Which tripod should I get for traveling?

Travel tripods in the test: The 7 best camera tripods + top purchase tip (2021)

Content: You can find these tips here

These are the best travel tripods at a glance

You are looking for a good one Travel tripod? As a professional landscape photographer, I have used many camera tripods and tested them extensively. I will introduce you to the best tripods here. Regardless of whether you are traveling with an expensive professional camera like the Sony Alpha 7 III or a cheaper hobby camera like the Sony Alpha 6000: You will find the right photo tripod in my tripod purchase advice - that's a promise!

First of all: If you save on the tripod, you won't have any fun with (landscape) photography! But you also have to do not spend a fortune. Nice for less than 100 euros you can get a good tripod - even made of carbon. However, there is almost no upper limit. Travel tripods for 1000 euros and more are particularly appealing to professional photographers.

At the end of this article you will find my personal Buy recommendation for professionals, hobby photographers and occasional users who do not want to spend a lot of money on a good travel tripod.

tip: Are you looking for one new camera? Then you will find our buying advice with the best cameras here. And I'll tell all landscape photographers how you can take extraordinary landscape pictures. Smartphone photographer find our buying advice with the best mini tripods here.

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A good travel tripod has to be able to do that

An important role in one good travel tripod plays that, of course Weight - especially if you have the tripod too take with you when hiking (mountain). You don't always drive to the photo spot (by the way, this is where you can find the most beautiful photo spots in Bavaria) and set up your photo equipment there. Often you have to drag all the camera equipment including the camera tripod around for hours or even to a summit.

So here has to be a Compromise between weight, pack size, size and stability. Of course, the camera is more stable on a five kilo studio tripod in the strongest wind than on a light travel tripod weighing one kilo.

But: who wants to lug a big and heavy tripod up a mountain for a great photo? Wouldn't it be an alternative to do without the tripod altogether? Unfortunately not - in the For landscape photography, a photo tripod is essential in many situations.

If you want to take extraordinary landscape pictures, there is no way around the tripod. Why? A tripod gives you one well thought-out image structure and prevents blurring with long exposure times, for example when using gray and gray graduated filters.

⭐ Photo tip: Unlock the Image stabilizer on the lens (or on the camera). The activated image stabilizer can lead to blurred images on the tripod.

Grandiose landscape photos require a robust and easy to use tripod. On my photography courses I always have participants who come with an expensive camera but save on the tripod.

With a wobbly and difficult to use tripod, the fun of photography is lost. But before I get to the overview of the best travel tripod, a few basic things.

The maximum weight

A good travel tripod should have a tripod head no more than 1.5 kilos (plus minus a few grams) weigh. For me, that is the limit when traveling and long hikes.

A light camera tripod doesn't necessarily have to be shakier than one that is significantly heavier. With the ratio of stability to weight, the price also increases, of course. In any case, it is important that the camera is stable on the tripod, even in wind and weather. Nothing is more annoying than a missed motif in the most beautiful evening light because the camera wobbles in the wind.

Aluminum or carbon

I always advise one Carbon tripod (or magnesium). Carbon tripods are more expensive that However, the advantages over aluminum are immense. On the one hand, carbon tripods weigh a few hundred grams less than their aluminum counterparts - and every gram counts, especially on longer tours.

The second advantage of carbon: tripods are made of carbon more stable and less prone to disruptive Vibrations. You feel the difference when there is a little wind or when you set up the tripod in the sea in the surf.

Incidentally, many tripods have one on the center column hook, to which you can attach a weight, such as a backpack, for additional stability.

Small pack size

What is the point of a tripod that can be extended to 1.80 meters but does not fit in a backpack? A small Pack size is an important purchase criterion in addition to its low weight. A good travel tripod can be put together very small and thus comfortably transported in or on a backpack.

Basically: ever more leg segmentsthat are nested, the more more compact is the tripod. But there are more leg segments less stable in the wind. A pack size of 50 cm should be the upper limit for a good travel tripod - Otherwise you often have problems with the transport in the rucksack.

Can the travel tripod be carried in hand luggage?

Are you allowed to take your tripod with you on the plane carry-on baggage to take? It depends. If your tripod exceeds the given hand luggage dimensions, you are basically allowed to use the tripod take it into the cabin. However, the security staff will ultimately decide whether you can take the tripod with you into the aircraft cabin. If your photo tripod looks too bulky or if you have spikes on the tripod legs, you may have to travel without a tripod. It is safer to transport the tripod in checked baggage.

The working height

The maximum working height shouldn't be underestimated. Often a few centimeters are missing to take a photo as you imagine it. The same applies to the minimum working height for shots close to the ground.

Note that the Stability with the center column extended suffers greatly, especially in the wind or in the surf in the sea. The decisive factor is therefore the size of the tripod without the center column extended.

The center column should only be used when there is no wind. This is often not the case, especially in the mountains or by the sea. A good travel tripod should be able to extend to at least 110 cm, but 120 cm or more is better.

Twist or clamp lock

Whether the tripod has a Twist lock or a clamp lock does not matter, however. It's a matter of personal preference. Both systems work flawlessly.

