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#1 Subaru_Aloo

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 01:38 PM

So I'm looking for a light weight camper that I can haul with my new Impreza WRX. Anyone here already towing something. I can't do anything too big because of tow weight, but I also don't want anything that eats up my MPG either.

I started looking and think the solution is a teardrop trailer. I really don't want to build one myself and the manufacturers are few. Most even require a couple-few months to get one and I want to use it this summer.

From what I can tell, there is only one major player, Little Guy, that makes it easy for me to see and get one without travelling cross country.

Anyway, before I take the next step and visit my dealer, I wanted to pick some friendly brains for alternatives...I don't know if I'm doing the right thing or not. I hear good things about Little Guy, but want to do my due diligence.

Thanks in Advance!!

#2 Reveeen

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 02:18 PM

http://www.tab-rv.com/

I also don't want anything that eats up my MPG either.

Anything you tow will eat gasoline.

#3 Gene J

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 04:15 PM

So I'm looking for a light weight camper that I can haul with my new Impreza WRX. Anyone here already towing something. I can't do anything too big because of tow weight, but I also don't want anything that eats up my MPG either.

I started looking and think the solution is a teardrop trailer. I really don't want to build one myself and the manufacturers are few. Most even require a couple-few months to get one and I want to use it this summer.

From what I can tell, there is only one major player, Little Guy, that makes it easy for me to see and get one without travelling cross country.

Anyway, before I take the next step and visit my dealer, I wanted to pick some friendly brains for alternatives...I don't know if I'm doing the right thing or not. I hear good things about Little Guy, but want to do my due diligence.

Thanks in Advance!!

Try a nice tent. A good one will go up as quickly as a pop up camper with a lot more room. You might be a lot happier.

#4 nipper

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 09:20 PM

i was thinking of a roof top pop-up tent myself.

i actually like these trailers, plenty of ground clearance and a litle better then other no frills small trialers.


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#5 four-fleet-feet

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 12:28 AM

OK, a bit of background here. I'm from a road-traveling military family. We traveled in everything from car/trailer, 3/4 ton truck and 13 1/2' cabover camper, Class C, Class B, neighbor's Class A, tents, you name it. I used to average about 45 weekends on the road a year, everything from horse shows to dog shows to Highland Games to SCA events to 'the road goes there or mostly there' camping. And I can equivocally state you won't like this little trailer.

Oh, Dad wanted one and got one. We quickly found out there wasn't room for one person and a small dog, let alone 2 other people. Porta-pottis and miniscule water tanks meant we did a lot of time in campground bathrooms or truck stops. They get hotter than Death Valley in August due to all that metal, the big window, and that mini vent on the roof. In rain you'll be humid and uncomfortable; in the heat you'll cook; in the cold you'll wonder why you ever thought this kind of travel was fun. You'll listen to the galley slave moan about having to cook outside to avoid spilling the dinner in the bed, and from the lazy-half, moaning they have to get up so someone can eat. Storage from hell - as in NONE. Nonexistent ventilation. D'you see any lower air vents? If it's pouring outside, that roof vent is useless unless you popped for the vent cap cover... and vents lower down cost money, so manufacturers don't add them for entry-level units.

Real toilet in your proposed trailer? Either it has the black-water capacity of a six-year-old, or that thing will weigh a ton more than your car's rated to pull! After the frame and interior, the fresh/gray/black water tanks are the heaviest things in most small RVs. There is NOTHING worse than flushing or brushing and having water back up when you're miles from a dump station. Trust me on this. Dribble your gray on the ground, you say? How'd you like a ticket from Smokey Bear's best buds? It won't be cheap.

A trailer this small will end up making you think of the old Volkswagen and all those college students crammed in everywhichway... you'll end up resenting your OWN rump every time you turn about. Besides, when you look at the trailers, remember all those amenities just add weight, cost, and something which will fail in the wild. Yes, WILL. Simple is better. These little trailers are cute, but you do not see them at campgrounds unless they're behind novice campers! Since your car won't pull one of the bigger trailers, maybe you need to consider other options.

If you can stand the thought of a tent, you'll get more room in the tent than this trailer will ever give you. You will also be able to choose your amenities piecemeal rather than take what the manufacturer gives you. Want a thick mattress? Longer bed? (If you're taller than 6', you may find your feet won't fit in that trailer except hanging off the bed box :eek: - a very miserable way to sleep) 3-burner stove? Big honkin' cooler for a whole boat load of fish on stringers? You can have them all - if it fits in your car, that is. :) A nice tent will cost a fraction of this trailer, also.

