Depending on your profession and need you will be looking for different tripods under the umbrella term of ‘Travel Tripods’. What I mean by that is that you could be a professional looking for a much sturdier tripod than a vlogger looking for something exponentially lighter and portable. The definition of a travel tripod will vary from person to person. This is why in this short article we will look at a variety of tripods that cover the spectrum from the filmmaking professional to someone just looking for a nice tripod for holiday shots. The resulting number one will hopefully be a healthy combination of both professional qualities with an extremely compact design that can also fall into the ‘affordable’ category. When evaluating the following tripods I have decided on five main categories to compare them against Size, Weight, Payload, Compatibility, and Price.
The MeFoto RoadTrip A1350Q1G in green is a compact aluminium alloy tripod with precision matched ball head capable of supporting a maximum load of 8000g. The RoadTrip is no ordinary tripod, by removing the centre column and removable leg you can easily convert this tripod into a full sized monopod (max height 162 cm). When being used as a tripod the RoadTrip extends to 156.5 cm (with centre column extended) and closes down to a quarter of its extended size at just 39 cm, making it small enough to fit in your shoulder bag or backpack. To make it even more compact the tripod legs can be inverted and folded back 180° making it small enough to carry just about anywhere. The RoadTrip comes equipped with a Q series ball head with Arca-Swiss-style compatible QR plate, integral bubble level, separate head and pan locks and 360° pan index. The MeFOTO RoadTrip tripod kit comes with its own carrying case for transport and protection. The tripod facilitates 360-deg panning for accurate panoramas. Additionally, tripod’s legs can be independently locked into place at two different angles to enable shooting in cramped quarters, on irregular surface areas, or at ground level. There is also a spring-loaded recessed hook, located in the bottom of the centre-column, which allows you to hang additional weight from the tripod's centre of gravity for increased stability. Finally, MeFOTO's innovative rubberized locking grips combined with anti-rotation legs enable fast and fumble-free set-up plus weather and dust-resistance.
Size: Closed Length 39cm
Max Height 156.5cm
Compatibility: Q series ball head with Arca-Swiss-style compatible QR plate
The Manfrotto PIXI EVO is the successor to its smaller brother, the Pixi Mini, and supports a wide range of camera and lens systems weighing up to 2.5kg (5.5lbs). The PIXI EVO boasts two-section legs which are adjustable in five different steps and two different leg angles with a sliding selector, enabling low to the ground shooting. There is also the possibility to shoot in portrait mode, allowing the camera to tilt to 90° to capture the foreground and wide scene while ensuring great stability and precision for accurate pictures. This tiny tripod, perfect for vlogging, comes in an array of different colours. I picked this one as red is my favourite colour but you also have a choice of classic black, white, and red-anthracite. Apparently, to keep the vibrant colour of the tripod all you have to do is clean it with a standard white pencil eraser! Please note that special products or water could actually diminish the colour, so a pencil eraser is your best bet.
Size: Closed Length 23cm
Max height 19.5cm
Min Height 6cm
Compatibility: Entry level DSLRs with a max weight of 750g
Max focal length of 18-200mm (standard non-professional lens)
The Leofoto Pocket Mini Tripod MT-03 Kit comes with the MBH-19 Ball Head. The MT-03 is part of the Leofoto Mini series. These tripods are just as reliable as their big brothers and allow the user to bring a solid, versatile tripod to any shoot at any time. It is incredibly portable, stable, and versatile. Additionally, it comes with a Ball Head with a 1/4 inch tripod screw measuring 49mm high. The tripod offers 2 leg sections with 10x layers of carbon fibre tube legs for max durability. The most notable feature of this tripod, however, is its spider-like form when the legs are unfolded. This helps with positioning the tripod in awkward locations and offers extra stability. The included ball head is also extremely compact, measuring 49mm. It offers a robust design made of Aluminium, making it light and highly resistant to scratches. It also has CNC finishing, strong precision, a panning base diameter of 29mm as well as strong locking force. I think this is a versatile tripod, with a unique shape that comes at a very affordable price. For me it is a favourite.
