Last updated: August 10, 2021

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You love to capture your travels with as many pictures as possible? However, do you often travel alone and don't like to ask strangers for help? Then maybe you should get yourself a travel tripod. A travel tripod helps you take your pictures without having to ask people for help. This not only gives you professional pictures, but also saves you the hassle of sorting out blurry pictures at the end of the day.

If you are looking for a solid travel tripod, you should read our guide. In our big travel tripod test 2021, we introduce you to different models and explain all the advantages and disadvantages. With the help of our buying criteria, you can then buy the tripod that is best for you.




Summary

  • Travel tripods help your pictures look high quality and more professional. With a tripod, you'll be able to take shake-free shots and align your camera better.
  • The most important thing about a travel tripod is that you can take it anywhere. That's why it needs to be as small and light as possible. It should also be stable and robust.
  • The price of your travel tripod can vary greatly depending on the brand, material and quality. It is important that you always match your tripod to the type and weight of your equipment and to your subjects.

The Best Travel Tripod: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a travel tripod

What and for whom is a travel tripod suitable?

The main purpose of a camera tripod is to stabilise and fix your photo or video camera. This enables exact alignment and you can take wobble-free pictures. Especially in low light conditions, it is very difficult to take a sharp photo without a tripod.

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By using a photo tripod, you can therefore fix the picture frame calmly and precisely and thus take a sharp and shake-free picture. The quality of the photo is therefore greatly improved by using a tripod. (Photo: Annie Spratt / unsplash.com)

Of course, both professional and amateur photographers do not want to do without perfect photography when travelling. That is why a travel tripod is used for this purpose. There are different types of travel tripods, but in general, travel tripods are characterised by some features that make them the ideal partner of a photographer when travelling.

Travel tripods are especially suitable for people who travel a lot and don't want to miss out on sharp pictures. It is therefore important that a travel tripod is not too heavy and does not become a burden. It also has to fit easily and quickly into suitcases and everyday backpacks - it should be an inconspicuous everyday companion.

Why should I buy a travel tripod?

There are many advantages to owning and using a travel tripod. On the one hand, it is a great way to make your pictures look more beautiful and professional. But it can also be useful in other ways.

The biggest advantage of a travel tripod is that your pictures are simply of higher quality. When you shoot handheld, it's easy for your shots to be blurred and out of focus. This can be very annoying, especially if you discover it later and don't have the chance to photograph the subject again.

With a tripod, you can get shake-free shots and perfectly align your camerahttps://www.fotospring.de/kameratasche-test/. Another bonus: If you use the self-timer on your camera, you can easily take pictures of yourself. So you'll never have to chat up strangers again and ask them to take your picture.

If your tripod has a panoramic ball head, you can take perfect 360-degree panoramic shots. That would almost never be possible if you only took them by hand. Besides, as a hobby photographer you often don't have the opportunity to spend a lot of money on expensive equipment. A travel tripod is therefore a good and inexpensive option instead of an expensive studio tripod.

In addition, travel tripods are very handy and you can take them everywhere. They are small, light and take up little space in your suitcase.

What does a travel tripod cost?

In a nutshell, anything is possible when it comes to price. The price depends mainly on the material and the model.

It depends on which model you choose, which brand, whether it's a classic tripod, mini tripod, high-quality, light or somewhat heavier, plastic, carbon or aluminium tripod.

Of course, all this influences the price of your travel tripod. A travel tripod made of carbon is of course much more expensive, but it is also much lighter and more stable than one made of aluminium, for example.

As with all other products, travel tripods are of course also available in cheaper versions that offer a lot, but also vice versa. Especially with tripods, quality usually goes hand in hand with cost.

Basically, it should be said: Spend a little more so that you are fully satisfied and get something out of it for a long time. It is hardly possible to set a general price for travel tripods. The lowest price range starts at just over ten 10 euros, but tripod prices can also reach over 1000 euros.

Travel tripods for less than 100 euros can only be recommended to a limited extent, as they save on materials and workmanship. A good travel tripod usually costs between 100 and 500 euros.