Not a tent, you say? Maybe a pop-up trailer, then. A little more room, a little bit more civilized, and still low-profile going down the road. Yes, you'll have the fabric pop-up part, but as long as you set it up in the garage or under cover after having it out in the rain you can postpone the mildew-mold fears for quite a while. And, also, the fabric can be replaced, giving your trailer a long life. Many new campers like them, so you can usually find a family willing to buy yours if you get a good one, keep it in good shape, and take care of it (wash the bugs off, keep the wheels in good shape, don't let the mice live in it over the winter, that kind of thing).

You gas MPG will go down no matter what you do; even if you pack a tent on the roof it will go down. If you want to go camping, that's the way it is. Unless you're camping with the latest and most expen$ive gear, it weighs a car down when it's all in (plus water, food, and people, not to mention pets). Unless you're strictly staying in places catering to Highway Yachts, you'll have to go up or down into the campgrounds in many locations. The more weight you're pulling, the more ga$ you'll be buying.

Want some serious unbiased advice? See if there's a local hunting club in your area. I can guarantee every weekend hunter knows what not to buy if they don't bivy up in a hotel when they're done for the day. They've probably learned the way my family did: bought it, used it, cursed it, sold it, bought what seemed right until we found something better.

Oh, yes, the final warning: once you start down the slippery slope of camping equipment acquisition, get used to slobbering over the new gear every year, or in the next shady campsite over! I suggest you start budgeting NOW. :grin:

#6 bulwnkl

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 08:49 AM

I wasn't even the one asking the question and I found that answer helpful. Thanks, f-f-f!

#7 eagleb

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 12:05 PM

Oh, yes, the final warning: once you start down the slippery slope of camping equipment acquisition, get used to slobbering over the new gear every year, or in the next shady campsite over! I suggest you start budgeting NOW. :grin:


+1 on that. nothing like Gear Acquisition Syndrome to make your wallet shrink!

#8 nipper

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 12:33 PM

+1 on that. nothing like Gear Acquisition Syndrome to make your wallet shrink!


heheh yup i have a camera bag and a room full if computer equipemnt to support that :)

nipper

#9 woundedbrat

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 01:13 PM

I like the little teardops, I think that for weekend camping with a tent they're a good idea, If you reserve the cab bed for late night arrivals or severe weather, and generally use a tent, you have the gally for prep but will most likely be cooking on the barbeque. previous suggesstions are very valid. A teardrop with a popup cloth section with proper lower ventilation maybe a ea81 subaru rear suspension have to fire up the welder

#10 PAezb

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 01:14 PM

Not sure if Impreza's would handle these well. The Tribeca, Outback and Legacys and Forester's should have no issues in non-mountainous areas: I tow a 13 ft Casita Deluxe with my OBW.

I don't recommend anything larger than the 13ft models except for the new Tribeca which should be able to handle a 16 footer.

http://www.casitatra.../13-layout.html
http://www.scamptrailers.com/

http://www.fiberglassrv.com/ Check out all the Brand/Models - lots of options.....
http://www.fiberglas...hp?showforum=52

#11 eastwestboy

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 02:21 PM

have a look at aliners (aliner.com). Works well with an impreza. They even have a small version , the scout.

#12 four-fleet-feet

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 04:14 PM

Something else most new campers do not realize:

Everyone looks at the manufacturer's tow ratings and thinks 'goody, I can buy this or that trailer' and buys one close to the rated limit.

No! No! No! That limit is golden if you want your car/engine/transmission to survive.

Let's use some fake numbers. Imagine my Impreza has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of 4000 (really, it doesn't, I said fake!. Let's say the actual vehicle weight (the Actual Curb Weight Rating) is 3100 with a full tank of gas but no passengers, no seat covers, no box of Kleenex, nada else but what the factory put in, which does not include the rubber matting, the cargo mat, and the roof rack (or any other standard accessories) if it wasn't put on WHEN THE BASE CAR WAS ASSEMBLED. (Check your manual for the Curb Weight Rating, it's not on my Imp door panel but it will be somewhere in your vehicle or in the manual. Trust me, it's there somewhere.)

That leaves you: 900 lbs. (please remember this is a fake number!) of cargo capacity MAX. That's it! No more safely. That GVWR limit, which is on your door pillar, is something to obey. Add up your weight, and the weight of your passengers. Then add the weight of any aftermarket (even dealer) additions your vehicle has. You added spoilers and a massive tow hitch? Add those into your payload figures. Add up EVERYTHING. Be anal. A new car is expen$ive...

