Backpacking and cameras are two things that work wonderfully together. The outdoors are always a perfect photography subject, and the roads less travelled look absolutely stunning in pixels.
But it can be hard to get that perfect panorama shot without an appropriate tripod. And you can’t just throw your favorite 10lb tripod in your backpack. Well you could, but you would regret it after some 15 minutes on the trails, when your entire body started to hurt.
At A Glance: Our Top Portable Backpacking Tripods
And that’s why I found the ten great backpacking tripods. They are lightweight, portable, versatile and suitable for everyone. I will show you tripods that are beginner friendly, as well as those even pros have a hard time setting up. Read on to see what the best tripods for backpacking are!
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BEST ENTRY-LEVEL TRIPOD
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BEST MID-RANGE TRIPOD
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The Zomei portable tripod is a great budget option. It costs less than $40, which is as cheap as it gets for really good travel tripods. And you’re not sacrificing much when it comes to durability and quality of the product; this tripod is made from aluminum alloy and ABS plastic.
You can extend it to 58” max, which is good but not great. Its maximum height doesn’t allow for the most comfortable eye-level shooting, but it is a good fit for shorter people. In addition to that, you can adjust the height of each leg separately, which allows for stable shooting on uneven terrain. And that’s a great feature for backpackers, especially since it’s a lightweight tripod.
Another convenient feature of this tripod is that it has a hook at the center column. This allows you to add some weight to it and make it more stable – great for shooting in windy weather or on uneven terrain. However, I would have preferred that this tripod was stable enough on its own and didn’t require the additional weight.
The Zomei features a lever that lets you pan and tilt the head. It pans left, right, up and down rather smoothly, and allows for some surprisingly stable shots.
This lightweight tripod packs down to a total length of 19”. It comes with a softshell carry case, which you can easily store in your backpack. I normally like to store my tripod in the side pocket of the backpacking packs, so that it remains easily accessible throughout my adventures. The Zomei portable tripod fits perfectly in the pocket of my Osprey Rook.
The only thing I don’t like about this tripod for backpacking is that it can’t be converted into a monopod. It’s definitely not versatile enough to be my go-to travel tripod, but that’s expected, considering the low price point.
This is another excellent option for amateurs and casual photographers. The Mactrem tripod is very affordable, with a price tag under $40. And that is pretty great for a tripod made from 80% aluminum alloy, which weighs only 2.6 lbs. It is very lightweight, so you can carry it for an entire day without dislocations your shoulder.
But only if you’re able to actually fit it in your backpack. A downside of this tripod is that its folded length is 20”. That’s pretty bulky, especially compared with some of the tripods I’ve showed you that have reversible legs and fold down to 12”. It is a little bulky and not the most portable tripod out of the bunch, but hey – you didn’t think it would be entirely perfect for less than $40, did you?
The Mactrem extends to 55” max, so it wouldn’t be my first choice for people that want to stand up straight when they’re shooting. But it’s great for pretty much everyone else.
It has a quick release plate and a 360° rotating handle, so it is definitely suitable for panning shots. Your camera should be pretty stable, thanks to multiple lock knobs. But, in case you find the tripod a bit wobbly, you can always add some extra weight to the hook on the center column.
This has a maximum load of 11 lbs, so it’s not the best option if you prefer to use heavy cameras and lenses. But it’s great for beginners who have an entry-level DSLR with some basic lenses – the adjustable legs let you play with this on uneven terrain, while the rubber feet keep the tripod extremely stable no matter where you put it.
If you’re looking for a portable tripod that allows for some comfortable and natural eye-level shooting, the Geekoto is an excellent choice. Its maximum height is 77” (1.95 meters), which is going to be above eye-level for most people.
All that extra height comes with extra weight, so this is definitely not the best lightweight tripod out of the bunch. But 3.37 lbs is still a really good weight for such a versatile product. Yes, there are tripods that are a pound lighter, but they don’t extend as much as this one.
The Geekoto tripod also easily converts into a monopod, which is great for those situations when you need the extra freedom of movement. And when you’re using it is a monopod, you can actually extend it to a max height of 81.5”, which is absolutely amazing.
It packs down to a length of 19”, making it super convenient to store in your favorite backpacking pack. The column legs have four sections, and you adjust their height with quick-release buckles. This is extremely easy to do, and it only takes a few seconds to set up the tripod to the desired height.
The maximum load of this backpacking tripod is 17.6 lbs, which allows for comfortable shooting even with some really heavy cameras. And it features a ball head that rotates 360°, which lets you get some stunning panorama shots.
