Let’s face it, selfie sticks are trash. If you are going on vacation and you also happen to be a photography buff, chances are you are looking for the best portable tripod for taking amazing photos while on the road. And selfie sticks are not going to cut it.
Traveling has its own logistical challenges, and you might already be stressing about the size of your camera, the weight of your camera bag, and how many lenses you can bring. Adding a tripod to the mix only makes things more difficult.
The good news is that there are a lot of amazing ultra-lightweight tripods specifically designed to be portable, usable, be traveled with. I’m going to introduce you to the best tripods for travel. Here are some things to keep in mind.
First, you want the smallest camera tripod possible without sacrificing functionality. This also means you will need a lightweight travel tripod. You can get both in one useful package. Mini tripods and tabletop tripods are great because they are easy to store. You want maximum function without taking up too much space in your bag. You must be able to wander around Rome all day with your tripod handy!
Be a Pro Traveler, Get the Best Tripod
This may be the best travel tripod for DSLR cameras. This is because of its sturdy aluminum frame and tough design. It can handle larger and more complex cameras than other “cheaper” travel tripods. It has angled feet for maximum stabilization, and you can even get spiked feet to prepare you for every photographic eventuality.
The VEO 2 comes with a unique central column that lets you set up the unit in less than half a minute. This is critical when traveling because unexpected scenes can arise anytime, and you must be able to capture the moment in an instant.
This travel tripod has independent leg positioning to make it extremely versatile, offering 20-degree, 45-degree, and 80-degree angles. This means the tripod can adapt to any kind of unstable terrain, like cobblestones, dirt, or a rocky beach. The entire unit weighs less than four pounds.
- Three different leg angles
- Special twist-lock system
- Sets up extremely fast
- Strong, durable, lightweight
- Spiked feet available for maximum stability
- There is no detachable leg
- The length when folded is a bit long
I absolutely love the Manfrotto PIXI EVO Mini Tripod. In fact, I’m sure this is the best compact tripod for traveling. Plus, it’s super affordable and it fits easily in your hand, in your jacket pocket, or the inside of your daypack.
This little unit looks like a mechanical attack spider with its ergonomic legs and ball head, especially when a camera is attached. It folds neatly away to be slipped into your jean pocket, then unfolds at a moment’s notice. It has two-section legs that are adjustable and a ball head that offers 90 degrees of tilt. This unit is great for shooting at low levels. It sits nicely on a table, a square railing, or any other flat surface. Perfect for a day in the city.
For anyone looking for a super compact tripod they can use with just about any camera, or even for those who want to take photos discreetly with their tripod rather than setting up a giant three-legged beast in the middle of a town square in rural Romania, the Manfrotto PIXI EVO is a great option.
- Discreet for shy photographers
- Super mini, can fit in your pocket
- Works with standard camera tripod socket
- Can be used with a smartphone
- Two-section legs are innovative
- Shoots at a low height
- Can be broken during travels
This may not be a proper camera tripod, but the Adonit PhotoGrip Qi still deserves a spot on the list. Even if you are a professional photographer, I’m sure you still take the occasional picture with your phone. And if you are traveling to some far-flung corner of the Earth, it is not always possible to bring your big expensive camera with you when you go out exploring.
With this awesome smartphone tripod, you can easily take stable videos and photographs everywhere you go using your phone. This unit is great for night outs since you can easily set it up on a bar table and get some great group shots with your new travel buddies.
The PhotoGrip Qi comes with an ergonomic design, a super cozy grip for one-handed photo snapping, and a Bluetooth shutter remote. But that’s not all. This tripod has a charging feature integrated. The tripod helps take photos while charging your phone via Qi wireless charging.
Even more, it comes as a smartly designed travel pack. You get the tripod itself, plus a carrying pouch, neck strap, and USB cable.
- Charges your phone
- Small enough to fit in your pocket
- Great for situations without your camera
- Comes with a handy travel package
- Surprisingly good quality
- Won’t work with a real camera
- Could easily lose it during a night out
Here we have another tripod from Manfrotto. Unlike the tiny tabletop tripod, this unit is large and extends to a maximum of 64.6 inches. It then folds to be super compact at 16.1 inches. In my opinion, this is one of the best lightweight tripods money can buy.
While the Element Traveller Tripod is not going to fit in your pocket anytime soon, it will fit in your backpack easily enough. It even comes with a custom carrying bag for easy transport and storage. The ball head is aluminum and boasts 360 degrees of pan. Plus, the legs are adaptable for uneven and rough terrain. The entire unit sets up quickly with the smart twist-lock mechanism and the central column.
This is a serious photographer’s tripod, not recommended for jungle travel. But it will certainly do on a trip to Europe or around North America since it is so lightweight and compact. You can even remove one of the legs and turn it from tripod to monopod.
- Converts into a monopod
- Comes with convenient travel bag
- Extends fully to 64.6 inches/compacts to 16.1 inches
- Super lightweight, easy to carry around
- Reliable and built strong w/ twist lock
- Too big for “backpacking”
- Converting can be finicky
The Mactrem PT55 is definitely the best travel tripod for mirrorless cameras. It is also one of the most affordable, most highly rated, and most versatile tripods on the list. I’m actually not sure how Mactrem can sell such a heavy-duty travel tripod at such a low price. But hey, I’ll take it!
Let’s start with color. Not important to everyone, but I certainly enjoy a selection of colors for my equipment. The PT55 Travel Tripod comes in orange, yellow, blue, and black. There is something for everyone. Each tripod also comes with a carrying bag, which you can easily fasten to your travel bag or stuff into your suitcase.
The total adjustable length of the PT55 is from 19 inches to 56 inches, quite tall for a travel tripod. But that’s what you get when you buy a specially designed piece of travel equipment. I mean, this tripod only weighs 2.6 pounds. It’s practically invisible. And yet it remains sturdy, standing strong in brutal winds and on rough, uneven terrain.
For the great price, you can’t get better value. DSLR, full-frame, mirrorless – every breed of camera works with the PT55. It has a 360-degree swivel capability, a quick-release plate, a special hook for extra weight distribution, and a bubble level to stay even. This is a highly recommended tripod for traveling.
- Ultra-lightweight for travel
- Comes in lots of colors
- Extends from 19” to 56”
- Easy to store, easy to carry, easy to use
- Quick-release plate for fast set up
- Suspiciously low price (not so bad)
- The included bag is basically useless
It is extremely hard to choose the ultimate travel tripod. They are all different. The tripod you choose really depends on your needs and your commitment to photography. If you are a wedding photographer, traveling a lot for work across the country, then you can absolutely afford a bigger and heavier travel tripod. For you, I would recommend the Vanguard VEO 2 235AB Travel Tripod.
However, if you are traveling for leisure and checking out some new countries, you are going to want a more compact and ultra-lightweight tripod, something you can easily stick in your backpack and walk around the city with. For you, intrepid explorer, I highly recommend the Mactrem PT55 Travel Tripod. The PT55 is affordable, portable, and works great in all situations.
Your travel tripod really depends on your needs. Some people will be happy with a small tripod that fits in their pocket since they know how hard it is to travel with too much equipment, and some die-hard photographers are going to want bigger, taller, and better tripods.
My best advice for buying a travel tripod (believe me, I’ve been there) is to not overextend yourself. Don’t get too zealous. You don’t understand the struggle of wandering around a boiling hot city while carrying a tripod over your shoulder and a camera around your neck until you’ve suffered it. Pack smart, stay lightweight and go as portable as possible.