7 Best Travel Tripods in 2023 (Lightweight, Compact & Strong)
The best travel tripod needs to be strong, compact, stable and light enough to carry with you around the world. Here are the top tripods of 2023 so far.
To find the best travel tripods of the year, I tested over 50 different models from various brands at different price points
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.
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 my testing and independent research, here are the best travel tripods of the year.
(I’ll be updating this list as new models are released, so keep checking back.)
Table of Contents
What is the Best Travel Tripod in 2023?
|Peak Design Travel Tripod||Check PEAK DESIGN Price → Check AMAZON Price →|
|HEIPI 3-in-1 Travel Tripod||View Price →|
|3 Legged Thing Punks Corey||View Price →|
|Leofoto LS224C||View Price →|
|ZOMEI Z699C||View Price →|
|Manfrotto Befree Live||View Price →|
|Joby GripTight One GorillaPod||View Price →|
1. Peak Design | Best Travel Tripod for Mirrorless or DSLR Cameras
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
- Ultra-compact storage
- Well-built and durable
- Quick to deploy
- Unique & innovative features
- Feels great to use
- Good maximum extended height
- High price
- Often out of stock
- Carrying case is tight
The standout feature of this highly portable tripod 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 the Peak Design 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.
- Max Height
At full extension (153cm), it’s among the taller tripods for cameras tested – 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.
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.
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 travelers. Also great as a tripod for spotting scope use.
Despite having 5 leg sections, the stiffness and damping of the Peak Design Travel Tripod is 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, like your backpack.
It’s the best tripod for mirrorless camera users based on average mirrorless body sizes and lenses. Some flagship DSLR cameras combined with heavy telephoto lenses may unbalance it, but these are minority cases.
In testing, I found that the Peak Design tripod still has the most unique and useful features of any other lightweight tripod.
It’s without a doubt the best camera tripod for anyone who places a value on original design quirks, despite the fact that it’s been frequently mimicked by other DSLR tripod brands over the years since its release.
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.
The unique rounded design with legs that tuck away neatly makes this my pick of the best backpacking tripod.
Sliding it in and out of a side pocket is so much easier than even the most compact travel tripod – since nothing is ‘sticking out’, it’s almost like you’re stowing a smooth waterbottle.
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 carbon fiber tripod).
Final Score: 64/70
Truly one of a kind, beating all other travel tripods in 2023 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.
2. HEIPI 3-in-1 | Best Travel Tripod for Stability
Material: Carbon fiber (aluminium sub tripod) | Maximum height: 149cm / 59″ | Minimum height: 14.5cm / 5.7″| Folded length: 44.5cm / 17.5″ | Weight: 1.35kg / 2.97lb | Feet: Pads and spikes | Number of leg sections: 5 | Max load: 25g / 55lb
- Stable and solid construction
- Useful and unique sub tripod
- Efficient locking ring
- Impressive maximum load
- Hidden mobile mount
- 2 tripods for price of one
- Currently available on Indiegogo only
- Slightly larger/heavier than Peak Design’s
With a similar tubular design to the Peak Design travel tripod, the HEIPI saves space in your backpack by eliminating any gaps between folded legs and retracted ball head.
Everything tucks in perfectly, allowing it to slide into its carrying case easily (much better than Peak’s overly tight one).
- Max Height
150cm is decent as a maximum height, but as with the other best travel tripod options, it still means tall photographers will need to stoop a little.
With a carbon fiber body and aluminium subtripod, the HEIPI is light at 1.35kgs (1.2kgs without the sub tripod).
This is a sweet spot for lightweight travel without sacrificing on stability in higher winds or grassy/unlevel ground.
However, for truly lightweight travel, there are lighter options.
The HEIPI feels very well built, with the legs sliding in and out smoothly and leg locks securing everything in place with confidence.
The ball head is robust and durable and looks like it can stand consistent outdoor use and the rigours of travel.
Here’s where the HEIPI excels and is truly unique among the other best travel tripod products I tested.
Set inside the main tripod is a separate aluminium ‘subtripod’, which adds to the rigidity of the entire tripod while retracted.
When extended, since there are 3 legs in place of a regular singular centre column, it’s 3x as stable as other travel tripods.
Due to the increased stability, I consider it to be the best tripod for astrophotography at this price.
The subtripod is extended and deployed by a centre column lock ring which is easily rotatable with a couple of hand twists.
Opening it completely releases the subtripod, which can be used for low-angle, macro photography, or even as a mini tripod to be used on a table.
When used in conjunction with the main tripod, the subtripod adds rigidity far superior to using a single centre column. This is currently the only travel tripod in existence that has this feature.
Rubber feet can be screwed open to reveal spiked feet for use on sand, ice, grass or snow. You also get 3x hex keys, a water repellent soft case, and a quick release plate.
The detachable ball head is like having an extra accessory that can be used on either tripod – the main one or the sub one.
There’s a handy bubble level and even a counterweight hook which allows you to add some extra stability by hanging your bag under the tripod.
By no means a budget tripod, the HEIPI is a high-quality product and is priced accordingly. It’s great value for a carbon fiber tripod with this many features.
Remember that you’re essentially getting two tripods for the price of one (the mini tripod is useful and unique, fitting snugly into the main one).
