Whether you are a veteran or a rookie photographer, a tripod is one of the tools you should never miss in your travel bag. And if you have ever given them a shot, you know how a quality tripod can spice up your photography adventure. And no matter how experienced you are, your camera will never warn you about blur images. This is why you take elegant photos with your camera, but when you zoom, you notice they have blurred. This can be hair-raising, isn't it? But all these challenges can be overcome by investing in a quality tripod. And in this review, we have featured quality brands to help you choose the best travel tripod for your needs. And what’s more, we have written a detailed tripod buying guide and answers to the most frequently asked questions. Keep reading
MeFoto RoadTrip Lightweight 61.6" Carbon Fiber Tripod is our best pick. The tripod features a dual-action ball head with ARCA Swiss system and bubble level for preventing head movements and uneven pans. Its durable, lightweight, and compact design make it the go-to tripod for your outdoor photography needs.
JOBY Professional Tripod is the best tripod for the money. Designed with premium quality aluminum alloy this tripod will offer you convenience and give you the confidence in every shot you make. Its price is just right with great features to spice up your photo shooting adventure.
Quick Comparison: Top 10 Best Travel Tripods Review
1. MeFoto RoadTrip Lightweight 61.6" Carbon Fiber Tripod
This meFOTO travel tripod allows you to view the world on another level. The tripod has five leg sections that have an anti-rotation system and flip-lock mechanism for easy height adjustments and increased versatility. The anti-rotation and rubberized leg locks work together for a fast and fumble-free setup. The monopod has a form grip, which is dust and weather resistant.
Shooting on uneven ground or cramped surfaces has never been this easy with this meFOTO tripod. Thanks to its two angled legs, which allow you to lock them independently for an extra measure of flexibility. With the help of the graduated panning scale, you get to enjoy 360-degree panning for high precision panoramas. Its dual-action ball head features an Arca Swiss style, which is compatible with a quick-release plate.
The bubble level allows you to make fine adjustments minimizing any chances of uneven panning or unplanned head movements. The center column has a spring-loaded hook at the bottom side, which enables you to hang additional weight for increased tripod stability. Its compact and foldable legs make it the best travel tripod for your photography.
2. JOBY Professional Tripod
Joby tripod is designed to offer you great stability, even on tough terrains. The tripod touts of its anodized aluminum design which offers swift movement whenever your project calls for one. At 11lbs, this tripod allows you to enjoy great versatility for all your photography and Vlogging projects. Obtaining precision angles and positions both in portrait and landscape has never been this easy thanks to 360 degree panning features, 90-degree tilt, and bubble level.
Its numbered scale allows you to make 360-degree pan as the secondary knob locks pan separately for easy angle setup. Its compact size allows you to fold it and travel around without any challenges. The price is just right, which makes it the best travel tripod for the money.Overall, this tripod is designed for professional photographers and Vlogger who are looking forward to quality images and videos.
3. Pedco UltraPod II Lightweight Camera Tripod
Pedco is an excellent addition to your photography tool kit. The tripod is designed using high-quality materials to offer unmatched years of service for even the most demanding photographers. The vinyl resin frame is 30% glass with aluminum threaded components and anti-vinyl feet for increased stability.
It has a ¼-20 universal screw mount that fits any camcorder, camera, video light, remote flash, and other devices, allowing you to hold your device securely in place. The socket camera mount and special ball adjust to any angle seamlessly for sharp and quality shoot. With the help of its three fold-out legs and anti-slip feet, you can adjust your camera on any relatively flat surface without vibration.
The tripod easily folds to fit in your backpack or camera bag for easy transportation. At 4.2 inches, this tripod can hold up to 6 pounds. For the ultimate experience, it is recommended to use this tripod along with DSLR cameras, compact camcorders, 35mm cameras with a large lens, binoculars, and spotting scopes.Its removable D-ring VELCRO strap secures your tripod to trees, posts, rails, pack frames, and any other sturdy object for increased stability, especially during harsh weather conditions.
4. K&F Concept 62'' DSLR Tripod
At 2.99lbs, this tripod will offer you flexibility like no other. The tube is designed with premium quality magnesium, which is light and stable enough for outdoor use. The tripod can be folded at 180 degrees for increased portability. With a maximum height of 62”, this tripod will hold your camera secure making shooting photos while standing effortless.
