Backpacking is not quite the same as traveling. It’s definitely not the same as vacationing. In fact, backpacking is a totally unique experience that nothing else can compare to. Backpacking is in a category of its own. And for those of you who are interested in capturing each and every precious moment of your backpacking trip with a professional camera, you are going to need the best backpacking tripod.
So, what do you look for? I’ll give you three words: compact, lightweight, versatile. These are the three characteristics you want in a backpacking tripod. You are going to be hiking, moving around a lot from place to place, and in some of the most extreme situations you can imagine. Having a big heavy tripod simply isn’t worth the hassle. You need your tripod to be small, light, and able to perform well on rough terrain.
Let’s take a look at the five best tripods for hiking and backpacking. From professional tripods to beginner tripods, this list has it all.
The Best Tripods for Backpacking
This is the best lightweight tripod for hiking. It even looks cool in black and orange. The GEEKOTO AT24EVO tripod has a total extended length of 23” at minimum and 77” when fully extended, which is the perfect length for taking shots at eye level. Even if you are taller than 77”, you can transform the tripod into a monopod, extending its range to a minimum of 34.5” and a maximum of 82”.
The features are almost endless with this super affordable, professional-grade tripod. It has an aluminum alloy construction to be super light, height flexibility in a matter of seconds, and a 360-degree rotating ball head for the perfect angle. The tripod is 19” fully compact at its shortest, less than four pounds, and it has a maximum load weight of 17.6 pounds. If your camera is heavier than 20 pounds, you may want to rethink your hiking gear.
This is an awesome tripod for serious photographers when heading to the trails, doing some extreme hiking, or going on a long backpacking trip. It is extremely inexpensive and works with just about any camera. Plus, the length flexibility is amazing, going from 19” for storage to 82” as a monopod.
- Transforms into a super tall monopod
- Has a very tall tripod height of 77”
- 360-degree ball head
- Great for hiking or backpacking
- Has an intense maximum weight load
- 19” is hard to store in an ordinary backpack
- Doesn’t come with any cool accessories
If you want a lightweight budget tripod, it doesn’t get any better than AmazonBasics’ Lightweight Tripod. I mean, this thing is affordable. Depending on where you live, it may cost more in shipping. But that doesn’t mean it lacks quality. If you are going on a hiking trip into the mountains, the last thing you want is to break your outrageously expensive tripod. This one is at least disposable. If you break it, you can affordably order a new one.
The tripod extends from 16” to 50”, which is compact enough to fit in your bag and tall enough to take great shots of the surrounding scenery. It is also super quick to set up and comes with its own custom bag. The three-way head gives swivel and tilt motion, and the quick-release plate makes setting up your camera a breeze. The only downside is that heavier cameras, like a full-frame DSLR, are not recommended for use with this tripod.
Still, a good mirrorless camera or a normal DSLR without a lens is sufficient, and if you aren’t a professional it shouldn’t matter. If you just want to take fun photographs while backpacking, this is a great item. Plus, if you get tired of carrying a tripod around, you can just give it to someone else!
- Super affordable
- Collapses to 16.5 inches
- Great for mirrorless cameras
- Weighs less than two pounds
- Has a quick-release plate
- Can’t use with heavier cameras
- It is not very professional
Meet the best lightweight tripod for backpacking. This baby weighs only 2.4 pounds. It has an extendable range between 18.1.” And 62”, making it extremely convenient for backpacking photos. You can keep it small on the ground for wildlife shots, or you can stand tall on the edge of a cliff and photograph a wide panorama.
In fact, this may be the best explorer’s tripod, since it is effective in so many situations. The fully compressed height of 16.1” makes the tripod super portable and easy to store, while its load capacity of 22 pounds allows it to handle any camera and almost any lens. It comes included with a fashionable tripod bag for protection from dirt and moisture, but it is small enough to easily fit in the water bottle pouch on the side of your bag.