What does a good travel tripod cost?

A good travel tripod doesn't have to be expensive. In principle, the following still applies: The more expensive a tripod, the better. But you don't necessarily have to spend a fortune.

There is good tripods for around 100 euros - even made of carbon. Of course, it always depends on which camera equipment you use.

For one mirrorless system camera (DSLM) With an APS-C sensor (e.g. Sony Alpha 5000, Sony Alpha 6000 or Canon EOS M50) and a normal focal length, you don't need a tripod with a 15 kilo load capacity. Conversely, you shouldn't have a heavy one Single lens reflex camera (DSLR) screw the full-frame sensor and telephoto lens onto a tripod that is only designed for four kilos.

The Manufacturer's information to maximum load capacity are, however to be consumed with caution and not comparable with each other. If you value stability in wind and weather, you generally choose a tripod with a high load capacity. The load capacity should be at least three times the weight of the equipment you are using.

The ball head

A good travel tripod should be yours camera and your heaviest lens hold without any problems. That is also decisive Tripod head. Here, too, the following applies: The manufacturer's information on the maximum load capacity must be viewed with caution. You should always include a clear upward buffer.

I've been with that for a long time Sirui K-20X Tripod head (check price here *). With a weight of 400 grams and a load weight of 25 kilos, the ball head can easily accommodate a full-frame DSLR with a 70-200 f2.8 attached.

The handling of the ball head is excellent and neither dirt nor sea water has harmed the ball head over the years. The ball head is available in four strengths from a load weight of 20 to 35 kilos. If you use telephoto focal lengths and very fast lenses, for example for animal photography, I recommend the larger models. Unfortunately, it also increases the weight.

Today I work with that Gitzo 82TQD (check price here *). The ball head is superbly made and has some exciting features - but it is also very expensive and is aimed at professional photographers.

Arca-Swiss quick release plate

High quality tripod heads are mostly “Arca-Swiss” compatible. With an Arca-Swiss quick-release plate, you can switch between different tripod heads without changing the plate. Sounds like luxury? Believe me: if you only take photos long enough, you will one day appreciate this feature very much. For example, the Peak-Design backpack holder “Arca-Swiss” is compatible. On hikes I always carry my camera on my backpack and in the morning or in the evening I simply put the camera on a tripod without changing anything. It couldn't be easier.

Special tripods for Sony, Nikon, Canon and Co?

Is there special tripods for Sony, Nikon, Canon, Fujifilm or another camera manufacturer? No, there is usually no such thing. Every tripod is suitable for every camera manufacturer. In principle, it does not matter whether you use your tripod with a system camera from Sony or a SLR camera from Canon or Nikon.

Note, however, that a heavy SLR camera requires a more robust tripod than a light system camera.

I am aware of one exception: Manfrotto has with the Befree α edition Some tripods are available which, with the customized version of the camera plate 200PL-PRO, are matched to the α7 and α9 camera housings from Sony. But I see this more as a marketing idea to convince Sony Alpha photographers.

At a glance: This is what distinguishes a good travel tripod

You now have an overview of what you should definitely pay attention to when buying a travel tripod. I grasp again the most important purchase criteria together:

  • Carbon or magnesium are the first choice
  • The tripod should include the tripod head maximum 1.5 kilos (plus minus a few grams) weigh
  • The pack size should maximum 50 cm be
  • The working height (without the center column extended) should at least 110 cm amount - more is better

⭐ The 7 best travel tripods 2021 - my test winners

I now present you the - from my point of view - best travel tripods in front. I got into this list consciously also very affordable models recorded.

Not every photographer is willing to spend more on a tripod than on all of their photography equipment. This is particularly important to me Price-performance ratio. A € 500 tripod will always do better than a € 100 model - but it also costs a lot more. But you can also take great photos with the right 100 euro tripod.

1. Walimex travel tripod Basic

The Walimex travel tripod Basic (to the detailed test report Walimex travel tripod Basic) stands for 20 to 25 euros in the shop (check price here *). You shouldn't expect miracles from the small travel and hiking tripod.

For Casual user with a very light camera equipment, the actually don't want to spend any money on a camera tripod at all, the Walimex is enough. I used the tripod together with the compact Sony Alpha 6000 on a hike to the Zugspitze.

The motto could be: The best tripod is one that you always have with you. In addition, the entry-level tripod is of course well suited for Selfies on road.

This is an equally cheap alternative AmazonBasics tripod (check price here *), which weighs only 567 grams.

  • ✅ one of the cheapest travel tripods for compact cameras or light system cameras on the market
  • ✅ Unbeatably light at 650 grams including tripod head
  • ❌ only suitable for compact cameras or very light system cameras (no telephoto lens!)
  • ❌ the tripod head is permanently installed (i.e. not exchangeable)
  • ❌ the tripod head is very (!) Impractical (changing from landscape to portrait format is cumbersome)
  • ❌ low working height
  • ❌ The tripod is wobbly and can only be used for long exposures when there is absolutely no wind

Lower entry-level class - 20 to 25 euros - Weight 650 grams - Maximum height with center column 126 cm - Pack size 45 cm - Load capacity 3 kilos