The tripod comes with strong flip leg locks that only require a one-hand operation. This makes your tripod setup easy and also gives you confidence even during those windy and harsh weather conditions. Its 28mm ball head keeps your camera secure while the non-oil dampening design allows your camera to rotate swiftly. Located at the bottom of the cloud platform is a 360 degrees scale, which will enable you to take panoramic photos with breathtaking effects.The tripod bag is designed to protect your gear from moisture, dust, dirt, bumps, and accidental knocks, making it the best travel tripod for hiking.
5. ZOMEI Z699C Carbon Fiber Portable Tripod
ZOMEI travel tripod is designed with weather-resistant features to enable you to carry out your outdoor photography with ease. The tripod is made from high-quality Carbon fiber, which allows you to fold it up easily for your travel needs.
With a maximum height of 60”, you enjoy the freedom to adjust your tripod to suit your preferred height without straining your back. At this maximum height, the tripod holds your camera in place without vibration. And when the task at hand calls for low height, your tripod will allow you to capture your images as low as 13.8”.
With the help of the inverted central axis, you can carry out your macro photography, low angle shooting, and other exceptional photography effortlessly. The tripod also has a stretchable hook for hanging additional weight for increased stability, especially on those windy days.
The tripod has a bubble level for quick rack balance, high precision shooting, and great composition. This boosts your confidence for every shot you make. When hiking or climbing a mountain, you can easily transition your tripod into a monopole for convenience and portability. With a maximum diameter of 25mm and a quick-release plate, you can easily connect and disassemble your camera in a breeze, saving you time.
Though lightweight, the tripod can hold up to 33lbs and can be locked independently on different positions, making it easy to maneuver on uneven surfaces. The fact that this tripod is designed with premium quality Carbon Fiber with weather-resistant properties and is compatible with different cameras and video camera brands makes it the best travel tripod in the world.
6. Manfrotto MKBFRA4-BH BeFree Travel Tripod
Manfrotto travel tripod features new patented leg angle selectors, which enable you to switch between positions for optimal versatility. The tripod keeps your camera securely in place for blur-free images. With its integrated aluminum ballhead, the tripod keeps your camera tightly held throughout your photography. The rubberized leg warmers offer a firm grip and prevent your tripod from moving.
The three-legged tripod extends up to 56.7” high and 13.4” low. The center column allows you to extend the height to suit the task at hand without vibrations allowing you to do what you do best. It's compact and easy to fold design allows you to pack it in your travel bag, making it your travel companion. At 5.3lbs, this tripod guarantees you exceptional stability and sturdiness for all your outdoor photography needs.The carrying bag is perfectly padded to prevent any accidental knocks. This gives you the confidence to walk around even in rough terrains. Overall, this tripod is designed to offer convenience to photographers who are looking forward to capturing sharp and crisp images.
7. AmazonBasics Pistol Grip Camera Travel Tripod
This AmazonBasics features a pistol-grip design that allows you to place your camera in any position. The tripod has adjustable aluminum legs with retractable rubber feet with spikes for your outdoor photography needs. With a maximum load of 11lbs, this tripod extends from 34.4” to 72.6” high while holding your camera in place without vibrating. The quick-release plate, inbuilt level, and lock legs make it easy for you to make fast transitions within shots.
It’s 360 degrees pan and tilt axis control allows you to make high precision adjustments for stunning photos. With a simple push of a button, you can disassemble your camera from your tripod for easy mobility. Making low angle shots has also been simplified and only requires you to attach the pistol grip head to the bottom of the center column, and you good to go. This tripod is designed for both indoor and outdoor use and can be a great addition to your photography tool kit.
8. Vanguard VEO 2 265CB Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod
In case you may be looking for the best travel tripod for a mirror less camera, then this Vanguard tripod could you all that you need. Designed with first-rate Carbon fiber this tripod will offer you great versatility for all your photography needs even on uneven terrain. For less than 15 seconds, this tripod will allow you to perform fast setup in a jiffy. Thanks to its unique and innovative center column design.
