Have you ever missed out on a great opportunity to get a perfect shot of the view despite having the BEST equipment to help you get the shot?
Well, there’s no need to fret because we’ve prepared a list of the BEST TRAVEL TRIPODS you can get!
NEVER miss out on a perfect shot again.
Travel Tripods: Our Top Picks
Manfrotto BeFree Advanced Travel Tripod – Best Overall
- Material: Aluminum or Carbon Fiber
- Maximum load: 8 kg
- Maximum height: 150 cm
- Minimum height: 40 cm
- Folded length: 40 cm
- Number of leg sections: 4
- Weight: 1.25 kg
How does a tripod become the best overall tripod?
For all intents and purposes, the Manfrotto BeFree Advanced just does everything by the book!
Think of a feature that you THINK a good tripod should have… it probably has this already.
The BeFree Advanced is Manfrotto’s 2018 offering that boasts TWO FINISHES that makes it stand out from its competitors: it comes in EITHER aluminum options or carbon fiber construction.
Indeed, Manfrotto delivers a powerful tripod that satisfies the PURPOSE of your purchase!
What Separates It From the Rest?
- Interchangeability of feet ends: This customizability allows for QUICK and EASY replacements when needed. What’s EVEN better is this makes ASSEMBLY MORE INTUITIVE.
- M-locks and three leg locking angles: In addition to being more intuitive, the BeFree Advanced also considers the STABILITY and SAFETY of the tripod through the legs!
- 494 ball head: It also comes with a standard mounting accessory with a LOCKING ANGLES MECHANISM and proper FRICTION CONTROLS. This secures your camera kit in place.
- Quick Link Port: One of BeFree Advanced’s main selling points is that it allows the attachment of OTHER accessories such as flashes or reflectors.
- Package contents: Other features that you should definitely consider include a TEN-YEAR WARRANTY, a QUICK-RELEASE PLATE, and a CARRYING CASE.
Are you finally convinced that the BeFree Advanced has it all?
For just 40 cm of baggage space, you can bring along with you a lightweight tripod that EXTENDS to human height. So if you want to shoot landscapes, you wouldn’t need to slouch your body!
Likewise, you can also adjust it for mounting and preparation for macro photography and travel photography.
The BeFree Advanced is PERFECT for travelers who want HIGH-QUALITY PERFORMANCE in a COMPACT PACKAGE.
- Lightweight carbon fibre
- High load capacity
- Stability and durability
- Height considerations
- Ball head compatibility limitation
Peak Design Travel Tripod – Best Value
- Material: Carbon fiber or aluminum
- Maximum load: 9 kg
- Maximum height: 153 cm
- Minimum height: 14 cm
- Folded length: 39 cm
- Leg sections: 5
- Weight: 1.56 kg
Now let’s talk about an industry staple: the Peak Design Travel Tripod.
This is a GREAT lightweight travel tripod.
Its SLEEK DESIGN showcases the tripod’s size: it collapses into a tubular unit without any unnecessary accessories or protrusions.
You’ll be left with nothing but a collapsed tube that is ONLY 39 cm in length.
For a compact travel tripod, THIS is what you’re looking for. It’s space-efficient and purposeful.
What Separates It From the Rest?
- No protruding ball head: The ball head sits perfectly on top of the tripod legs.
- Compact quick release plate: This accounts for adjustability and customizability.
- Lever locks adjustments: What’s great is that you can adjust these with ONE HAND. This is efficient as you can make necessary adjustments on your camera with your other hand!
- Leg locks adjustments: Again, you can adjust the legs seamlessly! The locks are intuitive to be clicked easily.
- Mobile phone holder: A UNIQUE feature is that a smartphone holder is present in the center column hook.
- Center column hook: As it is lightweight, Peak Design allows you to hang heavy weights, a carry bag, or a camera bag by its side to HOLD IT DOWN in the presence of strong winds.
More than all of these, this lightweight travel tripod has a maximum load capacity of 9kg. You can DEFINITELY mount heavier equipment on this!
