Newbie looking for a light tent and pack

11:23 p.m. on October 14, 2011 (EDT)
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Looking to start weekend and multi-day hikes and camping trips...mainly in Colorado.  I have been looking at packs and the Mystery Ranch Trance XXX looks excellent.  I looked at several and am still open to suggestions.

Tents- that is driving me crazy.  If the Hilleberg Unna only had a vestibule.  I probably will not be camping in the winter but here in Colorado, it can get into the 30s and 40s even in the late summer- up high in the mountains.  So I guess I need a good 3-season tent- prefer free standing ones.  It would be nice to have a vestibule to store the pack and boots.  A bigger tent and I could store them inside- any of you do that?  A roomy 1-person or a 2-person would work.  A double-wall tent would work better as well.  I'm 6 ft tall.

I have a Western Mountaineering down sleeping bag (35 degrees) that should work till the Fall next year.  I'll find a warner bag later.

Thanks for the ideas and advice.

  

11:50 p.m. on October 14, 2011 (EDT)
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Hey chandne, welcome to Trailspace.

I have a Big Agnes Copper Spur UL1 that I use for solo(which is what I am primarily.) Awesome tent line. I wrote a review on mine. While it is not the size of tent you are looking for I did get pretty in depth when it came to materials used etc.

Awesome tent. I am thinking a UL 2 or 3 may very well be a tent you want to take a look at.

On the whole pack situation the Trance is a really nice pack but make sure it fits you. Packs are kind of like boots. They are somewhat personal when it comes to fit. What fits my torso shape may not necessarily fit you.

7:22 a.m. on October 15, 2011 (EDT)
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Chandne,

I have the unna and can promise you that if this is an awesome tent. I'm sure you have ordered their catalog, and if not you need to. The kerlon fabric, even the 1200, is so far superior to any ripstop nylon. They send you fabric samples and dare you to try ripping their fabric. Little bit about the Unna- if you intend this to be a solo tent and are just worried about a vesti, forget about it and pull the trigger. The interior is huge for a one person tent and they've designed it that way so that you can fit your stuff inside with you. I've fit myself, two 100 lbs dogs and my pack inside with me. Also there are elastic toggles that attach the tent body to the fly, if you need less interior space you can create a vesti by detaching a coupe of the connectors. I have 2 minor issues with the tent- the first is obviously the price, in a perfect world you get the pefect tent at the lowest price of course! The second is headroom- I would have liked to see even an additional 2 inches og headroom. I am also 6 feet and my head just touches the top when sitting up. Hope that helps,

Jake

7:28 a.m. on October 15, 2011 (EDT)
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On what Jake said, if you are serious on the vesti you could always opt for the Soulo.

The main reason I mentioned the Spur was the weight.

9:41 a.m. on October 15, 2011 (EDT)
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I just watched a video reveiw of the Soulo.  Hillebergs are great tents.  I'll probably end up spinging for the Soulo in the not so distant future.

10:16 a.m. on October 15, 2011 (EDT)
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The Soulo is about to be my go-to 4 season solo shelter after alot of research.

11:01 a.m. on October 15, 2011 (EDT)
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Great information, guys.  I'll take a look at the Big Agnes as well.  I did look at some but will look and compare the measurements again.  The Unna may well be the most versatile tent and I'll keep an eye out for sales.  I think Neptune Mountaineering does a 15% off every now and then.   The main advantage it has over the Soulo is a few inches of length but I believe the Soulo has more headroom.  I may drive to Boulder and go sit in them.  Neptune usually has them set up.

I'll also try on some packs.  Unfortunately, the Mystery Ranch packs are not carried by anyone here.  I keep hearing they carry loads really well but I am now aware that fit is so important.  I also looked at the Granite Gear Blaze, the Gregory Baltoro, a couple of Arcteryx packs, and some others.  I'll try some on since they are available here..  

I think the only other thing I need are lightish boots.  I will look for something with a narrow heel cup but decent forefoot room.  I have a bad ankle so a bit of support with proper hiking boots will help.  Eventually, I think I may need some custom boots or thin custom orthotics....am trying to research that.

11:17 a.m. on October 15, 2011 (EDT)
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Go to www.golite.com they have very light backpacking gear. I have two Golite packs. The multiday one is big enough for up to a week or two and weighs 1.4 lbs empty, my Golite sleeping bag is rated to 20 degrees, is goose down and weighs 1.4 lbs also. Made of strong sheer nylon. They have superlight tents, I used to have a Golite tent that would sleep 3 and weighed 4.5 lbs. I use a Mtn Hardwear Meridean 2 now that is a one person and weighs 4.5 lbs. I should have kept the Golite one!