The tripod allows you to extend its 5 legged sections easily while allowing for independent leg positioning at three angles for increased stability and easy maneuverability on unfriendly surface. Its multi-action ballhead has three separate knobs for pan, lock, and friction control for unmatched user experience. The tripod has been designed with the user in mind to make it suitable for the job.Compared to other tripods of its class, this Vanguard model has surpassed the industry standards with advanced features. When you buy this tripod, you get a free carry bag and experience convenience for your outdoor photography projects.
9. Davis & Sanford TR553-P228 Traverse Super Compact Tripod
Davis & Sanford tripod is designed for mirror less and DSLR cameras, which mount perfectly well on the ballhead. The ball head has a dual-action system with a graduated base and a bubble level for high precision set up. The Arca Swiss quick release plate provides a secure camera mounting and release. Its five leg segments have rubber twist locks, which are freeze proof, a feature that helps keep your legs locked in place even during unfavorable weather conditions.
At 2.6lbs, this tripod will hold up to 10lbs without vibration. The tripod allows you to switch positions swiftly, enabling you to capture great shots. Its lightweight design allows you to move around with ease. That’s not all; its carrying bag is well padded to keep it safe from any bumps and accidental knocks, making it a great addition to your outdoor photography kit.
10. 3 Legged Thing Punks Corey Mag Alloy Tripod
This tripod is designed with advanced features to make your photography fun. The tripod weight, size, and compatibility are perfectly balanced to allow you to enjoy photo shooting seamlessly. With a payload of 30lbs, this will stay stable even during harsh weather conditions allowing you to make sharp shots in a breeze. For increased portability, the tripod has been designed with premium quality aircraft magnesium alloy making it the best travel photographer buddy.
The tripod folds to 34 cm, which is perfect for traveling. With the help of its exclusive bubble grip system, you get to enjoy high rigidity and better leverage even on unfavorable conditions. This tripod comes with a detachable monopod that can be used as a camera boom or microphone. This gives you great versatility and the ability to utilize your tripod for different photography applications.
Benefits of using a Travel Tripod
Relieves you from the Camera load
Carrying your camera all day long can be tiresome and may force you to take breaks. Worse still, you may miss capturing breathtaking moments, especially for moving objects like in wildlife filming.
But with a quality tripod, you will relieve yourself from the hassles of having to hold your camera for long hours. All you need is to mount your camera to make necessary adjustments, and you good to go.
If you are photographer, you may have at one point captured a photo that looked perfect, but after zooming it, you notice blurs. A tripod helps you mount your camera or device in place until a change in orientation is done. This keeps your camera sturdy while preventing any vibrations that may result in blurred images.
Captures sharp images in night mode
Capturing images when the sun has gone down is at times tricky, but with the help of night mode settings, you can capture your photos with ease. However, there are high chances you may shake hands and make unnecessary movements, which will result in low-quality images. This calls for extra vigilance, and this is where the tripod comes in handy.
Factors to consider when buying a Travel Tripod
Whether you are looking for a tripod for filming or photography, you have to make sure it's portable. The weight and size will influence the portability of your tripod. Most travel tripods feature a foldable design that allows you to fold them, making them easy to move around with.
However, as much most brands claim their tripods are lightweight and easy to carry, you should never assume. Every model features a specified weight depending on the materials used and size. A good travel tripod should be lightweight and easy to carry.
And since there is no recommended weight, the bulkiness of your tripod will depend on personal preferences. Buying a heft tripod that you cannot move around with will always drain you and may force you to take breaks.
The height of your tripod will dictate your experience when capturing your photos and videos. Different tripod models will vary in regards to height as each piece is designed for different user needs. So it’s upon you to know your body height and do the math to determine if you can use it comfortably without straining your legs or back.
To avoid any disappointments, make sure you settle on an adjustable tripod, which has a height above your head and also allows you to get low if need be.
Your tripod head is to offer a secure mounting place for your camera or device, in a specified orientation until the task at hand calls for a change. This helps keep your camera or device stable without vibrations giving you a chance to make your shots with ease.
Tripod heads are not the same and may differ in one way or another. Most manufacturers indicate the tripod head type to allow you to make informed decisions. And this is where some people run into trouble. One thing you need to know is that each tripod head comes with its benefits, and in some cases, you may be required to have more than one type.