Hmm. Maybe 400 lbs left? (Or less? Lay off the Super Sizes and...) That's your realistic cargo for food, camping supplies, water (rough estimate 8.25 lbs. per gallon, make sure you add a pound or two for the empty jug weights themselves, or even weigh them). Add up the stuff you'll use on the road and the stuff you may buy, and take a hard look at it.

Now, you may be thinking 'goody, I'm glad I'm pulling that trailer.' No again. You can't put a trailer behind that loaded car and expect your car to survive! You can pack up the car, or pull a trailer under the limit, but not both. Do NOT listen to the trailer salesman telling you I'm wrong. I wish I was. All he/she wants to do is sell you that trailer. I'm trying to save your car!

Even with a trans cooler (and Rule #1 of towing: get one if you don't have one. Rule #2: beef your brakes (and your trailer brakes!) up with the best pads you can afford. Rule #3: take nothing you don't need, it isn't weightless) you'll be straining your trans pulling a trailer up, around, and along in the heat of summer. If you're (over)loaded so your engine's lugging, you can guarantee repairs will be in your future. If you're so loaded your suspension's maxed out, you'll be repairing it. Or finding a new axle or two. Or worse.

Every spring dog show I see a new exhibitor with an overloaded vehicle. By fall they're not showing, or at least not in THAT vehicle. Everyone underestimates the weight of the gear one loads in a trailer, as well. A trailer weighing 1000 lbs. can and often does have much more than 500 lbs. in it once it's packed. Sleeping bags, clothes, food, water, ice or big propane bottles, maybe bags of charcoal, ewven the weights of the four corner jacks you'll need to stabilize the trailer must be factored in.

If your max tow is 1500 STOP and think. If the trailer weighs 1000 empty you must not pack it full, and you need to watch the weight in the car too. If that's a real lightweight trailer, it's often flimsy enough to start falling apart after one season (pressboard, the usual cabinet material, literally comes apart at the staples if you travel on Forest Service roads). If it's that light, you need to worry about semi wakes, as well. Light trailers flip when you get buzzed by some of the loaded doubles doing w-a-a-y over the legal limit (or, forfend, triples in Oregon).

I actually read the mentioned trailer links. Most of the trailers mentioned, in the 13' size, were 1200-1475 OR MORE in weight. If you had the 13' Scamp, without the bath (the 1475), you'd have 25 lbs. for cargo. That's it. If you got the bath upgrade, not only would you be overweight, but think on this: multiply 28 gallons of fresh water by 8.25 and wowee, are you LOADED. That doesn't even cover the gray/black tanks, or what you ate and drank that's now added to the tanks as well.

Are you a breathtarian????? Forget the Beanie-Weenies, let alone the Pork and Beans, you won't even be able to pack the cookpot. Better be going to a nudist camp, too: no clothes or blankets can go along.

I may sound a little dictatorial about this, but I have seen or learned all of this the hard way. Breaking an overladen rear axle is not fun. Blowing tires on a steep downhill (while you vainly try to brake that heavy #%$&*$% on your tail) can be deadly.

Small trailers, pulled by small cars, really don't mix. I don't recommend it. I'd really advise going another way than in a hardshell trailer. Camping in the rain, in a tent, isn't always fun, but being broken down (or in a hospital) is much worse.

You'll never see a teardrop or other hardshell camping trailer behind my Dragon, and I've been camping since Kennedy was Prez. 'Nuff said.

#13 (goldfish)

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 07:49 PM

I was looking at these, and really wouldn't want any trailer over 1000lbs loaded behind my legacy. But some more links I found searching.

http://home.centuryt...evold/index.htm

http://www.mikenchell.com/ (build your own)

http://www.jumpingjacktrailers.com/

#14 smithe

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 08:18 PM

Here's my idea, pull a motorcycle camper trailer! Most use the same type of hitch setup and a lot of the websites include the fact that they are good behind smaller cars. Here are a few examples for starters.

http://www.roadmancampers.com/
http://www.litetentcamper.com/
http://www.wikco.com/timeout.html
http://www.bf-specialties.com/

#15 bulwnkl

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 09:38 PM

OK, this part I missed something:

You can't put a trailer behind that loaded car and expect your car to survive! You can pack up the car, or pull a trailer under the limit, but not both.


You appear to be saying that Subaru (and other manufacturers) have never heard of GCWR. It's higher than GVWR. It's essentially the sum of GVWR plus trailer towing capacity. It may or may not be GVWR + rated towing capacity, but normally is.

