A man in camouflage is looking through a spotting scope.

Best Spotting Scope Tripods in 2023 for Birding

Discover the top spotting scope tripods for birdwatching. Enhance your birding experience with tripods offering the best stability, durability and features.

This guide will help you find the best spotting scope tripod out there today.

Spotting scopes are perfect for hunting, stargazing, or getting up close with birds or sporting action.

But, as with anything using magnification, using a spotting scope handheld is not going to cut it.

Vortex Optics High Country II Tripod Kit
Vortex Optics High Country II Tripod Kit

Offers unparalleled stability and durability for outdoor enthusiasts. Lightweight design and advanced features make it a top choice for precision viewing.

You need stability, and something strong to hold your precious glass.

You also need it to be lightweight, so you can travel with it.

And that’s where these spotting scope tripods come in.

What is the Best Spotting Scope Tripod in 2023?

Vortex Optics High Country II Tripod Kit (Editor’s Choice)

A Vortex Optics High Country 2 on a green background.

  • Great load capacity
  • Good price
  • Great warranty and customer service
  • Lightweight spotting scope tripod
  • Versatile
  • None

The Vortex Optics High Country II Tripod Kit is a reliable, multi-purpose, and feature-packed tripod for spotting scopes.

It offers users a great combination of stability and portability.

Its body is durable, lightweight aluminium and weighs only 4 lbs. Despite this, it has an excellent load capacity and can hold up to 22 lbs.

The legs are adjustable and come in three sections with flip-lever leg locks, so it’s super-easy to release them and put them away.

The legs can also be pivoted and locked at different angles (to make it an angled spotting scope tripod), and the feet are rubberized for excellent grip.


It has a minimum height of 11.3 inches – although the centre column can also be detached to get you down to ground level – and can be extended to a maximum height of 62.5 inches.

There’s also a counterweight hook on the centre column to lower your centre of gravity and give you maximum stability.

The quick-release plate is affixed to an adjustable 2-way pan head, with a pan handle at the rear to lock, unlock, and adjust tension as you move the head around.

Many say that this tripod works particularly well with the Vortex Viper HD spotting scope, although some say that the handle is too short.

Vanguard Alta Pro 263AP (Another Great Spotting Scope Tripod)

A Vanguard Alta Pro 263AP on a green back ground

  • Affordable spotting scope tripod
  • Well-built
  • Great customer support
  • Versatile
  • Too heavy for hiking
  • P-32 head variations

This is an award-winning tripod that’s sleek, stylish, and available in both aluminium and carbon fibre models.

It’s a sturdy, versatile piece of kit, with a maximum load of 11 lbs, a minimum height of 57.6 inches, and a maximum height of 70 inches.

A kingfisher perched on a branch.

Johnny Gios

The leg locks can adjust to 25, 50, and 80 degrees, and the Multi-Angle Central Column (MACC) can be tilted from zero to 130 degrees, so it can be used as an extendable cross arm or boom.

Its quick-release plate has a rubberized, non-slip platform and three built-in bubble levels for fine-tuning.

Before buying, though, make sure you know which P-32 head your tripod will come with. There are two models, one is better (and more expensive) than the other, and for longevity, you should be spending the extra.

Peak Design Travel Tripod (Most Portable Tripod for Spotting Scope)

A Peak Design Travel Tripod on a green background.

  • Sturdy
  • Great design
  • Lightweight
  • Compact
  • Excellent load capacity
  • Relatively expensive

This extremely portable aluminium tripod, at only 3.4 lbs, is an excellent choice for hiking or birding in the backcountry.

The Peak Design Travel Tripod is a compact tripod that folds down to only 15.5 inches, so will easily fit in a small backpack.

Despite that, it still gives you a great range and load capacity. It has a minimum height of 5.5 inches and extends to a maximum of 60 inches, plus it can hold up to 20 lbs.


Its innovative design has 5 leg sections (for fast deployment, they can all be released at the same time), and its legs store closer together than traditional tripods, which is why it can fold up so small.

It has a quick-release mount for Arca Swiss and Peak Design standard plates, and, it’s an angled spotting scope tripod with an ergonomic ball head for precise and flexible adjustments.