Currently only available on Indiegogo, it’s still a good deal cheaper than the equivalent carbon fiber Peak Design Travel Tripod.
The only problem is that you need to wait until March 2023 to get your hands on one, but based on my preliminary testing, it’s definitely worth the wait.
Final Score: 65/70
Innovative one-of-a-kind concealed subtripod design provides stability when extended and retracted and offers two-for-one functionality. Excellent maximum payload means you can attach heavier cameras and telephoto lenses with no issues. Compact, space-saving design is perfect for backpacking.
3. 3 Legged Thing Punks Corey | Best Tripod for Backpacking
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
- Multiple attachment points
- Stylish design
- Strong legs
- 14kg maximum load capacity
- Bubble level
- Colours not for every taste
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 leveling. 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.
Good value to suit most budgets. 5-year limited warranty against manufacturing defects.
Final Score: 63/70
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.
4. Leofoto LS224C | Best Lightweight Travel Tripod for DSLR or Mirrorless Cameras
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
- Lightweight & compact
- Sturdier than competitors
- Great ball head
- Unique removable centre-column
- Spiked feet included
- Lighter max load
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.
- 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.
The Leofoto LS224C is the lightest travel tripod I 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 traveling.
If you need an ultralight tripod for backpacking or solo travel, this is the model to get – it’s the best lightweight tripod for traveling I’ve come across.
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.
Everything feels very stable on the Leofoto when the 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.
As can be seen in the screenshot above, David from the Center Column rated the LeoFoto’s stiffness alongside much more expensive travel tripods.
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.
Overall, this lightweight camera tripod ticks a lot of boxes making it a great buy no matter what genre of photography you’re involved in.
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.
Final Score: 64/70
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.
5. ZOMEI Z699C | Best Budget Travel Tripod for Beginners
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
- Great value for money
- Great for beginners
- Folds up nice and small
- Super light weight
- Converts to monopod
- Low quality protective bag
- Not ideal for cold weather/gloved operation
Folded up, the Zomei Z699C is compact enough to suit any small camera backpack. Folded height (35cm / 15″) makes it the smallest travel tripod I tested. Having a small tripod is great for traveling carry-on only, which is my preferred way to fly.
- 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.
At just 1.3kg / 3.3 lb, the plastic tripod head helps keep weight down. Carbon fiber construction offers the 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.
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 are a nice addition and provides padding when in transit.
The plastic ball head is basic but includes bubble level. The protective bag feels low-quality but does its job.
Good rigidity and center column hook for additional stability.
Surprisingly sturdy considering its lightness – max load of 15kg / 33lb can support any camera/lens combination.
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 are great for fast deployment.
The Zomei Z699C is a great-value compact carbon fiber tripod of 2023. You won’t find carbon fiber at this build quality for less. It’s the best cheap travel tripod when you still need high quality.
Final Score: 61/70
If you’re looking for great bang your buck this is the best affordable 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.
6. 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
- 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
- No convertible feet
- No friction adjustment for panning
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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 setup that exceeds the max load, you shouldn’t have any issues with how sturdy it is.
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.
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. It’s the best video tripod at this price, and highly recommended.
Final Score: 57/70
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.
7. 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)
- Flexible legs
- Fits all smartphones
- Durable build
- Works as hand grip for vlogging
- Low height
- Only 1-year warranty
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. This makes it my top pick as best hiking tripod, when you don’t want to burden your backpack with a full sized light weight tripod.
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. It’s also an ‘attached’ ball head tripod, meaning that you can’t change the ball head for another.
Either way, you’ll usually be either crouching down or trying to find something higher to secure it to or balance it on.
It’s the best compact tripod if you’re really limited in space in your backpack or just need something to carry in a jacket pocket.
Weighing in at a tiny 71 g (0.16 lbs), this flexible tripod can be taken on every travel adventure without a second thought. It’s the best hiking tripod so long as you don’t mind the lack of extension.
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.
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).
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.
If you’re after the most portable camera tripod, there’s nothing that beats a Gorillapod which can fit in a jacket pocket.
At less than $25, the GripTight One is amazing value for money, and the 1-year warranty is adequate for regular travel.
Final Score: 59/70
Gorillapods allow you to secure your camera to objects for a variety of shooting angles and added convenience when traveling alone. Rubberized ball joints provide grippy finger placement for one-handed selfies and vlogging.
What To Look For When Choosing a Tripod for Travel
Stick to the best travel tripods on this list to narrow your choices to the top options for the average traveling photographer/film maker, 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 – a carbon fiber travel tripod 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.
The best portable tripod will be different for each person reading this article – only you will know which of the factors above are most important to your needs.
FAQs about Travel Tripods
Yes, a tripod will help you take better photos in low light when traveling by stabilizing 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.
That said, you can use any nearby object as a camera stand – rocks, walls, even the ground – as long as you don’t need adjustable elevation or optimal stability, you can use pretty much anything as a make-shift tripod.
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 that 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 traveling experience more enjoyable.
How do you stabilize a tripod?
You should set up the tripod on stable ground and only extend the number of leg 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.
Also, you obviously already know how many legs a tripod has, but do you know why they have 3 legs? It’s for optimum stability.
Shopping for a travel tripod can be a confusing experience due to the number of products on the market here in 2023.
This is compounded by the large number of unknown brands producing similar spec models on Amazon.
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!