6 Best Travel Tripods for Photographers in 2022

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travel-tripod-testing

We tested over 50 different travel tripods from various brands at different price points to find the best travel tripod of the year.

From the latest lightweight carbon fiber tripod to budget aluminium models, this guide will help you choose the best way to stabilise your camera while not sacrificing weight and space.

A good camera tripod will let you blur flowing water or star trails for beautiful long-exposure photography, create an engaging time-lapse video, capture panoramic landscapes, or even take a self-portrait.

Tripods allow you to get sharper and clearer photos than shooting handheld, especially in low-light environments.

PeakDesignTravelTripod
Peak Design Travel Tripod

Great stability, useful features and takes up much less space in your travel bag than other tripods. Highly recommended.

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A tripod for travel needs to be strong, compact and lightweight to carry mirrorless and DSLR cameras with long lenses attached, with minimal vibrations.

The top models should also offer unique features to make your shooting experience more efficient and enjoyable.

Based on our testing and independent research, here are the best travel tripods of the year.

What is the Best Travel Tripod in 2022?

Image Product Features
shk2-table__imagePeak Design Travel TripodOUR #1 CHOICE
  • Multiple Unique Features
  • Compact Ball Head
  • Rigid & Strong
  • Easily Packable
View Price →
shk2-table__image3 Legged Thing Punks CoreyBEST FOR BACKPACKING
  • Strong Legs & Ballhead
  • Multiple Attachment Points
  • Multiple Bubble Levels
  • Attractive/Unique Design
View Price →
shk2-table__imageLeofoto LS224CBEST LIGHTWEIGHT
  • Super Lightweight
  • Compact
  • Converts to Monopod
  • Durable
View Price →
shk2-table__imageZOMEI Z699CBEST BUDGET FOR BEGINNERS
  • Best Value for Money
  • Flexible Monopod Convertability
  • Impressively Strong
  • Tall yet Compact
View Price →
shk2-table__imageManfrotto Befree LiveBEST FOR VIDEO
  • Compact
  • M-Lock Twist-lock System
  • Carry Case Included
  • Three Leg-angle Positions
View Price →
shk2-table__imageJoby GripTight One GorillaPodBEST FOR HIKING
  • Universal SmartphoneCcompatibility
  • Compact & Lightweight
  • Durable Build
  • Flexible Legs
View Price →

 

Peak Design | Best Travel Tripod for Mirrorless or DSLR Cameras

photographers love innovative centre column

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Material: Carbon fiber or aluminum alloy | Maximum height: 153cm / 60.2″ | Minimum height: 14cm / 5.5″| Folded length: 39cm / 15.3″ | Weight: (Alu) 1.56kg / 3.4 lb (CF) 1.27kg / 2.79lb | Feet: Pads (spikes optional extra) | Number of leg sections: 5 | Max load: 9kg / 19.8lb | Peak Design Travel Tripod Review

Pros
  • Ultra-compact storage
  • Well-built and durable
  • Quick to deploy
  • Unique & innovative features
Cons
  • High price
  • Often out of stock

Truly one of a kind, beating all other travel tripods in 2022 with a unique space-saving body / ball-head design, fast leg deployment, impressive strength-to-weight ratio and overall good looks, giving it that desirable x-factor. Lifetime warranty is a huge benefit. Highly recommended.

  • Size

The standout feature is its unique ability to collapse into a tubular unit, similar in diameter to a can of beans. When folded, there’s none of the ‘dead space’ which is typical of other tripods – it’s svelte enough to slide into the water bottle holder of a travel backpack, with no protruding ball head and ultra-compact quick-release plate. Folded height is impressive, at only 39cm.

Users of travel tripods are sensitive to the packed volume of the tripod – this is where the Peak Design tripod excels. 

10/10

  • Max Height

At full extension (153cm), it’s tall enough for comfortable usage, while still retaining good rigidity. It’s best to avoid extending center columns if possible, particularly on windy days, but this is the case with all lightweight tripods.

9/10

 
  • Weight

Both the aluminum and carbon fiber travel tripods are relatively lightweight – there are certainly lighter products, but they often sacrifice strength and rigidity. The 29g weight saving for the carbon fiber tripod may not be worth the extra price.

8/10

  • Build

As with all Peak Design products, the Travel Tripod is very well designed and built. There’s also a lifetime guarantee – perfect peace of mind for backpackers and frequent travellers.

10/10

  • Sturdiness

Despite having 5 leg sections, the stiffness and damping of the Peak Design Travel Tripod are impressive. With a maximum load capacity of 9kg, you can safely support any camera + zoom lens. In high winds, there’s a hook beneath the center column to hang a weight (e.g. your backpack!)