Shangri-la-1-1lb-3-oz.jpg

Shangri-la 1 by Golite 1 lb 3 oz


Golite-Pinnacle-2-lbs-4392-cu-in.jpg

Golite's Pinnacle pack 4392 cu.in  weight 2 lbs

Check out all the other gear at Golite I have used them for over 20 years.

11:21 a.m. on October 15, 2011 (EDT)
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chandne, also ya may want to take a look at Osprey packs. They make a great pack(I have a day pack and an Aether 70.) I am considering now buying an Argon for my winter travels.

If they fit you they are great. Plus ya get a bomber lifetime warranty with them.

When it comes to packs, when you try them on try them out with no less than 15lbs of weight in them in the stor. Typically the shops have sandbags, etc for this purpose.

When trying out the packs if they have anything there that will simulate terrain utilize it(steps etc.) This also applies to boots. 

Many will tell you that a boot search can be one of the hardest purchases out there. 

Here are a few links to prior discussions we have had here in the past. Maybe you can get a bit of good info from them to help you on your search.

Gore-tex vs non gore-tex:

http://www.trailspace.com/forums/beginners/topics/98967.html

...and more Gore-tex rambling:

http://www.trailspace.com/forums/gear-selection/topics/87438.html

Boot Pron:

http://www.trailspace.com/forums/backcountry/topics/91454.html

Boots... why?:

http://www.trailspace.com/forums/gear-selection/topics/101927.html#102208

... just a few links that I figured I would fire your way. Hope it helps and doesn't make things more confusing for you. 

As I always do I am going to suggest that you go in to try your boots on at the end of the day after you have been on your feet for a pro-longed period. 

The reason I say this is that over the course of a day your feet swell from being on them. This will compensate for your feet swelling on trail. 

Also if you use aftermarket insoles take them with you when you go in to try on your boots. Also take along what ever sock(liners too if you use them) with you and utilize them when being fitted.

If you don't you may have a bit of trouble when you decide to fire on the new wheels and hit the trail. 

The above factors can alter the fit of a boot tremendously with your feet paying the ultimate price.





12:40 p.m. on October 15, 2011 (EDT)
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If you decide on a Big Agnes their tents have been on steepandcheap.com this month.  Check out http://www.sacalerts.com/history.php and search big agnes. Both the Copper Spur and Seed House have appeared this month. 

2:38 p.m. on October 15, 2011 (EDT)
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4:13 p.m. on October 15, 2011 (EDT)
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Given my out-of-hand gear fetish, I should have never gone to that boot pr0n thread.  That was a mistake, I am sure.  I have Pittevas, Meindls, Danners, and Van Gorkom boots floating around in my head now.

I have to go take my poor Boxer to chemo but when I am back, I will spend some time looking into all these suggestions and ideas.  This place is a Mother lode of knowledge and information.  

4:37 p.m. on October 15, 2011 (EDT)
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chandne said:

That was a mistake, I am sure.  I have Pittevas, Meindls, Danners, and Van Gorkom boots floating around in my head now.

This place is a Mother lode of knowledge and information.  

 Lol, glad to be of help. If you have any questions by all means please feel free to fire away. 

Hope all is well with the pooch. 

5:54 p.m. on October 15, 2011 (EDT)
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Go to www.golite.com they have very light backpacking gear. I have two Golite packs. The multiday one is big enough for up to a week or two and weighs 1.4 lbs empty, my Golite sleeping bag is rated to 20 degrees, is goose down and weighs 1.4 lbs also. Made of strong sheer nylon. They have superlight tents, I used to have a Golite tent that would sleep 3 and weighed 4.5 lbs. I use a Mtn Hardwear Meridean 2 now that is a one person and weighs 4.5 lbs. I should have kept the Golite one!


Shangri-la-1-1lb-3-oz.jpg

Shangri-la 1 by Golite 1 lb 3 oz


Golite-Pinnacle-2-lbs-4392-cu-in.jpg

Golite's Pinnacle pack 4392 cu.in  weight 2 lbs

Check out all the other gear at Golite I have used them for over 20 years.

 

Plus one on GP's post. They are in Colorado. I don't think they have a freestanding model in their current lineup, but the Acadia 2 is from last year, is cavernous, freestanding, and double wall. It is also a 4 season. My friend has it and no complaints.

Their packs are superb in my experience, especially the Pursuit For all- around versatility.

6:33 p.m. on October 15, 2011 (EDT)
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I have the Golite shangri- la 2 and could not be happier, although I do not require a freestanding tent. I may, for kicks, design a free-standing pole setup for it.

