You have likely noticed that you don’t take some of the best hand-held shots when you are exhausted from a long hike. It feels even worse when you notice this a bit too late when you’re already home and realize that some of your best shots are a bit blurry from a camera shake. This calls for the need of a camera tripod stand for your next hiking trip.
Tripods help to keep the camera still so you can eliminate camera shake and take more accurate shots. At the same time, it also reduces the strain on your hands and back. You don’t have to be a professional photographer to use a tripod. As you go on more hikes and improve your photography skills, you will start to notice the benefits of having one.
The Best Hiking Tripods
Starting off our list is a lightweight aluminum alloy tripod from Mactrem that’s compatible with both phones and cameras. You can mount iPhone devices and DSLR cameras on it. It stands 55.12 inches tall when fully extended and folds down to 20 inches so it can be stored in the carrying bag provided.
The head, albeit made of fragile plastic, is designed with a quick-release mounting plate so you can attach or detach your camera in seconds. It also lets the user alternate from taking portrait to landscape photos. The arm includes controls for panning (side to side motion), pitching (up and down motion), and adjusting the height of the camera. Lastly, the legs are fitted with adjustable height clips that lock in place and have rubber feet to make setup on uneven ground easier.
- Aluminum alloy and plastic construction
- 55.12-inch maximum height
- Rubber feet
- Brand Mactrem
- Model M-PT55-Bk
- Weight 2.5 pounds
Can be used on uneven surfaces
Can be used to take portrait or landscape photos
Carrying bag included
Not for heavy cameras
May need a lubricant for smoother adjustments
Fragile plastic top
Get the most out of your outdoor shooting experience without spending a lot of money with this 50-inch phone tripod. It comes with a horizontal arm so you can mount two devices at the same time. A horizontal lock at the center helps to keep the arms stable for a steady shot, and each end of the arm is fitted with a 360-degree rotatable ball head. The ball head is designed with a universal screw that can accommodate almost any device, including cameras, phones, ring lights, and more.
Its sturdy aluminum legs can be extended to a maximum height of 50 inches, and can also be folded to a minimum height of 15 inches for low-angle shots. Three separate flip locks help secure the legs at the desired position, and non-slip rubber feet help keep the legs steady on uneven terrain. This tripod only weighs 1.9 pounds so it may tip over during windy conditions, but the benefit of this weight is, you can carry it for long distances without getting tired.
- Aluminum alloy legs
- 50-inch maximum height
- 360-degree rotating ball head
- Brand UBeesize
- Model N/A
- Weight 1.9 pounds
Comes with a Bluetooth remote control
Lets you attach a ring light
Carrying bag provided
Fragile plastic parts
Not sturdy enough for large phones
Tips over easily in windy conditions
For serious photographers and videographers, we recommend K&F Concept’s camera tripod, which is a bit more expensive than the other options but packs multiple user-friendly features. It has four-section tripod legs that are fitted with flip locks for quick setup. The legs are made of an aluminum and magnesium alloy for increased strength and stability, and they can be folded into a compact unit for storage in the carrying bag provided.
Its maximum height is 62 inches, but is most stable at 52.4 inches. Atop the tripod is a 360-degree ball head that provides seamless omnidirectional movement of the camera. It will support cameras that are up to 17.6 pounds, so it can work with DSLR cameras, cameras with a telephoto lens, or a large smartphone. The best part is, the central column can be inverted so you can attach the camera at a lower position of about 16.1 inches when taking low angle or micro shots.
- 62-inch maximum height
- Aluminum alloy tripod legs
- 360-degree ball head
- Brand K&F Concept
- Model KF09.007
- Weight 2.97 pounds
Can handle most cameras
Mounting head can be inverted
Equipped with durable legs
Ultra stable at low heights
Might tip over when used at maximum height
If we were to recommend a convenient tripod that lets you take eye-level shots, then it would be Geekoto’s camera tripod. This tripod offers a maximum height of 77 inches and can also fold down to a minimum height of 19 inches. It’s designed with a 360-degree rotating ball head that lets you tilt, pan or rotate the camera with ease. The central column also features an inverted mode so the camera can be installed at the lower position to get low angle shots.
