The Best Lightweight Travel Tripod For Hiking 2024

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If you are like me and love exploring the great outdoors and taking photos but do most of your hiking and traveling solo, you’ll need the perfect companion- an ultralight tripod. As a solo traveler, I carry all of my gear and take all of my photos myself, so investing in equipment that can shave a few pounds off my camera backpack and make self-portraits possible is a win for me!

While you can take epic photos without a tripod, a travel tripod is an essential piece of equipment for anyone traveling alone. It’s the only way I am able to capture beautiful photos of myself while traveling the world. It is also the only way to get crisp photos and avoid camera shake in certain conditions.

When searching for a reliable tripod, I look for a blend of sturdiness, compact design, ease of use, and adaptability to diverse terrains. I’ve used a number of tripods over the years, but quickly realized I should have bought the best travel tripod from the beginning. It’s a smart investment for all kinds of travel photographers!

In this blog post, I’m sharing the best lightweight tripods perfect for long hikes, landscape photography and taking gorgeous travel selfies. I highlight my overall favorite portable tripod while also discussing a few others that many professional photographers and content creators love.

Peak Design Travel Tripod (Carbon Fiber)

Hands down, the best tripod I have ever used is from Peak Design.

With excellent features catering to photographers on the go, the Peak Design Travel Tripod in carbon fiber is the best camera tripod for hiking and traveling. Crafted from lightweight carbon fiber, it balances durability and portability, making it great for mirrorless cameras and DSLR cameras in various sizes. 

I love that this tripod is compact enough to fit in a carry-on suitcase and has no protruding ball head. Not to mention, it’s super lightweight! However, that doesn’t mean it’s not sturdy—it works great even in windy conditions. It has a hook along the center column, which is perfect for attaching a gear bag to help stabilize the tripod in windy weather.

This tripod has leg locks that utilize clips instead of twists, which I think is quicker and easier to use than tripods with twists. It also boasts a quick-release plate that makes switching between setups, including a phone, even easier. There is a hidden phone mount in the center column as well, and I especially like that this tripod is compatible with the Peak Design Capture Clip, another one of my favorite camera accessories. 

The best part? It has a lifetime warranty, so it’s worth the investment. You’ll have this lightweight tripod for life!

This tripod comes in two versions and also utilizes an easy carry system that makes toting it around so simple. 

The tripod has a zip-up case with a handle, but you can use the Peak Design anchor clips and camera leash to attach a shoulder strap to the tripod carry case. I love this option and often hike with my tripod + carry strap instead of taking it in and out of a backpack. 

The aluminum version is half the price of the carbon fiber version. I initially bought the aluminum tripod for around $380 and happily used it for 6 months until, by chance, I walked into a camera store and held the carbon fiber version. It’s only 0.6 lb difference, but it felt so much lighter (2.8 lbs vs 3.4 lbs). I purchased the carbon fiber version right then and there and sold the aluminum version on eBay for practically what I paid for.

I’ve been using the lightweight carbon fiber version for years now and don’t see myself ever trading it in. It’s been so reliable, which is key when traveling far from home without a backup. 

Tripod Specs

  • Maximum height when fully extended: Approximately 60 inches (152 centimeters)
  • Minimum height when collapsed down: Approximately 15.5 inches (39 centimeters)
  • Tripod weight: Approximately 2.8 pounds (1.27 kilograms)
  • Max load capacity: Approximately 20 pounds (9 kilograms)
  • Cost: $380 for aluminum or $600 for the carbon fiber version

Pros:

  • one of the best compact tripods out there
  • leg clips for quicker set up and take down
  • It’s easy to carry with Peak Design anchor points and leash
  • It’s more lightweight than other travel tripods
  • Comes with a hidden phone attachment
  • Ascetically pleasing design

Cons:

  • ​It’s pricier than other travel tripods
  • It requires a detachable hex-head screw plate to attach the camera to the tripod (plate & screw is included). I leave the screw plate attached to my main camera body so it easily clips in and off the tripod, but this could be a con if you use multiple camera bodies and don’t love the idea of having to remove the plate. You could also buy multiple plates and leave them attached to each of your cameras, so you will never have to worry about attaching your camera to the tripod.

