As a frequent traveller and avid photographer, I’m always on the road looking for the best photographs I can capture. Although modern day cameras (especially DSLR cameras) are extremely advanced, we still can’t do without a proper tripod from time to time. Especially in dark spots or during night a tripod is needed to get a sharp image in the end. The same goes for HDR photography which is not possible at all without a proper tripod. I have used plenty of substitutes on my travels for a tripod: rocks, walls, trees, columns and so on. But in the end no photography trip can be done properly without a tripod. As we travellers have special requirements, I want to present you the best travel tripod in my own opinion!
NEW: By popular demand I’ve created a big table comparing the most important features of the best travel tripods at www.travel-tripods.com – check it out!
What does the “best travel tripod” need?
In order to qualify as a travel tripod, the following key features are important:
Mobility is the biggest asset when travelling. Therefore we will need a travel tripod that is neither bulky nor large in size. All tripods presented here fit in your hand luggage so they can count as the best travel tripods.
We are travel photographers and we want to travel light. Therefore all the travel tripods presented below are as light-weight as possible without lacking the quality that we need – some even with carbon or aluminium to reduce the weight.
Let’s face it – many of us own cameras that are as heavy as it gets (e.g. the Nikon D800). Imagine taking a long exposure shot at night and your tripod starts to collapse or rattle – not a good thing.
As travellers need lots (and lots!) of money for their travels, the price is a factor in determining the best travel tripod. Of course quality is more important than price though!
The Top Five Best Travel Tripods
The Benro MeFoto Travel Tripod is a great sturdy travel tripod. It only weighs 2.6lbs (1.17 kilograms) but can be expanded to a height of 51.2″ (130cm). It is a great choice for smaller DLSR cameras but might not be the perfect fit for full-frames – although it fits up to 8.8 pounds. The Q Series ballhead seems to be very sturdy and provides a safe place for your camera. It comes with a bag and fits quite well into your hund luggage because of its small size.
Size folded: 12.6″ (32cm)
Maximum Height: 51.2″ (130cm)
Price: 130 USD
The TX570 is Dolica‘s most compact full size tripod ever. At 2.5lbs it is the most lightweit tripod in this guide and at at price of currently 90 USD also quite inexpensive. At the same time it can also hold cameras up to a weight of 15lbs, although it can be put into your carry-on luggage easily. The ball head might not be the sturdiest one on the market, so I recommend not using it to the full extent of 15lbs. If weight is your major concern, the Dolica TX570 is (for me) the best travel tripod to be had!
Size folded: 12.5″ (32cm)
Maximum Height: 57.0″ (145cm)
Price: 90 USD
The Slik Travel Tripod is made out of an alloy of aluminium, magnesium and titanium which makes it quite lightweight but still very strong. The all-metal head is another great feature which makes this tripod one of the sturdiest and most reliable out there in this price segment. Although it is heavier, this might be a benefit to chose it over the Dolica TX-570 presented above. Combined with the maximum load of 8.8lbs this one might be the best travel tripod for this price.
Size folded: 19.3″ (49cm)
Maximum Height: 57.9″ (147cm)
Price: 100 USD
Although the Manfrotto BeFree is the most expensive tripod presented here, it’s still a great value. For 200USD you’ll get a very compact tripod combined with an extremely sturdy appearance that carries big DSLR cameras as well. It’s made out of aluminium and fits into your carry-on luggage easily. Another feature is the possibility to select between two inclinations for camera positioning. Combined with the very sturdy appearance and the rubber leg warmers it is the best travel tripod for 200 USD to buy. If you want to read more about it, check out my in-depth Manfrotto BeFree Review!
Size folded: 15.8″ (40cm)
Maximum Height: 56.7″ (144cm)
Price: 200 USD
#5 Benro A0690T
I’m a big fan of the Benro tripods, especially this one here. A low weight of 2.6lbs combined with a price of 160 USD makes it the best travel tripod for me. It is lightweight, very compact, has a great ball head and is made out of aluminium alloy. The best feature is its sturdiness though – you just can’t get it destroyed. Other tripods with similar features cost way more, and you get a great bang-for-the-buck for 160 USD here!
Size folded: 15″ (38cm)
Maximum Height: 55.9″ (142cm)
Price: 160 USD