The legs are fitted with three, quick-release flip locks so the legs can be adjusted to three different positions. The unit can also be disassembled and transformed into a monopod. It’s designed to handle loads of up to 17.6 pounds and is compatible with DSLR cameras and the iPhone 8. There isn’t a lever for adjusting the height of the camera, but at the bottom of the central column is a hook where you can attach an extra load for stability as you adjust the height.
- 360-degree ball joint
- 77-inch maximum height
- 19-inch minimum height
- Brand Geekoto
- Model AT24Pro
- Weight 3.37 pounds
Can extend beyond six feet
Allows for eye-level shots
Easily converts into a monopod
Can handle heavy cameras
Doesn't have a handle
Still bulky even when folded
Leans on the expensive side
If you often struggle with getting a level shot or adjusting your tripod, then consider upgrading to this 62-inch tripod from Dolica. It’s designed with an extendable central column and retractable legs that are fitted with foam grips for comfort. The tripod is made of aluminum alloy for durability and has non-slip rubber feet for optimal stability.
The head is designed with a 360-degree ball joint that will help you pan, tilt or rotate the camera easily. The ball head also lets you use the camera in either a portrait or landscape position. It may not be the best for holding heavy-duty photography gear since it can only support loads of up to 13.2 pounds, but it works with smartphones, DSLR, and digital cameras. The center column is reversible, and also has a hook so you can attach extra weight such as a backpack. Lastly, the legs extend to three positions and can be fully extended horizontally for low angle shots.
- 62-inch maximum height
- 360-degree ball joint
- Supports up to 13.2 pounds
- Brand Dolica
- Model AX620B100
- Weight 4 pounds
Features a reversible central column
Converts into a monopod
Offers a comfortable grip
Enhances your shooting accuracy
Can’t support heavy equipment
Not compatible with Acra-Swiss ball heads
A bit heavier than most tripods
This 67-inch tripod is a great companion for almost any lightweight camera; it can support loads of up to to 11 pounds. It’s made of a combination of aluminum and plastic and has a rugged design that can hold up to the rough outdoors. It comes with a 360-degree ball head for tilting, panning, and rotating the camera, and the mounting plate can be adjusted to take either portrait or landscape photos.
Thick aluminum legs with flip locks can be extended so you can use the camera at a maximum height of 67 inches. This lets you use the camera while standing up straight. The legs are fitted with non-slip rubber feet, and although they can be a hassle to screw on, they help maintain a nice grip on uneven surfaces. It folds down to a compact 18-inch height so it can fit in the carrying bag provided. Lastly, it’s compatible with smartphones, projectors, ring lights, video, digital, and DSLR cameras.
- 67-inch maximum height
- 18-inch minimum height
- 360-degree ball head
- Brand Endurax
- Model ETR66
- Weight 3.3 pounds
Features thick, sturdy legs
Folds down to a travel-friendly size
Maintains good grip on uneven surfaces
Not very stable when handling heavy cameras
The mounting plate is not Acra-Swiss compatible
Rubber feet can be a hassle to screw on
Like most hiking tripods, the ZoMei M5 has a straightforward design with a solid build made of aluminum that’s sturdy enough to be used on uneven ground. It’s also reasonably portable seeing that it only weighs 2.73 pounds. It offers a maximum height of 55 inches and a minimum height of 14 inches. The legs can be opened to three different angles, and there are three flip locks on each leg. A 360-degree rotating degree ball head lets you attach DSLR cameras, and it can withstand a maximum weight of 17.6 pounds.
What sets it apart from other tripods is, it can be quickly transformed into a monopod by simply removing two legs. For added stability, the central column is fitted with a hook at the bottom for attaching extra weight. However, the red color on the legs and central column is quite reflective and therefore not ideal for shooting animals; it can scare them away. It’s best used for shooting landscapes.