But regardless of the type you choose, compatibility and sturdy support are crucial. The following are tripod head types in the market today and their benefits.
Ball heads are one of the most popular tripod heads you can find in the market. Compared to other tripod heads, the ballhead type has a simple mechanism. They are easy to use and flexible.
However, ballheads can be either simple or advanced. The simple head types only offer tension control, which keeps the device or camera tightly held in place. The sophisticated head types offer more additional control, like the panning control feature, which allows you to make 360-degree panning without compromising the balljoint orientation.
Others have a drag control feature, which allows you to set a secondary tension control depending on the current load to keep the attached device secure when tension control is not engaged.
Pistol grip head
The Pistol grip head features a pistol squeeze trigger for adjusting, tightening, and releasing the attached device for precise angle adjustments. They are easy to use and operate, but some people may not find it user-friendly.
Three-way /pan & tilt head
Three-way pan head comes with independent controls for both vertical and horizontal tilting and panning. Each leg has separate locks for securing them in place. Compared to ball heads, pan heads have a more complex design.
Gimbal heads are generally designed for use by nature and wildlife photographers. They are reliable and sturdy enough to hold extraordinarily long and heavy lenses without vibrations.
Panoramic tripod heads are designed to help prevent parallax errors. They come in handy when taking multiple photos that are stitched together to make one panoramic image.
Fluid heads are specially designed for commercial video cameras. They offer smooth movements while avoiding any unplanned movement or vibration during pan and tilt. Since these head are designed to hold heavy cameras, the fluid reduces the friction of the head moving parts.
Unless you are looking for a video tripod head as they are specifically designed for fluid movements and do not lock in place or allow for vertical image shooting.
Unstable tripods will cause vibrations to your device, and the results will be blur images. This can suck at time. Worse still, it can be challenging if you are capturing moving objects like in wildlife photography.
One of the factors that may affect the stability of your tripod is weather conditions. Strong winds can cause your tripod to shake, but this can be resolved by investing in a strong tripod with weather-resistant properties.
Taking advantage of tripods with hooks will allow you to hang additional weight, thus minimizing vibration levels. Tripod with more legs translates to more stability and should also be factored in.
Head mount compatibility
Some tripods come with universal head mounts, which means they are compatible with different cameras. Other models have a specific head mount, which means they can only be fitted with cameras of the same size.
To avoid any disappointments, always make sure your camera will be compatible with your tripods head mount.
The payload of your tripod is the maximum weight capacity it can hold. However, this does not mean that exceeding the weight will break your tripod. It merely means that exceeding the recommended weight will cause the tripod to wobble, increasing your camera vibrations. And the result will be blur images.
To be on the safe side, it is highly advocated to invest in a quality tripod that can hold more than your actual camera weight.
A tripod may have a simple or rubberized foot. Others have a retractable spike under the rubber feet while others come with interchangeable feet, which enable you to switch positions in between shots with ease.
No matter the type of feet you settle for, make sure they can offer a better grip even on unfavorable outdoor conditions.
Leg lock type
Tripods with multiple leg sections for locking them in place and prevent them from moving when loaded. The most common leg locks you may come across is the flip and twist type.
The flip-lock type has a lever that requires you to flip it once to keep the legs locked on your preferred position. Flip locks are handy but have some flaws. One of the challenges you may encounter while using this type of lock is that they get clogged by debris faster. If not correctly locked, chances are the locks will become loose after some time.
Twist locks, on the other hand, have fewer parts and weather sealed. Using the twist lock can be challenging, especially for beginners, but with time, you get used.
Some tripods come with all the attachments needed to kick start your outdoor photography, while others may require you to purchase some of the attachments. Though you will be forced to spend more, it is always a good idea to weigh if it’s worth incurring an extra cost.
In case you have a tight budget, it is good to stick to it to avoid any financial runaways.
Tripod warranty is one of the factors most people put a blind eye on. But the reality is, failing to read your manufacturer’s warranty can cost you much than you never thought. To be on the safe side, make sure the manufacturer has listed your country.
More extended warranties will get you covered should anything happen while using your tripod.
Tips for getting the best out of your Travel Tripod
Choose the right tripod
One secret to getting quality images and videos is by choosing the right tripod. While having a quality stand for your gear will make your job easy, you need to factor in your preferences and what you would like in a tripod.