The centre column has a hook to hold a counterweight, and you can even reverse the columns to get ground-level views.

Amazon Basics 60-Inch Lightweight Tripod (Best Budget Tripod for Spotting Scope) 

A Amazon Basics 60-Inch Lightweight Tripod on a green background.

  • Lightweight
  • Very cheap
  • Versatile
  • Poor load capacity
  • Won’t last long

If you don’t have very much to spend on a tripod, you can’t beat the price of this one.

Just bear in mind, though, it probably won’t last you too long.

But it’s a cheap and cheerful piece of equipment that will do the job.

A pair of birds sitting on top of a grassy hill.

Denley Photography

It’s lightweight, weighing only 2.72 lbs, and can hold up to 6.6 lbs.

Its three-section adjustable legs allow you a minimum height of 25 inches and a maximum height of 60 inches.

There’s a counterweight hook, a quick-release plate, and a three-way tilting head that has two built-in bubble levels.

Oben CTT-1000 Carbon Fiber Tabletop Tripod (Best Tabletop Tripod for Spotting Scope)

A Oben CTT-1000 Carbon Fiber Tabletop Tripod on a green background.

  • Compact tripod
  • Affordable
  • Extender
  • Foot spikes
  • Good load capacity for its size
  • Quite small

Although this is a small tripod for spotting scopes, with a maximum height of 15.5 inches (and a minimum of 4.2 inches), it comes with an extender which can add an extra 12 inches, so it’s more versatile than it seems at first glance.

And despite its diminutive stature, and can still hold up to 11 lbs.

It has an easily-adjustable, Arca-compatible, ball head, and the carbon fibre legs have easy twist-and-release leg locks.

At the end of the legs are grippy, rubberized feet, which can also be removed to reveal spikes that dig into soft terrain.

Note that if you’re on a tight budget, the Reti-cam tabletop tripod is a good choice for spotting scopes if the Oben is too expensive for you. Although the Reti-cam has a much lower load capacity of 6 lbs.

Athlon Optics Midas Cf32 (Best Spotting Scope Tripod for Hunting)

A Athlon Optics Midas Cf32 on a green background.

  • Rugged design
  • High-quality materials
  • Two heads
  • Lifetime limited warranty
  • Relatively expensive

The Midas is the largest and strongest of Athlon’s line of carbon tripods.

It ships as a complete kit, with both a ball and levelling head, shoulder strap, plus a hammock for adding rocks and other weight to the legs, and a cup mount with tension control for shooters.

There are two different heads to accommodate either rifles or optics such as spotting scopes.

There’s a bowl mount and a ball head that features Friction Control, Fluid Pan Control, Ball Lock, and Arca-compatibility for direct-to-rifle attachment, and use with all Arca-Swiss style accessories.

A pair of geese flying in the sky.

Johnny Gios

The two, in-built circular bubble levels help fine-tuning and fluid panning capabilities when using spotting scopes or rifles.

Its legs are 10-layer carbon fibre, for low weight and high strength. You have the option of three different diameters which offer different levels of support and stability.

The legs are fully adjustable and lock into position with high-tension, durable, aluminium leg locks.

It’s meaty, perfect for holding spotting scopes.

Manfrotto MT190XPRO3 Aluminum 3-Section Tripod

A Manfrotto MT190XPRO3 Aluminum 3-Section Tripodtripod on a green background.

  • Excellent extendable range
  • Good for taller people
  • Easy to use
  • Good load capacity
  • Doesn’t fold up that small

The Manfrotto MT190XPRO3 Aluminum 3-Section Tripod is a good compromise between a full-size tripod and a travel tripod for spotting scopes.

It doesn’t fold up particularly small, but it’s still a good size to strap to the side of a backpack, and it’s not too heavy either.

It has a maximum height of 63 inches and a minimum height of 3.5 inches. The centre column can also be lowered to become a cross arm or boom.


There are four leg angles, to allow it to adapt to any terrain, and one of the angles allows you to get the tripod at ground level.

It’s sturdy and easy to use. It can hold up to 15.4 lbs and, with its Quick Power Lock system, is easy to set up with a single hand action.