- Two-in-one design
- 55-inch maximum height
- 360-degree rotating ball head
- Brand ZoMei
- Model ZOMEi M5 Tripod
- Weight 2.73 pounds
Stable on uneven ground
Includes a hook to improve stability
Can be converted to a monopod
Equipped with foam grips for user comfort
Lower height than other models
Needs an extra weight for stability at maximum height
Reflective red color
If you are looking for a heavy-duty tripod that’s fairly easy to work with, we recommend this photo tripod from National Geographic. You can attach up to 3.3 pounds of shooting gear, and though this limits it to only light cameras, it will work with the most lightweight Nikon, Canon, and Sony cameras. Two built-in bubble levels will help you level the camera for precise photo framing.
At 2.2 pounds, this tripod is lightweight but doesn’t sacrifice a lot of durability as the legs are made of aluminum, and are fitted with quick-release locks and rubber feet. It offers a maximum shooting height of 57.5 inches and a minimum height of 22.8 inches. The arm has an ergonomic handle that lets you adjust the height of the central column with ease.
- 360-degree ball head
- 57.5-inch maximum height
- 22.8-inch minimum height
- Brand National Geographic
- Model NGPH000
- Weight 2.2 pounds
Easy to set up
Lets you take well-angled shots
Carrying bag provided
Low load capacity
Fragile plastic parts
Thin carrying bag
Best Hiking Tripods Buying Guide & FAQ
The camera shake is a photographer’s worst enemy. Having the best camera doesn’t make you immune to it since even professional photographers experience some sort of camera shake when they don’t use a camera tripod. Therefore, a good camera needs to go hand-in-hand with a camera tripod if you are to take more accurate shots.
We will show you how to choose some of the best hiking tripods so you can take more exceptional videos and photographs without straining your hands.
The Advantages of Owning a Hiking Tripod
The main benefit of a hiking tripod is straightforward: it helps keep your camera still so there is no camera shake. Camera shake often happens when you’re holding the camera with your hands, and they get a little trembly from the weight of the camera or fatigue. A tripod is better equipped for handling heavy cameras of up to 20 pounds and will help you capture sharp images.
Using a tripod allows you to slow the shutter speed to one second or longer to create a fun camera effect where anything that’s moving appears blurry, and you only focus on the image of interest. This effect comes in handy when taking landscape photos.
You can adjust the height of a tripod stand so you can get a standard height for all your photos. This ensures that all the photos you take will line up perfectly over each other in focal points.
- Most tripods can hold a variety of devices including smartphones, digital cameras, and DSLR cameras.
- It helps eliminate the physical strain of holding heavy cameras.
- It allows you to easily adjust an obtrusive lens.
- It’s a must-have item for professional photography.
The Most Common Types of Hiking Tripods
To ensure that you get the best tripod for your hiking adventures and the type of camera you have, it’s important to consider the main types available. These are flexible and heavy-duty tripods. The differences are discussed below.
If you have a lightweight digital camera or mostly take photos with your smartphone, then you need a flexible tripod. This type of tripod has flexible or foldable legs, an adjustable central column, and a removable head that can be replaced depending on whether you want to attach a camera or a smartphone.
The legs are so flexible that they can be wrapped around a tree or bent so you can take photos or videos even at awkward angles. It’s also a great travel companion since it doesn’t need to be set up perfectly for an impromptu shoot, and can be folded into a compact profile so it can fit in your travel backpack.
Heavy-duty tripods are designed with more rigid legs that are made of strong metal for increased stability. Since the legs are rigid, they can only be folded once or retracted. It’s one of the most durable tripods you can buy, and the best for stabilizing heavy-duty cameras.
They can be used in a studio setting, and most have rubber feet so you can use them for travel or an outdoor shoot. However, if you are going for a long hike, it’s best to choose one with a reasonable size so you can have space for your other hiking or camping gear.