9/10

  • Features
carbon fibre section legs minimised tripod weight

Innovative features that don’t exist on other travel tripods. (Bottom left: smartphone holder concealed in centre column.)

In our tests, we found that the Peak Design tripod has the most unique and useful features of any other lightweight tripod. The stem of the ball head nestles between the tops of the tripod legs when collapsed, ensuring no protrusions and compact storage.

Lever locks can be controlled with one hand, while you adjust the camera angle with the other, making adjustment of locking angles fast and efficient.

Legs slide in and out smoothly, and leg locks are strong yet easy to open – full deployment of all 5 sections is very fast.

The Center column hook conceals a mobile phone holder, neatly tucked away. Rubber feet are replaceable for spikes, and the column can be inverted for macro photography camera setups. Even the protective case is well-designed, with all-over padding and not an inch of superfluous material.

10/10

  • Value
warranty

Reddit users agree that despite the high price, the Peak Design Tripod is worth it.

This is by no means a budget tripod – you’re paying for a unique design and innovative features that don’t exist on other models.

A lifetime warranty is a huge benefit, making the price tag more justifiable. The aluminium model is the best bang for your buck, although carbon fiber feels/looks better, and has a slight weight advantage (I own the CF).

If you’ve ever asked yourself: “do I really need a tripod for travel photography?“, this Peak Design product is the answer. Pack it the next time you go on holiday and thank us later!

8/10

3 Legged Thing Punks Corey | Best Tripod for Backpacking

low tripod weight + sturdy ball heads + 2 bubble levels

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Material: Magnesium alloy | Maximum height: 147.5cm / 58″ | Minimum height: 18.5cm7.2″  Folded length: 35cm / 13.67″ | Weight: 1.5kg / 3.4 lb | Feet: Pads (spikes optional extra) | Number of leg sections: 5 (+ 2 section column) | Max load: 14kg / 30lb | 3 Legged Thing Punks Corey Review

Pros
  • Multiple attachment points
  • Stylish design
  • Strong legs
  • 14kg maximum load capacity
  • Bubble level
Cons
  • Colours not for every taste

Detachable monopod leg, the ability to splay the legs completely for low-angle work, unique detailing, friction control knob design, excellent strength:weight ratio and overall efficiency in use. Highly recommended lightweight travel tripod for backpacking.

  • Size

Designed specifically for travel and lightweight backpacking, the Punks Corey packs down to an impressive 35cm / 13.67″, with the legs folding back 180 degrees over the center column, helping to create a slim overall packed diameter for your camera bag.

9/10

  • Max Height

At (147.5cm / 58″) extended height, the 3 Legged Thing is tall enough for comfortable usage, while still having good rigidity. Legs can be positioned at multiple locking angles, or splayed close to the ground for low-angle or close-up travel photography.

8/10

 
  • Weight

At 1.5kg / 3.4 lb, the Punks Corey is a lightweight travel tripod for photographers who prefer to travel carry-on only. Its size/weight make it ideal as a backpacking tripod.

8/10

  • Build

Aircraft-grade magnesium alloy construction is unique for travel tripods, offering excellent durability and one of the best strength:weight ratios. Excellent ball head design.

10/10

  • Sturdiness

With 5 leg sections and a unique 2 section center column, the 3 Legged Thing Punks Corey maintains great rigidity. A unique detachable d-ring under the column allows you to hang extra weight for increased stability. Impressive maximum load capacity of 14 kg / 30 lb.

9/10

  • Features
3LT good for landscape photography

Unique design and useful details make for a fun and functional tripod for backpacking.

Twist locks offer fast leg deployment. Double center column increases rigidity and allows efficient fine-tuning of overall height. Fast adjusting AirHed Neo ball head with grippy knobs.

Precision-engineered leg lock system offers excellent stability and rigidity. 2 spirit levels (head/leg) for precise levelling. Ergonomic ‘bubble’ grip leg locks for all-weather use. Detachable monopod.

Invertible column for macro camera setups. 1/4″ screw foot with multiple accessory options. Tri-mount plate with hollowed spurs for clipping on accessories. Durable drawstring bag. ‘Toolz’ multi-tool, including hex key, coin key, key ring, carabiner and bottle opener! Available in multiple attractive colours.

10/10

  • Value

Good value to suit most budgets. 5 year limited warranty against manufacturing defects.

