I was determined not to turn this into a blog about my latest backpacking gear, but maybe just this once….
My favourite tent of all time was the Phoenix Phreeranger I bought in the early 1990s. It saw me through some wild times, and I can’t think of any occasion it let me down. And then a few years ago, the PU flysheet coating started to die – breaking down and flaking, accompanied by a strong smell of sick. I couldn’t bring myself to throw the tent away, but it was stored in the attic whilst newer tents took its place.
Despite having several lighter, more modern one-person shelters – each excellent in its own right – I miss the shape and space and stability of the Phreeranger. Maybe it’s just middle-aged nostalgia, but I don’t think there is a better-designed one person tent available now.
Earlier this year I tried – and failed dismally – to restore the flysheet with a new PU coating. But then I spoke to Marc at Trekkertent. After a bit of emailing he offered to have a go at making a new one using my old fly as a pattern.
After a lot of time and effort on his part, the new flysheet arrived today, just in time for a long weekend on Dartmoor I’m planning for next week…
Restored Phoenix Phreeranger with its original guylines.
It’s fantastic: pretty much an exact copy of the original but in silnylon, rather than PU coated. And with a few improvements such as a storm flap over the zip, a new ventilation system (the only weak point on the old Phreeranger, in my opinion), some new guying points to make it even more bombproof, and lineloc adjusters for the tie-outs round the bottom of the fly. He also replaced the old PU-coated groundsheet with a new, lighter silnylon one.The whole project also takes about 300g off the original weight by using more modern fabrics, which is a useful saving.
I’m so impressed with what he’s done. I couldn’t be more pleased.
In case anyone’s interested, he’s now offering the replacement flysheets on the Trekkertent website.
(For the avoidance of doubt, I have no commercial interest here – just pleased to be able to share a really positive outcome.)