I've had a couple more outings with my scope since posting last and now feel I have my ideal lightweight back country scope dialed in. It basically consists of:
Orion GoScope II - $85
10 and 25mm MA (included with scope)
Upgraded Tripod (slik compact 2) - $35
Celestron Red Dot star finder - $10 on ebay. I have a few of these but the mounting is different on the ST70 - more iike a newtonian finderscope mount.
2x Barlow - Seben, $10 ebay
GSO correct image 90 degree diagonal - $30
Dwarf Star Mount - $150
Seal Line 10litre Drybag - $30
All in total, $350 to get this scope to where I need it to be. You could always just use the travelscope as is. The tripod is terrible but can handle daytime and low mag nighttime viewing. I already had the Dwarf Star mount but that's the piece that makes everything work. Even with the light tripod the Dwarf Star is smooth and stays where you aim it. The Sea Line dry bag was a good addition, holds everything secure and dry. I wrap the scope in some metallic bubble wrap I have to protect it even further (and the bubble wrap makes a great bum pad on a log).
A funny thing, I've noticed, is that despite all the shortcomings of the little travel scope 70, everyone who looked through it at the moon or saturn had the same reaction. WOW! Most of the people I kayak with oddly enough, have never even looked through a scope at the moon and minds get blown every time I haul this scope out. Seeing the tiny little view of saturn and the rings people want to know how to see it bigger and more! And I've been educating all my paddling partners on dobs, refractors, maks, etc etc etc. Couple are planning on buying their own scopes now. So much for the cheap little refractor turning people off astronomy.
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