Tighten your screws properly but do not overdo it
While it’s necessary to tighten your screws for better stability and to lock the movable parts in place, over tightening is not healthy for your tripod. Tightening your tripod screws can damage the threads calling for costly repairs.
Remove the center column
While the center column allows you to extend your tripod to higher heights, extending too high will cause vibrations. Increasing your tripod height using the legs will offer you more stability than when using the center column. But there are cases when the center column will be of much help, especially when you need extra height when the legs are fully extended.
In other scenarios where you need to make low angle shots, you don’t need the center column. Removing the center column will allow you to lower your tripod legs down to your preferred angle for super sharp shots.
Avoid carrying your tripod with the camera mounted on it
While your tripod helps you hold your camera in place, you should never be confident to walk around when your device is installed. The bumps and uneven outdoor terrains can detach your camera accidentally, and before you realize it, your camera has hit the ground. And all you can do is blame your tripod manufacturer.
To be on the safe side, always make sure your camera is detached when moving around with your tripod.
Keep your tripod protected from harsh outdoor conditions
If you have done outdoor photography before, you must have come across unfavorable surfaces. And if you are an amateur, be ready to encounter debris, water, sand, dust, strong winds, and snow. Though investing in a weather-resistant tripod will help you overcome some of these challenges, there is no single model out there that has all the properties to protect your stand from all these weather conditions.
So it’s up to you to protect your tripod, or else it won’t withstand the test of time no matter how quality it may be. If you happen to get your tripod submerged in saltwater, sand, dust, or mud, make sure you don’t collapse it as doing so may cause rusting or get debris to sensitive areas of your tripod.
The best way to do this is to rinse and dry your stand before collapsing.
Avoid using image stabilization
Image stabilization is one of the latest trends in handheld cameras. But this trick only works when holding your camera with your hands. When used on tripods, it causes vibrations, which will translate to low-quality images.
Keep your hands off the camera and tripod during exposure
Touching your camera shutter button can cause little changes on your camera and may result in blurred images. Taking advantage of self-timer or remote shutter release will help you resolve this blur mystery.
Make sure your tripod is stable enough
While travel tripods are lightweight, this means they need to be weighted, especially in areas prone to strong winds. One way of adding additional weight is by hanging items on the tripod hook. In case your tripod does not have a hook, you can anchor the legs.
Take advantage of tripods with more legs
More legs mean more stability. But the thicker legs offer more stability than the thinner ones. So if the task at hand doesn’t call for full tripod height, ensure you extend the upper thicker legs first followed by the thinner ones.
What is the best travel tripod?
Travel tripods will vary, and each model is designed to satiate different user needs. So what your friend may consider as the best travel tripod may not be great for you. The secret to identifying the best tripod for your gear is by factoring in your personal preferences. Compare how different models have been designed to help you take your photography career a notch higher.
Do all tripods fit all cameras?
Most cameras will fit in most tripods, but others will not. Before you purchase one, you need to be sure that it’s compatible with your camera. Most manufacturers will always specify the camera brands that are recommended for their tripods, which should guide you to make sound decisions.
What is a QR plate?
A QR or quick release plate is small tripod plates that are attached to the camera base using a screw to help hold the camera in place. These plates may vary from one brand to another, but as time goes by, the industry continues to make standardized plates. A good example is the ARCA Swiss plate, which fits almost every tripod.
What is the best material for a travel tripod?
Travel tripods are designed with different materials. Some of the most popular materials you can get include plastic, aluminum, Carbon Fiber, and magnesium. Each of these materials offers varied benefits.
Plastic tripods are lightweight and affordable but can break easily. Unlike other metals which expand and contract due to change in weather, plastic material does not get affected.
Aluminum tripods, just like the plastic models, are lightweight and inexpensive. Better still, aluminum tripods have the right blend of stability and weight balance, which makes them an excellent pick for your outdoor photography. However, aluminum can become extremely cold or hot, depending on the prevailing weather conditions.
Carbon Fiber tripods, on the other hand, are temperature tolerant but expensive. Magnesium tripods are also long-lasting and lightweight. They offer an alternative for people who are looking for an affordable but durable tripod.