It’s easy to mistake a travel tripod for a standard tripod, especially if you’re new to photography.
In reality, this is far from the truth. So, what is a travel tripod?
Although it has similarities with a standard tripod, a travel tripod is smaller, more compact, and has a lighter body.
It is also designed to be used outdoors and can keep your camera stable even on rough terrain.
What Is a Travel Tripod?
From what you already know about them so far, it’s easy to see that camera tripods are different from regular ones.
For one, they are more compact and can be either small or foldable.
Some models can even be disassembled to fit in a bag.
Their portability makes them perfect for the outdoors, while the lightweight frame means you can carry them over long distances.
Specifically, if you like taking pictures of scenery or wildlife, you’d find these tripods extra useful.
You’ll likely be on the move to capture the best lighting.
As such, having a portable and durable tripod will make a significant difference in how your photos turn out.
What Makes a Good Travel Tripod?
Aside from the apparent features, plenty of other vital components impact a travel tripod’s usefulness.
As someone interested in outdoor photography, it’s beneficial to understand what features to keep an eye out for.
Here is a simplified rundown of what the main features are:
Lightweight Metal Build
One of the most crucial parts that make a good travel tripod is its lighter construction.
You will often find them made from a lightweight yet strong metal, allowing for easier transport.
Unlike your standard tripod, a travel tripod often has a carbon fiber or aluminum construction.
The reason for this is that both these metals are highly durable. Aside from durability, they are also lightweight.
The last thing you want to do is lug around a heavy metal rod while hiking to your next photography destination.
Hence, it is crucial to find a lightweight tripod that can outlast the harsh outdoor environment.
Another common feature of a good travel tripod is a set of feet that can be swapped out.
Some tripods come with different feet, mainly to accommodate the diverse terrain.
For the most part, travel tripods include spiked feet, which are good for dirt, mud, or snow.
A travel tripod’s adjustable legs are yet another feature that makes it different from regular tripods.
Often, you can quickly adjust each of the legs to different lengths so that the tripod can stand even on uneven ground.
Another common feature is quick adjustments, which is especially important if you’re trying to photograph wildlife.
You won’t want to create noise or move around while disassembling your tripod to get the perfect height or angle.
Thus, a good tripod will allow quick one-handed adjustments.
High Weight Capacity
When outdoors, chances are you are going to be lugging around more than just your tripod and camera.
One significant benefit of a travel tripod is that they have a high weight capacity.
They are built to hold your accessories, and some brands even include an extra equipment hook.
Compact and Portable Design
Travel-sized tripods don’t have the same level of bulkiness that standard tripods have.
Instead of having large rods, they are often made from thin yet durable metal.
On top of that, the frame is lightweight and won’t strain your back while you’re transporting them.
Extra features such as folding, collapsing, or detaching legs also help create a compact design.
The compact design is beneficial because it makes the tripod easy to carry, store, and transport.
How To Choose a Travel Tripod
While most travel tripods provide the same features, there are slight differences between each model.
As such, it can get confusing to choose just one based on the features alone.
To help you out, we’ve created a quick guide so that you can decide which one is suitable for your photography needs.
1. Choose Based on the Type of Photography You Practice
Photography requires a wide range of angles and heights to get that perfect shot.
When working outdoors, you must pick a tripod that works for your photography needs.
If you are looking to take photos at low angles, we suggest getting a tripod with a removable center column.
On the other hand, a tripod stand with a 360-degree ball-head will make it easier for you to take panoramic photos.
2. Standard vs. Accessories
Some travel tripods include extra accessories or only provide the basics.
If you’re using more than one accessory for your photography, you may want to purchase a compatible tripod that works with a wide variety of accessories.
However, if you are sticking to just using your camera, a lens, and nothing else, then a standard tripod will suffice.
3. Choose By Environment
Another factor to consider is what type of outdoor environment you will be taking pictures in.
For most photography, you will find that a tripod with padded feet will work perfectly fine.
However, those working in uneven terrains, such as trails, beaches, and snow, may find that they need spiked feet.
Don’t make the mistake of grabbing a model that won’t work for you.
Always consider where you’re going to be photographing and what type of environments you may visit in the future.
4. Ease of Use and Extra Features
The industry has no shortage of new technologies to make photography more beginner-friendly.
Travel photography, in particular, requires extra features to allow you to take the best shots even when outside your comfort zone.
As such, look for a tripod that is packed with added convenient features like quick adjustments, swappable feet, and individually adjustable legs.
You can also opt for one you can convert to a monopod to get more value for your money.
Hopefully, this has helped you understand a bit more about what is a travel tripod?
We’ve given you all the necessary details so that you can use this information to improve your outdoor photography.
Just remember to choose a travel tripod if you’re going outdoors and factor in what you will be doing with it.