So you’re looking for the best travel tripod? As seasoned travellers and photographers, we’ve tested and our fair share of tripods. It’s worth mentioning that when it comes to Travel Tripods, you don’t want to go down the absolute cheapest route as you’ll be regretting that decision the moment you’re out and about and want to use your new piece of equipment.
Things to consider before buying a Travel Tripod
So you’ve committed to buying a tripod. Great! Unlike normal tripods, travel tripods have the difficult task of trying to balance a series of trade-offs. The most important factors to take into account are Tripod Weight, Tripod Dimensions, and the Tripod Maximum Height. We’ll show you what you should be looking for for each of these 3 categories.
A good travel tripod, including the tripod head shouldn’t weigh more than 3 or 3.5 pounds. Anything more than this and you’ll be cursing yourself for lugging a tripod along with you at all. It’s worth paying attention to just how light your tripod is, as the lighter they get, the less stable they tend to become (especially to the elements).
When browsing for a travel tripod, make sure to check what material its made of. We recommend that you pick out one thats made of Carbon or Magnesium. While this will cost you a bit more, you can be sure to get an extremely durable, lightweight and sturdy tripod.
The compactness of a travel tripod is arguably one of the most important criteria. There’s little point in owning a tripod that you can extend past 6 feet, but when folded down will never fit into your camera rucksack or bag. Just so we’re clear – when we talk about tripod dimensions, we generally mean the folded length of the travel tripod.
Generally, the more telescopic segments your tripod has, the more compact it can be. But the more segments it has, the less stable it becomes. A good travel tripod should have a minimum folded length of under 20 inches.
Tripod Maximum Height
One thing many people don’t think about when purchasing a tripod is the maximum height that the tripod can extend to. There’s nothing more frustrating than setting up the perfect shot and then realizing your travel tripod doesn’t extend high enough to get that perfect shot.
A good travel tripod should be able to extend to at least 50 inches height, without extending the center column to more than half its total length.
We’ve omitted the Tripod Head category, as all our recommended tripods come with a tripod head. We do give a thorough explanation as to what you need to look out for in a Tripod Head in our Buyers Guide linked above.back to menu ↑
The best Travel Tripod shortlist
Manfrotto Element Traveller Big Best Travel Tripod
AmazonBasics Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod Honorable Mention
A closer look at each Travel Tripod
Despite being the heaviest of the Travel Tripods that we’ve picked out in our list, the Manfrotto Element Traveler still manages to come out on top. With a fully extended height of 165cm, it still manages to to fold down to a compact 42cm. Overall the Element Traveler proves manages to cary heavy loads with ease and is an overall consistent performer. Coupled with a very attractive price – the Element Traveler is a good choice for any photographer.
Available in two versions, carbon fiber and aluminium. The aluminium Peak Design Travel Tripod is nearly a third cheaper than its carbon counterpart, but still retains all the same features. Its design and form factor (it folds down to just 39cm) made it an instant hit in the photography community. It ticks all the boxes – but its on the pricier end of the spectrum. A great choice for all those who have a good budget and are looking for a seriously versatile travel tripod.
The lightest of the Travel Tripods on our list, the Sirui only weighs 900 grams. Its extremely compact as well, folding down to a size of 32cm making it the smallest on our list as well. While it lacks some features like a spirit level or spikes, its an extremely robust carbon fiber travel tripod. The SIRUI AM-025K sits comfortably in the the mid-range price segment making it a considered, but affordable purchase.
The MeFOTO Backpacker S is the budget travel tripod in our list. Its a great beginners travel tripod, or for anyone looking for a cheap tripod. While you can get tripods that are cheaper than $100, you’ll also notice substantial drops in quality. The MeFOTO Backpacker S is lightweight and compact, and has a decent max loading capacity. One should be careful with it though as its not the most weather resistant tripod out there.
The AmazonBasics Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod gets an honourable mention in our list. Technically this would be our top recommendation for cheapest travel tripod, but it’s currently out of stock. It’s made of carbon fiber, weights 1kg and folds up into a tiny 32cm package. And all for under $100. If you’re looking for a cheap second tripod or an everyday cary travel tripod – this is the one to get. If you can find it.back to menu ↑
How much should a travel tripod weigh?
A good travel tripod shouldn’t weigh more than 3.5 pounds or 1.5kg.
Is a 50 inch tripod tall enough?
Yes. An average tripods legs extend from 50 to 60 inches from the ground. You can get shorter or longer tripods, but 50 inches is the standard extension height.
What is the best travel tripod?
The best travel tripod in our eyes is the Manfrotto Element Big. It combines great features with a decent price.
What is the best lightweight travel tripod?
The best lightweight travel tripod in our opinion is the SIRUI AM-025K which only weighs 900 grams (or less than 2 pounds).
Do you need a tripod for travel photography?
A travel tripod is great when you want to take long(er) exposure photos or a series of photos without the aid of someone else. While not absolute necessary for travel photography, it’s a fantastic extra to have.