips to the sides. Pit zips are bad for all the reasons Tim gives in the video presentation, but one thing about pit zips is they are sheltered much better from the rain than the sort of core vents on the Pinnacle, so while a resistant zip would be fine in a pit, if you’re bringing the vent into a more exposed location then shouldn’t it have more protection from the elements too?

Fleece around the ears etc.? Nice touch, but if I’m going mountaineering I’ll have a hat on (especially as a slap-head!), so I’m carrying extra weight and bulk for no reason, and paying more too. That’s the sort of thing that’s easy to add in under-layers (a Buff or two) but if you build it into the coat you’re stuck with it the whole time, so I’m not keen (at least for something I’ll be pushing to limits).

Next niggle is the arm pocket. I’ve never found a use for these that I didn’t contrive just because it’s there. Putting anything in them of substance means you can’t roll the sleeves up sensibly, you can only ever get at them with one hand and I’ve never found them easier to get at even with the “right” hand as easy as accessing a chest pocket. And again we add bulk, weight and cost.

880 grammes these days is pretty heavy. You can get genuinely tough mountain jackets with more minimal features at quite a bit lower these days, and I’d happily lose the arm pocket, extra zip and hood-chrome to get the weight down. I also find that there are always times when a shell belongs in my pack, and lower weight will usually correlate with smaller pack size too.

So v1.0 won’t find a buyer here, but a more stripped-down version might.

Especially if I can get a red one…

P.J. Clinch.

A Reply from Tim Jasper Rohan Design Director

Many thanks for such a thoughtful review. Let’s look at your points in turn.

1. Link zip. We thought long and hard about this and we consulted in the outdoor industry too. The general consensus is that the positives are there. If you’d tried a Pinnacle with an Inner Flame zipped in you might even be a convert too! It’s great when you’re wearing the coat in truly cold conditions, great for evenings around camp, it makes it the perfect ski jacket too. Convertees like it because once the garments are linked together there is actually less faffing: you have one, integrated, warm and waterproof coat. I realise this may not be to all tastes though. The weight issue is a bigger one and I’ll cover that lower down, but the weight penalty of this zip is a few grams – less than a bit of mud on your boot…
2. Venting and waterproof zips – or otherwise. The water-resistant zips on the side vents are protected by stiffened storm flaps. This keeps even wind driven water out. And although the waterproof zips on the front and hand pockets are much better, the water resistant ones we spec are pretty good anyway. We’ve had no leakage on any wear tests so far.
3. Point taken about the fleece ear warmers. In truth you’re not paying a significant sum for these. The weight issue is fair but again is minimal. I was wearing my Pinnacle for a low level walk yesterday and it didn’t stop raining for several hours. I wasn’t wearing a hat – it would have been too hot – so was quite happy to have the comfort the fleece provided. When we designed the Pinnacle we had in mind also this kind of general wear, because if you have shelled out for such an expensive jacket chances are you’ll be wearing it for more modest uses too.
4. Arm pocket. I love this arm pocket! It’s specifically for stowing a compass in easily when doing tight navigation in bad conditions. I usually stuff the compass up my sleeve (rather than having it flying around on its lanyard) so this to me is a marked improvement – but then that’s a personal preference. Good place for a ski pass and maybe small items like lipsalve?? Again, if it’s all about shaving off the grams then we’d leave it out.
5. Weight. All your points are very reasonable when considering the weight issue. The main reason the jacket is this weight though isn’t really the small details but the specified weight of the main fabric. We are acutely conscious of weight saving – where appropriate – but the thing with the Pinnacle is this: it is clearly not designed as a stripped back, super light garment, it is designed as a rugged and reliable jacket for serious, continual use. We developed our fabric at this weight in order to guarantee a good long life, even when used for professional use. I’ve plenty of lighter weight jackets both personally and out on test that haven’t really lasted that long. It’s all horses for courses really. If you want lighter coats then clearly there are plenty out there. What the Pinnacle is is a good, very high spec, workhorse for mountain use. Great as a wear-all-day jacket, but not the lightest. Anyway, thanks again. This is a great review and your points are very fair.
You might be interested to hear that we are working on some very light indeed mountain gear, but again with great durability. These should launch in the late spring. Dammit, not coming in red though!

All the best, Tim Jasper.

Rohan Design Director

Rohan Pinnacle Jacket – The Movie

Rohan Pinnacle Review