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Updated August 2021
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom line
Pros
Cons
Best of the Best
GEEKOTO Carbon Fiber Camera Tripod
GEEKOTO
Carbon Fiber Camera Tripod
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Bottom Line

Folds down to a 19-inch length, so it’s a great choice for those who want to use it on the go.

Pros

Carbon fiber tripod only weighs 3.4 pounds. Adjustable height range between 19 and 79 inches. Easily handles the load of a heavy DSLR and large lens combination. Can be transformed into a monopod if desired. Ball head will rotate 360 degrees to simplify odd-angle photography.

Cons

Pricey. Has some plastic in the ball mount, so it may not last as long as you’d like.

Best Bang for the Buck
AmazonBasics 60-Inch Lightweight Tripod with Bag
AmazonBasics
60-Inch Lightweight Tripod with Bag
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Bottom Line

Low-priced travel tripod that works nicely for someone who has basic photography gear.

Pros

Tripod only weighs 3 pounds, meaning you’ll be able to hike or travel with it easily. Has two bubble levels, allowing the photographer to balance the camera properly. Extends to 60 inches, which is an impressive height for a tripod with such a reasonable price point. Includes a carrying case for convenience.

Cons

Only supports a maximum weight of 6.6 pounds of camera gear, so it’s not made for large DSLR lenses.

Rangers 57” Ultra Compact and Lightweight Aluminum Tripod with 360° Panorama Ball head
Rangers
57” Ultra Compact and Lightweight Aluminum Tripod with 360° Panorama Ball head
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Bottom Line

Folds down to a tiny 14-inch length, making it perfect for packing for traveling.

Pros

Nice quality of ball head, so you can create the perfect angle for the shot. Only weighs 2.9 pounds, and you’ll be able to hike or travel with it easily. Uses flip locks on the leg sections, which allows for quick adjustments. Able to support up to 26 pounds of gear, which is more than enough for most photographers.

Cons

Limited to a maximum working height of 56 inches, so it’s not as big as some other similarly priced options.

BONFOTO B690A Lightweight Aluminum Alloy Camera Travel Portable Tripod with 360 Degree Ball Head
BONFOTO
B690A Lightweight Aluminum Alloy Camera Travel Portable Tripod with 360 Degree Ball Head
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Bottom Line

Tripod’s ball head smoothly swivels and tilts in any direction to simplify shooting odd-angle photos.

Pros

Folds down to a small size of 14.5 inches in length, which means the photographer can carry it anywhere easily. Only weighs 2.6 pounds, which is perfect for hiking. Has four leg sections, allowing the photographer to adjust the height of the camera to fit any situation.Tripod remains stable, even when fully extended to 55 inches.

Cons

Tripod consists of aluminum, so it’s not able to stand up to rough conditions as well as a carbon fiber unit.

ZOMEI 55" Compact Light Weight Travel Portable Folding SLR Camera Tripod
ZOMEI
55" Compact Light Weight Travel Portable Folding SLR Camera Tripod
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Bottom Line

Not sturdy enough to handle large DSLR cameras, but it works nicely for smaller models at a great price.

Pros

Extremely lightweight and portable tripod that’s easy to carry anywhere. Has a smooth pan head, so you can tilt and rotate the camera easily, especially for video. Extends to a maximum height of 55 inches. Offered at a reasonable price point. Rubber feet in the tripod will self-adjust to deal with surfaces that are slightly uneven.

Cons

Supports up 11 pounds of camera gear, but it will be wobbly if you approach that amount.

HOW WE TESTED

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

38
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Consumers
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Buying guide for best travel tripods

Whether you’re an adventurous photographer who travels the globe or are in a foreign country with your family and are shy about asking someone to take a photo for you, a travel tripod is a necessity.

Not only will you be able to record all the wonderful things you saw on your trip (with you and all your companions in the picture), but you’ll also be able to show off your creativity through photography (especially when you want to take time-lapse photos or nighttime shots). Best of all, the travel tripod folds down to a portable size for carrying with you on a plane or for hiking with a backpack.