Size: Folded Height 192mm
Min Height 79mm
Max Height 229mm
Compatibility: The ball head comes with 1/4" thread
Designed for travelling, the 3 Legged Thing PUNKS Corey tripods have 5-section legs and a 2-section column that allow it to extend to a workable height whilst also folding down to an incredibly compact size of 35cm. With an incredible load capacity of 14kg, it is suitable for both amateur and professional photographers, and its modular technology enables users to utilise infinite configurations. 3 Legged Thing’s unique, modular technology enables users to utilize infinite configurations. The possibilities are extraordinary. As with all 3 Legged Thing tripods, Corey has a detachable leg, with standard 3/8” threads at both ends.
Excluding the AirHed Neo Ballhead
Size: Max Height 150cm
Max Height without Column 118cm
Min Height 18.5cm
Folded Length 35cm
Compatibility: AirHead Neo Ballhead is Peak Design Capture and Standard Arca Swiss
The Leofoto Ranger LS-223C Mini Tripod is the smallest tripod in the Ranger series of travel stands by Leofoto. It is a lightweight, ultra-compact table tripod which fits into every tripod bag. The Ranger LS-223C Mini Tripod comes with LH-25 Ball Head, LH-25 headset, carry case, multi-tool as well as a set of stainless steel spikes. It includes a 1/4”-20 and 1/8”-16 thread mounting stud. Additionally, the design features a reinforced leg lock system that is unique and maintenance-free. The tripod can handle some tough conditions thanks to the 10x layers of carbon fibre tube legs. The LH-25 Ball Head features a panning base diameter of 36mm and a UNC3/8-inch-16 mounting hole. It also comes with a PU25 Plate. As with most Leofoto ball heads, this one is also constructed from Aluminium for a robust, ultra-compact experience. In addition to this, it is the lightest and smallest ball head in the Leofoto LH series. The LH-25 Ball Head has an Arca-Swiss compatible plate with a 3/8” tripod screw as well as a removable 1/4” adapter that allows the ball head to fit most tripods on the market. Finally, the large diameter teardrop-shaped feet keep the leg sidewalls from touching the ground. They help to make positive contact with the ground at virtually any angle. This is true even when the tripod is at its lowest setting.
Size: Closed length 270mm
Min height 105mm
Max Height with Column 380mm
Compatibility: The included ball head is Arca-Swiss compatible
My number one choice for a tripod that is both professional and extremely portable at an affordable price is the Leofoto Ranger LS-223C Mini Tripod + LH-25 Ball Head. The very close personal second would be the Leofoto Pocket Mini Tripod MT-03 + MBH-19 Ball Head because of it’s even cheaper price and I think that for its size and price it offers a fair amount of versatility and usability. The LS-223C Mini Tripod is one of the more robust tripods out there available in this size. It can be placed on most terrains thanks to the teardrop feet and in addition to all of this also comes with a ball head that is compatible with most tripods on the market. It is also Arca-Swiss compatible. Fitting easily into any bag and weighting only 72g this is hands down the best choice that offers best of both worlds; pro-grade gear with a super-compact design. It fits in the palm of your hand which is amazing for the amount of payload you get. Saying that it is probably not the greatest tripod for vlogging and with my choice, I am leaning towards photographers and filmmaker’s needs. If you are looking for a good on-the-go, quickly-pull-out-of-my-bag-in-the-middle-of-NYC-that-is-completely-overpopulated-with-tourists vlogging tripod I would recommend the Manfrotto PIXI EVO Tripod that only costs £34.95! Alternatively, a gimbal would be a good choice for this style of videography.
Also just a quick note about the Miggo Splat DSLR because during my research I found it absolutely hysterical (in a good way). It only costs £22.99 and is a variation on the spider tripod family. It can flex and grip to any surface to offer limitless mounting positions for your DSLR camera. Featuring 3 durable legs made from rubber and steel, Splat is extremely secure, even in the most daring of positions (as presented in the image below). It weighs 111g in comparison to LS-223C Mini Tripod which only weighs 72g. I’m honestly not sure how sturdy or stable it is but it looks like a lot of fun, maybe I wouldn’t trust it with my more expensive cameras, especially when it’s hanging off the wall though.
About the Author
Patrycja Reimus is a Norwich based horror artist and an award-winning filmmaker. She is also our Technical Copywriter who frequently enjoys writing for our blog. For more information about her work please visit patrycja-reimus.squarespace.com. You can also follow her wonderfully weird and obscene imagery on Instagram @reimuspati_art or stalk her personal life @patrycja_reimus.