The Best Travel Tripod 2017

 

As you can read in my travel tripod market overview, I’m a travel photographer with more than 75 countries visited so far taking photos of all the beautiful things our planet has to offer. I am very often on the road for multiple weeks, hiking through the deserts of Australia or climbing Machu Picchu. On all these trips one thing is essential for me: to pack all my stuff as efficiently as possible to save as much weight as possible. I cannot save much weight on my camera and lenses, but there is lots of weight to save when it comes to travel tripods – while still having the highest-quality equipment you need! As I’ve tried lots of tripods on my travels in the last eight years (with some of them falling apart in crucial situations…) I want to help you find the best one: in my guide to the best travel tripod 2017!

best travel tripod 2014 test

Mirror, mirror on the wall – which one is the best travel tripod on the market?

The best Travel Tripod: which Features does it need?

As said, weight is an important factor when looking for the best travel tripod. There are four key factors for me in total though:

Weight & SizeOperating HeightBuild QualityValue
The best travel tripod has to be built for the road. This means that the size of the tripod (when folded together) has to be as small as possible; additionally we need tripods made out of lightweight materials like carbon fiber.The best travel tripod 2014 needs a low minimum operating height when you're using it on a wall for example. If a tripod additionally has a high maximum operating height it will perform very well in all territory situations - especially if you're tall.Build quality is an essential factor for the best travel tripod: you want to have one that will withstand every bumpy road you travel on. Humid areas and extreme situations (like sandstorms) should be no problem - using materials like carbon fiber is a big plus as well.When you're looking at the travel tripod market there are lots of different models with many different features - for a very big span of different price-tags. You will want to find the specific tripod model that suits your needs - for a fitting price with a great value.

Only if all these four key features are met, a tripod can count as one of the best travel tripods 2017. Additional extras like an included carrying bag, a high-quality ball head or a higher maximum load are a plus as well.

The Best Travel Tripod for every Budget

There are various tripods on the market that meet all of the criteria above and are candidates for the best travel tripod 2017. During the last years I tested a huge amount of different tripods professionally and found a tripod in each price range that met my basic requirements and quality standards. I know that some of my readers are just starting out with travel photography and need a good tripod to get things going, while others are professional travel photographers with a bigger budget. Therefore I want to recommend you not only one best travel tripod 2017 (because only a small percentage of readers would be able to buy this pricey one), but three of them: one for each small, medium and higher budgets!

1. The best entry-level Travel Tripod: Sirui T-025X

If you’re just starting out and cannot justify spending huge amounts of money on a travel tripod, Sirui’s T-025X is the perfect “weapon of choice” for you! For the relatively low price of just 239 US Dollars you will get a tripod made out of lightweight carbon fiber – a very rare thing in this price category. But wait, there’s more (read this in Billy May’s voice): with a weight of just 1.43 lbs and a folded size of 11.80″ it is one of the most lightweight and most compact tripods out there which makes it perfect for traveling. In contrast to cheaper models like the Sirui T-005X (or everything really cheap out there) it will support a maximum load of 13.20 lbs which is enough for most cameras and lenses out there. It also comes with a CX-10 (Arca-Swiss compatible) ball head that performed very precisely when I used it on my trip to Cambodia. The only drawback is a comparably low maximum height when extended of just 51.18″ – but this does not harm the fact that Sirui’s T-025X clearly is the best travel tripod 2017 for this price range.

best travel tripod 2014 sirui

A great travel tripod for an awesome price: Sirui’s T-025X!

Tripod

Size Folded

Min. Height

Max. Height

Weight

Max. Load

Link

Sirui T-025X

11.80“
04.13“
51.18“
1.43 lb
13.20 lb

239.00 $

2. The best mid-range Travel Tripod: 3 Legged Thing Brian

When it comes to the mid-range price level I am a huge fan of the UK company called “Three Legged Thing“. Although this company name might sound weird when hearing it for the first time, they actually make some of the best mid-level boutique travel tripods! Besides their “Eddie” series I can really recommend the 3LT Brian for 459 US Dollars. Of course it is also made out of carbon fiber which makes it very lightweight (3.50 lbs). It is also quite compact (16.50″ when folded). Where the 3LT Brian really stands out though is its operating height: from 4.72″ to 78.70″(!) everything is possible, making it extremely versatile. It also supports a maximum load of 17.60 lbs which is another great result in our tripod comparison. All these features, combined with the excellent build quality and some smart additions (e.g. a laptop holder) make the 3 Legged Thing Brian the best travel tripod 2017 for mid-range price levels!

best travel tripod 2014 3lt eddie

An awesome allround travel tripod in the mid-range segment: 3LT’s Eddie

Tripod

Size Folded

Min. Height

Max. Height

Weight

Max. Load

Link

3 Legged
Thing Brian

16.50“
04.72“
78.70“
3.50 lb
17.60 lb

459.00 $

3. The best high-end Travel Tripod: Gitzo GK1580TQR5

When money is no object or you’re a professional photographer, Gitzo is a manufacturer you will need to check out. Although their pricetag is quite hefty, they are traditionally known as a high-end tripod manufacturer with a long standing history. Gitzo’s GK1580TQR5 is no exception: with its extremely well-made carbon fiber construction it is very robust and will withstand everything you might come across on the road. It only weighs 2.56 lbs which is an excellent value, just like the very compact folded size of just 13.78″. The handling of the Gitzo GK1580TQR5 is thought through very well, which you will realize when setting the pitch angle of the tripod legs. If you’re in the market for the very best travel tripod 2017 out there, the Gitzo one should be your choice. If you’re on a budget I would recommend going with the Three Legged Thing Brian though: its features are the same (some are even better) and you just pay about half the price. Don’t get me wrong: I really enjoyed using the Gitzo on my trips as I always had the feeling of having the most perfectly built travel tripod out there. But at the same time I started to worry as I was travelling through third-world countries with a 900 USD tripod – it was just over the top and one of the cheaper options would’ve performed just as good.

best travel tripod 2014 gitzo

The ultimate travel tripod that comes with a hefty pricetag: Gitzo’s GK1580TQR5

Tripod

Size Folded

Min. Height

Max. Height

Weight

Max. Load

Link

Gitzo
GK1580TQR5

13.78“
n/A
58.66“
2.56 lb
12.13 lb

899.00 $

Conclusion: The best Travel Tripod 2017

As said before, the market for travel tripods has become huge and confusing at some point. There are just too many tripod manufacturers out there with growing product lineups. After having had the chance of testing most of them, I can only recommend going for one of the three travel tripods I described above. If you’re just starting out, the Sirui T-025X is a perfect example of a semi-professional piece of equipment for a small price-tag that will guarantee years of good performance. The same goes for the 3LT Brian (with a bit more flexibility added on top) and the Gitzo GK1580TQR5 (if you’re a professional photographer aiming for the ultimate tripod). All of them will do their job perfectly well and withstand every obstacle you might come across on your travels!

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