What Makes a Great Travel Tripod?

When selecting the best tripod, there are several factors to keep in mind – here are some of the most important elements to keep in mind.

  • Weight: One of the most crucial aspects of a travel tripod is its weight. Hikers often prioritize lightweight options to minimize the burden of carrying equipment. Carbon fiber tripods are lighter than aluminum tripods, so they are excellent for travel without sacrificing stability.
  • Stability: Stability is important, especially in windy conditions or when using heavier camera setups. Look for tripods with sturdy construction and wide leg sections. Tripods with a lower center column or a design that positions the ball head closer to the legs will improve stability.
  • Load Capacity: Be sure to check the maximum load capacity of the tripod – that way, you’ll know for sure if it can support your camera gear while also remaining stable. While having a tripod that can handle your current equipment is essential, it’s also a good idea to consider any potential future upgrades.
  • Max Height and Folded Height: The maximum Height when fully extended and the folded height when collapsed down are important things to think about. A tripod with a longer maximum height allows for more shooting angles, while a compact folded height will make it easier to carry or store during travel.
  • Overall Size: The overall size of the tripod, when folded down, can impact its portability. Choose a compact design that fits easily into your luggage or camera bag without adding excessive bulk. A lot of times, the tripod head sticks out from the legs, increasing its length. The Peak Design Travel Tripod was designed with this in mind and completely collapses onto itself without any extra bulk. 
  • Leg Locks: Leg locks play a big role in both convenience and stability. Twist locks are common and provide a secure hold, while flip locks offer quicker adjustment but may be slightly less sturdy. I prefer flip locks or leg clips for their ease of use and have never had a problem with stability while using my Peak Design tripod. 
  • Type of Warranty: A reliable warranty can provide peace of mind, especially for travel gear subjected to frequent use. Look for tripods with solid warranties, preferably lifetime warranties, so you know you are making a good investment. 
  • Cost: While cost is a consideration for many photographers, it’s important to balance budget constraints with quality and features. Investing in a high-quality travel tripod that meets your needs and offers durability and reliability can ultimately save money in the long run by avoiding the need for frequent replacements. When it comes to tripods, you get what you pay for!

Other Tripods to Consider

While the Peak Design Tripod is the best choice for me, it may not be for everyone. If you’re considering other tripods, here are some of the best options with the best reviews.

Manfrotto BeFree GT Carbon Fiber Tripod

With an ergonomic design, stability, and easy setup, the Manfrotto BeFree GT Carbon Fiber Tripod is an excellent choice for photographers on the move—it’s one of the best camera tripods for hiking. This sturdy tripod’s innovative solid spider design guarantees maximum stability on any terrain, while the M-lock twist lock system provides a fast and effortless setup. Additionally, the ergonomic leg-angle selector and three independent leg-angle positions enhance shooting versatility, enabling photographers to explore various perspectives seamlessly. 

Tripod Specs

  • Maximum Height: Approximately 53.7 inches (162 centimeters)
  • Minimum Height: Approximately 16.93 inches (43 centimeters)
  • Tripod Weight: Approximately 3.4 pounds (1.55 kilograms)
  • Max Load Capacity: Approximately 22 pounds (10 kilograms)
  • Cost: $330

Pros:

  • Sturdy carbon fiber construction provides stability while keeping weight manageable.
  • Its compact and lightweight design makes it great for travel.
  • Easy to set up and adjust, with reliable leg locks.
  • Versatile, allowing for various shooting angles and positions.

Cons:

  • Slightly heavier compared to some other travel tripods.
  • Maximum height may be slightly shorter than some competitors.
  • Limited flexibility in terms of leg angles and positioning.

Joby GorillaPod 5k

The Joby GorillaPod 5K is the best choice for photographers and hikers who don’t need a full-sized tripod or use heavy setups. At just under 2 pounds, this is one of the best lightweight travel tripods on this list. However, this tripod is limited in terms of maximum load and height, so you may be trading stability for easy transportation and storage. I think this tripod is best for small point and shoot cameras or phone setups. Its legs allow you to grip on different surfaces to take video and photos from creative angles you may not be able to get with a standard fixed leg tripod. 