In terms of ease of use, this tripod is definitely beginner friendly. The price might be off-putting for some beginners though, since this isn’t exactly a cheap tripod. But, any experienced photographer will recognize this as a great deal, considering just how pricey tripods can be.
The K&F Concept Tripod is a great mid-range option. It extends to 62” max, which is okay for eye-level shooting. You will have to bend over slightly, but not that much that you suffer from severe back pain. It folds down to some 18”, which makes is super convenient for carrying around in your huge backpack.
This lightweight tripod weighs only 2.43 lbs, so it is extremely light. It is actually one of the lightest travel tripods I’ve managed to find, which is a huge plus. You can carry it around for several hours, and you won’t be bothered by its weight at all.
One great feature of this tripod is the load capacity – it can handle 22 lbs with ease. This is excellent if you have a heavy camera and tend to use large and heavy lenses. Especially because it also features a 1.1” ball head. This is wider than standard ball heads, and allows for more stability with heavier cameras.
And another thing I really like about the K&F Concept tripod is that you can invert the center column. This lets you shoot at really low angles, so that you never again have to lie down in dirt in order to get that perfect photo.
The bottom of the cloud platform has a 360-degree scale, which lets you take panoramic shots with ease. Also, adjusting the angle of the tripod tube is effortless – you only need to press the self-locking adjustment knob, and then release it when you want to pack up the tripod.
The only downside of the K&F tripod for backpacking is that it doesn’t convert into a monopod. It’s not the most versatile tripod out there, which is a shame because it’s not really that cheap.
Here’s our best lightweight tripod for backpacking. The Manfrotto Compact Light tripod weighs only 2 lbs, which is as good as it gets. It weighs so little because it is mostly made from aluminum, a material that is incredibly sturdy but remarkably lightweight.
This travel tripod extends to 51” max, so it’s definitely not a great option if you’re looking for something to help with eye-level shots. But if that’s not your main concern and you just want something that’s father-light, you should definitely consider getting this tripod.
It is only 15.67” long when folded, so it is super convenient for carrying around in your backpack. And you will also get a softshell bag with this tripod, which is a useful but not necessary inclusion.
This is a good option for beginners and casual photographers; it’s not as feature-packed as true professional tripods, but it will get the job done. And it’s not too expensive; the Manfrotto Compact Light costs a little less than $60, which is pretty good for such a high-quality brand.
One downside of this tripod is that the ball head is really small. DSLRs with large bodies won’t be too stable on this tripod, and you will definitely need an additional adapter if you’re using some really long lenses.
You also have the option to get this tripod with a special ball clamp that has a mount for your phone. If you take a lot of shots with your phone as well, this is not a bad feature to have. And the blue version of this clamp costs some 50 cents more than the plain version of the tripod, so it’s actually a really good deal!
The Dolica tripod is one of my favorite options for beginners and semi-pros. It extends to 57” max, which is okay for eye level shooting. Your back won’t be completely straight, but you won’t have to squat next to your tripod if you want a good shot. This tripod is mostly made from aluminum, which is a very durable material.
The thing that makes this tripod ultra portable is that its legs fold in reverse. This means that it is only 12.5” long when folded, and that’s absolutely amazing. It will not only fit into the pockets of giant backpacking packs, but you can also easily fit it into smaller hiking bags.
And this thing weighs only 2.5 lbs, so it’s definitely lightweight enough that you can carry it around for the better part of the day.
The Dolica tripod easily converts into a monopod and it has a maximum load of 15 lbs. It is perfectly suitable for heavy DSLRs, and actually pretty stable, due to fairly large ball head. And it has rubber feet, which help it stay in place even on some slippery terrain.
This model of the tripod comes with Premium Design Ball Head, which features rubberized knobs for pan and tilt. There’s also a quick release plate lock on this tripod, for quick and easy adjustments.
In addition to that, the Dolica tripod also features a hook at the center column that lets you add weight. This makes the tripod a bit more stable, and is helpful when shooting with really heavy cameras.
The Tycka Rangers tripod is made from 80% aluminum alloy. It is a very sturdy tripod, which weighs less than 3 lbs. The maximum extended height of it is 56” – okay for eye-level photography, but certainly not the best if that’s your primary use of tripods. On the other hand, if you generally sit down when you take photos, this could be an awesome tripod for you.
Additionally, there’s a hook at the center column, which lets you add some counter weight and makes the tripod a bit more stable with really heavy cameras.
However, if you’re looking for something that lets you shoot really low angles and micro photography, then this is a good option. The center column can be inverted, allowing you to really get up close with anything on the ground. And without having to get yourself dirty.