Travel tripods come in all different shapes and sizes. Whether you’re using a smartphone or a DSLR to capture your memories with, our shopping guide will provide all the information you’ll need to choose the right travel tripod for your camera. If you’re ready to buy, consider one of our top picks.

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When flying with a travel tripod, you’ll want one that fits inside a carrying case. This simplifies talking it through an airport.

Key considerations

With any travel tripod you’ll select, it’s important to match the camera you own and the way you plan to use it to the tripod’s size.

Smartphone camera

There’s no need to carry a heavy tripod if you’re not going to use a large camera. If you’re only shooting photos with a lightweight smartphone camera, a small travel tripod is adequate. This tripod can be almost any height, but it won’t weigh much because it doesn’t need to support much weight, making it easy to carry with you anywhere.

Small camera

For a mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera or a point-and-shoot, you may be tempted to try a tabletop tripod. However, this style of tripod isn’t going to work for every situation while you’re traveling. It doesn’t have much height, and, honestly, it often doesn’t fold down to a smaller size than a collapsible tripod.

For more versatility, a fold-down travel tripod works nicely for a small camera. Because the tripod doesn’t have to support much weight, you can save some money with this style of tripod.

DSLR camera

If you will be using a DSLR camera with your travel tripod, it needs to be able to support more weight. Depending on the lens you attach to the camera, the tripod may need to hold several pounds. Additionally, you don’t want a tripod made from flimsy material with a large DSLR camera. Should the tripod collapse under the weight of the camera, it could crash to the ground and break. Don’t let a cheaply made tripod ruin your expensive camera gear and your trip.

If you’re wondering whether it will take up a lot of space, fortunately, even tripods that support quite a bit of weight will fold down to a perfect size for travel.

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Did you know?
A travel tripod often will be able to support the same amount of camera weight as a standard tripod.
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Features

When shopping for a travel tripod, it’s important to understand the factors that distinguish each model:

  • Materials: Carbon fiber is a great travel tripod material. It’s lightweight and can support quite a bit of weight. Aluminum works nicely, too, and it’s cheaper than carbon fiber. Plastic travel tripods are inexpensive, but they’re heavy and don’t support much weight.
  • Leg locks: An extendable travel tripod will have three legs consisting of sections that collapse into each other. As you extend the legs, you’ll lock them in place. Travel tripods will use either twist locks or lever locks. Both work nicely, although some photographers prefer one design over the other. Three to five locks per leg are common.
  • Ball heads: The ball head with its mounting plate is the area where you’ll mount the camera to the tripod. The ball head should allow you to tilt the camera or swivel in 360 degrees around the tripod, so you can shoot any kind of photo.
  • Travel size: Travel tripods have two important measurements to consider. First is travel size, which refers to the minimum size the tripod folds down to for travel.
  • Usage size: Second is the usage size, which is the range of heights at which the tripod can hold the camera. Ranges of 20 to 70 inches are common with travel tripods. Taller tripods will give you more photographic options, but the taller you make them, the less steady they become.
  • Tripod weight: As with the size, there are two important weight measurements with a travel tripod. The actual weight of the tripod will affect you when you travel, because it will be more difficult to carry, especially when hiking.
  • Support weight: A tripod will also have a measurement showing how much weight it can support. Especially with a DSLR camera, always consider the weight of both the camera body and your heaviest lens. Placing too much weight on the tripod could cause it to collapse.
" A tripod specifically made for travel will have legs with sections that fold inside themselves to reduce the length when in storage. "
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Travel tripod prices

Travel tripods vary quite a bit in price. As a general rule, tripods made from tougher materials, like aluminum or carbon fiber, will cost more than models with a lot of plastic in them. Tripods that will support heavier, larger cameras tend to cost more, too.