Decision: What types of travel tripods are there and which one is right for you?

There are many different types of travel tripods. Basically, the following can be mentioned:

  • Tripod
  • Table tripod
  • Gorillapod / clamp tripod
  • Small tripod
  • Bean bag
  • Cord tripod

Each of the mentioned variants has certain advantages and disadvantages . Depending on where and what you want to shoot and how much money you want to spend, some will be better and some worse suited for you. In the following, we will take a closer look at the different types of travel tripods and reveal their pluses and minuses.

What is a tripod and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The tripod is the classic among tripods. A tripod, also called a tripod, has three adjustable leg segments that allow you to set it up stably in different ground conditions - be it on rock, sand, water or others.

Advantages
  • Stable
  • Movable parts
  • Quick adjustment
Disadvantages
  • Possibly heavy
  • Possibly expensive

A tripod is flexible and provides securefooting for your camera. A tripod with several legs is ideal, especially if you need to change locations quickly and frequently or take pictures with a long exposure time. In contrast to a monopod, a tripod offers you more support.

What is a table tripod and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

A table tripod is a small tripod. Because it is a lot smaller, it is also much cheaper than a conventional tripod, but not quite as stable.

The biggest advantage of the table tripod is that it is very compact, but this in turn results in the disadvantage that the stand height is very low, i.e. the tripod must be placed on a firm base, otherwise it is too low.

Advantages
  • Small size
  • Low weight
  • Low-cost variant of a tripod
Disadvantages
  • Low working height
  • Usually not suitable for heavy equipment

It's good for you if you have a small photo camera or video camera, unfortunately it's not suitable for larger equipment such as an SLR camera.

What is a Gorillapod / clamp tripod and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

A Gorillapod or clamp tripod is a kind of bendable mini tripod with flexible legs. The legs can be twisted and bent so that you can easily attach the tripod anywhere. A Gorillapod is nice and light and small, so it can also be used as a travel tripod. You can always and everywhere easily stow it in your luggage and take it with you.

An enormous advantage is the versatility of Gorillapod tripods. You can set them up on the ground on any surface or even on the tripod bag, or you can attach them somewhere such as car roofs, park benches, door handles, poles or trees.

Advantages
  • Robust
  • Compact
  • Ultralight
  • Uneven ground can easily be levelled
Disadvantages
  • Low depth of field
  • Not so good for wide-angle shots

The Gorillapod can be used for light cameras but also for heavy DSLRs. Especially when travelling, you often end up in places where you are not allowed to use a real tripod, for example in a church or other historical buildings. A Gorillapod is just the right thing for this.

The Gorillapod is particularly suitable for macro shots, but for shots from further away you need to mount the Gorillapod somewhere higher up, as the working height is usually low.

What is a small tripod / mini tripod and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

As the name suggests, the small tripod or mini tripod is the smallest variant of the travel tripods. Often a mini tripod is not even necessary, because if your camera is flat at the bottom, you can simply place it on a straight surface instead of using a tripod.

Advantages
  • Very small
  • Ultralight
Disadvantages
  • Unstable
  • Solid base needed

If it doesn't have a flat base, we recommend a mini tripod, which isultra-light and tiny and can therefore fit in any bag. The mini tripod is also particularly practical for smartphones to take wobble-free photos.

What is a bean bag tripod and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The bean bag is an inexpensive and great way to stabilise your camera. A bean bag is like a bean bag for your camera. It is filled with small plastic balls, granite, rice, beans or similar and can therefore adapt perfectly to any surface (e.g. rooty or uneven ground, tree branches or other).

The set-up and dismantling is hardly worth mentioning. You place your bean bag where you want it, put your camera on it and you're done. Most bean bags also have a water-repellent underside. So if you ever place it in the dirt, it's easy to clean again.

Advantages
  • Inexpensive
  • Camera has a shock-absorbing base
  • Adapts well to the ground surface
Disadvantages
  • Rather heavy
  • Takes up a lot of space
  • No proper camera attachment, just rests on top

A bean bag is relatively light and is suitable for both a small compact camera and a large and heavy full-frame camera. It is ideal for nature, macro and night photography.