I agree that lots of times folks don't think they're loading up nearly as much as they are, but indeed you can load a vehicle (don't forget tongue weight of your trailer! It's part of the load carried by the vehicle) AND pull a trailer unless your vehicle is explicitly NOT rated to do so. Subaru goes into some depth to explain these things, and it is extremely clear in the owner's manual that you can tow a max-weight trailer in addition to loading the vehicle to GVWR. They even go into depth about axle loadings and GAWR.

I appreciate and respect your experience, and certainly won't try to argue that working a vehicle hard will shorten its life compared to cruising it down the freeway empty. Still, many vehicles are designed to tow, and Subarus are among them. Towing a trailer behind a fully-laden vehicle is entirely acceptable when done according to design and recommendations. That's my experience and also the manufacturer's recommendation.

P.S. Don't forget trailer brakes are required by Subaru and many States for trailers over 1,000 lbs. Having trailer brakes vs. not is vastly more important for safety and vehicle longevity than arguing about whether to tow with a fully-laden vehicle or not.

#16 unverviking

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 09:57 PM

I just started pulling my 97 Coleman Laredo Popup (smallest they make) with my 96 Impreza OBW 4EAT 2.2l. (w/125k) It pulls it well.

If memory serves me... The Imp OBW is rated for 1500lbs. My trailer is about 800 tops. We don't load a lot, and normally take 2 vehicles. So I'm not worried about to much since the furthest we'll usually drive is about an hour away. We downsized from the Montana (sucked at towing) to this for the next few years.

We did pull with our larger 01 Leg OBW and it pulled it fine. Didn't even know it was there.

The Montana however, eventhough the trailer is light and it was rated to tow 3500lbs, it SUCKED. It was like I I tied a boat anchor on to the back of it.

So far, I'm impressed with the Impreza, took the trailer in for Inspection and yearly lube and back. Last weekend on the return trip, had all 4 of us in it and was running the A/C... Not a problem at all

#17 four-fleet-feet

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 11:56 PM

Subaru goes into some depth to explain these things, and it is extremely clear in the owner's manual that you can tow a max-weight trailer in addition to loading the vehicle to GVWR. They even go into depth about axle loadings and GAWR.

P.S. Don't forget trailer brakes are required by Subaru and many States for trailers over 1,000 lbs. Having trailer brakes vs. not is vastly more important for safety and vehicle longevity than arguing about whether to tow with a fully-laden vehicle or not.

One thing different between us: I have a 97 Imp, you have a 2005 Baja. I'm not disagreeing with you; I'm sure your Baja can handle it. But...

Subaru, NOW, may have that towing info in the manual. 11 years ago it was rather sketchy (I don't even see a mention of my Gross Axle ratings). Since many on this board don't have the newest vehicles, I took the rather cautious approach. 900 lbs in my Imp (packed and balanced) and I was rather low in the back. I'm still running factory spec equipment (although in perfect shape). I'd have never hitched a trailer up to her! I'm not that cruel. I'll bet you wouldn't even notice 900 cargo and a 1500 trailer loaded with goodies going up the Continental Divide. The only way I'd do it is by tow truck. Dragon would need one.

I still maintain, even with the newer vehicles, that loading to max both on tow capacity AND vehicle capacity is asking for trouble. Every weekend I'm on the road I see overloaded vehicles. Aircraft-engineer and I saw the aftermath of a wake-slapped full-size truck and big 5th wheel in the Siskiyous. They were fully loaded and were still overturned. We didn't stop; there was a lot of help already. But I've always wondered if they'd have kept control of their rig if they hadn't been loaded to the gills (it was spread across all the S/B lanes of I-5 - a whole LOT of 'it'). Remember, the true test of whether you're overloaded or not is not whether it goes down the road, it's when trouble hits, can you survive it in one piece? I'm not talking airbags here.

Will your brakes handle it? Can you depend on your suspension and steering to get you out of trouble? Do YOU have the knowledge to stop and/or steer safely with all that weight? Can your vehicle go 200k miles or more without a heart transplant from overwork? Not everyone's vehicle can. I've always felt that no 'of course one bag or box more will fit, honey' is worth anyone's life. I'd rather no fellow poster put it to the test.

