Best Travel Tripods
Tripods are tremendous, are they not? They are very simple in their design yet if you are a photographer or anybody who enjoys capturing movies and videos, they can literally be lifesavers. But, not all of them on the market will be optimized for travel. Finding the best travel tripods, quite frankly, can be a tricky endeavor. There are many so-called hurdles to get through to find the one that is best for you. With the help of this guide, though, that should be made a bit easier for you.
Now, for all intents and purposes, you can travel with any tripod you ever buy. It just might be hard to do so if it can’t be folded or if it does not come with a storage case. Either way, that is what we want to put the focus on today.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 13 hrs of research
Comes with a short column
It comes with a shoulder strap
The ball has a WS2 coating for enhanced smoothness
- MEFOTO C1350
- 3 LEGGED THING
- VANGUARD VEO 2 265CB
- MANFROTTO BEFREE
- ZOMEI Z699C
- VANGUARD VEO 235AB
- BENRO SYSTEMGO PLUS
- PEDCO ULTRAPOD II
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Expert Interviews & Opinions
- Frequently Asked Questions
OUR TOP PICKS FOR THE BEST TRAVEL TRIPODS
Comes with a short column
It comes with a shoulder strap
The ball has a WS2 coating for enhanced smoothness
Very, very expensive
If you are willing to spend a good chunk of money on a premium model then you may want to look more closely at this bad boy. It is ridiculously expensive, though, so know that going in.Read more
Not only are the tubes made of carbon fiber but they are also upgraded altogether. They are much stiffer than previous models which result in improved performance without the addition of a lot of weight.
This can be adjusted (height-wise) roughly from 12 to 52 inches. Additionally, this comes with an expertly-designed head that is both super smooth and ultra-precise.
For the record, the head can be removed and you can attach others onto this model. However, the manufacturer recommends it. Also, this comes with a short column that can be used for improved ground shooting.
First off, this can be folded which makes it much more compact than normal. Secondly, this is equipped with a shoulder strap which makes it easier to carry.
This has a load capacity of 22 pounds, which basically means it can support up to 22 pounds of weight.
Is the price ridiculous? Sure, but if you need a travel tripod for professional or commercial reasons, this can be a fantastic choice. After all, you may want a high-quality model securing your high-quality camera.
2. MEFOTO C1350
Comes with a carrying case
Designed with a center-column hook
It is dust and weather-resistant
The plate is missing a D-ring feature
The thinnest section of the legs can look a little flimsy
MeFOTO is a really popular brand and it is one that many of you have probably heard of if you have owned one of these devices in the past. Well, let’s just say that it is popular for a reason.Read more
Now, the main material utilized here is carbon fiber (which is a staple of this technology). However, the thinnest portion of the legs does appear to be a tad flimsy.
There are features galore here such as 360-degree panning, a recessed center-column hook, a separate pan lock and head, and a precision Q Series ball head. Of course, the quick-release plate is missing a D-ring feature, which is a bit of a letdown.
Without the use of any tools, this can transform into a full-size monopod. In addition to this, each of the legs can independently be locked into place in one of two different angles.
Past the fact that this does come with a carrying case for easier transport, the legs can also be folded back 180 degrees.
This can be used with a plethora of different camera styles and models (such as zoom lens, DSLR, point and shoot, and mirrorless cameras).
Even in spite of the slight hiccups, this still remains one of the most elite travel tripods out there. It will please just about anyone and everyone, which is all you could really ask for.
3. LEGGED THING
Finished with a powder coating
Sports features of pro models
It is extremely compact
Flip locks would have been a better choice
This manufacturer has created some top-of-the-line tripods but this one is actually their entry-level model. It is dubbed “Corey” and what is amazing about it is it features professional-level functionality at an entry-level price.Read more
This is actually not made of carbon fiber and, instead, is consists of aircraft-grade magnesium alloy. In addition to this, the metal has been powder coated for protection against the elements.