Little extra bonus: if you carry the bag in your photo bag, it also protects your camera from shocks. If you want to save money, you can also simply make your own ground bag.

What is a cord tripod and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The cord tripod is probably the simplest and lightest way to stabilise your camera for shooting. You simply stretch a string from the ground to your camera to fix it better.

Advantages
  • Cheapest and simplest variant
  • Takes up almost no space or weight
Disadvantages
  • Cannot be compared to a real tripod
  • Not suitable for long-term or night shots

The principle of a cord tripod is extremely simple: A cord is attached to the camera's object thread with a screw, which is tightened with the foot. The counter-tension prevents you from shaking during the shot. Thus, with a little practice, you will succeed in taking shake-free pictures.

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate travel tripods

In the following section, we present the most important criteria for comparing and evaluating travel tripods. This will help you make a better decision about which model is best for you.

You should definitely consider the following points when you are thinking about buying a travel tripod. Orientate yourself on these features, then nothing can go wrong with your purchase:

  • Weight
  • Size
  • Stability
  • Handling/ Flexibility
  • Minimum and maximum tripod height
  • Material
  • Tripod head

Before buying your tripod, you should think about a few things. Of course, every photographer has different requirements for his tripod. Therefore, some models will be better and others less suitable for you. It is an advantage if you already know what kind of photography you are mainly interested in. It is also important to know how heavy your equipment is before you buy.

There are some criteria that a good travel tripod has to fulfil in any case. Since it is our constant companion on trips, weight and pack size are crucial. But you also have to pay attention to handling and stability.

Weight

The weight of your tripod is a very important purchase criterion. A travel tripod should weigh as little as possible. After all, you will take it everywhere. You will not only carry it on trips, but also on excursions, city trips, hiking tours and so on.

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If you are taking your travel tripod on holiday, you should consider the weight of your luggage and the tripod beforehand. (Photo: Frame Harirak / unsplash.com)

As a rule, the lighter the better. Your back will thank you. On average, travel tripods weigh between 1 and 1.5 kilograms. Heavy tripods, also called studio tripods, are not suitable for carrying around for hours.

A travel tripod should never weigh more than 2 kg. That may not sound like much, but of course we want to spare ourselves every unnecessary kilo on our backs during an extensive hiking tour.

Size

Another criterion is the size of your tripod. The smaller it is, the easier it is to pack and take with you everywhere. One of the main features of a travel tripod is that it is smaller than a conventional tripod. So your travel tripod should not cause you any problems when packing it.

It should be quick and easy to stow in your suitcase, backpack, camera bag or anything else and not take up too much space. If you often travel by plane, you should also keep a close eye on the packing size. To ensure that your travel tripod fits into your hand luggage, the packing size should not be more than 60 cm.

Several leg segments that you can slide into each other often make it even smaller. Unfortunately, small pack size usually also means savings in working height.

Stability

Stability is a must for any tripod. Even a heavy camera should be given the right support. Since most photography is done outdoors, the tripod must be wind and weather resistant and should be able to withstand tough conditions, such as strong winds on the coast.

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The horror scenario of every photographer: the tripod falling over together with the expensive camera is of course to be avoided at all costs. (Photo: Blake Cheek / unsplash.com)

When buying a tripod, you should therefore pay attention to its load-bearing capacity. As a rule, a value for the maximum load capacity is given for each travel tripod. These values usually start at 1 kg. Some travel tripods can even hold up to 8 kg or more. Many can often withstand more weight than the manufacturer specifies, but this should not be relied upon.

Simply put: Heavy tripods are usually more stable. How much weight you can put on your tripod depends mainly on the workmanship, the weight and the material.

Some tripods also have spikes to provide even more stability. Others have a hook on the centre column to which you can attach additional weight (for example a backpack) to give the tripod more support.