Inexpensive: The least expensive travel tripods will cost $10 to $25. These tripods only will support smartphones or non-DSLR cameras, as they cannot handle much weight. They also will be limited to roughly 55 inches in height or less.

Mid-range: For $25 to $60, you’ll find tripods that extend to maximum heights of roughly 70 inches. Some of these tripods may be able to support the weight of a lightweight DSLR camera and lens. Aluminum is a common material in this category, although some of these tripods will have quite a bit of plastic.

Expensive: High-end travel tripods will cost $60 to $200. Costlier models will have high-quality ball heads and sturdy legs. Carbon fiber is a common material in this price range, although you’ll find some aluminum models. Maximum heights of roughly 80 inches are possible in this category.

Tips

Many photographic situations work much better with a tripod than when hand-holding the camera. We’ve collected some tips to help you make the most of your travel tripod purchase:

  • Create the sharpest photos. When using a telephoto lens, holding the camera steady while shooting can be difficult. The tripod gives you a better shot at sharp photos versus holding the camera by hand.
  • Put yourself in the shot. A tripod allows you to shoot photos or video with you and everyone traveling with you in the frame. Sure, you could shoot a selfie with a digital camera, but it can be awkward to frame the scene properly. Using a tripod for selfies fixes this issue.
  • Create a time-lapse series of photos. When traveling, you may want to create an artistic series of time-lapse photos of a famous landmark or a beautiful sunset. Use the travel tripod to keep the camera in the same position for the entirety of the time-lapse set.
  • Have better nighttime image quality. When shooting photos at night on your trip, it can be tough to obtain a sharp image. The camera needs to use a slower shutter speed to compensate for dimly lit conditions. With a tripod, the camera will remain steady when shooting with a slow shutter speed.
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Expert Tip
When extended to a maximum height, a travel tripod may not be sturdy under the weight of a heavy camera or in windy conditions.
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Other products we considered

If you want a portable tripod that works nicely for mounting a smartphone to shoot photos or video, the Hitch Phone Tripod is a low-priced choice. This tripod only weighs 0.8 pounds and has a Bluetooth remote control. If you use a mirrorless or point-and-shoot camera, the Joby GorillaPod Compact Tripod is a smart choice. This tiny tabletop tripod looks great, but it only can support up to 6.6 pounds of camera equipment. To save some money on a travel tripod, we like the MACTREM M-PT55 Travel Tripod. It folds down to 20 inches in length and weighs only 2.6 pounds. Also, the GEEKOTO 77-Inch Tripod comes in at a great price and is perfect for a lightweight camera/lens combination.

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Some travel tripods have the ability to transform into a monopod. This can be helpful when traveling, as you only need to carry one piece of hardware instead of two separate items.

FAQ

Q. What does collapsed size mean with a travel tripod?
A.
This measurement refers to the minimum size the tripod can achieve. For someone who will be traveling with the tripod, this number is important. If, when folded down, the travel tripod doesn’t fit in your luggage, it’s not going to help you on your trip.

Q. Will a travel tripod work for hiking with a camera?
A.
Yes. Because the travel tripod folds down to an easily portable size, it works nicely for hiking with a backpack. You may be able to attach the tripod to the exterior of the backpack or place it inside. Plastic tripods may not stand up to rough conditions during hiking, though, so look for aluminum or carbon fiber.

Q. I only use my smartphone for shooting photos. Do I need a travel tripod?
A.
You can use a travel tripod that’s made to hold a smartphone in place, just like a tripod made to hold a dedicated digital camera. And with the smartphone on the tripod, you’ll have the same benefits you receive with other cameras.

Q. Do I have to use the ball head that ships with my travel tripod?
A.
Not necessarily. If the ball head doesn’t have the features you want, you usually can swap it out for a different ball head that you purchase separately. Understand though, some ball heads are extremely heavy. A heavy ball head may cause problems with a cheaply made travel tripod.

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