Any combination of camera and zoom lens has mostly been tried out by other photographers before, so don’t expect too many drawbacks with this travel tripod.
Despite not being of greater lengths at full extension, its 5 leg sections make it ALL THE MORE STABLE to account for height customizability and build durability.
By offering both an aluminum model and carbon fibre finished tripod at higher price levels, the Peak Design Travel Tripod is our BEST VALUE PICK because you DEFINITELY get what you pay for.
- Unique design for space efficiency
- Ball head mechanism
- Durability and strength
- Center column hook
Pedco UltraPod – Best Budget Pick
- Material: Aluminum
- Maximum height: 15.2cm
- Folded length: 17.8cm
- Weight: 119g
- Leg sections: 1
- Max load: 2.7kg
The Pedco UltraPod is also a TABLETOP TRIPOD. This makes it EXTREMELY easy to store and lug around while traveling!
With an extended height of just about 15.2 cm, you would need to position yourself IN LINE with the tripod. This would include going to lengths of having to squat or lie down on the ground.
OR… you could maximize the mounting feature of the UltraPod!
The travel tripod has a durable and versatile velcro strap system that allows you to mount it ANYWHERE.
- One tripod leg is longer than others to balance the tripod better
- This assists the velcro strap mounting to accommodate the weight of the equipment
- The ball head can also accommodate 360 degrees of rotation and angling of 90 degrees
What Makes This Travel Tripod a Great Choice?
What’s great about a tripod as small as the Pedco UltraPod is that you will experience virtually NO SWAYING. Its legs aren’t long enough to feel the imbalance based on weight and wind presence.
Its low extended height also allows for the perfect travel photography because of its easy storage. You can even carry the Ultrapod tripod in your jacket pocket!
For all the possible problems that may arise in travel tripods, the Pedco UltraPod turns the disadvantages that may be seen with small tripods as its assets.
Now all you need is a Bluetooth remote for personal use!
- Velcro strap system
- Limited height extension
- Limited weight capacity
Joby GorillaPod 5K
- Material: Aluminum
- Maximum load: 5kg
- Height: 38.6 cm
- Weight: 0.73 kg
The Joby GorillaPod is one of the most famous tripods out there.
Really, NO tripod has been as recognizable as this! You can easily spot it from quick Youtube vlogs because of its UNIQUE DESIGN.
The GorillaPod 5k is from Joby’s upgraded line from 2017, and it still has been taking over the market seriously.
From the get-go, you’ll notice how the GorillaPod 5k is NOT LIKE ANY OF THE OTHER OPTIONS ON THIS LIST: it does not extend to greater lengths to mimic a full-sized tripod.
Simply, it’s a table-mount tripod that can easily be HANDHELD.
Let’s talk more about its design!
- Flexible ball and socket legs: This design allows easy bending of the legs! More so, it can WRAP around objects for easy mounting EVERYWHERE.
- Rubber grips: Remember, this is a handheld tripod. The grips make it easier for you to hold and carry! The grips are made of aluminum, plastic, and stainless steel.
- Ball Head 5k: The tripod’s ball head has apt friction controls and a quick release plate.
Superior Load Capacity
What’s even greater is that the flexibility of the GorillaPod 5k does NOT compromise its ability to carry heavy equipment.
A 5 kg maximum weight load capacity allows for a full-frame DSLR and pro lens setup!
In the end, the GorillaPod is definitely for travelers who plan to take more authentic shots and clips.
If you’re planning to start a Youtube channel or simply want to start vlogging, then the GorillaPod 5k is the one for YOU.
- Length cannot be extended
3 Legged Thing Punks Travis with AirHed Neo Ball Head Tripod
- Material: Magnesium
- Maximum load: 18 kg
- Maximum height: 167 cm
- Minimum height: 19.5 cm
- Folded length: 45 cm
- Number of leg sections: 4
- Weight: 1.6 kg
The 3 Legged Thing Punks Travis is one of the BEST professional entry-level travel tripods out there.
