Few people shout about the joys of blustering wind and pouring rain quite like Craig Lees, our Head of Retail, Sales and Operations.


Craig is a bit of a waterproof expert, and knows our range like the back of his hand, so he was the perfect person to interview about our waterproofs, what makes our Barricade Standard so special, and the importance of taking care of your kit.



What makes a Rohan waterproof garment so good and how do you differentiate from other brands in the market?


For me, what makes Rohan waterproofs so special, is that right at the start of the design process we focus on end-use and really make sure that we are designing something that's fit for purpose. For example, sometimes that means throwing out a concept because we can't find the right fabric or the right manufacturing process to deliver it at the time. Sometimes we shelve things for a couple of years until we find the right products.


You can see it in our clothing -even the component parts of our waterproofs like the zip, the zip tabs, the elastication around the waist - everything is designed with end-use, and the end user, in mind. I think that makes a big difference. Sometimes you won't even notice it when you're wearing these garments, but even the configuration of the pockets and how they open has been designed around where we think you're going use it and how. For instance, whether we raise the pockets slightly higher because we think you're going to put a waist pack on which would block out the bottom of the pocket. So yes, our point of difference comes from focusing on the end-use, right from day one of the design process.



Why would you suggest someone has more than one waterproof jacket?


Well, obviously the design of a waterproof jacket is to protect you from the harshest of the elements. But flipping back to how we design for end-use, at Rohan we have the five pillars of the brand when we design, which is: protective, lightweight, packable, easy care and versatile. And in waterproofs, the versatility of the garment can become a weakness rather than a strength. For example, if you're designing something with an idea of lightweight trek, packability becomes really important.


It’s important because you need the softest fibre you could probably use on the outer and therefore, you're designing something which is not overtly robust. Whereas if you're taking something to Everest basecamp, you need a totally different cloth that you'll be using on the outer. So, one size really doesn’t fit all, in this instance. If you're looking for a waterproof, then it's the what, the where, the how, and the why of your chosen end-use that becomes vitally important to us as designers and in getting you the right garment.


If you need advice on choosing a couple of waterproofs for different uses then it’s better we recommend something which is good in some respects, but not so good in others. So yes, you definitely need more than one waterproof garment, in my opinion.



Why in 2008 did Rohan decide to introduce the Barricade standard?


One thing we found, and again going back to the original answer about designing things for end-use, is we kept either developing or finding more and more waterproof, breathable fabrics on the market. And there was such an array of them, and so many key end-uses, that we wanted, for once and for all, to put a minimum standard on waterproofing and breathability that we could apply to all these fabrics we saw. We knew that anything that fell below the standard, we just wouldn't use. So it helped us, in a marketplace which was becoming more and more crowded with people developing waterproof, breathable fabrics, to draw a line in the sand which we wouldn't take our fabrics below. The Barricade standard is actually 10x the British standard, so we knew it was a high level for the fabrics to hit during testing.

What are the most common questions you are asked about waterproofs and waterproofing?


I think to be honest, the questions we get asked most are around care. Waterproof garments are an investment product - you don't buy one for every day of the week and you want it to last a long time. When we look at the Barricade standard and talk about breathability, there's no point having a really breathable, waterproof fabric if you’re wearing a cotton T-shirt underneath. It’s the equivalent of wearing a damp cloth next to your skin which pulls heat away from you. So, it's always about getting people to understand the care needed, and the need to wear and utilise a layering system when they buy waterproofs.



As an avid outdoorsman, talk to us about a scenario where a Rohan waterproof garment was in its element.


I am lucky because I work for a brand that sells a lot of outdoor kit, but we don't often get out and play. I try and get the design teams or the marvellous mail order guys up to where I live in the Lakes, or to the Peak District, to get them out and about. I almost do a little rain dance, hoping that it actually rains when they come up because you only appreciate the design functionality of our amazing waterproofs when you're out there in fairly miserable conditions. Because on a on a sunny, blustery day, all waterproof jackets are pretty much the same. But it's when the clouds drop, when the rain seems to be driving up from below you rather than the sky, when the wind is whipping about, that’s when it's testing all the features and benefits that we designed. That, for me, is a good day out. I remember taking the design team out last autumn. We went out for a 6-hour trek around Fairfield Horseshoe just above Ambleside and it was horrible - it really was horrible. But as I said, that's why we design the clothing, not for the fair-weather days, but for the days where you get caught in bad weather and need protection.


Craig's Waterproof highlights this autumn

The Brecon comes from a very long line of mid length waterproofs in our rich history of designing waterproof jackets; the Mountain Guide, the Mountain Pass, the Ascent, the lists goes on…long enough to cover the top of the trouser pockets, short enough to be clear of the stride pattern and perfect for the more arduous treks up hill and down dale. The classic design makes this garment smart enough for the city whilst having every feature I need on the fells.

The Moor Overtrousers are the perfect overtrousers for me. On the days when I flatly refuse to believe the weather forecast, a “just in case” addition to the backpack, light as a feather but robust enough for the occasional scrape over rocky terrain. The long length zipper pulls allows for ease of getting them on and off without any struggle.


For more information on how to pick the right waterproof for you, take a look at our Waterproof Guide, and feel safe in the knowledge that whichever Rohan waterproof you choose, you’ll be protected from the elements on all your outdoor adventures.


Browse our Waterproof Range