There’s also an Easy Link plug, which is a handy thread for you to mount other accessories, for example, an LED light, or a monitor.

How to Choose a Compact Tripod for Spotting Scopes

Choosing the right tripod for spotting scope usage is essential for obtaining clear, stable images, especially when observing at high magnifications.

Here’s a guide to help you make the right choice:

1. Determine the Purpose:

Before buying a tripod, determine what you’ll be using the spotting scope for. Is it photographing birds in flight, stargazing, hunting, or landscape observation? Your use-case might dictate the type of tripod you need.

2. Consider the Weight:

Spotting Scope Weight: Ensure your tripod can handle the weight of your spotting scope. A tripod’s weight capacity should be listed in its specifications. Tripod Weight: If you’re hiking or traveling with your equipment, you might want a lightweight tripod. However, remember that very light tripods might not be as stable in windy conditions.

3. Height:

Ensure the tripod extends to a comfortable height for you, especially if you’ll be standing while using your spotting scope. However, taller tripods might be less stable unless they are well-made.

4. Material:

Aluminum: Affordable, sturdy, but a bit heavier. Carbon Fiber: Lightweight and robust but more expensive. Plastic: Light and cheap but might not be very durable or stable. (See more differences between aluminum vs carbon fiber tripods.)

5. Head Type:

The head is the part of the tripod where the spotting scope attaches. Pan/Tilt Heads: These allow you to move the scope horizontally and vertically. They’re great for tracking moving objects. Ball Heads: These provide smooth movement in all directions but might not be as precise in tracking.

6. Leg Locks:

Twist Locks: Twist to lock and unlock. They’re sleek but might not be as quick to adjust. Lever Locks: These are quick to adjust but can snag on things if you’re moving through brush or forest.

7. Feet:

Some tripods come with interchangeable feet — spikes for soft ground and rubber for hard surfaces. Ensure the tripod’s feet are suitable for where you plan to use it most often.

8. Stability:

For spotting scopes, stability is critical. Look for tripods with a hook on the center column where you can hang a weight (like a bag) to increase stability.

9. Collapsible Size:

If you’re traveling, consider how small the tripod can collapse. A compact tripod can be beneficial for hikers and backpackers.

10. Price and Brand:

While you often get what you pay for, there are many affordable tripods that offer excellent value. Research brands and read reviews to find a well-regarded tripod within your budget.

11. Additional Features:

Some tripods might have additional features, like a built-in level, a rotating center column, or a quick-release plate. Determine which features are essential for your needs.

Finding a Tripod for Spotting Scope: FAQs

Do you need a tripod for a spotting scope?

A tripod is highly recommended for spotting scopes to ensure stability and clarity, especially at higher magnifications, as even slight hand movements can cause significant image shake.

Will any tripod work with a spotting scope?

Not all tripods are suitable for spotting scopes. It’s essential to choose a tripod that can support the weight of your scope and provides stability for clear viewing.

What size tripod do I need for a spotting scope?

The size of the tripod should match the size and weight of your spotting scope. For larger, heavier scopes, you’ll need a sturdier, possibly taller tripod, whereas compact scopes can work with smaller tripods.

What kind of tripod head is best for a spotting scope?

Pan/tilt heads are typically preferred for spotting scopes because they allow precise horizontal and vertical adjustments, making them ideal for tracking moving objects.

How do you attach a spotting scope to a tripod?

To attach a spotting scope to a tripod, screw the base of the scope onto the tripod’s mounting plate or head, ensuring it’s securely fastened. Some tripods may also feature quick-release plates for easier attachment and removal.

Vortex Optics High Country II Tripod Kit
Vortex Optics High Country II Tripod Kit

Offers unparalleled stability and durability for outdoor enthusiasts. Lightweight design and advanced features make it a top choice for precision viewing.

Shotkit Writer, Product Tester & Instagram Manager

Jeff Collier is an experienced film photographer who enjoys experimenting with modern digital photography equipment, software and apps. He’s also an ex-world champion triathlete and avid cyclist, clocking hundreds of km each week in the beautiful Tweed Valley of northern NSW, Australia.

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