Best way to deal with large data sources in a SDE

Our company has a large SDE with hundreds of datasets in it that span several Western provinces.  I generally work with 10-20 of these data sets, so I built a template that has those in it clipped to a reasonalble size area, but it is very slow to load.  This method creates 2 problems, large files sizes, and I cannot move the template to another area.  I thought using the Map catalog would fix this, but I cannot seem to add data to it from the SDE.  Is there a better way to do this ?   Ideally, I want to load 1 or 2 layers for entire province so I can navigate to an area of interset, then I want to load 20 layers from the SDE for that smaller area of intrest.
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