This tripod features a removable leg with a foam grip that lets you convert it into a monopod. You can also use that leg as a walking stick, making this tripod a really great fit for backpackers. The maximum height of the monopod is 57”.
The Tycka Rangers tripod features two separate control knobs that let the ball plate rotate 360°. This allows for great panorama shots, and is a necessary feature for landscape photographers. In addition to that, the maximum load capacity of this tripod is 26.5 lbs, which means it can handle even the heaviest of cameras. And that’s one of the reasons why I would recommend this to pros.
It’s not the most affordable tripod out of the bunch, but it’s also not too expensive. The price point is great for the level of quality and versatility you’re getting, so don’t hesitate to give it a shot!
Here’s a great backpacking tripod for pros; the Bonfoto is made from a mixture of carbon fiber and aluminum alloy, which make it s very sturdy and durable tripod. it is a little heavier than most other tripods I’ve showed you – this one weighs 3.22 lbs. But it packs down to a total length of 15.3”, so it’s still pretty convenient for carrying around.
And that’s still a really good weight for a carbon fiber tripod, which is considered a luxury in the world of photography. The price point of the Bonfoto reflects that; it is one of the most expensive tripods I’ve showed you in this review.
However, you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck with this tripod. It is really versatile – you can convert it into a monopod, you can invert the center column for macro shorts and you can adjust the legs to different heights and angles. Plus, the quick-release plate lets you switch between cameras quickly, making it a great fit for the pros.
The maximum length of the Bonfoto is 59”. But, it comes with an aluminum tube, which lets you extend it an additional 3.5”, making its total extended height (with the tube) 62.5”. You can also add the tube if you’re using this as a monopod, for a max height of 65.9”.
The ball head can rotate 360°, which lets you get that perfect shot every time. And the hook at the center allows you to add some extra weight to the tripod and make it more stable with really heavy cameras. Which is something you won’t have to do too often, since this tripod was designed to easily hold 26.5 lbs.
Overall, if you’re looking for high quality, versatility, portability and premium materials, the Bonfoto tripod is easily your best option.
The MeFOTO tripod is one of the most portable options in this review. It is only 12.6” long when folded, which makes is exceptionally portable. And it weighs just 2.6 lbs, so it’s definitely not too heavy for backpacking. That’s thanks to the aluminum this tripod is made of, which is a really lightweight but durable material.
But, this is a very simple tripod. It doesn’t convert into a monopod and you can’t invert the center column for low-angle shots. And if you’re not looking for a versatile tripod, but just something that is extremely sturdy and lightweight, this could be the perfect one for you.
You can adjust the angle of the legs, and you can individually lock them into heights that suit you. This lets you find the perfect height for your tripod on uneven terrain, and ensure you’re getting the best shots.
There’s a hook at the center column, which will help make this tripod more stable with heavier cameras at its max height. Which is 51.2”, by the way; great for most shots, but not ideal for eye-level photography.
The maximum load capacity of this tripod is 8.8 lbs. This is going to be enough for you if you have an entry-level DSLR and don’t own any ridiculously heavy lenses. But it’s not going to work for people who prefer to use a heavy camera with an even heavier lens.
It has a heavy duty ball head that swivels 360°. And it separate pan and head locks, which means you can take some awesome panorama photographs and panning shots. In addition to that, the ball head features an Arca-Swiss quick-release plate. That’s a favorite among professional photographers, and it’s super convenient to have a tripod that’s 100% compatible with the brand.
This is a great option for pros. This K&F Concept tripod extends to a maximum height of 78”, making it perfect for comfortable eye-level shots. And it has several features that will help you get the perfect shot anywhere, like the removable foot nails that really dig into the ground and keep the tripod stable on uneven terrain.
This has a 360° ball head that allows for panning shots and panorama photographs, as well as a center column that you can invert for low angle shots. In addition to that, you can easily convert this tripod into a monopod, which will have a max height of 80.7”. And you can even use the monopod as a walking stick!
The main material of the tripod is aluminum magnesium alloy, which has excellent durability. It is non-rusting, meaning that you can use this tripod in all sorts of weather conditions and not worry about ruining it.
It comes with a very large ball head, which can easily support big and heavy cameras. In fact, the maximum load of this tripod is 17.6 lbs, which is suitable even for most professionals.
And the best part is that the K&F Concept tripod is still remarkably portable! It folds down to a length of 18”, and it weighs a mere 3.17 lbs. That is absolutely amazing for a tripod that extends to more than 2 meters! The weight does mean it’s not going to be perfectly stable with really heavy cameras, but you can always add some extra weight to the hook on the center column and fix that issue.