It boasts its single-piece center column that is strong enough to repurpose the tripod as a MONOPOD. There is a REMOVABLE LEG you can detach to support its main column for this purpose.
It also helps that its four leg sections help express the product’s durability.
That said, having a swooping maximum loading capacity of 18 kg sounds all the more feasible for the Punks Travis. This is one of the better-performing capacities amongst ALL tripods right now.
A travel tripod that is storage-friendly is a HUGE DEAL and MAJOR ASSET.
Of note should also be its corresponding compact ball head that makes mounting of gear easier and feasible!
The Punks Travis is already durable enough. But if you’re after a tripod with a carbon fiber build, you might also want to try the 3 Legged Thing Punks Brian Carbon Fiber.
- Conversion of the center column to a monopod use
- High loading capacity
- Storage height relatively still long
Novo Explora T5 Carbon Fibre Professional Tripod Kit
- Material: Carbon fiber
- Maximum load: 10 kg
- Maximum height: 161 cm
- Minimum height: 24.5 cm
- Folded length: 47 cm
- Number of leg sections: 4
- Weight: 1.43 kg
The Explora T5 is the tripod with the LOWEST loading capacity amongst all Novo Explora tripods.
We’re choosing the T5 over the T10 and T20 because it is also the MOST lightweight of the three! This is an IMPORTANT feature to consider while traveling.
The Explora T5 also features DETACHABLE LEGS AND BALL HEAD for customizability! Like most modern tripods, the T5 can also be transformed into a monopod.
How Can You Do This?
Simply detach one leg and combine it with the center column!
- The ball head and legs are of the SAME QUALITY AND FINISH
- The mounting system features an ADJUSTABLE FRICTION DAMPER to ensure proper grip for your camera setup
The only major drawback of the T5 is that its folded length may still be TOO LONG at 47 cm. This is a tradeoff for its carbon fibre finish and a maximum height of 167 cm.
- Value for carbon fibre finish
- Adjustable friction damper
- Lightweight tripod
- Conversion to monopod use
Vanguard VEO 2 GO 235CB
- Material: Carbon fiber
- Maximum load: 4kg
- Maximum height: 143cm
- Minimum height: 21cm
- Folded length: 33cm
- Number of leg sections: 5
- Weight: 1.06kg
The Vanguard VEO 2 GO 235CB makes it to our list because of its durability.
Compared to travel tripods on this list, the Vanguard compact tripod is NOT the longest and NOT the smallest. But it is DEFINITELY the lightest tripod with an extended height feature on this list.
Unique Feature: The Number of Twist Locks
- The tripod has 5 leg sections and a dual-section telescopic center column extended to be operated through TWIST LOCKS
- To extend it to its maximum height of 143 cm: you need to adjust the twist locks.
- The same can be said for its height reduction to a minimum.
That said, the size and weight of the tripod do NOT compromise its quality features.
So despite only having a maximum load of 4kg, the ratio between the number of leg sections and its weight reflects just how DURABLE and STURDY this tripod is.
Another sure advantage of this tripod is in low-angle shooting and travel photography.
The Vanguard travel tripod includes a LOW ANGLE ADAPTER to switch with the center column, allowing you to bring it to its minimum height.
- Lightweight features
- Shooting at low angles
- Foam grip for support
- Number of twist locks
- Height restrictions
Key Travel Tripod Features
What EXACTLY are you supposed to look for in a TRAVEL TRIPOD?
Here are some of the MOST IMPORTANT FEATURES you should look out for:
- Light weight
- Adjustable height
#1 Weight: As Light As Possible!
The key to an effective travel tripod is its weight
Can you imagine yourself lugging around a GIANT of a tripod? While TRAVELING?
We definitely can’t…
A travel tripod is considered lightweight if it weighs less than 3.0 lbs. This is compared to the standard weight of 3.5 lbs.Now, Why Is This IMPORTANT?
