Sunday, 28 September 2014

Phoenix Phreeranger, Phreeranger EB & Phreerunner Re-Visited

I thought I'd take another look at the Phreeranger series of tents again as they're a bit of a current topic for discussion now that Trekkertent are offering new flysheets made from modern fabrics to replace old worn out original flysheets.

There are basically 4 tents in the range if you count the broadly similar single skin Gore-Tex Phreerunner, each version came in either Regular Flysheet form or in what was known as an EB version, the EB simply means Extended Bell (Bell being Porch) and it was a Phreeranger EB that I bought originally back around 1990, a tent that I sold around 2008 and have being trying to find a replacement for ever since.

The Phreerunner was pretty much identical but single skin Gore-Tex. It wasn't a lot lighter than a regular double skin Phreeranger but I think it may have been aimed at higher altitude mountaineering where the cold dry climate suits Gore-Tex tents and ease of pitching  a single skin tent would be a bonus, IIRC Mountain Equipment made a single skin Gore-Tex tent aimed at this sector.

I ended up with a Phreerunner as I had a saved search on ebay for Phreerangers, the Phreerunner turned up and I bought it. When it arrived it was in nice condition given the age and came with various swing tags etc in addition to original pegs and pole splint. There were also some additional skewers that may or may not be as supplied originally.

The main body of the tent is Gore-Tex with the porch being made from Ripstop nylon. Although it's similar to the Phreeranger the porch extends a little further and the rear a little less. The other noticeable difference once inside the tent is the increase in space as there's no inner tent. The inner door is the same as all late model Phreerangers in that it had a double drop down door. There's little difference in weight but when packed I think the Phreerunner is a little bit more bulky thanks to the heavier/stiffer Gore-Tex fabric.

Porch extends further out than the Porch on the Phreeranger

Rear extends out less
Good Sized Porch

Increased Inner space compared to the Double Skin Phreeranger

Where is she now?

I haven't used the Phreerunner so don't know if it performs as well as it looks, I just kept on using the 2 un-taped good Phreeranger flysheets that I have.


  1. Hi, Richard. Nice piece. It's great how the trekkertent project has revived interest. I've posted a few more photos of my restored tent in its natural habitat. case you're interested.


    1. Hi Matt, good to hear from you, I must check out your blog. It's surprising how many people have fond memories of the Phreeranger and perhaps more surprising that the design fell out of favour. Of course there are much lighter solo tents but they're quite a bit smaller, by today's standards the Phreeranger would be classed as a 2 person tent.

  2. hi - i've just unpacked my Phreeranger after 15 years hanging in the loft; set up camp in Snowdonia in Feb, daughter aged 11 kipped out with me in 60mph winds - amazingly reliable tent after all these years.
    The tent is like an old reliable friend - she never lets me down

  3. I have one of these used it in the hebrides kayaking been in a dry bag in the airing cupboard for a few years must dig it out

  4. Interesting to see that yours has a mozzie net integrated into the door. Sadly, mine does not. If I ever use mine for an extended trip rather than as a weekender, I may well have to modify the door.
    I have just had a replacement groundsheet put in, but the company that did it were not prepared to attempt the door mod.
    I have been using a Vango Helium 200 (with mozzie net) as my backpacker for a while, but decided to give the Phreerunner another try. The Vango may be half the weight, but it is just so small and low inside!

    1. The doors seem to come in all sorts of variations, some have full mesh and full plain fabric doors, some have no mesh like yours and I think some have a mesh panel in the main door.