As alluded to, with Corey you get several of the features that you would see in the pro range of tripods from this very manufacturer. Additionally, this can be raised to 59 inches and can collapse lower than many others in its class.
Due to the fact that this comes with a detachable monopod leg, it can also be utilized as a camera boom or as a microphone.
As with most of the other models that are optimized for travel, this bad boy can be fully folded down to a very compact size.
For the record, this system does utilize screw locks. Also, the load capacity is 30 pounds which is pretty darn impressive for an entry-level model.
At first glance, this does not appear to resemble what an entry-model would typically look like. The manufacturer really spoils you here with an absolutely superb design.
4. VANGUARD VEO 2 265CB
The legs can independently be adjusted at different angles
Available in both carbon fiber and aluminum
It can be folded for transport
Does not come with a quick-release feature
In addition to the carbon fiber construction, this device is designed with legs that can be adjusted to particular angles to account for uneven terrain. Of course, this is just the start of its greatness.Read more
This is actually available in either aluminum or carbon fiber, for the record. Either option is great but the center column swivel is actually made of plastic (which could be mildly concerning).
While this should have been equipped with a quick-release system for your camera, it can adjust to 59 inches (in height) and is designed with an innovative central column system for quicker installation.
As was mentioned, the legs of this tripod can be set at certain angles (20, 45 and 80 degrees). This can account for uneven terrain, making this more versatile for different types of surfaces.
When folded, this measures just over 16 inches in height. While this will still take up a decent amount of room, it is still really nice that it can be folded.
This has a working load capacity of 17.6 pounds. Compared to the rest of the competition, this is nothing special, quite honestly.
Some slight limitations aside, this is another high-quality option at an affordable price. There is also a lot of innovation with this design and that is always a welcome sight.
5. MANFROTTO BEFREE
The legs can be spread independently
Comes with a carrying case
Not very versatile
Minimal load capacity
Admittedly, this has one of the lower load capacities on this list but it still remains a great design regardless. But, it is one of the lightest models that you will find so that is a major plus.Read more
The BeFree is made up of carbon fiber and this makes sense when you take into consideration just how light in weight this bad boy is.
What is really nice about the BeFree is the fact that the ball head is designed with a quick-release feature and an ergonomic locking handle. Oh, and this can also extend to 56.7 inches in height.
Due to the fact that the legs only have two lockable positions and that the center column will not move, this is not the most versatile option on the market.
In addition to the lightweight nature of the BeFree and the durable carrying case that comes with your purchase, the legs actually fold up around the ball head (which enhances the compactness even further).
Yeah, the load capacity here is pretty uneventful. This device can only support 8.8 pounds safely so be aware of that.
Due to its portability alone, this is a highly compelling option. Of course, in spite of its minor flaws, it also holds up pretty well in the performance area, as well.
6. ZOMEI Z699C
Allows several different heights
Backed by a 12-month warranty
Designed of carbon fiber
The poles can get scratched rather easily
Can be a bit wobbly at times
All in all, this is extremely solid from top to bottom. Nothing is going to blow you away with this option as it does not reinvent the wheel. Then again, if it is not broke then why fix it, right?Read more
Even though this is designed of temperature-resistant carbon fiber, various users have noted that the poles can scratch rather easily (which means the exterior coating is not very good).
With this model, you can adjust the height from 13.8 to 60 inches. This allows you to capture video and images at differing heights (which can be extremely beneficial).
By screwing together the removable tripod leg and the center column, this can instantly be transformed into a full-size monopod.
In addition to the carbon fiber construction (which aids to the lightweight nature of this), this can also be folded up for storage and travel.
Even though this can safely support up to 33 pounds, one user noted that their camera (they stated it had a heavy lens equipped) produced a bit of wobble.
If you are looking to get your feet wet with this sort of device, this could be an excellent way to start. This model is affordable, well-designed and versatile. Not bad for a starter model, right?