Driving a loaded-down vehicle is vastly different than an empty one you drive around town. We're talking new trailer owners here, remember? It takes time to learn how to pull 'that thing in the rear view mirror' safely. I wish clubs and dealerships still offered driving classes to new trailer owners. I think they stopped that before the '70's. You can find RV classes - but AFAIK, only for Class A's, and there's a mile-long waiting list to get in.

A plea to all trailer owners: if you know of a company or club offering driving classes to new RV owners, please post it here! The life you save may be a fellow member's.

As far as trailers go, new or old hand, I wouldn't recommend driving ANY trailer without trailer brakes - and anyone even considering doing so must live in the Flatlands, Subaru tow vehicle or not. Good thing to see SOA requires it. :banana:

Happy Camping!

#18 Gloyale

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Posted 26 April 2008 - 01:49 AM

As far as trailers go, new or old hand, I wouldn't recommend driving ANY trailer without trailer brakes - and anyone even considering doing so must live in the Flatlands, Subaru tow vehicle or not.



That really isn't realistic. The only trailers I've towed that needed brakes were 1500lb+ Horse and stock trailers. And that was with an F-250 HD.

Caution at the helm will do fine for most any trailer you should be towing with a Subaru. I.E, small utility, small ATV/snowmobile, or small pop-up campers.

#19 AWDMac

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Posted 26 April 2008 - 09:19 AM

heheh yup i have a camera bag and a room full if computer equipemnt to support that :)

nipper



LOL I second that! In fact I have several camera bags and Computer equipment in almost every room of the house. Not to mention the Home Theater! G.A.S can suck sometimes! LOL

#20 firstwagon

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 11:11 AM

"Small trailers, pulled by small cars, really don't mix. I don't recommend it. I'd really advise going another way than in a hardshell trailer. "

While I agree with you for the most part, towing a trailer with a small car is normal in other parts of the world....


Check out...
http://www.bbc.co.uk/topgear/

then click on
-watch videos
-mucking about
-TG goes caravanning

I have a 1972 Sprite Musketeer (about 15 feet long and 1200 lbs) empty. It's a small Britsh travel trailer and when I bought it, a British friend of mine told me these are normally towed by " big cars" like my Legacy.

I haven't tried it because I don't have a hitch on the Legacy, I also have a Grand Cherokee 4.0 and because I live in British Columbia where every road out of town leads to climbing a high mountain pass.

If I were going to tow with the Legacy, I would stick with a pop up like the coleman. On windy days, even the Grand Cherokee stuggles with our trailer. Head winds make it hard to maintain speed and cross winds jerk the truck around.

Good luck and have fun!

Posted Image

#21 nipper

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 11:25 AM

Yes in most parts of the world our legacies and oubacks are large cars (and even in this part of the world).

nipper

#22 bulwnkl

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 08:33 PM

Indeed they are, and when one looks at weight of tow vehicle to weight of trailer, one sees that most super-heavy pickups pulling 5th-wheels are WAY less safe than a Subie pulling a 1000-2500 lb. trailer. In this light it also makes a lot of sense, for safety, to load up the tow vehicle with weight. You get into trouble lots more quickly when your trailer outweighs you, which will never even come close to happening in a Subaru if you're within 200% of rated trailer-towing capacity.

#23 nipper

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 10:26 PM

Indeed they are, and when one looks at weight of tow vehicle to weight of trailer, one sees that most super-heavy pickups pulling 5th-wheels are WAY less safe than a Subie pulling a 1000-2500 lb. trailer. In this light it also makes a lot of sense, for safety, to load up the tow vehicle with weight. You get into trouble lots more quickly when your trailer outweighs you, which will never even come close to happening in a Subaru if you're within 200% of rated trailer-towing capacity.


Dateline wyoming.....

i wish i took a pic, but i did not have a fisheye lense.

A dualie Pickup with a fifth wheel, pulling a full size fifth wheel camper/trailer, and that was pulling a large enough boat that the boat trailer had dual axles.


nipper

#24 pgwilli

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 12:26 PM

I've been towing a 5'x10' Hunter teardrop with a 2005 Outback for 3 years now.
It weighs ~1200# loaded to the gills. Its equiped with electric brakes and tows great.
I get 20.8 mpg on trips along the WA - OR coast. I think the good mileage is because the teardrop is the same height & width as the Subie and kind of drafts it.
That said, I just bought a 1995 16' Scamp and although it comes in under the tow rating of the car, I am looking for a light truck to tow it with.

BTW - the Hunter is for sale....
http://www.ultimates...o=20406&cat=500

#25 pgwilli

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 12:28 PM

double post....
http://www.ultimates...o=20406&cat=500




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