7:22 p.m. on October 15, 2011 (EDT)
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I guess I don't HAVE to have a freestanding tent but being a newbie, it is easier for me to set up a freestanding tent, especially in the winter I would imagine.  I'll look at some of the Golite stuff as well.  Their tents and packs look very interesting, and I'd like to go light right from the get go.

Not sure if any of you are dog people but I am.  My poor Boxer just got diagnosed with Lymphoma- T Cell.  It's wrecking her but I decided to get her the best treatment I could.  Let's see how she does.  I can't even tell you how many Hilleberg tents and custom boots funds she is using up, the silly pooch.  Each visit could easily buy me a Soulo and a Golite pack.  She is my constant companion and I have to give her a fighting chance though.  It kills me to see her this way. 

I am really appreciative of the advice and information you all have provided.  It also helps because I have to use my money wisely now.  I like buying good stuff once.  

7:56 p.m. on October 15, 2011 (EDT)
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I'm a dog lover(as well as all kinds of other animals for that matter.)

9:01 p.m. on October 15, 2011 (EDT)
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Like I said I've got 2 dogs and would trade any, and all of my gear, for my dogs health if need be. What your doing is the right thing. Tents, bags, packs can all be bought at a later date, enjoy every minute you can with your dog.

9:50 p.m. on October 15, 2011 (EDT)
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+1 Jake.

10:25 p.m. on October 15, 2011 (EDT)
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The Big Agnes Copper Spur 3 is 4lb 3oz trail weight and 4lb 12oz packed weight.  $259.99 on steep and cheap.  The Copper Spur 2 is 3lb 6oz trail and 3lb 13oz packed weights. It was on sale today (Oct 15 2011) for $199.99. 

3:22 p.m. on October 16, 2011 (EDT)
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If possible, get over to Steamboat, BAP - big A, is selling off their demos and prototypes, there were a couple of Seedhouse 2's and Copperthings going for about 50% off. That was as of last week, the deals might not be going on for long. The beauty is that they fix the stuff in back of the shop, so service is guaranteed. As for packs, Deuter is still my favorite in the runnings, they are the ones you see with the crap beaten out of them and are still going. They weigh a bit less than the Ospreys, and are just overall better built. If looking for an alternative to Mystery Ranch, but still the same quality, look for an older Dana Design. They are on the heavier side compared to some of the Balteros, Aether, and others on the market, but nothing on the mass market compares to their ability to carry weigh comfortably. (Exception maybe being some Black Diamonds). Best guess would be to hit the REI flagship in Denver and spend hours on the floor trying packs and tents out. 

As for the boots, the tried and true ones still going strong are the Vasque Sundowners, ya they are older, and their reliability is hit and miss, but half of the ones review wise suck and the other half are bomber. Or if you want to spend a chunk of change, Merrell- the one the company is named after has a small shop in Utah where he custom fits a boot for your foot, so maybe worth a drive if seeking an amazing boot. 

4:57 p.m. on October 16, 2011 (EDT)
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@ chandne : 

Here are a few thoughts from a guy that has a whole bunch of tents and has used and uses many, many different tents. I find that, floorless vestibules on tents to be mostly useless. On most of the tents you will be looking at, the vestibules are so small space wise and low to the ground that they cannot be used as a mud room or to change clothing unless you can detach you legs. Further, if it does not have a floor, it very will can build up and retain moisture theyby not allowing anything to dry out because the humidity is way to high thereby building up condensation. If it rains and or any moisture gets into the vestibule via the ground it can very well cause moisture build up and condensation to form on the walls/ceiling of the vestibules so that every time you get in/out of your tent you will have a good chance of being rained on along with the contents of your vestibule.  If it rains and any moisture gets in to vestibule anything you have in the vestibules that can wick up the moisture will, this has happend far to many times to me.  Even if it does not rain or if the ground is not wet, if you set your tent up on grass or any other live plant material the plant material exudes enough moisture to do the exact same thing as if it had rained and or moisture has gotten into the vestibule(s).  If at all possible, you might try and find a tent with a vestibule(s) that have a floor. If that is not possible you can make a floor out of Tyvek house wrap (or other materials) and even have it sewn in, or make it removable/detachable.  Some will tell you this will not work but it works very well if you water seal it which is very easy. I would much rather have tent space any day of the week over floorless vestibule space for me and my gear, and Mogh.  The only thing I have found a floorless vestibules to be good for is if the weather is so bad that you can't cook outside you can cook in the vestibule(s). With that being said, if you have a vestibule with a floor you can make a removable section (cutout) so that you can cook in it with out worrying about spilling contents and wrecking the floor of your tent. It is always advisable to cook outside and way from the tent but conditions will dictate what must be done.  If you do cook in your vestibule(s) or tent be aware that you may not have time to escape the falling napalm if you catch your tent on fire................I have burned down a tent,  do not repeat my mistake.  The tents I find to most useful are freestanding dome tents w/o vestibules. Remember that anything that you leave in a floorless vestibule is subject to being invaded by creepy crawlies, rattlesnakes, spiders, scorpions, pick your creepy crawly, etc.    Rodentia as well can have a night long rave in your floorless vestibule(s) as well.  I'm sure that others hear on Trailspace have their own opinions of floorless vestibule(s) and will hopefully voice them.

