Best travel tripod

Travel Essentials

The first selfie was taken in 1839 by an American photographer by the name of Robert Cornelius. As the 20th century rolled around, selfies became more popular, but required plenty of equipment to be done well.

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Which travel tripods are best?

Whether you’re traveling solo or with a group, getting the perfect self-portrait can be tricky. That’s where a travel tripod comes in handy. These lightweight tripods fold up to a compact size that is easy to transport wherever you travel in the world. Most of these tripods will weigh under 4 pounds, meaning that you’ll find them very easy to carry in your bag during day trips. 

The top pick for a travel tripod has to be the lightweight and stable GEEKOTO 79 inches Carbon Fiber Camera Tripod.

What to know before you buy a travel tripod

Materials

The most common material you will see travel tripods being made out of is carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is a polymer that is extremely durable, yet incredibly lightweight. Aluminum is also a good choice and will most likely be a cheaper option for a travel tripod. When choosing aluminum, you might have to sacrifice quality, but the price will drop significantly. 

Compatibility 

When traveling, you might want to take the big DSLR with you, or you might find that you have limited space and have to leave it behind. Finding a tripod that will be compatible with both a DSLR and a mobile phone is key. Suppose you plan on switching back and forth between the two-piece of technology for capturing your video and photographs. In that case, you’ll need to make sure you find a tripod that will fit both devices, as well as be able to carry the weight of a DSLR.  

Weight 

One thing that sets a travel tripod apart from a regular tripod is the weight. As most modes of transport have baggage allowances, you want to ensure that your tripod won’t take up half of your allowance. Most carbon fiber tripods will weigh very little, with the heaviest coming in around 4 pounds. This is something you will need to consider when looking to purchase a tripod, as it will be up to you and how much extra weight you are willing to carry around each day. 

What to look for in a quality travel tripod

Folded size

Another difference between regular tripods and their travel versions is the size. Travel tripods tend to fold up a lot smaller than the regular version and come in much smaller sizes when unfolded. Some travel tripods will just be countertop tripods that don’t need to be folded up but will only be suited to situations where you can stand your tripod on something else to achieve the height you are after. 

Make sure you take a look at the size of the tripod when it is folded up. The last thing you need is a travel tripod that is too big for your backpack once it has been folded up, which would defeat the purpose of a travel tripod altogether.

Usage size

One feature you will want to make sure you pay close attention to is how far you will stretch the tripod. Most travel tripods will reach anywhere between 10 to 70 inches. The taller the tripod can go, the more photo opportunities you will capture, but the larger the piece of equipment will be. Another downside to having a tripod that can be adjusted to a taller height is that it will be less stable, since it will most likely be made from a lightweight material. 

Setup 

When you’re on the go, you need a tripod that will easily put up and takedown. The setup needs to be simple yet sturdy. The larger travel tripods that have adjustable legs will have leg locks so you can adjust the height of your shot while making sure the camera is secure. Most tripods will either have lever locks or twist locks. Every photographer has their preference, so you will need to try them both out to determine which one suits you best. 

How much you can expect to spend on a travel tripod

Basic tripods that won’t last long will cost around $10. These tripods are great for a last-minute pack but don’t expect them to be of amazing quality. The high-end travel tripods will cost anywhere between $60-$250 but will work very well, be easy to travel with and last a lot longer. 

Travel tripod FAQ

Will I be able to carry my tripod in my backpack? 

A. If you choose a travel tripod that is lightweight and easy to pack up into a compact size, you will be able to carry it with you in your backpack when going on hikes. The smaller countertop tripods are probably better suited, as they will take up very little space and weigh next to nothing. 

What size should my tripod be? 

A. If you plan on doing lots of full-body shots or taking pictures of big landscapes, you will need a tripod that can stretch to at least 70 inches. If you only want to take the occasional seated selfie or time lapse, you’ll be fine with a countertop tripod that will be around 12 inches in height both when set up and when packed away.

What’s the best travel tripod to buy?

Top travel tripod

GEEKOTO Carbon Fiber Camera Tripod

GEEKOTO Carbon Fiber Camera Tripod

What you need to know: A superior quality carbon fiber tripod that is both lightweight and stable. 

What you’ll love: This tripod features a 360 degree ball head, enabling you to adjust the angle of your camera with ease. The tripod is multi-functional, functioning as a monopod, trekking pole and aerial stand. When folded, this tripod is 19 inches, but it has a max height of 78 inches when unpacked. 

What you should consider: The tripod is not compatible with smartphones. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top travel tripod for the money

Joby JB01507 GorillaPod 3K Kit

Joby JB01507 GorillaPod 3K Kit

What you need to know: A flexible tripod that is lightweight, compact and stable. 

What you’ll love: This tripod can be bent to whatever shape and wrapped around poles and countertops. The base can cover 360 degrees and tilt up to 90 degrees The tripod will hold up to 3kg of equipment. 

What you should consider: You will need to purchase the smartphone mount separately. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

TYCKA Rangers 56” Compact Travel Tripod, Lightweight Aluminum Camera Tripod for DSLR Camera with 360° Panorama Ball Head

TYCKA Rangers 56” Compact Travel Tripod, Lightweight Aluminum Camera Tripod for DSLR Camera with 360° Panorama Ball Head

What you need to know: A full-package travel tripod that folds down to a compact size. 

What you’ll love: A tripod that will fold down to 14 inches and weighs around 2.9 pounds. The tripod is made from aluminum, making it lightweight and affordable. The tripod has a max height of 56 inches when unfolded. 

What you should consider: The feet are not removable, meaning that you cannot use it as a monopod. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Lottie Winsor writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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