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#144391 - 01/04/11 04:45 PM Re: 4 season tents [Re: Becky]
ringtail Offline
member

Registered: 08/22/02
Posts: 2296
Loc: Colorado Rockies
Becky,

Some topics produce a debate similar to religion or politics.

Boots or Trail runners?

Tent or hammock?

Guns or no?

Dogs or no?

Horses or no?

The basic flaw with the question at hand is: In the process of acquiring the experience to go onto Denali or winter camping you also acquire a knowledge of and opinions about what type of tent you need. I understand that you may be trying to avoid purchasing a series of tents to do the trips that you desire to do sometime in the future.

Short cutting the process often produces an undesirable outcome.
_________________________
"In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not."
Yogi Berra

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#144412 - 01/04/11 06:58 PM Re: 4 season tents [Re: Franco]
chimpac Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 148
Loc: alberta,can.
Originally Posted By Franco
Nothing to do with false marketing. You just need to be able to read inbetween the lines...


Tarps...
These are some mids I have been playing with in the last few days.
The idea is to make them from a 10'x10' or 10'x12' tarp. You need to just cut some corners out, cut one panel out and stitch it back together .
Or you can stitch together two pieces of 10'x 5" fabric (12'x5') and you avoid having to work out angles and all of that.



Franco


What are these kites doing on this thread, a little of topic I would say.

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#144416 - 01/04/11 07:30 PM Re: 4 season tents [Re: chimpac]
Franco Offline
member

Registered: 04/05/04
Posts: 997
Loc: Australia
The OP already has her answers.
NOW we are indulging in personal stuff.
As you can see I have nothing against tarps, if used in the correct environment.
But thank you for you non contribution , once again.
You do that rather well.

You are correct however about the 'kite" comment.
More like an umbrella actually.
I have been playing around with the pentagonal shape for a while and in fact Henry made a working version of one of the designs last year. (one day it may appear...)
Recently there has been a lot of interest in a DIY version of a certain popular shelter so I made my own .
Similar structure but a different way of building it, different proportions.
The main aim was to make it very simple to replicate/build , and it is...
But, if I intended to use that, I would put at least a pressure release vent that can pop open if there is enough pressure build up.
Do keep in mind that (incredibly enough) none of the people that use this shaped shelter have any intention to put a chimney inside it.
Their loss I suppose.

Franco

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#144427 - 01/04/11 09:17 PM Re: 4 season tents [Re: Jimshaw]
stonemark Offline
member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 82
Loc: China
Originally Posted By Jimshaw
Stonemark
Do not be confused by the English term "best". Probably the most sold is not the "finest" but may from some perspectives be "the best". Generally the best are the fewer hand made variety. There may well be a cultural difference in the concept as well.
Jim
---thanks for reply, and in fact, I have no time to try every brand in the market, and many hike friends also have same opinions that, just buy the good sale products, at least it has common quality,or the manufacture of it would got big problem for cheating so many consumers; and the second thing is, they sale a lot, so they have money to upgrade the technology on product and after-sale services which the poor sale product factory could not do~ crazy
_________________________
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#144442 - 01/05/11 12:51 AM Re: 4 season tents [Re: ringtail]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By ringtail

I understand that you may be trying to avoid purchasing a series of tents to do the trips that you desire to do sometime in the future.

Short cutting the process often produces an undesirable outcome.


And this is what I mean by you may be better served by a three season tent if your actual immediate intentions are not to go to Denali - or winter mountaineering.

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#144450 - 01/05/11 11:53 AM Re: 4 season tents [Re: phat]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
I have sat out this discussion because my winter experience is from many years ago. I am not familiar with all the newest tents now available. Just some general comments.

In most of my mid-altitude (11,000 feet) winter (down to -40) experience in windy conditions (on the Grand Teton) we built snow caves for long term base camp. I think knowing how to build a safe snow cave is an essential winter skill. We had tents for the ski-in but once at altitude, we built a snow cave- lived in these up to 2 weeks.

I agree with Phat - one tent will not do it all. And winter equipment is survival equipment- failure is not an option. A safe winter tent is expensive- and worth it.

Everyone seems to be an armchair mountaineer- just listen to those who actually have been in the conditions that you anticipate.

