Best Travel Tripods
In this post I will choose three of the best travel tripods I have used (and still have) which have stood up to a fair amount of bashing, dropping, getting wet and the odd bit of falling over. I’ve also made a selection for those who like to video as well as take stills.
The best advice I would give when buying a travel tripod is this. Never spend less than $350 on a tripod as those in that price bracket seem to fall apart pretty quickly and almost never carbon fiber; which means more weight and poor vibration control. So even if you don’t end up buying any of those below just remember the saying “you get what you pay for” applies so so true to tripods in every way.
Lets get started to see which ones have worked for me based on price, weight and features.
Lightweight Travel Tripod - Sirui N1204SK N-S Series
For sheer portability and weight the price and features of the Sirui N-1204SK knocks it out the park. It’s a messily 3.1 lb without the head and still this travel tripod manages to be strong and lightweight for most weather conditions.
The Sirui also gets quite tall considering it’s compact size with a maximum height of 62.2″ it’s sure to cover most tasks of a travel photographer however I never take super high travel tripods with me as they kill off any portability.
The leg locks firm and grip well and the best bit is the price of these tripods (a shade under $400) and the 6 year limited warranty which you will need as the plastic grips in the lock nut will break at some point in it’s life. Saying that the support is excellent and had mine fixed quickly on many occasions over the last 2 or 3 years.
All Round Travel Tripod - Manfrotto Befree GT Carbon Fiber
I bought this tripod in the B&H sale not that long ago as the price was crazy low. While it’s not as short as the Sirui when folded and not as light as the Sirui, it is a well made solid tripod which stands up to a beating. This tripod is taken places where I think I need some additional weight and height as it peaks at just over 63.8″ at it’s maximum height and weighs in a little more at 3.5 lb. It also came with a ball head which is decent enough.
It’s legs seem to be very sturdy and certainly less “wobble” in windy conditions due to its thicker legs and better carbon weave. The rubber feet seem like an improvement over the Sirui too, making this travel tripod a great bet for those slippery conditions.
Other bonus points awarded for looking good and actually fits in the bag with the head on, can be had around the same price as the Sirui in the under $400 bracket.
Multi Use Travel Tripod - Induro GIT305L Grand Series 3 Stealth
I thought this might have been a stretch too far after buying it as it’s a noticeably heavier travel tripod at 4.8 lb without a head on, by the time you add a decent ball head that can hold a DSLR and a 70-200mm you’re looking at around 6lbs which will be felt on your backpack. Also note this is a flat base tripod aimed at video shooters for maximum stability.
Saying all that, it collapses down to 20.5″ on the version I have which is the 58.5″ height limited one. The reason I chose that particular tripod is that it has 4 leg clamps on it while most of the others have 2 or 3. Why do I like that ? Well it’s very easy just to open the bottom legs and it’s enough for me stick on the ground at a nice low height. With the others I have to unfold maybe half a length to get it right where I want it most of the time.
The tripod has a spirit level built into the frame unlike the other two and also has a good hold on heavy gear which means also works well for video, you can even buy a geared shaft for it too.
I use this tripod to create 360 / VR on assignments around the world as it fits a nodal spinner on nicely. With supreme stability and the extra weight it gives me a warm feeling the images are crisp even with long exposure brackets.
If you just want to do photography stills the Induro CLT104 Classic Series 1 Stealth Carbon Fiber is a great travel tripod option with some of the same features; minus the ability to hold 55lbs and comes with a standard shaft. It’s also half the asking price of this sub $700 tripod.
I really like the Induro brand and feel their quality is exceptional at these price points.