Remember that a floorless vestiable is not the kind a liability in the snow as it is in wet weather or on grass or even in the desert in regards to creepy crawlies.  Different tents for different tasks.  Please remember this is IMHO.

6:11 p.m. on October 16, 2011 (EDT)
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The Golite Jam is a frameless pack and it maxes out at 20lbs for any realistic comfort.  Sure you can carry 30 and your shoulder will be screaming at the end of the day.  Generally speaking, 20lbs is the upper load limit for a frameless pack (and for most people, less).

I have a Mystery Ranch Trance and it is superb.  Without the top pocket it is 3lbs, 14 oz on my scale but has 20L over the Jam and has a suspension that is robust.

6:21 p.m. on October 16, 2011 (EDT)
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I've spent many days and nights in extended rain, drizzle, hail, wind and heavy snow and ice storms in many parts of the Rockies. 

In several cases I've set personal best records in getting my tent up watching the storm come roaring down a steep slope toward me.  On the other end, I appreciate a tent that strikes and stores quickly so I can get on the trail and not waste sunshine.  The single wall tent stays dry inside even if fully collapsed and laying in a puddle in a driving rainstorm.

I've seen a few 'pop-ups' get caught in an unexpected gust of wind and carried away.  One - for all purposes - forever.

I've never really needed or used a vestibule (except for winter) and then I made do with my footprint and ski/trek poles.  We store things outside - covered - that we will not have use for during the night or a storm.  This includes the pack, extra food and climbing gear.  Boots we put in weather proof bags outside the door.   If a major storm we just load up the tent with cold to eat carbohydrates - not a lot of need to cook inside and tea water can be boiled outside the tent door.  It is a lot more comfortable and convenient to cook outside in a light wind rain or snow event.  It only takes one spill inside to mess up a good night's sleep.

I find my single wall tent to be not only strong enough for all of my packing and skiing, but also light and setup/striking is in minutes.  Condensation has not been an issue or a major concern.  We just expect a bit of moisture at times that can be handled with a tent wiping cloth.  I've seen more condensation in badly managed double wall tents.

Stephensons Warmlite(.com) 2R for two or three and 3R with doors at both ends and plenty of room. 

http://warmlite.com/tents/tents-technical-data

I use my 2R for a luxurious solo - it is lighter weight than many bivies.  I've only had a rare problem finding space for the footprint.  But then again not sure that is a 'problem' considering I bought the tent for its size to weight.

Run some calculations on weight ratio to floor space internal volume and sum of heights at front and back to compare with other tents.  Then compare against the cost.  My tent has more than amortized its initial investment in convenience and weight in my pack over almost 20 years.

It takes two people about 3 minutes from in the pack to in the tent.  Most of the time is spent threading the poles thru the pole tunnels. Requires 3 stakes (one rear, two front) and you are in.  Stake out the corners and out-lines if you are paranoid about flying.

We like the 'barn door' windows on both sides for ventilation, view of stars and as an outside covered storage area.   A pair of treks makes it an awning.

The 2R is a bit more than $500 and under 3lb.  If you will usually have a hiking partner or two, I'd suggest the 3R for a bit more in cost and weight.

10:53 a.m. on October 30, 2011 (EDT)
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Rick-Pittsburgh said:

The Soulo is about to be my go-to 4 season solo shelter after alot of research.

 

I ordered the Soulo by Hilleberg.  It's a very nice tent and I will be trying it out this week in the Lincoln National Forest.

