Rohan are best known for travel clothing, but in the 1970s they also made hill gear – and today some of their garments are great for hill-walkers. The Elite uses Rohan’s Barricade fabric, which is extremely lightweight with superb lab results for breathability.
Barricade fabric is unique to Rohan, being a 3-layer construction consisting of a nylon outer, a Barricade membrane and a fine tricot backing that aids breathability, comfort and strength. In the lab the performance is up there with the best and once again in my view the key in part is the scrim lining, which does a great job of soaking up sweat that cannot escape and condenses on the inside of the jacket fabric. The fabric has an unusual ‘pinstripe’ look on the outside as well as a rather rustly feel. But the major benefit of using this fabric is its weight as the Elite jacket weighs in at only 328g (size L) while still maintaining a good set of features, like big chest pockets and a great hood.
On the hill
I’ve been using the Rohan Elite since spring 2010 and it is a great jacket for stashing in a rucksack, or a travel bag, as it packs down so small. The fabric has performed really well in my experience and is up there with the best in terms of handling condensation, which means that you can get some condensation inside when working hard but not really any more than in other jackets. So once again the reason for choosing this jacket will be heavily influenced by the design and in this case the feature benefits need to be considered alongside the low weight. You get a front zip but no external stormflap, and while this has not leaked for me, I’d prefer an external stormflap for long-term use. The two chest pockets are great though, as they are massive and easily accessed while wearing a rucksack. The hood is excellent too although the peak is perhaps not quite as stiff as some others – meaning it does not offer the protection of others in a really windy storm. Like some others this is pretty short too. I’ve not torn this jacket but I do feel that I might if I am rough with it when scrambling around. Also as the fabric is so thin it does not trap air well, so it can feel a notch chillier than others. But this is about travelling light, and in that respect the Rohan Elite is superb.
Outer 3-layer Barricade laminate
Fabric waterproofness extremely waterproof
Fabric breathability extremely breathable
Weight 328g (size M)
Made in China
Stores in the UK 50
Stockist details – tel. 0800 840 1411; www.rohan.co.uk
The Rohan Elite is an excellent weight; two good external chest pockets; good hood; fabric offers good level of breathability. However, it is relatively short; fabric is very rustly; no external stormflap on main zip; only two external pockets; heavier fabrics trap more air and feel more durable. In summary, it’s an excellent lightweight waterproof for hill-walkers and travellers, but heavier jackets have advantages in terms of durability and comfort.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine March 2011