At this point in my career, I’m feeling pretty confident about the gear in my kit… but my tripod has always been an issue.
Part of that reason is because I don’t use them often enough to justify spending top dollar.
I don’t like to lug it, and quite frankly, it’s true what they say about tripods – the compact and affordable ones just aren’t great for DSLR users. Period.
Until one day, I met the MeFoto BackPacker Tripod…
It’s amazingly sturdy for a travel and backpacking tripod – lightweight, and easy to set up.
It’s suitable for all types of cameras from smartphones to mirrorless to DSLRs.
As someone who packs her DSLR even when traveling and backpacking, I have to say that I’m pretty dang impressed with this incredible new three-legged addition to my kit.
Table of Contents
MeFoto BackPacker Tripod Specs
- Easy setup
- Monopod feature
- Not stable enough to leave unattended
- Unable to bear the weight of a DSLR when vertical
- Product Weight (lb): 2.54
- Product Weight (kg): 1.15
- Leg Material: Aluminum
- Leg Type: Round tube
- Spider Material: Aluminum
- Maximum Load (lb): 13.20
- Maximum Load (kg): 6.00
- Minimum Height (in): 13.20
- Minimum Height (cm): 33.50
- Folded Length (in): 13.19
- Folded Length (cm): 33.50
- Maximum Height (in): 54.70
- Maximum Height (cm): 139.00
- Max Height w/Column Retracted (in): 42.10
- Max Height w/Column Retracted (cm): 107.00
- Max Height w/Column Expanded (in): 54.70
- Max Height w/Column Expanded (cm): 139.00
- Head Mount: UNC3/8″-16
- Head Type: Ball Head
- Center Column: 2 Section
- Base Mount Thread: UNC3/8″-16
- Base Mount Diameter (mm): 33.00
- Quick Release Type: Arca-Swiss Style
- Spider Type: Travel
- Maximum Height Converted to Monopod (in): 56.30
- Maximum Height Converted to Monopod (cm): 143.00
- Top Plate Diameter (mm): 33
- Forward Tilt Range: 90°
- Quick Release Camera Thread Size: UNC1/4″-20
- Quick Release Plate Lock: Twist
- Quick Plate Safety Mechanism: No
- QR Plate – Length (in): 1.49
- QR Plate – Width (in): 1.96
Unsurprisingly, the small and compact tripods have a difficult time supporting heavy DSLRs and lenses without buckling.
In fact, the previous “travel tripod” I had just about buckled right into the lake during one of my astrophotography attempts!
So you might be happy to know that the ball-headed mount of the MeFoto BackPacker Tripod can support a 13.2lb load.
However, I would not leave this tripod unsupervised for long. While it gets the job done for basic long exposures and HDRs, it’s not so stable that I would feel comfortable leaving it for hours at a time.
Although convenient, it is what it is: a backpacking tripod. If a wind storm comes through or a moose bumps it, it’s game over.
If you’re not so confident about its ability to stay standing, never fear – there’s an extendable hook for your sand bag.
Size & Handling
Fully extended at 54.7 inches, the MeFoto BackPacker Tripod stands just about as tall as any other tripod out there. But potential buyers will be far more interested in its size and weight when folded down.
The MeFoto BackPacker Tripod is considered a travel tripod. More than that, it’s considered fit for backpacking. And if you’re a backpacker, you know that packing light is paramount.
It weighs 2.54 lbs and folds down to just 13.19 inches, which is slightly larger than a 9 week old kitten (or about half the height of a 50L backpack).
You can pack your MeFoto Backpacker Tripod and still have plenty of extra room and weight to spare in your pack to bring a drone or, even better, more snacks!
Leg Locks & Joints
I REALLY have give props to the MeFoto Backpacker Tripod’s leg locks and joints.
One of the most compelling parts of this tripod is its twist locks on each leg. They are an absolute no-brainer to use, and most importantly have deep ridges that give them a solid grip that you can trust.
Being such a lightweight tripod, I was expecting the legs to feel much more flimsy when fully extended. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find it still felt quite sturdy.
The aluminum twist locks are given an anodized finish too, which makes them look pretty sleek.. If you’re into tripod aesthetics, that might ring your bell.
After a long day of backpacking, I really don’t want to deal with a lot of equipment setup, so the convenience of the pull, twist, extend, lock is much appreciated. That’s it! That’s all you have to do! Pull, twist, extend, lock.
And did I mention it converts to a monopod? I’m not kidding! You can combine one of the legs with the center column and turn your MeFoto Backpacker Tripod into a full-size 56.3 inch monopod.
This thing just won’t quit.
The MeFoto BackPacker Tripod’s dual-action ballhead mount uses an Arca-Swiss style quick release plate with separate controls for both pan lock and ball lock.
A big question I always have when experimenting with a new tripod is: how does it fair when the head is locked vertically?
While it can handle bearing the weight of my 5D Mk IV with a Sigma 50mm ART mounted, the weight will slowly dip the camera.
However, that is to be expected of just about any travel or backpacker tripod. In all fairness, it does bear the weight better than other tripods I’ve tried in its class.
If lugging around a heavy DSLR isn’t your thing, they make a smartphone adapter, enabling you to pack even lighter than before.
I would be lying if I said I hadn’t considered investing in the smartphone adapter myself. This would be an extremely helpful addition for getting the casual picture of yourself on a trip or adventure.
Value for Money
At around $100, I would consider the MeFoto Backpacker Tripod a pretty slammin’ deal.
I have certainly paid more for similarly lightweight and compact tripods in the past and have been disappointed. I am actually quite pleased with the quality for the price!
MeFoto Backpacker Tripod Review | Conclusion
After multiple disappointments with compact tripods over the years, I am exceptionally grateful to have stumbled on the MeFoto BackPacker Tripod.
Although it may not be able to fill the role as a heavy duty tripod, it’s fantastic for its purpose.
It manages to fulfill a very diverse range of needs for all types of photographers from casual to professional.
You just probably shouldn’t leave it alone for too long to avoid bumps and breezes.
Nevertheless, I am looking very forward to bringing along for everything from backpacking trips to real estate photography jobs.