7. VANGUARD VEO 235AB
Comes with a quick-release plate
A carrying case is included with your purchase
It is extremely lightweight
The quality of the components is lacking a bit
Even though some users have questioned the quality of the VEO 235AB, one thing that can’t be questioned is its functionality. With all the features in play, this is almost a no-brainer.Read more
The main material utilized here is aluminum but that is not really the issue. The quality of the components (such as the head and plate) is what the majority of reviewers have complained about.
Indeed, this is packed with several great features. For example, this can be raised to 57.1 inches, comes with a quick-release plate, is designed with a soft rubber handle, and comes with a low-angle adaptor for extra-low shots.
First off, each of the legs can be adjusted to three different angles. Secondly, the feet can be converted from rubber to spikes. All in all, this option is quite versatile.
There is no need to concern yourself over the portability of this tripod. After all, it comes with a carrying case, can be folded to 14.8 inches, and is only 3.3 pounds in total weight.
This works well for both mirrorless and DSLR cameras and, for the record, comes with a load capacity of 13.2 pounds.
Due to the overall design, this is able to overcome the slight issues it has with its quality. With that being said, though, it is understandable if you want nothing less than premium craftsmanship.
8. BENRO SYSTEMGO PLUS
It is very versatile
You can choose from carbon fiber and aluminum
The maximum load capacity is 30.9 pounds
Not the sturdiest option out there
No, this is not the most stable option out there but it is far from a poor design, also. What is also nice is this device accepts SystemGo accessories and this basically allows it to turn into a portable workstation.Read more
The choice is yours for either an aluminum or carbon fiber construction (with the former featuring magnesium alloy components). But, as noted, this is not the most stable design either way.
Being able to reach 65 inches in height, this can go higher than other models in its class. Also, the center column allows you to position your camera in several different manners.
As noted, this does accept SystemGo accessories. Additionally, this can also be used as a monopod in the blink of an eye.
Compared to other travel tripods, this is not the lightest but it is also nowhere near heavy. Past this, it can be folded to make it even more compact than it already is.
Due to the noted stability issues, the 30.9 pounds that this can support may be a bit of a stretch. Still, that is the rated load capacity so keep that in mind.
Most of you will certainly appreciate the versatile nature of this device. Variety is the spice of life and if this is a motto you live by, you will definitely want to seriously consider this tool.
9. PEDCO ULTRAPOD II
It is as compact as it gets
Can be secured to tree limbs and posts
The construction is very solid
Not ideal for heavier cameras
Limited with its size
The UltraPod II is certainly a tripod but it is also very different. As you can see from the photos, this is about as compact as it gets and is almost a mini-model of sorts.Read more
The frame of the UltraPod II is made of glass-filled nylon resin. Additionally, the feet are made of vinyl and the components of aluminum.
This is really ideal for getting shots closer to the ground. Also, the ball and socket mount allow cameras to be positioned at any angle that is desired.
A rather unique functionality is featured here. Thanks to the removable Velcro cinch strap, this can actually be secured to any type of vertical object (such as railings, posts, and trees) that the Velcro will fit around.
The winner for the most portable travel tripod on this list is the UltraPod II and it is really not even close. It only weighs four ounces (which is incredible) and can be folded to seven inches.
This can be used with all sorts of cameras but it only has a maximum load capacity of six pounds. So, it will not be ideal for heavier lenses.
To say this is only going to appeal to a certain demographic is an understatement. It really is brilliantly designed but it is also limited in several areas due to its miniature size.
It is suitable for travel
Can be transformed into a monopod
The legs can be adjusted at different angles
Too much plastic is utilized
Not the most stable option
Probably the most notable aspect of this model is the fact that it can be raised to 77 inches. Then again, there is a lot of plastic included which could be seen as a bit of a negative.Read more
As noted, there really is just too much plastic within this design. The poles are made of aluminum but several of the components are not made of metal.
Again, this can be raised to 77 inches (and lowered to 19 inches). Also, in addition to this, this is equipped with a ball joint that can rotate 360 degrees (which means your camera can capture at any angle).
