Having often traveled with a tripod myself, I know the importance of selecting the right one. There are so many travel tripods out there. However, the best travel tripod is simply the one that has all the features that are necessary for you to do your job.
Capturing stunning travel images.
We’ve brought together a list of both conventional 3-legged tripods and some more unconventional varieties of some of the best travel tripods on the market in 2019.
Whether you know the features you’re looking for or, are browsing to see what could work for you, this list gives a comprehensive idea of the features and travel tripods to look out for.
Benro SystemGo Plus with Monopod Conversion
From bubble levels to spiked feet, this tripod will keep your camera stable wherever you put it. A ridiculously functional tripod, basically offering everything you could possibly want in a super travel-friendly 1.5kg package.
One of the greatest features on this travel tripod is the detachable monopod. If you like to move fast with the camera, but also need some added stability, the monopod will make a huge difference. For example, having this tripod means you can set up and take your shots faster as well as leaving half your weight back in the hotel room!
For added accuracy, the Benro GoPlus features a ball head and level, meaning you can easily keep your shot level when shooting with just the one leg.
After you’ve scouted out some locations, its easy enough to bring all three legs back out and create an incredibly stable platform.
Finally, the pivoting column will give you all the flexibility you need to compose that perfect sunset shot.
Packing for holiday is difficult, every centimeter of your bag matters! Which is why the Vanguard VEO folds down to a mere 38cm. Any tripod this small has to be in consideration for our best travel tripod award.
Secondly, the rapid column rotation is a great extra feature to have in such a small folding travel tripod. These easy clips mean that you can set up fast and won’t spend valuable time untwisting and tightening tripod legs.
Thirdly, If you’re someone who likes to really play with perspective, the swiveling central pillar is going to help you capture things differently.
Often, we can feel stuck when using a tripod, after it’s set up it can be a hassle to move, but with 3 fast-folding legs, the swivel ball head, and 180-degree central pillar rotation, this travel tripod was made to be put into position with minimal effort.
3 Legged Thing Eclipse Leo Airhead Switch kit
If you travel with heavy equipment, this is your best travel tripod. No other travel tripod carries a maximum 30kg payload, it’s as simple as that.
This is the tripod for those photographers who just can’t give up on seriously heavy gear. Don’t expect to move fast, as this tripod compromises on agility. However, it does also features a detachable monopod, which is great for use as a microphone or camera boom.
Maybe you’re a film-maker or someone who travels with some exceptionally heavy hardware, this is one accessory you can save weight on.
Gitzo GK0545T-82TQD Series 0 Traveler kit
For the perfectionist, this tripod will satisfy your desire to have everything work without fail in any given situation. The Gitzo brand carries with it prestige, which means beautiful engineering and beautiful design.
This is the most expensive tripod on our list and features everything you would expect from a travel tripod. In terms of size and weight, this tripod is able to fold down to a minimal 30.5cm and weighs a mere 1.285kg.
Although the price tag may put some people off, for purists, or people who want to test their equipment to the absolute limits of endurance, there is no better product.
Almost on completely the other end of the spectrum from the Gitzo, the Manfrotto Befree is a budget option that packs a punch. It’s a no-frills attached tripod and a great minimal product and great for photographers are looking for the best travel tripod on a budget.
The Manfrotto does everything you need it to for the cheapest price possible, and furthermore, you know with Manfrotto your buying great design and a reliable product. Great for a first-time traveler who needs a tripod that can cover all bases.
Mefoto Roadtrip Air
This is the best travel tripod option for the social media photographer, who is always switching between their DSLR and their phone. The tripod offers attachment and support for both DSLR and phones, and the smartphone clamp means that it can also double as a selfie stick.
The RoadTrip Air has been designed for a slightly different breed of photographer, who is as happy editing on their phone as they are on their laptop. There’s no doubt that this tripod has some other great features for the traveling photographer.
The lightweight construction means you’ll barely realize it’s there whilst the extending center section means that it can support cameras to a height of 158cm.
Oben Folding Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod
A strong contender for the position of best travel tripod, the carbon fiber Oben is another tripod that ticks all the boxes. Weighing in at 1.1kg and with a load capacity of 4kg, this tripod can handle larger DSLR setups without adding to much weight to your backpack.