If you are looking for a lightweight tripod suitable for different weather conditions, terrain types and shooting angles, this would be my first choice!
One of the most important features of a portable tripod is its weight. It needs to be lightweight enough that you don’t mind carrying it around for hours on end, but also heavy enough that it can endure strong winds while you’re shooting.
There are plenty of amazing tripods out there, but the best ones tend to be quite heavy. And that’s not acceptable for a backpacking tripod; I’ve tried to find only the ones that weigh less than 4-5 lbs – a weight that is acceptable for me.
In addition to that, a tripod suitable for backpack will be less than 20” tall when packed down. This allows you to keep it in the side pocket of your backpack, or even store it in the main compartment of most packs designed for backpacking. You won’t see any tripods that are taller than 20” when folded in this review.
Obviously, casual photographers have different needs than professionals. A tripod that’s perfect for beginners will probably be far from good for experienced photographers who know exactly what they’re looking for.
I’ve made sure to include tripods that are suitable for everyone in this review. I’m sure you will be able to find something for yourself regardless of your skill level. Just keep in mind that the price point is in close correlation with the skill level; tripods for beginners are normally affordable, and are under $50.
The best backpacking tripods for pros tend to be more expensive, but they make up for the hefty price tag with features. These are the tripods that allow for comfortable eye level shooting even if you’re over six feet tall, but that are lightweight and pack down to some 18-19”.
Our top choices feature the best options for different skill levels – casual/amateur, semi-pro and pro. If you’re not sure which tripod is the best option for you, scroll down to “Our Favorites” section to see which one we recommend.
If you need a tripod that allows for comfortable eye-level shooting, make sure to check its maximum height. You can find that specification in the product info boxes, and it will let you know if the tripod is compatible with you.
Obviously, tall people will need tripods that can extend to great heights. And the good news is that I’ve found plenty of variety when it comes to max height of tripods – I have options for you even if you’re well over six feet tall.
I’ve showed you some tripods that can be converted into monopods; keep in mind that they’re even taller when they’re used as monopods. They are resting on one of the tripod legs, which is much taller when entirely straight.
If you don’t care too much for eye-level shooting, focus on the price point and maximum load capacity instead.
You should always check the maximum load of a tripod before purchasing it. A tripod that can’t handle the weight of your camera with its lens will be pretty much useless. If you normally use a compact camera, an action camera or your phone to take photos, you will be fine with a tripod that has a light load capacity.
I’ve showed you some tripods that can’t handle more than 6-7 lbs, and these are the best option for those of you that don’t carry a lot of heavy equipment. They are beginner friendly, but they are not a good option for pros.
If you have a heavy camera body and an even heavier lens, you will need a tripod that can handle more than 10-15 lbs. I found plenty of those, so there’s definitely something suitable for your needs.
Anyway, you can find information on load capacity of each tripod in the product info boxes. Definitely check those before clicking the buy button!
Not certain which tripod for backpacking is the best option for you? No problem. Pick one of our top choices according to your skill level, and you’ll have zero regrets!
If you consider photography a hobby, then you’ll be fine with a simple, entry-level tripod. I would recommend the Mactrem Travel Tripod. There’s no need to spends hundreds of dollars on something you will use only occasionally, and this is a great option! It’s super lightweight and very affordable, so it’s great for beginners.
It comes with a quick-release plate, as well as several knobs that allow you to set up your camera to pretty much any angle. And it has 360° rotating handle, which lets you shoot some awesome panorama photos.
The next tripod is the best option for semi-pros or casual photographers that are trying to improve their skill level. It is the Geekoto 77” tripod, which can easily be converted into a monopod. Its legs can be adjusted to three different angles, which really gives you freedom to shoot however you like. Also, the center column can be inverted, for macro and low-angle photography. If you want a tripod that’s suitable for both beginners and pros, this is the one to get.
The best tripod for pros is the K&F Concept 78” tripod. It is a lightweight and portable tripod, with all the features you could need. It allows for comfortable eye-level shooting, its central column can be inverted for low-angle photography, it converts into a monopod and it has pointy feet that dig into the ground. That lest feature will really help you make the tripod extremely stable outdoors and get the perfect shots!
Those are the top three tripods for backpacking I would recommend. But, you can go for any one of the ten I’ve showed you in this review – all of them are great and rated very highly by thousands of happy customers.
Head over to Amazon to check out the prices of all the tripods featured in this review! And see our related posts for more ideas on outdoor gear you might need!