More important than the tent is that you get some serious winter training. Find a class or a mentor and go one step at a time. If you had the winter experience and training, you would not have to ask about the winter tent. Winter camping at a location "like McKinley" is not the place for anyone but very experienced winter outdoorspeople.

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#144457 - 01/05/11 03:16 PM Re: 4 season tents [Re: wandering_daisy]
chimpac Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 148
Loc: alberta,can.
What does an expensive winter tent do for you?
Keep you warmer? I don't think so.
It might support a bit more snow but if you have a heavy snow fall you have to shake it off any tent, just more often with a tent with less poles.
It is vital to have a tent or tarp strong enough and aerodynamic enough to stay put in the wind.
You can add more layers of fabric but if one layer keeps you inside you will not have to carry the extra baggage.
I camp in the coldest meanest weather with a tarp. Its not a tarp like Franco is playing with, it is nailed to the ground all the way around and if there is any snow at all it covers the edges an is quite cosy. I would not recommend sealing the edges with snow if you want to cook inside wilh a gas stove without a chimney.


Edited by chimpac (01/05/11 03:39 PM)

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#144464 - 01/05/11 04:40 PM Re: 4 season tents [Re: chimpac]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2835
Loc: Portland, OR
I think we all "get it" by now. You use a tarp in Canadian midwinter conditions, with a stove and chimney, and this setup works well for you. If anyone here is saying that such a system doesn't work in those conditions, you are living proof that they are wrong.

We fully accept your experience as being absolutely relevant to all similar places, with similar low temperatures, similar tree cover, similar fuel availability, similar wind speeds and similar wind breaks. You seem to be a bit behindhand in noticing that these conditions do not prevail everywhere, or that other people might have valuable experience in somewhat different conditions from those you are describing.

To illustrate, here in Portland Oregon USA we sometimes have snowfalls as little as 3 or 4 inches which temporarily cause havoc to auto travel in our area. Outsiders from places like Alberta, Canada often scoff at how it could be that such a trivial snowfall could cause such immense problems. It is because they have never been here at such a time, in those conditions.

Our snow is often heavy, wet and quickly packs into ice in the roadbeds. Our city has many steep hills. Few vehicles are equipped with proper snow tires or chains, especially if the storm was not predicted, and even properly equipped vehicles can end up in a ditch, it's so slick to drive on.

My point: maybe your experience, valuable as it is, does not apply in every place and every situation, even if it looks the same to you. Maybe it is isn't. Maybe you have to have a different kind of experience to really appreciate the situation.

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#144468 - 01/05/11 04:57 PM Re: 4 season tents [Re: ringtail]
Becky Offline
newbie

Registered: 12/31/10
Posts: 3
Loc: Minnesota
Originally Posted By ringtail
I understand that you may be trying to avoid purchasing a series of tents to do the trips that you desire to do sometime in the future.

Short cutting the process often produces an undesirable outcome.


I think you're absolutely right, that's what I'm starting to think now. Best to just plan for the immediate future.

Originally Posted By TomD
Becky, As you can see, your question has caused a bit of controversy, which is normal for here on certain topics.

Solo tents are small, which is why I don't have one.


Haha, you can say that again. But it's all good, I like reading people's opinions.
And yeah, I want a 2-person, definetly.

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#144470 - 01/05/11 06:14 PM Re: 4 season tents [Re: chimpac]
Pika Offline
member

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1726
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
I promised myself that I would stay out of this but here I go again. I suspect I have a character flaw of some sort.

There are obviously two views in this debate: One basically represents the experience of those who camp in the woods in cold snowy weather; the other is that of mountaineers who have to camp at high altitudes where fatigue, high winds and limited space are a factor. Many hunters and winter campers experience the cold, snowy woods; few have any idea of what it can be like on high mountains in winter or in the polar regions even in summer.

I spent 6 months in the field doing research in Antarctica. This was not during the depth of winter; it was late spring, summer, and early fall - the warm season. I saw temperatures as low as -45C and winds as high as 90 mph. Snow loading was not a problem. I have experienced similar conditions during winter climbs on some of the higher peaks in the lower 48. Here snow loading was a significant problem. In my opinion, using a tarp under these conditions, however carefully set up would be suicidal.