9/10

Leofoto LS224C | Best Lightweight Travel Tripod

Material: Carbon Fiber | Maximum height: 127cm / 50″ | Minimum height: 119cm / 47″ | Folded length: 47.5cm / 18.7″ | Weight: 1.42 kg (3.14 lbs) | Feet: Pads & Spikes | Number of leg sections: 4 | Max load: 6kg / 13.2 lb

Pros
  • Lightweight & compact
  • Sturdier than competitors
  • Great ball head
  • Unique removable centre-column
  • Spiked feet included
Cons
  • Lighter max load

If you’re looking for another alternative to the Peak Design Tripod, the Leofoto LS224C is a worthy contender. Great build quality, impressively lightweight and stiffer than its competition. If you can get past the relatively unknown brand name, it’s an absolute bargain.

  • Size

At a folded length of only 47.5cm / 18.7″, the Leofoto folds down nice and compact with everything fitting snugly into its included carry bag. Since the centre-column is removable and optional, there’s no negative space between all 3 legs, meaning that the folded tripod occupies much less volume when folded up.

9/10

  • Max Height

The height of the Lefoto is around 127cm / 50″ which is average among the tripods we tested. As with all travel tripods with a focus on weight-saving and compactness, it’s not advisable to use the centre column for optimal stability, unless the ground is completely even/stable and there’s zero wind. 

8/10

  • Weight

The Leofoto LS224C is the lightest tripod we tested, and much lighter than most others at its price point. Available only in carbon fiber, it weighs in at an impressive 1.42 kg (3.14 lbs) with the ball head installed, making it perfect for all-day backpacking or tight airline carry on luggage allowances while travelling. 

10/10

  • Build

You may not have heard of Leofoto, but it’s a brand of Laitu Photographic, a manufacturer that has been making tripods and accessories since 2014. The LS224C is very well built and feels great when extending the legs. The leg hinge joints are nice and stiff, inspiring confidence when setting the Leofoto up.

build quality

9/10

  • Sturdiness

Everything feels very stable on the Leofoto when legs are fully deployed and the centre column is unattached. Obviously, this will reduce the overall height of the tripod, but it’s a small sacrifice for the greatly improved stability.

testing-sturdiness

Source: The Center Column

As can be seen in the screenshot above, David from the Center Column rated the LeoFoto’s stiffness alongside much more expensive travel tripods.

9/10

  • Features

The LS224C is one of the few travel tripods we’ve seen that haven’t been designed around a centre-column. This is a great space-saver when packing light since the tripod can have its legs folded closer together, reducing the overall volume it occupies. 

The twist locks on the leg joints don’t need to be twisted more than 1/4 of a turn before the legs release, which makes deployment of the tripod fast and simple. Leg locks can be pulled out to unlock the legs for them to be splayed to 55, then 85 degrees for close-up photography.

The rubber feet can be replaced with the included steel spikes for use on grass or soft ground – a nice feature not commonly seen on travel tripods at this price point.

9/10

  • Value

With this kind of performance and features from such a light tripod for travel, it’s surprising to hear that the LS284C is available for under $200. For such a compact tripod that weighs less and performs better than others twice its price, it’s incredible value for money.

10/10

ZOMEI Z699C | Best Budget Travel Tripod for Beginners

center columns between section legs series 1

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Material: Carbon fiber | Maximum height: 152cm / 60″ | Minimum height: 35cm / 3.7″ | Folded length: 35cm / 15″ | Weight: 1.3kg / 3.3lb | Feet: Pads and spikes | Number of leg sections: 5 | Max load: 15kg / 33lb | Zomei Z699C Review 

Pros
  • Great value for money
  • Great for beginners
  • Folds up nice and small
  • Super light weight
  • Converts to monopod
Cons
  • Low quality protective bag
  • Not ideal for cold weather/gloved operation

If you’re looking for great bang your buck this is the best budget travel tripod. Details aren’t as impressive as higher priced rivals, but operation is decent and size/weight/strength are competitive. Easy and enjoyable to use for beginners.

  • Size

Folded up, the Zomei Z699C is compact enough to suit any small camera backpack. Folded height (35cm / 15″) is among the best in class.

10/10

  • Max Height

At full extension (152cm / 60″), the Zomei tripod is tall enough for comfortable usage, while still retaining good rigidity. Legs can be locked at multiple angles, or splayed close to the ground for low-angle or close-up travel photography.

9/10

  • Weight

At just 1.3kg / 3.3 lb, the plastic tripod head helps keep weight down. Carbon fiber construction offers best weight savings. Carbon fiber tripods are stiffer, lighter, more weather/corrosion/scratch-resistant, and in general, stronger than aluminium. They also look and feel nicer.