Also, it comes with a detachable monopod, removal center column and retractable foot spikes all add to the stability and usefulness of this accessory. Also included is a bag, leveling meter and a set of tools for when adjustments need to be made to the tightness of legs and other moveable junctions.
Joby Gorillapod 3K
Gorillapods are go-anywhere, do-anything tripods. Unconventional but incredibly effective, this travel tripod breaks the rules to create a really versatile platform. Weighing only 390g and fully able to support a DSLR with small to moderate lenses, this is another contender for the title of best travel tripod.
The articulated legs can be wrapped around trees, fences, or any surface you like. It’s also possible to mold them into different shapes depending on whether you need stability or height.
Obviously, this travel tripod comes without some of the features of the other tripods on this list, however, the unique approach has all the benefits of size, ease of use and transportability.
Manfrotto PIXI Evo
A camera grip and tripod in one that weighs almost nothing, the Manfrotto Pixi will give you a stable platform at the drop of a hat. This is an ideal purchase for the discrete photographer and works best with smaller and lighter mirrorless cameras.
If you like to be able to pull your camera out of your jacket and shoot in an instant, this travel tripod can be your best friend.
With an optional smartphone holder attachment available, this tripod can also be used simply as a camera grip for when you’re walking through foreign cities, or countryside.
3 Legged Thing Iggy Mini Action Tripod + Phone Holder
The 3-legged thing is exactly what the name says it is! This little beast is for the same mirrorless camera/smartphone market as the Manfrotto PIXI however offers an attachable GoPro mount for the adventure sports enthusiasts out there.
Related Article: Best iPhone Tripods
The three-legged thing also doubles as a great stand for flashes or microphones, and can quickly be switched from handle to tripod. The design of the legs and materials means that it is a pleasure to hold and means you’ll always be able to maintain a firm grip, even if you are on some wild adventure.
These tripods are a cheap, easy and light way to make sure that you always have a stable surface to shoot from.
When to Buy a Conventional Travel Tripod
Are you looking for a conventional or unconventional tripod? There are a huge number of photographers out there who have no need for a conventional three-legged tripod when traveling.
Now, some people may be happy to take their time in an area, slowly discovering it and planning and mapping their shots. Maybe you go to the same place every year, and you know that you need something solid but portable so you can capture shots of the night sky or long exposures of the coast.
In this case, go with a conventional three-legged tripod that is lightweight. Most importantly, make sure that it can support the weight of your camera body and the heaviest lens that you travel with.
Should I buy an Unconventional Travel Tripod?
If you travel with a camera backpack, however, I can really recommend looking for something unconventional. The difference that having easy access to your tripod makes is huge.
There are two things that are going to make you miss the picture if you’re carrying the wrong tripod.
- You’re either going to not make the effort because it’s too difficult to be constantly pulling your tripod out of your bag
- or you’re going to try and take it out but setting it up is going to take too long.
If you’re traveling with other people, it can often be difficult to be constantly adjusting your bag and equipment, and you may grow frustrated.
This problem is solved by unconventional tripods, often light and small enough to be clipped to the outside of your bag, which can be set up in a matter of seconds. Perfect for simple group pictures and little stable snaps.
The other benefit of unconventional tripods is that the compromise on functions can often be overcome. Although unconventional tripods often don’t support heavier cameras, they can still be used to take incredible long exposures with mirrorless cameras or small DSLRs.
Think about the weight
When traveling, the importance of weight cannot be overemphasized. If you’re looking to go out into the wilderness and are planning on camping or trekking for a number of days, you know the importance of weight.
Furthermore, if you’re taking a flight to get to your destination, and you already have a camera bag full of gear, clothes and whatever else you need for the trip, you want to be able to fit your tripod in too.
Related Article: Best Camera Bags
My advice would always be, carry the lightest possible tripod that can support your equipment. It’s easy to say when your back in the warmth of your home that you are happy to carry a 3kg tripod around South America with you, but the reality when you get down there is very different.
In my experience, heavy ones are not the best travel tripods, they don’t get used and are left behind. If you’re going to buy something, make sure it’s light enough for you to use.
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