I’ve been very fortunate over the last six years to have done virtually all Camino de Santiago routes in Spain, either walking with groups, cycling on recce missions or by car, taking videos of the stages for travel agencies. I’ve been a loyal customer for Rohan for a lot longer than that, so count myself fortunate that I’ve always worn appropriate gear and have stayed comfortable on my Caminos and travels.
Let’s start with trousers. I love my Escapers (from a previous Rohan range), as they are so light and comfortable - perfect for long walks. On the Camino, the average stage is normally 20-25km per day, so during the season I may be walking with groups for several months clocking up over 1000km, therefore I need clothing to rely on that is also long lasting. The thing is I end up wearing my Escapers on my days off too!
In Galicia, where I walk the most with the guided tours, I wear these trousers virtually all year round as it never gets too cold here. I’ve now got three pairs as the oldest now are ten years old – they’re only just beginning to lose their shape a bit. Even with showery weather I wear them and don’t need to turn to waterproof ones. I’ve just got the new Fleet trousers which are super light, comfortable and easy to get into, so I’m dying to try them when the warm weather comes although already I’ve been lounging around with them showing off!
For the winter months, I’ve got a new pair of Dry Frontier trousers which are warm and waterproof. If it's winter and dry I also have the Outsiders which I occasionally wear here.
In summer I sometimes wear shorts. I like my Outriders as they are light, durable and even with showery weather I stay comfortable whether I’m biking or walking. I also bought Maroc shorts last summer which are nice and comfortable, not too long and unlike Bags shorts, not too short.
I always carry a waterproof jacket just in case, even in summer, so I’ve had good service over the years from my Elite (previous Rohan range). To replace it, I’ve just got the Momentum jacket, from the new 2020 range, which seems like a cut above the Elite so I’m really looking forward to trying it out in Galicia where we can get four seasons in the one day.
If it’s cold but mainly dry, I’ve already used my Icepack which is great as it keeps me warm but is nice and light, and kept me dry even during a light shower. I also love the fleece Microgrid Stowaway for summer nights or for early mornings on the Camino as it’s light but gives you good protection against the cold. When I’m feeling hot, I’ve got a light Merino T-shirt and the Altitude, so I can't wait for the warmer weather to wear these. Underpants are the Cool Silver Trunks which I love as I don’t feel as though I’m wearing anything! I think they are the best in their range for fit and better than most of the High Street brands.
As I walk so much, I need good footwear. I prefer light trekking shoes rather than walking boots as my ankles are still strong. I once used Solomon a lot, which is fine as they are reasonable quality and relatively cheap, and I’ve tried other brands including Decathlon. Their Quechua range, while cheap, are disappointing and they don’t last - so they're ok for first timers but not for someone like me who has to repeat the Caminos so many times a season. But thanks to Rohan's website I took a gamble by purchasing online a pair of Ecco Biom Venture and have never looked back since.
For trekking and casual, it’s got to be Ecco Biom. Not only do these shoes look good, but they're made from Yak leather with Gortex so are waterproof but breathable, and with a low centre of gravity and liquid molded sole, feel real light and comfortable. They’ve certainly cut down the risk of blisters! Of course, socks are from Rohan for warm climates. I actually like the all-time socks as you can wear them walking or casual.
But, having said that, even with the best footwear and socks, the occasional blister may still appear when the conditions are very hot. The way to minimise this is by keeping the feet cool by running under cold water and by using foot oils and natural creams or ointments. Now that’s a thought for Rohan for future product developments and collaborations!
So yes, it’s safe to say I wear Rohan a lot - virtually all the time. Not only do I feel comfortable and proud but I feel more confident wearing contemporary British designed clothing that’s made to last. Roll on my next Camino whenever that might be, it will be worth the long wait. I can't wait to do all that walking again and I promise I'll never moan when I'm asked by an agency to squeeze another Camino in!