The tents we used in Antarctica were A-frames with sod flaps and frost liners. They had tunnel entrances and ventilators and also had a zippered flap one could fold back for cooking and emergency peeing. The fabric of these tents was a tightly woven, strong, Pima cotton poplin and the tubular aluminum tent poles which fit in sleeves at either end of the tent were about an inch in diameter. The tents weighed about 12 lb ready to set up and would hold three in a pinch. If we had delicate scientific work to do in the tents, we would warm them using a white gas stove and hoped that the exhaust would escape through the vents and fabric.

The tent I used on my winter mountaineering excursions was a nylon version of the tents we used in Antarctica; the Sierra Designs Glacier tent. This has a full zip entrance on one end and a tunnel entrance on the other. It came with a rain fly (not usually necessary in winter conditions) and a frost liner. I still use my Glacier sometimes though I don't do winter climbs anymore. It weighs about 8 1/2 lb ready to pitch. I am not familiar with newer makes and/or versions; my SD Glacier dates to 1972. But I am sure that the newer mountaineering tents incorporate those features that have been proven either necessary or highly desirable: sod flaps, strong breathable fabric and poles, tunnel entrance and frost liner.

I suspect that those who suggest use of a tarp in mountain winter or polar conditions have no knowledge of what weather conditions can be like at high altitude or at high latitudes. Advocating a tarp in spite of this lack of knowledge borders on recklessness. To me, the idea of using a tightly pitched, waterproof and virtually air-proof tarp together with a potential source of carbon monoxide is a bit foolish. I would sooner just get in my sleeping bag to stay warm than risk CO poisoning.
_________________________
May I walk in beauty.

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#144471 - 01/05/11 06:25 PM Re: 4 season tents [Re: Pika]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Pika, Were you using a Scott tent? I've seen these on several expedition websites as well as the Australian Antarctic Division website. They seem to weigh about 70 lbs., but look well suited for those conditions.
_________________________
Don't get me started, you know how I get.

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#144472 - 01/05/11 06:31 PM Re: 4 season tents [Re: aimless]
chimpac Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 148
Loc: alberta,can.
Severe wind, low temperature, snowfall is what it is no matter where it is. You are telling me I am in the trees is that to mean that my tarp pitch will not handle wind. I am just as well off in the tarp as a fancy 4 season tent owner, both without a chimney using a gas stove with a wind screen outside, or through an open door, or inside taking a chance on poison fumes. We suffer equally and keep our mitts on.

There is no need for such rough camping.
If I have no access to wood, I will be venting a gas stove up a chimney inside.
If I packed in winter with no access to wood I would carry no heavy 4season tent but would carry gas instead, and tarp,gas stove/chimney.
I need the reasons listed for spending the money on a 4 season tent.


Edited by chimpac (01/05/11 07:54 PM)

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#144473 - 01/05/11 06:41 PM Re: 4 season tents [Re: Pika]
Franco Offline
member

Registered: 04/05/04
Posts: 997
Loc: Australia
I promised my self that I would let this die, but..
Thanks Pika for that description.
I have often come across people stating that they have seen a 'pyramid" shaped tarp set up in Antarctica.
What they have in fact seen is the Polar Scott tent
(incidentally made right here in Melbourne by a company , One Planet, owned by a guy I used to deal when he had his own "cottage industry" business over 20 years ago)
The Scott tent does indeed look like a backpacking mid but as you well described it is in reality nothing like that at all...
Franco

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#144476 - 01/05/11 07:33 PM Re: 4 season tents [Re: Franco]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
I've typed up stuff, then erased, then typed up stuff. Arrg. Normally I stay out of the tent topics but... Have you (this is the proverbial you) ever been in a typhoon? Tried to stand in just 80mph winds? Try to pee in 80mph winds. Well, I won't go there; but, if you want to see what is reliable on high mountains (getting hammered by winds approaching jet stream velocities), check out what the guides are using during tourist season on Everest. Same with the south pole and the "scientific" season. It's on the information (super?)highway.

sk

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#144482 - 01/05/11 08:52 PM Re: 4 season tents [Re: chimpac]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2835
Loc: Portland, OR
I need the reasons listed for spending the money on a 4 season tent.

For you, no such reasons exist. You have a perfectly good 4-season setup that works for you. I thought I made this pretty clear. No one, repeat, no one, is asking you to buy a 4-season tent. No one is telling you a 4-season tent will work better for you. No one would presume to tell you anything of the sort. So, demanding to have us tell you these reasons seems like a futile exercise on both sides. Why should you (or we)bother with such nonsense?