When you’re out traveling, the most underrated luxury you can afford to have is MOBILITY. Being able to move around is an advantage:
- You exert less effort
- You save energy
- You save time
- You make room for more belongings
These are all thanks to LIGHTWEIGHT TRAVEL TRIPODS.
So… What’s the Catch?
The thing is, lightweight travel tripods also come at the expense of COST and WEIGHT CAPACITY:
- They are more expensive
- They can’t carry heavier equipment
The key is to find the perfect balance.
See, your tripod can only carry a payload of specific weight.
When traveling, this is your BIGGEST concern: the tripod should ACCOMMODATE THE WEIGHT OF YOUR CAMERA and NOT the other way around.
Here are some quick explanations between the tradeoff between cost and weight capacity:
- A tripod that can’t carry the camera will shake.
- A shaking tripod will result in reduced image sharpness and quality.
- A shaking tripod may also fall over due to low weight capacity and weather conditions.
- A stable tripod is usually more expensive.
- BUT stable tripods also tend to be heavier.
That said, the best travel tripod is one that is lightweight RELATIVE to your camera’s weight.
#2 Build Materials: As Sturdy As Possible!
A sturdy travel tripod is usually made from ALUMINUM, MAGNESIUM, or CARBON FIBER.
Here’s a quick guide to help compare them with each other:
- ALUMINUM TRIPODS: The least expensive among the 3, but weighs more.
- CARBON FIBER TRIPODS: The most expensive among the 3, but weighs a LOT less.
- MAGNESIUM TRIPODS: A good mix between the two.
Of all three options, manufacturers produce magnesium tripods the least.
Why? Because of material scarcity AND the trade-off between the benefits.
Why produce a middle ground tripod when you can appeal directly to the polar extremes of the advantages and disadvantages, right?
Rather, it may be better to compare carbon fiber with aluminum tripods:
- Aluminum tripods AGE FASTER: rust and degradation may be recorded within five years of use
- Carbon fiber tripods LAST LONGER: more reliable in the long run
Carbon fiber construction is appealing because of its LIGHTWEIGHT AND DURABILITY PROPERTIES.
This may sound like a no-brainer decision, right? HOWEVER, you still have to consider the price point.
- CHOOSE THE ALUMINUM VERSION if you plan to use the tripod temporarily… it will save you a lot of money!
- CHOOSE THE CARBON FIBER VERSION if you travel a lot and would want to invest in a tripod long-term.
#3 Height: As High As You Can?
A good tripod considers its HEIGHT… and for travel tripods, its extended height.
It makes NO SENSE for you to endure carrying a travel tripod that does not satisfy your desired height! That said, tripods usually showcase the following:
- Minimum Height: 3 inches from the ground
- Maximum Height: 6 feet high
A common misconception is that LONG and TALL tripods are always better.
This isn’t the case at all! Shorter ones could be useful too. Again, it all depends on what you need.
DISCLAIMER: MOST travel tripods don’t reach the same heights as a full-size tripod. This is a trade-off that comes with choosing a travel tripod.
Why Choose Tall Tripods?
TALL TRIPODS are defined as those that have the same height as you in its extended height.
- No slouching to accommodate your current height
- Easily compose your viewfinder
- Portability for its height
- The TALLER the tripod, the more likely it is to be unstable
- The TALLER the tripod, the more likely it is to be heavier
And as such, we once again assess the tradeoffs associated with durability and weight.
Generally, tall tripods should NOT BE BELOW 50 INCHES to satisfy their assumed purposes.
You SHOULD NOT just lug them around as is. Tripods are PORTABLE because they have ADJUSTABLE HEIGHTS.
The beauty with travel tripods is you can still store them comfortably even if they are EXTREMELY LONG.
These customizations from a 50-inch height to an extendable 6 feet are all thanks to having the center column extended.
This isn’t much of a problem if you have a mirrorless camera with you or any equipment you can easily angle.
TAKE NOTE: Collapsible tripods should have a folded length of 12-24 inches to adhere to airport standards.
Why Choose Shorter Tripods?