9/10

  • Build

Legs slide smoothly and locks on each leg can be deployed all at once with one hand. Grips could be larger/grippier for cold-weather / gloved operation. Leg grips a nice addition and provides padding when in transit. Plastic ball head is basic but includes bubble level. Protective bag feels budget but does its job.

7/10

  • Sturdiness

Good rigidity and center column hook for additional stability. Surprisingly sturdy considering its light weight – max load of 15kg / 33lb can support any camera / lens combination.

9/10

  • Features
leg section, 4 grippy locks minimise tripod weight

The Zomei features everything most traveling photographers need.

Reverse folding design. Monopod conversion. Multiple leg angles including inverted macro. Contoured rubber feet for flat and metal ‘spikes’ for outdoor/uneven surfaces. Twist locks for fast deployment.

7/10

  • Value

The Zomei Z699C is the best value compact carbon fiber tripod of 2022. You won’t find carbon fiber at this build quality for less.

10/10

Manfrotto Befree Live | Best Travel Tripod for Video

Material: Aluminum / Carbon Fiber | Maximum height: 150cm / 59.06″ | Minimum height: 40cm / 15.75″ | Folded length: 40cm / 15.75″ | Weight: (Alu) 1.76kg / 3.9lb (CF) 1.36kg / 3lb | Feet: Pads | Number of leg sections: 5 | Max load: 3.9kg / 8.8lb

Pros
  • M-Lock twist-lock system quick and convenient
  • Fluid head for smooth video panning
  • Included carry bag
  • Levelling ball joint for accurate alignment
  • Hook for attaching accessories
  • Fluid arm position can be adjusted
Cons
  • No convertible feet
  • No friction adjustment for panning

The BeFree line of travel tripods is enormously popular and this is the version intended for video shooters. Manfrotto is synonymous with making high-quality tripods, and the BeFree Live is no exception, available for a great price for backpackers who need a decent travel tripod for video.

  • Size

When folded down, the BeFree Live is a relatively compact tripod, especially considering it has that all-important fluid head and lever for smooth video panning movements. However, the legs and head do not rest snuggly against the central core, making the entire volume of the unit larger than the other travel tripods we tested,

You could remove the tripod head completely to allow the legs to sit closer together if you want to pack it even tighter.

7/10

  • Max Height

At 150cm / 59.06″, the maximum height is comparable to other travel tripods at this price point. With its compact folded length of only 40cm / 15.75″, the height should be good enough for most travel photography.

8/10

  • Weight

The head itself weighs only 380g (0.84 lbs) which is really light for a fluid head and can hold up to 3.9kg / 8.8lb. As for the total weight of (Alu) 1.76kg / 3.9lb (CF) 1.36kg / 3lb, these are respectable for travel tripods for video – there’s no need to opt for the carbon fiber model unless owning the most lightweight tripod is a top priority to you. 

9/10

 
  • Build

Being a Manfrotto tripod, the BeFree Live is well made and feels good in the hand when deploying the twist-lock leg sections. The inverse foldable leg design is easy to operate and everything sits nicely in the included carry bag.

8/10 

  • Sturdiness

We tested the Manfrotto BeFree Live with a Sony a7IV and 24-70mm f/2.8 lens in average winds and it performed well. Unless you’re using a camera/lens set up that exceeds the max load, you shouldn’t have any issues with how sturdy it is.

8/10

  • Features

The arm of the fluid head can be fully adjusted so it’s in the right position when you’re positioning the tripod. When using the tilt control, there’s a tightening knob to open it up fully for a nice and smooth tilting movement.

The fluid head fits onto other travel tripods, so if you need to swap it for whatever reason, it’s simple to do so. There’s also a bubble level for precise setups. 

It also features a feature called ‘Easy Link’ (standard 3/8” attachment) for optional accessories and a hook to attach a weight for stabilization.

8/10

  • Value

At around $270, the BeFree Video is excellent value for money if you’re looking for travel tripods with fluid heads for shooting video. Sure, you may be able to find cheaper, but it won’t be from such a reputable brand as Manfrotto.

9/10

Joby GripTight One GorillaPod | Best Phone Tripod for Hiking

Material: Plastic/Aluminum | Dimension: 1.34 x 1.57 x 6.50 in Weight: 71 g (0.16 lbs) | Max load: 325 g (0.72 lbs)

Pros
  • Felxible legs
  • Fits all smartphones
  • Compact
  • Durable build
  • Works as hand grip for vlogging
Cons
  • Low height
  • Only 1 year warranty

Gorillapods allow you to secure your camera to objects for a variety of shooting angles and added convenience when travelling alone. Rubberised ball joints provide grippy finger placement for one-handed selfies and vlogging.