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#144498 - 01/06/11 01:24 AM Re: 4 season tents [Re: aimless]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Originally Posted By aimless
I need the reasons listed for spending the money on a 4 season tent.

For you, no such reasons exist. You have a perfectly good 4-season setup that works for you. I thought I made this pretty clear. No one, repeat, no one, is asking you to buy a 4-season tent. No one is telling you a 4-season tent will work better for you. No one would presume to tell you anything of the sort. So, demanding to have us tell you these reasons seems like a futile exercise on both sides. Why should you (or we)bother with such nonsense?


I agree. I base my gear recommendations on what I use, what other people I know use and on what I read about and see others using. I don't think I need to have every piece of gear made to make an informed decision or recommendation. I use the same analysis I use for work- I try to convey that my opinion is only one of many and that what works for me may not be what the person asking may want or need for their purposes, which are often vague.

Anyone asking for advice needs to realize that there may be different solutions for the same problem that work equally well, depending on conditions. It is this last qualifier that is the most important in my book. When I used to scuba dive all the time, I used to dive occasionally in conditions that scared some people so badly they wouldn't get off the boat, even though I knew it was perfectly safe and couldn't understand why they were afraid. The point being, don't discount the skill level of the poster and assume that what works for you is suitable for them.


Edited by TomD (01/06/11 01:25 AM)
_________________________
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#144505 - 01/06/11 03:31 AM Re: 4 season tents [Re: TomD]
stonemark Offline
member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 82
Loc: China
agree, as the words said,'the suitable is the best'~
_________________________
adventure in China~my site

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#144519 - 01/06/11 09:25 AM Re: 4 season tents [Re: TomD]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
Well said TomD (and aimless).

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#144525 - 01/06/11 12:08 PM Re: 4 season tents [Re: skcreidc]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
I saw a documentary last night on neltflix. It was called "National Geographic: Extreme Alaska: Denali National Park". The first half showed the lower elevation creatures, and the second half showed a group on a summit attempt of McKinley. It showed the tents they use and described some of the conditions they experience.


Edited by finallyME (01/06/11 12:09 PM)
_________________________
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#144540 - 01/06/11 05:21 PM Re: 4 season tents [Re: finallyME]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Originally Posted By finallyME
I saw a documentary last night on neltflix. It was called "National Geographic: Extreme Alaska: Denali National Park". The first half showed the lower elevation creatures, and the second half showed a group on a summit attempt of McKinley. It showed the tents they use and described some of the conditions they experience.


Just watched the back half of this show. Thanks for the link. The tents I recognized were MH Trangos, you can tell from the gray and orange color pattern on the fly. These are not lightweight tents; they are expedition tents for this kind of extreme weather.

www.mountainhardwear.com


Edited by TomD (01/06/11 05:27 PM)
_________________________
Don't get me started, you know how I get.

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#144541 - 01/06/11 06:04 PM Re: 4 season tents [Re: TomD]
GDeadphans Offline
member

Registered: 12/26/08
Posts: 382
Loc: Maine/New Jersey
My room mate is quickly shown in the Acadia National Park segment of the National Park series done by National Geographic! He was teaching children about some things about Acadia National park and he had no clue he was being filmed for a documentary. He recalled having to fill a form but didn't know exactly for what.

Well a year later I was watching the segment on the local access channel in the comfort of our living room when all of a sudden he popped up on screen teaching children! I yelled to him but by the time he got to the TV the frame was over. He couldn't believe it. If you ever see it, he is the big stocky (like 6'2" 200lb) dude with a beard wearing the Nat'l Park uniform.
_________________________
"To me, hammocking is relaxing, laying, swaying. A steady slow morphine drip without the risk of renal failure." - Dale Gribbel

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#144553 - 01/06/11 09:17 PM Re: 4 season tents [Re: TomD]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Thanks, Tom, you solved a burning question by indicating MH has expedition tents. Not sure why I didn't think to look at that myself as I love their other gear. Finally I am able to identify a tent I saw at the coast - I suppose if you are wanting to re-use a tent you got for that rare trip to Everest or Denali, pitching it in a campsite at Sam P Taylor State Park to party all night in the pouring down rain is as good a use as any.

