Best travel tripod 2020: the 10 finest lightweight tripods for your camera

by admin June 30, 2020 at 3:07 am

Looking for the best travel tripod you can buy? You’ve come to the right place. We’ve tested all of the latest models for giving your photography a rock-solid base without weighing you down with an awkward, full-size tripod.  

Of course, you can’t really beat a full-sized tripod for truly solid support. The problem is that nobody likes lugging around a hefty tripod, so you’re likely to leave it at home where it’s no use whatsoever. The good news is that manufacturers are increasingly designing travel tripods that are relatively lightweight and fold down small enough to easily strap to a camera bag, or even fit inside one.

So-called travel tripods have been around for years but some are notoriously flimsy and short. That’s a fail on both counts, as they won’t give a sufficiently rigid platform for your camera, and the lack of loftiness can be a severely limiting factor when composing shots.

So how do you make a tripod that stands tall but folds down small? The traditional solution is to use four or five sections in each leg, rather than the more usual three. This gives greater telescopic reach when extending the legs. Some of the latest travel tripod designs also include a dual-section extending centre column, for extra height. 

The only real downsides are that a larger number of extending sections require the operation of more twist or flip locks, which can be a time-consuming chore. Each joint is also a potential weak point that can reduce rigidity, so careful design and manufacture are called for. Similarly, the larger the number of extending leg sections, the thinner the bottom sections will be. In some cases, they can end up being quite spindly and unduly prone to flexing.

A favorite trick that’s employed in the majority of recent travel tripod designs is swing-up legs. The idea is that to fold the tripod down, you first extend the centre column, then swing the legs fully upwards so that the feet encircle the head. This typically reduces the folded length by about 20cm.

In most cases, current travel tripods that complete with ball heads tend to weigh around 1.5kg, extend to a maximum operating height of around 150cm, and fold down to as little as 30-50cm. 

Aluminum and carbon fibre versions are often available but, because the travel tripods are quite small, the weight saved by using carbon fibre only tends to be about 200g or so, and they can be much pricier to buy.

Best travel tripod 2020 at a glance:

  1. 3LT Punks Travis with AirHed Neo Ballhead
  2. Benro iFoto FIF19AIB0
  3. Benro Travel Angel FTA28CV1
  4. Gitzo Traveler Series 0 GK0545T-82TQD
  5. Manfrotto Befree 2N1 Aluminium Tripod
  6. Manfrotto Element Traveller Tripod Big
  7. MeFoto GlobeTrotter Carbon C2350Q2T
  8. Novo Explora T5 Carbon Fibre Professional Tripod Kit
  9. Sirui T-005 travel tripod with B-00 ball head
  10. Vanguard VEO 2 GO 235CB with ball head

3LT Punks Travis

(Image credit: 3LT)

1. 3 Legged Thing Punks Travis, AirHed Neo Ballhead

The Punks range of British-made tripods are smartly turned out

Maximum load: 18kg | Maximum height: 167cm | Minimum height: 19.5cm | Folded length: 45cm | Number of leg sections: 4 | Weight: 1.6kg

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