Hilleberg3.jpg

7:03 p.m. on October 30, 2011 (EDT)
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Welcome Chandne to Trailspace

Add to what Gary and Xettro Brando saod www.Golite.com has great packs and customer service. The Jam and pinnacle are great packs. Also look at www.ula-equiptment.com  the Catlyse great pack by ula.Great customer service again. Another for packs in that range www.Mountainlauraldesigns.com  keeping it in light weight ad take weather and use. Also www.granitegear.comgreat maker of long distance packs used on the PCT

Tents I would look at www.Nemoequiptment.com their tents are award winners and they have freestanders. Also www.Tarptent.com Henry Shires contrail or moment comes to mind as well. Two other pack brands to look at Osprey brand as well as www.REI.com their flash 65 hits in the ball park of packs as well. Hope thios helps a little towartd refineing your search.

7:11 p.m. on October 30, 2011 (EDT)
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A strong +1 for Speacock’s comments.

If you are limiting yourself to three seasons, consider sleeping in the open, using a tent only for rain.  Your sleeping bag will work sufficiently in these conditions.  Rather than get a tent large enough to place gear in, consider storing your boots next to the tent in a plastic bag; likewise for your pack.  Only the next day’s change of clothes need go into the tent, perhaps positioned as a pillow or additional cushioning under your bag.  These changes will significantly lighten the weight of tent required. I have been more or less camping in this manner for the past 50 years in the High Sierras, under conditiins simular to what you will encounter in the Rockies.

Since the tent is only a contingency article, the MSR Hubba works fine for me.  It is sturdy enough, has a dry entry (most tents will allow rain inside while attempting to enter or exit), and is free standing, good for rocky terrain typical above tree line.  The North Face, Mountain Hardware, Sierra Designs all have similar, affordable, very light tents, as well as others brands.  Some brands are more economical, but somewhat heavier.  I would not suggest, however, letting cost be a significant criteria, since quality comes at a price, and this is both a mission critical item, as well as an item with a long life relative to other soft gear you’ll purchase.

I concur with Brian’s opine that most tent vestibules have limited function, other than to protect the tent interior from getting wet when entering/exiting during a storm.  If I attempted to store my pack in the vestibule it would make entering and exiting most tents an obstacle course; even the larger vestibules are marginal for storing more than a day pack of gear and boots.  Hence why I just throw a trash bag over my pack and leave it outside.  Take my word, you won’t miss it and nobody is going to make off with it :)

Ed

11:22 p.m. on October 31, 2011 (EDT)
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So while in my quest for the backpack and boots, I did find a decent and light tent.  I picked up the Copper Spur 1P (it was on sale for around $250).  I looked at so many and decided to stay light for the first one.  The Hubba was also considered but the Copper Spur has more legroom.  Will look at some of the others since a second tent is not a bad idea...still like the Hillebergs as a cold-weather option.  Looking at the Tarptents, ID, etc. too.  I think I need an enclosed tent...I do not like creepy crawlies while I am sleeping.  I like them little enough to begin with.  I also picked up some nice Ti cookware on clearance at REI, and a Soto stove- the small one.  

After trying on boots, I find the best heel fit lies in the Salewas...waiting for the size 12 mountain tracker to come in.  Most that fit me around the toes are loose in the heel.  May have to go custom here but waiting for the Salewas and may try on some more models of the other brands.  I have tried Scarpas, Zamberlans, Soloman, etc.  Still looking for that elusive narrow heel, slightly wider/rounder forefoot fit...especially around the little toe.  If even the Salewas do not work out, I may have to save up for a visit to Randy Merrell, though I am not particularly fond of really heavy boots at $1,300 per pair.  :)

Also trying on several backpacks in diff weigh ranges.  I have not been able to try on any Go Lites yet.  The Mystery Ranch Trance @ 4 lbs is always there- looks really comfortable but cannot try the darn thing on.

So pack and boots will get me there.  Not as worried about the pack but need to keep trying on the boots.  That is the biggie for me now.  I really appreciate the different ideas and brands mentioned.  I have found some really cool brands I did not know existed.

11:30 p.m. on October 31, 2011 (EDT)
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chandne- make sure you use some type of ground cloth with that tent. The floor is 30D sil-nylon. Whether you get the BA footprint(which you need to set it in fast-fly configuration) or you make your own use something.

9:15 a.m. on November 1, 2011 (EDT)
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Good point, Rick.  I just ordered the BA footprint. I will need a tougher tent that is more covered (for cold weather) so am keeping my eye out while I focus on the pack and boots.  In the meantime, I'll see how the Copper Spur works, though it really is a 3-season tent and no more.  It gets pretty cold at altitude here in Colorado.

2:00 a.m. on November 3, 2011 (EDT)
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9:30 p.m. on November 3, 2011 (EDT)
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Too funny.  I will not be caught dead with that contraption!  :)

September 18, 2014
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