That was an awesome tent - had twenty people in that thing. Probably not all sleeping in it, there were other tents around, but it was party central. The music went on, and on... as the rain came down, and collapsed a couple of our tents, and caused leaks in a few others. But that $4,600 15 person Space Station shrugged off the deluge like it was nothing.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#144554 - 01/06/11 09:36 PM Re: 4 season tents [Re: finallyME]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
In really bad winds, my Bibler will survive and function and my 2 man ElDorado (a 2 pole crossed design) is my "solo tent" for winter, but frankly in RREALly bad weather I prefer my TNF mountain 24 tent, with 4 body poles. smile It survives snowdrifts on top of it, ventilates well and mostly above the Bibler, that weighs half as much, it doesn't flap because its a dome. So with 2 people I often take the TNF and share the weight of the tent/cover/poles. Its my only double walled tent BTW.

So ok - if your tent has one pole, it means the wind can flatten it. If your tent has two poles (and by this I mean main body poles not including entrance poles, then it may take a snow load if they cross at the top, but it will flap in wind. If the tent has 3 poles it will most likely distribute a snow load better and be quieter in a wind. A tent with 4 body poles is pretty extreme and probably also has extra tie outs for ropes and is made of special strong fabrics. A 4 pole tent will not be real light, but then my TNF mtn 24 weighs 8 lb 12 oz, but thats exactly twice my Bibler 4lb 4 oz, without the 24 ounce vestibule.
Some people like pyramid tents, swear by pyramid tents, but it depends on the kind of snow load. Light snow that can blow away is best, but snow that slides down the sides of a pyramid accumulates on the lower parts and depending on the snow depth, can bury most of the tent and break the center pole - been there done that cry. Yet under the right conditions pyramids like other simpler designs work well, mostly out of the wind.

You really need a 2 man tent for solo mountain travel in Winter and a 3 man tent for 2 people. A winter tent should have a huge vestibule for your packs and boots and to provide some protected ventilation by keeping the tops of the zippers open in the vestibule and the tent. A winter tent should never be completely closed up. Some feel that 2 people in a small tent keep it a bit warmer and force out moisture - works for me since my tent is made ot Toddtex.
Jim
Geez well if anybody made it this far, I'm coping to the fact that my gear is designed for extreme mountaineering and is not really what people may want or need for more gentile hiking and camping, but my gear does sort of offer some insight into whats required in extreme. When you've bivied on The Eiger at minus 40 and managed to survive, it changes your outlook on "being prepared.


Edited by Jimshaw (01/06/11 09:42 PM)
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#144557 - 01/06/11 11:07 PM Re: 4 season tents [Re: Jimshaw]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Hmm, I've never bivied on the Eiger in -40C, but did survive a couple of days in Yosemite with Jim in his Mtn 24 in a mild snowstorm. smile A year or two later, I was comfy in my EMS in almost the same place in relatively heavy snowfall.

I also "survived" a night out in Mt. San Jacinto with no tent at all in beautiful weather staring up at the stars, just in my bag and BD Winter Bivy (nothing more than a couple of pieces of Epic sewn into a coccoon shape with a cross zip). MSJ isn't exactly the wilderness-it's above Palm Springs, but gets a fair amount of snow in winter.

Lori, I saw that Space Station on the MH website. Hard to believe someone bought one of those for beach parties. There is a big base camp tent in the Alaska Geographic program, but I couldn't see enough of it to see what it was. It is a big blue and white dome of some sort. I'm guessing it didn't come from Wal-Mart. laugh

ps. Netflix has some other wilderness shows including a documentary on Antarctica by Werner Herzog, the famous German filmmaker, which I just watched part of-pretty interesting.




Edited by TomD (01/07/11 12:00 AM)
_________________________
Don't get me started, you know how I get.

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#144558 - 01/06/11 11:22 PM Re: 4 season tents [Re: TomD]
Franco Offline
member

Registered: 04/05/04
Posts: 997
Loc: Australia
Most likely that was the inner (tent to you guys over there...) of either the MH Satellite or Sd Mothership.
I don't know of any expedition/base camp tent that has a blue and white fly.
Franco
Not that I know every basecamp tent but generally they have a bright/warm (red/yellow/orange) fly so that you can locate them and a cool (blue/white) inner to balance the fly so that your eyes do not have to adjust when you go outside after a prolonged stay.
Franco


Edited by Franco (01/06/11 11:45 PM)

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