In spite of the fact that this is limited in its available mounting plates, the legs can be adjusted at three different angles to account for uneven terrain and this can transform into a monopod.
At 3.37 pounds in total weight and the ability to be folded to 19 inches, this is about as portable as you would expect it to be.
For the record, this can support up to 17.61 pounds of weight. Despite this, various users have questioned the accuracy of this rating.
There really is a lot to like about this model but you can also nitpick a little bit. All in all, it is still a high-quality option on a long list of them.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Really, this comes down to whether you want aluminum or carbon fiber models.
The first order of business when you are looking to buy a tripod is to assess the materials. And, no matter where you look, there are going to be two prominent materials that come up time and time again and these are often used to construct the legs. The first of which is aluminum and this is, generally speaking, the weaker of the two options. With that said, aluminum itself is a high-quality and affordable metal. Though it is slightly heavier than the other primary material, this extra weight can lend its hand in delivering enhanced strength and stability. Then again, aluminum can corrode if it is not properly maintained (though it can’t rust).
The other material is carbon fiber and, all things considered, is the best option out there. Not only is carbon fiber lighter than aluminum but it is also temperature-resistant. And, because it is a polymer, there is no worry about rust and little worry about corrosion (though polymers can still corrode). Also, do not think that this material is not strong, either. For its low density, it delivers incredible strength and stiffness. In fact, when basing materials weight for weight, it is actually around two times more rigid than aluminum.
Do not get overwhelmed with this section as there are several features to keep in mind.
There are plenty of features to cover here and while we may not touch on them all, we want to touch on as many of the important ones as we can. For starters, tripods all start with the design of their heads. Due to the fact that the head is going to hold your camera, it is one of the most important portions to assess. Now, there are many different styles out there but one of the most popular is known as the ball head. This usually incorporates either a tri-control or dual-control design and both offer superb control. Moving on, tripods also come with certain lock systems (typically either flip or twist locks). Flip locks are ideal for beginners as they are easy to use but twist locks are the more “professional” of the two options.
Also, consider the height at which you will want your system to be adjusted. Each model out there will come with varying height settings and will be limited by a maximum and a minimum height. Additionally, do not forget about the feet. Some feet will be able to be converted but not all of them will (as there are rubber and spiked feet out there). Oh, lastly, quick-release plates are another major design feature. These, as you may have guessed, basically simplify the process of removing your camera from the tripod.
Yes, these devices can be pretty darn versatile in their designs.
At the surface, this would seem like a pretty basic little device, right? Well, while that is somewhat true, there are options on the market that offer quite a lot of versatility. For starters, have you ever heard of a monopod? By assessing the prefix “mono”, you probably have a good idea of what it is even if you have never heard of it before. As the name implies, a monopod is basically just a single staff that is used to support cameras and other such devices. The reason this is being brought up is that some tripods will be able to convert to monopods in the blink of an eye. In certain situations, using a monopod may be more beneficial or easier for you. As such, it is always nice if the model you have provides you with the ability to convert it.
However, it does not end there. To make some models even more versatile, they will come with legs that can independently be adjusted at different angles. Sometimes, the terrain under your tripod will not be even or smooth. If this is the case, with these types of legs, you will be able to adjust to the uneven ground. Oh, and most models out there will also allow the head to be removed for a different one, just to note.
If you are going to buy a tripod for travel then it needs to be portable, right?
Due to the fact that this is a guide assessing travel tripods, you knew this section would be inevitable. After all, what good would any sort of product be (that is designed for travel) if it were not portable? Indeed, this means this section is uber-important. At the same time, though, this section is also not too complicated. Let’s take a closer look, shall we?