  • Size

As a mini (aka tabletop) tripod kit, the Gorillapod GripTight One is a lot smaller than other travel tripods and takes up little room in your travel bag – it’s so small in fact that it can fit easily into your pocket.

10/10

  • Height

Gorillapods don’t have a fully extended height, since they are intended to be used with the legs partially splayed, or bent to wrap around thin objects. Either way, you’ll usually be either crouching down or trying to find something higher to secure it to or balance it on.

5/10

  • Weight

Weighing in at a tiny 71 g (0.16 lbs), this flexible tripod can be taken on every travel adventure without a second thought.

10/10

  • Build

Made from ABS Plastic, Stainless Steel and TPE, the Gorillapod is the best tripod for travel when camera bag space is at a minimum. Obviously it’s not as robustly built as some of the heavy-duty tripods, but it doesn’t need to be.

9/10

  • Sturdiness

The GripTight is designed for any smartphone, with or without a case, (56mm – 91mm) such as all the modern iPhones and Samsung Galaxy devices. Leg joints are stable and strong, but you’ll need to find thin tubular objects to wrap them around, or flat surfaces for optimum stability (since all leg lengths are identical).

7/10

  • Features

The base of the mount features a 1/4″-20 standard tripod mount meaning that you can attach it to other travel tripods if you need some extra height. Other than that, the key feature is the ability to wrap the legs around thin objects, or use them all together as a handy grip while filming.

8/10

  • Value

At less than $25, the GripTight One is amazing value for money, and the 1 year warranty is adequate for regular travel.

10/10

FAQs about Travel Tripods

Do I need a tripod for travel photography?

Yes, a tripod will help you take better photos in low light when travelling by stabilising your camera and reducing movement. This will allow you to use a slower shutter speed to capture more light without having to rely on a higher ISO which can introduce noise into your images.

A tripod can also be useful when taking timed shots or self-portraits, allowing you to include yourself in your travel photos.

How heavy should a travel tripod be?

It’s important to have a lightweight tripod for travel, so the usual trade-off between having a stiffer/more stable tripod which is heavier isn’t so relevant. As long as the tripod is strong enough to hold your camera and lens without swaying, try and find the lightest tripod you can – this will make your travelling experience more enjoyable.

How do you stabilize a tripod?

You should set up the tripod on stable ground and only extend the number of legs sections that are absolutely required – try and avoid the centre column at all costs. If your tripod has a hook, hang something relatively heavy from it such as your camera bag – just don’t exceed the maximum weight capacity.

Final Words

Shopping for a travel tripod can be a confusing experience due to the number of products on the market here in 2022.

This is compounded by the large number of unknown brands producing similar spec models on Amazon.

Stick to the travel tripods on this list to narrow your choices to the best options for the average travelling photographer, and remember the following factors when choosing:

  • Size (when folded) – smaller the better for packability.
  • Height – closest to user’s eye level is best if sturdiness/strength is maintained. Min height allows macro/close-up work.
  • Weight – lighter the better, if sturdiness/strength is preserved. Between 1-1.5kgs offers good strength:weight.
  • Build – carbon fiber is better for strength:weight, but more expensive. 
  • Sturdiness – rigidity under load vs maximum weight capacity; the number of leg sections (less is better).
  • Value for money – justifiable price based on overall quality. Within the budget of the average travel photographer/backpacker.
  • Additional Tripod Features – anything unique that adds value.

Remember to take a tripod on your next trip – you’ll come home with a wider variety of photos, and even if you travel alone, there’ll be more pictures featuring you!

PeakDesignTravelTripod
Peak Design Travel Tripod

Revolutionary design with useful, well-implemented features. Best all round - highly recommended.

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Mark Condon
Shotkit Founder, Editor, Writer & Reviewer

Mark Condon is a British wedding photographer and editor of Shotkit. When he’s not taking photos or reviewing the latest camera gear and software, Mark can be found cycling around the northern rivers.

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ABOUT YOUR EXPERT

Mark Condon has been a professional photographer for 10+ years and has used and reviewed hundreds of tripods for backpacking around Australia and overseas travel. He prefers to fly without checked luggage (carry-on only), so a lightweight tripod is essential!


OUR TOP PICKS

  1. Peak Design Tripod 🚀
  2. 3LT Punks Corey 🚀
  3. Leofoto LS224C 🚀