I need advice about buying a grab and go setup. Right now, I have a 5 inch Polaris Meade reflector and a 10 inch Dob. I want to buy a refractor that I can easily transport. Reason being: no cooldown, no collimation and I want to try something new (I have never owned a refractor). My house has Bortle 9 skies and is in a city of 250K. I can drive 45 minutes to Bortle 4 skies relatively easily but I predict the refractor would be used more at home to split doubles and observe open clusters. A wide FOV would be nice for the open clusters. Planets and lunar may also be reasonable from my house but I am less interested in those objects. Although I like globular clusters, galaxies and nebula, they all look like faint, fuzzy spots from my backyard. Requirements:
1. Preferably, less than 20 pounds all together. 25 pounds tops. I would like my pre-teen child to be able to use it by herself.
2. Less than $1000 for mount, tripod and OTA. Might stretch to $1500
3. Visual only.
4. Manual. I don't want to haul around cords/remotes/batteries and align the mount.
5. Tall enough to accommodate my 6'4'' frame. Adjustable to accommodate kids.
6. Ideally the package includes a stout case to protect it during storage and travel.
7. Has to be decent quality. Not necessarily top of the line, but something I won't end up replacing in 6 months due to quality issues.
8. Relatively rugged. My 4 and 8 year olds both like astronomy. My 4 year old especially pulls the telescope toward him while on the step ladder. This may not be reasonable criteria for any optics.
I was thinking an ~80 mm doublet on an alt-az mount. I looked at several options and was strongly considering the Vixen Porta II Tall tripod + 80 mm Vixen ED ( For $1000, that checks most of the boxes and several people spoke highly of the mount/tripod (https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/476705-whats-your-grab-and-go-telescope/).
I also considered a camera tripod (Bogen 3011 or Benro TMA28A) or even a surveyor's tripod. The Dwarfstar mount is a tantalizing idea but only supports 8 pounds. Since this is basically my 2nd telescope, I don't know if I want to buy a super light refractor (<70 mm) to pair with the restrictive weight limit of a Dwarfstar. I figure if it says 8 pound limit, 6 or even 5 is more reasonable.
My alternative OTA options are William Optics ZenithStar 81 mm apochromatic doublet, Sky-Watcher EvoStar ED80, Apertura 72mm FPL-53 Doublet APO Refractor or maybe a Tele Vue 76, although the TV is over budget for the OTA alone. I thought that some of these scopes would be good enough for AP in the future, if I bought a heavier mount/tripod. I currently do not do any AP or CAA.
I would appreciate your thoughts and ideas.