What to Consider When Buying Hiking Tripods
When choosing a hiking tripod you need to consider the weight and size of your camera or smartphone. This is to ensure that you get a tripod that can handle the weight and one that has a head that can support the dimensions of your smartphone or camera. You don’t want to waste your money by buying a flexible tripod if you have a heavy-duty camera.
Tripods do not come with universal mounting heads. Some heads are only designed for specific types of cameras while others can only support large smartphones. Manufacturers often indicate the types of cameras their tripods can support so if your camera is excluded from the list, it’s better to scout around for a better option that’s designed for the specific type of camera you have.
You also need to consider the shooting area. If the area mostly consists of rugged or uneven terrain, then you need to get a tripod that’s fitted with rubber feet to optimize grip. However, if there is a stable wooden platform where you can set up your photography equipment, then this may not be necessary.
The Most Important Features of Hiking Tripod
Before you go out there and experiment with just any tripod, you should know the most important features to look for in a camera tripod so you can take more creative and sharp images.
A tripod is made up of the head or mounting plate, the arm that has the controls, and the legs that support the structure. The head and the arm are typically made of plastic but you can also find some high-end models that are made of carbon fiber. Tripod legs are usually made of either carbon fiber, basalt fiber, or aluminum. Carbon fiber legs are the best since they are durable and lightweight albeit the most expensive option. Basalt fiber is somewhat unreliable because it wears out easily. Aluminum is the most common material used to design tripod legs since it’s inexpensive, sturdy, and lightweight.
When choosing a tripod, ensure that its build material is strong enough to handle your camera. If you’re shopping online for a tripod, the best way to ensure that it’s made of durable material is to check the user reviews to see if there are many complaints about its quality.
Most tripods typically have a minimum and maximum height. The minimum height is the lowest height of the tripod when the legs are retracted or fully extended horizontally. This helps you shoot at floor level so you can take low-angle shots. The maximum height is the full length of the tripod when the legs are fully extended, and it allows you to take photographs when you’re standing straight so you don’t strain your back.
Having a tripod with the tallest height may not always be a good thing since it can result in some instability. If you must use one, ensure that it has a hook at the central column where you can attach an extra weight such as a backpack to make it more stable on the ground.
If you plan on traveling frequently or have to carry loads over long distances, then you should choose a lightweight tripod. It should be light enough to carry but not too lightweight that it tips over easily. If you have to take a flight to your hiking destination, then you also have to consider the baggage allowance provided by the airline so you don’t make out-of-pocket payments for the extra weight.
You can expect most tripods on the market to weigh around 2.2 to 6.6 pounds. Some heavier options are designed for heavy-duty cameras but are not the best for carrying over long distances.
Best Hiking Tripod FAQs:
We hope that it’s now easier to find the best hiking tripod that suits your needs. You may no longer have to hold your breath when taking a picture so you can avoid a camera shake. To cover any more questions that you may have, we have provided some answers to some of the frequently asked questions by other outdoor enthusiasts.
Q: What is the best tripod for photography?
Our review features some of the best tripods on the market, and what’s best for you may depend on whether you’re using a professional camera or a smartphone. However, if you looking for the best of them all, we recommend the Mactrem PT55 Travel Camera Tripod
Q: Is a tripod really necessary?
A tripod isn’t always necessary for anyone who isn’t a professional photographer or if you have a steady platform where you can set up the camera. However, it can help make you more creative and accurate in the way you capture your photos. It’s also easier to use a tripod instead of balancing the camera on your hands.
Q: When should a tripod be used?
A tripod doesn’t have to be taken out for every shot, but should be used whenever you want the images you capture to look perfectly sharp.
Our Top Pick
The Mactrem PT55 Travel Camera Tripod easily earns our top spot since it’s a lightweight and easy to use option for beginners. It extends to a reasonable height so you can use it while standing up straight, and will be stable no matter where you set it up.
If you’re working with a tight budget, then you can get the UBeesize 50-Inch Phone Tripod. It may not be as nifty as the Mactrem PT55 Travel Camera Tripod, but it can also help you get the job done. It lets you attach two devices on its arm so you can make the most out of your outdoor shooting experience.