Everything about this tripod is extremely professional, which is shocking considering how inexpensive it is. For a backpacking trip, I highly recommend the K&F Concept 62” Tripod, especially if you have a heavy DSLR camera.
- Great overall value
- Huge weight capacity of 22lbs
- Easily compactable/quick to set up
- Strong & stable legs
- Good for hiking + backpacking
- Doesn’t transform into a monopod
- 62” may be too short for some pros
Here we have a super lightweight, 2-in-1 carbon fiber tripod. This unit is great for traveling. It has a total extended length of 59 inches, and it includes a center hook for extra stabilization on windy days or on tough terrain.
Because the tripod is carbon fiber, it is great for backpacking in extreme climates. It won’t get too hot and it won’t freeze easily. For the best storage, this lightweight tripod can be inverted and folded, then strapped effortlessly to your hiking backpack. You don’t have to carry it around on your shoulder.
The biggest bonus with the BONFOTO Tripod is the 2-in-1 feature. In a matter of seconds, you can turn the tripod into a stable monopod for maximum versatility. There is even a quick-release mounting plate for simple set up. The ball head is the standard 360 degrees. And of course, the tripod comes included with a unique carrying bag and all the pieces to complete the installation.
For anyone who wants a monopod + tripod, this is the unit for you. Backpack and hike with the most versatile equipment possible, making your journey the best it can be.
- 2-in-1 monopod & tripod
- Carbon fiber construction
- Non-slip legs
- Maximum height of 59 inches
- Compact & ultra-lightweight
- More complicated to set up than other models
- The monopod is pretty short
Now, this is a cool tripod. Think of it as the backpacker special. The MeFOTO BackPacker Classic Travel Tripod is incredibly lightweight, built from aluminum, it offers very useful twist locks, has a double-action ball head, a specialized plate that works wonders with mirrorless cameras and DSLR cameras, and it comes in seven unique colors (purple included). You really cannot ask for a more specialized backpacking camera. Plus, it costs about the same as the other models on the list.
I’ll just keep rambling about the features. 360-degree panning, super compact (the legs invert and fold to be small enough to fit anywhere), a spring-loaded recessed hook at the center column for hanging extra weights and increasing stability, a total weight capacity of 8.8 pounds, and a stylish included carrying case.
The entire tripod weighs only 2.6 pounds, making it invisible when tucked into your bag. If you are looking for a reliable and lightweight tripod designed especially for backpacking, this is it. The unit may not be as tall as others, but it will definitely get the job done. And it works with any camera.
- Comes in a lot of colors
- Designed specifically for backpacking
- Ultra-compact, ultra-lightweight
- Supports heavy DSLR cameras
- Can be incorporated with a special iPhone mount
- Shorter than other tripods
- Can’t be turned into a monopod
Final Thoughts: The Best Backpacking Tripod
Backpacking tripods come in a huge range of prices. They can be as inexpensive as a cheap cheeseburger or as expensive as a new pair of hiking boots. The quality of your tripod will depend drastically on how much money you want to spend, how lightweight you need the tripod to be (they are generally between 2 and 5 pounds), how tall you want the tripod to extend, and what kind of unique features your photography demands while backpacking.
For casual backpackers who just want to take better photos, I highly recommend the MeFOTO BackPacker Classic Travel Tripod. 51.2 inches is perfectly acceptable for most situations. The tripod is small, compact, and can easily be carried around. It is designed specifically for backpackers.
For those who are unsure of themselves, maybe just wanting a handsfree tripod for taking better photographs on their next backpacking trip, I recommend using one of the extremely inexpensive models. If you damage it, get bored, or realize you don’t care about lugging around a tripod, you can get rid of it without much loss.
For pros, you definitely want the Geekoto AT24EVO 77-Inch Tripod. It transforms into a monopod to become super tall, it has all the features you need, it looks professional, feels professional, and it costs a professional amount of money. But if you are a serious hiker and backpacker (and a serious photographer) this is the best tripod for you.