If a tripod has many leg segments, it is flexible in terms of size adjustment and also when folding, but unfortunately this usually has a negative effect on stability. It is important that you match the tripod to your equipment and your subjects - the heavier the camera and lens, the more stable the tripod should be.

Carbon tripods are usually more stable and lighter than aluminium tripods. However, the price of a carbon tripod is much higher.

Handling / Flexibility

The handling of the travel tripod is also important. The ideal travel tripod should be quick and easy to set up and take down. After all, when we are travelling we want to relax and enjoy and not waste valuable time and nerves taking down and setting up the tripod. To ensure good handling, the material should also be of good quality. For quick assembly, for example, a clamp lock is more suitable than a screw lock.

If you own and use several cameras, quick-release plates can be a great help when setting up and taking down. The quick-release plates are simply screwed onto the cameras so that you can easily clamp the camera you want to use into the tripod. You will find a more detailed explanation below.

Some tripods also have an integrated spirit level. This is a great help when aligning the camera, because you know quickly and easily whether it is straight or not.

Did you know that tripods have been around for centuries?

In the past, primarily homemade wooden tripods were used. Since then, a lot has happened in terms of technology and we can look forward to further developments in the future.

Minimum and maximum working height

Every tripod has a minimum and a maximum height. Depending on which objects you want to photograph, the minimum or maximum height is of interest to you. Here it is important to know what kind of photography you are most interested in.

For macro photography, close-ups and special angles, the minimum tripod height is crucial. In macro photography, small things are photographed large and up close. The aim is often to maintain the scale of the objects. Therefore, your tripod should also have a lower height.

If you are more interested in wide-angle photography, for example landscape or architectural photos or even portraits, you must pay attention to the maximum working height.

Material

Carbon or aluminium? You should also pay attention to the material when buying, because it has a big impact on stability and weight, but unfortunately also on the price. Travel tripods are usually made of carbon or aluminium. Of course, there are also tripods made of other materials such as plastic or stainless steel.

As already mentioned, tripods made of carbon are more stable and also lighter than aluminium tripods, but they are also a lot lighter. Foam or rubber on the legs can make carrying the tripod easier, especially in cold weather.

Tripod head

The tripod is usually offered with a specific tripod head. Simply put, there is a choice between a 2-way head, a 3-way head and a ball head. 2-way heads are hardly used any more, as they do not allow you to turn the camera 90 degrees, as is necessary for portrait photography, for example.

The ball head is the lightest and also the most widespread variant. They are especially popular for portrait shots, but it is not always easy to align the ball head perfectly symmetrically. The 3-way panhead could also be called an "all-rounder", as all kinds of shots can be taken with it.

Facts worth knowing about travel tripods

What is a quick-release plate?

Almost every tripod today, including travel tripods, is equipped with a quick-release plate. This allows you to quickly switch between different cameras.

The anchorage for the quick-release plate is attached to the tripod, but you can buy the quick-release plate as often as you like and attach it to several cameras.

This way you don't waste your time with annoying screwing and unscrewing of the camera. So if you have several cameras, you don't have to screw each camera on again. The quick-release plate simply remains attached to the base of your camera and you simply clamp the camera you want to use into the tripod.

Quick-release plates are available in plastic or metal. Metal quick-release plates are much more stable and therefore well suited for mounting heavy cameras.

What is a tripod head?

There are many different types of tripod heads. Usually, a tripod is offered with a specific head. You can roughly distinguish between 2-way heads, 3-way heads and ball heads. A 2-way panhead is hardly ever offered for sale, as it is not possible to turn the camera horizontally (e.g. for portrait photography).

If you want to take precise photos, for example in product photography or architecture and landscape photography, a 3-way panhead is a good choice because it allows exact settings. 3-way heads are usually very heavy and therefore unsuitable for travelling.

When travelling, the ball head is the best choice because it is the lightest option. Some ball heads can be rotated 360 degrees, which also allows panoramic shots, this is called a panoramic ball head. When buying a tripod, you should also make sure that the tripod head is interchangeable.

Image source: 123rf.com / dacosta

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