Tripod Specs

  • Maximum Height: Approximately 15.2 inches (38.5 centimeters)
  • Minimum Height: Approximately 2.5 inches (6.5 centimeters)
  • Tripod Weight: Approximately 1.6 pounds (0.739 kg)
  • Max Load Capacity: Approximately 11 pounds (5 kilograms)
  • Cost: $200

Pros:

  • Flexible tripod legs allow for mounting on uneven surfaces, branches, poles, and more.
  • Lightweight and compact, it is perfect for travel and outdoor photography.
  • Quick and easy to set up, with a secure grip on the camera.
  • Versatile mounting options with standard tripod thread and included ball head.

Cons:

  • Limited maximum height compared to traditional tripods.
  • Less stable in windy conditions or with heavier camera setups.
  • Legs may lose tension over time, impacting stability.

Gitzo Traveler Series

The Gitzo Traveler Series has tripod options that come in models with 3, 4, or 5-section legs. Gitzo tripods are some of the best camera tripods out there and the traveler series is a fantastic option for hiking. With a 180° folding mechanism, which encloses the head between the folded legs, this tripod series is one of the most compact options on the market. This series is also made from carbon fiber, so these tripods are lightweight – perfect for photographers on the go.

Tripod Specs

  • Maximum Height: Varies between 6.89 inches to 65.6 inches, depending on the model
  • Minimum Height: Varies between 8.66 inches through 17.52 inches, depending on the model
  • Tripod Weight: Varies between .5 lbs-9.48 lbs depending on the model
  • Max Load Capacity: Varies by model within the Traveler Series
  • Cost: $400-$600 depending on the variation

Pros:

  • Made of lightweight carbon fiber.
  • Innovative design features, like the 180° folding mechanism
  • Wide range of height adjustments and leg angles for versatile shooting options.
  • Excellent load capacity, suitable for heavy camera setups and professional gear.

Cons:

  • Higher price point compared to some other travel tripods.
  • Limited availability of certain models may be a drawback for some photographers.

Budget Tripods

I wanted to add this section to give my two cents on budget options. My first tripod was an Amazon find for $25 that a creator influenced me to buy. Well this was the worst tripod that ever lived. It was so cheap because it was made of plastic. I could never get the knobs to turn or my camera to anchor in properly. At the time, I was using a small, lightweight camera, (a Sony A6100 with a remote trigger), so it was not a heavy, bulky set-up that would need a heavy-duty tripod.

I used another Best Buy budget tripod after that, and it constantly fell over from light wind. It was not compact and really hard to travel with. I wasted time and money and missed out on getting some photos of myself because the budget tripods failed me.

I do not recommend spending money on a cheap tripod, that is not to say there are not budget options out there that are quality and work well, but for travel purposes, when I was looking for tripods to purchase, there were very few that were compact enough to make traveling with them a breeze. I feel the compact element is what makes a lot of these lightweight hiking tripods more expensive (as well as material used), but in my experience, the cost is totally worth it.

If I had to choose, I would spend more money on a quality tripod and less money on a camera setup. If you think about it, a tripod rarely gets updates, and if you purchase one that has all the elements you need and a lifetime warranty, you will never need to buy a new tripod again.

If you have quality camera gear, you need a tripod strong enough to support it. If you are traveling solo, and want to take pictures of yourself with a camera and not a phone, you’ll want your tripod experience to be a good one so you enjoy the selfie process. If it becomes a hassle, you may not want to bother with tripod selfies at all, which may turn into regret later.

***

Now that I found my go-to hiking tripod, I don’t plan on ever getting another one. My travel tripod has held up well over the years, but I would love to know if anyone else has used a tripod they just loved. With as many options out there as colors in a Crayola box, it is hard to know them all. Please leave me a note in the comments below if you would like to share your favorite tripod. Enjoy your travels, and have fun taking pictures!

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