We mentioned that a minimum height requirement is somewhere around 3 inches above the ground.
This is only possible if your camera setup does not require height elevation for the project.
This is best for macro photography and cameras with adjustable screens.
Shorter tripods may also weigh less, but they generally limit your framing options and equipment weight capacity.
That said, the simplicity shorter tripods offer come at the expense of maneuverability.
BUT, choose shorter tripods for CLOSE FRAMING OF SHOTS.
What’s Our Verdict?
Tall or not, the height of travel tripods should be one of your main concerns.
Smaller tripods weigh less, but they can also limit your framing options.
The tripod’s height is CRUCIAL! This is measured by how tall it stands fully extended. Travel tripods come in all different sizes, and their minimum and maximum heights vary.
Choosing the right one will depend on the working range that you need.
#4 Tripod Head Types: As Stylish As You Wish!
The BALL HEAD of a tripod refers to the component used for the mounting of your equipment setup.
The ball head is often DETACHABLE to accommodate the different types appropriate for your use.
There’s nothing really much to say about it other than CHOOSE FOR PURPOSE AND STYLE.
- Is it for a camera mount?
- Is it for a cellphone mount?
- How much weight can it carry?
- Are you after a gimbal style?
- Are you after a simple mount?
- What style serves your purpose the most?
When choosing a ball head, go with whichever style suits you best.
#5 Leg Locks
Here again to remind you that: THE LEGS OF THE TRIPOD ARE IMPORTANT.
Why? Simply because the legs stabilize the entire tripod.
The number of leg sections matters the most. A FEWER number of leg sections is ideal for these reasons:
- The fewer number of leg sections, the sturdier the setup
- The fewer number of leg sections, the easier the setup process
- The number may also depend on the TYPE of locks
So generally, travel tripods usually have MORE leg sections.
Why Is That?
Having more leg sections is good for the extended height feature. It allows them to be folded into smaller parts!
In short, the MORE sections, the MORE portable and stable the tripod setup.
Your choice for style and usability will also depend on the TYPE of locks there are:
- Flip Locks: More reliable; more work to operate
- Twist Locks: Faster to learn how to operate; more prone to dust accumulation
That said, consider STYLE, FLEXIBILITY, and MANEUVERABILITY.
Regarding LEG LOCKS, the tripod’s feet are also important.
Some manufacturers offer retractable spikes and have these tagged as spikes optional extra. These are alternatives to the typical rubber feet.
A Recap of the Best Travel Tripod Picks
The best travel tripod is one that is LIGHTWEIGHT and SERVES YOUR PURPOSE.
Height is just so much as a corollary to what you need the tripod for.
Let’s look back at our picks for the best travel tripods (and also our lightweight tripods) you should check out right now:
Manfrotto BeFree Advanced Travel Tripod
As our Best Overall Tripod Pick, we can’t stress it enough. It has EVERYTHING YOU NEED and then some!
The BeFree Advanced is the best travel tripod for you if you’re after the seamless experience of SHOOTING WHILE TRAVELING.
This tripod is definitely comparable with the advantages that come with full-sized tripods… and if you think about it, it brings even MORE advantages because of its very essence as a travel tripod.
Peak Design Travel Tripod
Ah, yes. Our Best Value Pick AND Best Design Pick…
If you ask us, the Peak Design Travel Tripod can easily rival the BeFree Advanced as one of the best lightweight travel tripods in the market.
If not for it being an expensive tripod, we could really consider it too for OVERALL BEST TRIPOD PICK. It’s that good.
Coupled with its sleek finish and design, we especially love its feature with the ball heads the most, too.
Again, this is our Best Budget Pick!
The Pedco UltraPod deserves its title of being one of the most affordable and recognizable tripods out there.
Amidst its cheap price point, it DOES NOT compromise quality and functionality thanks to its high-end features and superior functionality
Choose this if you want to save up for that extravagant adventure!
Have you tried any of these tripods yet?
Do you have any recommendations you might want to share?
Let us know in the comments section below.