There are three important factors that you will want to keep in mind here. The first one is the collapsed size that the tripod can be folded to. The legs should be able to be folded up but if you are going to account for your own carrying bag, you need to ensure that the collapsed size of the model you go with will fit. Secondly, assess the total weight. One of the reasons why carbon fiber is so popular is due to its lightweight nature, after all. And, thirdly, you can look to see what models come with their own carrying bags or if they come equipped with shoulder straps.
For sure, you need to ensure that your camera fits safely and properly on the model you get.
There are two “tasks” that you need to accomplish. For starters, you need to ensure that you buy a travel tripod that will fit your camera. The good news is most modern cameras will work with most modern tripods. To double-check, though, you need to ensure that the thread size of your camera matches the thread size of the head of the model you are looking at. Of course, you could always buy the head separately if this happens to be an issue. But, for the most part, this will not be a problem for most of you.
Yet, you also need to assess the load capacity. In short, this is the maximum amount of weight that the tripod is going to be able to hold. Some will only support six pounds while others will support up to 40 pounds (it all depends on the design). This means that the total weight of your camera (and this does include the lens) should be around 1.5 times less that of the maximum load capacity. Given the expensive nature of this type of equipment, you may want to err on the side of caution.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Not all models out there will be built with the same materials. But, most of them will either be made primarily with either carbon fiber or aluminum. Both of these are great materials but, in this case, carbon fiber gets the edge. Additionally, assess the quality makeup of the components (such as the head, feet, etc.) as these should be durable and long-lasting, as well.
There really is a boatload of features for you to keep in mind when you are buying one of these systems. It is actually quite amazing how many components and important features encompass these suckers. From the head to the feet to the maximum height to the quick-release plate, try to keep your head on a swivel here as you do not want to miss something important.
One of the best aspects of some tripods is the fact that they are versatile in nature. Not all of them will be but the best models available will allow for some nice functionality. For example, there are those that will quickly be able to transform into monopods, which can be beneficial in certain situations. Additionally, others will come with independently adjustable legs to account for uneven surfaces.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Why do you need one anyway?
Probably the most obvious reason you would want one of these devices is to stabilize your camera for enhanced photography and video recording. Now, top-end cameras will typically be designed with top-notch image stabilization technology. And, for the record, this technology does account for camera shake. However, your videos and shots are less prone to being distorted if you are not physically holding the camera.
q: How do you clean and maintain them?
For the most part, cleaning and maintain your tripod is going to be fairly easy. It is not as if they are going to get extremely dirty on most occasions. But, what you should try to make a habit of is ensuring that it is dry at virtually all times. Clearly, if you are shooting in the rain with water protection equipment, then it is going to get wet. With just a soft cloth (a microfiber cloth, for example), dry off the legs and the components to help better resist corrosion.
q: Can you take them on airlines?
You can make the argument that airlines are too strict on their policies and that is where this question comes into play. You see, some people believe that tripods could be considered weapons. And, while they could be used in such a manner, the TSA notes on their official website that tripods are suitable for both carry-on and checked luggage. So, there should be nothing to worry about here.
q: Are there places where they will be prohibited?
The reality of the situation is you should really make sure that you can use a tripod in any area you go to. In certain public places, they may be prohibited for the sheer fact that there may be too many people present. In turn, this type of device could then be seen as a tripping hazard. As farfetched as it sounds, you may end up running into this issue.
q: Why do some models have hooks?
Have you ever wondered why some models out there come with hooks that attach at the center columns? The logic behind why they are out there is quite simple really. As you may have guessed, these are present to provide you with a way to enhance the stability of your model. All you need to do is hang an appropriate object from the hook (such as a water bottle) to provide extra stability. Of course, this could also be a random object such as your camera bag. There, now you will never scratch your head again wondering why a random hook is attached to the center column.
q: How should you store them?
Storing your tripod is not going to prove to be a tricky endeavor. But, you do want to keep a few things in mind. Firstly, you should store it in a manner in which it will not be prone to accidental damage. Secondly, it should not be stored in a humid environment that is present with a ton of moisture. If you search the web, you will find many different DIY ideas that could work great for you.
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