Young man taking photo using a tripod overlooking Prague

These Are the Best Travel Tripods of 2022

By John Ericson Accessories, Take Better PhotosNo Comments

As a traveling photographer, one of the hardest things about hitting the road is deciding which gear to take with you and what to leave behind. You need to carefully balance the equipment you need against its weight, cost, and durability, and it’s often a difficult calculation to make.

We’ve all been stuck leaving behind things like tripods just to save on space, but there are a few lightweight, compact versions out there that are appropriate for any travel situation. Whether you’re learning how to get great shots with your DSLR camera or are a working professional, a good tripod is an absolute must when you travel.

Tripods improve your photography in low light conditions, and let you focus on capturing the moment rather than balancing a camera in your hands. They’re also ideal for getting smooth shots during a videography shoot, and unlock more complicated options like astrophotography and time-lapse shots.

A good travel tripod also helps keep your gear safer. There’s nothing worse than dropping your camera and lens while shooting in the great outdoors, and a good tripod gives extra support while making sure that you can still get those shots of beautiful vistas and interesting wildlife. 

From budget to high-end, and those appropriate for DSLRs, videography, and more, these are the seven best travel tripods of 2022.

Best Travel Tripod: SmallRig Selection T200
  • Max Height: 78.4 inches
  • Load Capacity: 33 pounds
  • Tripod Weight: 3.5 pounds
  • Folded Length: 18.5 inches
  • Monopod Option? Yes
  • Smartphone Mount? Yes

Best Budget Travel Tripod: AmazonBasics 50-inch Tripod
  • Max Height: 50 inches
  • Load Capacity: 4.4 pounds
  • Tripod Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Folded Length: 16.5 inches
  • Monopod Option? No
  • Smartphone Mount? No

Best Compact Travel Tripod: Manfrotto Compact Light
  • Max Height: 51.6 inches
  • Load Capacity: 3.3 pounds
  • Tripod Weight: 2.0 pounds
  • Folded Length: 15.7 inches
  • Monopod Option? No
  • Smartphone Mount? No

Best Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod: 3 Legged Thing Leo Kit 2.0
  • Max Height: 57.7 inches
  • Load Capacity: 66 pounds
  • Tripod Weight: 3.4 pounds
  • Folded Length: 14.7 inches
  • Monopod Option? Yes
  • Smartphone Mount? No

Best Travel Tripod for Videographers: Neewer N555
  • Max Height: 71.2 inches
  • Load Capacity: 26.5 pounds
  • Tripod Weight: 3.9 pounds
  • Folded Length: 17.9 inches
  • Monopod Option? Yes
  • Smartphone Mount? No

Best High-End Travel Tripod: Peak Design Travel Tripod
  • Max Height: 60.2 inches
  • Load Capacity: 20 pounds
  • Tripod Weight: 3.4 pounds
  • Folded Length: 15.2 inches
  • Monopod Option? Yes
  • Smartphone Mount? Yes

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Best Travel Tripod For DSLR: National Geographic Travel Tripod
  • Max Height: 62.2 inches
  • Load Capacity: 17.6 pounds
  • Folded Length: 15 inches
  • Monopod Option? Yes
  • Smartphone Mount? No

Best Travel Tripod: SmallRig Selection T200

SmallRig Selection 78' Camera Tripod, Foldable Aluminum Tripod & Monopod, 360°Ball Head Detachable and Quick Release Plate, Payload 33lb, Adjustable Height from 18.5' to 78' for Camera, Phone

Our pick for the best travel tripod right now is the SmallRig Selection T200, which has everything travelers need to get those Instagram-worthy pictures and keep their gear secure on the road. SmallRig has a strong reputation in photography, and videography, providing high-quality gear at reasonable prices. 

The T200 has a lightweight aluminum body that help keeps the weight down to a reasonable level (3.5 pounds), while still being sturdy enough to entrust to expensive DSLR cameras with heavy zoom lenses. SmallRig’s gear might not be the lightest possible option, but they do build their photography accessories like a tank. 

This tripod has a maximum height of just under 80 inches, yet it packs down to an easy-to-manage 18 inches for storage. This could easily fit into larger photography gear bags, and still gives you enough height for nearly any shot. 

SmallRig included stainless steel foot screws with this tripod, which helps provide extra grip on rough terrain. There’s also an adapter for your smartphone, so even iPhone photographers can make good use of the T200. At the other end of the range, it’ll handle weights of up to an impressive 33 pounds, enough for all but the very heaviest setups.

All in all, it’s a useful and durable travel tripod that isn’t excessively heavy, doesn’t cost a fortune, and folds down to an appropriate size for dropping in your camera bag. For that reason, it’s our top travel tripod pick right now.

Pros
  • 2-in-1 tripod/monopod combo 
  • Great build quality and features for the price 
  • Manufacturer has a reputation for quality
  • Inverted center column provides extra flexibility 
Cons
  • Not the smallest or the lightest on our list
Buy on Amazon

Best Budget Travel Tripod: AmazonBasics 50-inch Tripod

Amazon Basics 50-inch Lightweight Camera Mount Tripod Stand With Bag

Traveling doesn’t have to break your budget. Buying effective but affordable gear helps keep your costs down and maximize your time on the road. The AmazonBasics 50-Inch Tripod is the best option if you’re looking for a decent budget travel tipod. 

Extremely cost-effective, you’re probably going to spend more buying a bottle of water and some snacks at the airport than you are on this tripod.

So, what do you get for your (not much) money? A lightweight aluminum tripod that comes in a smaller form factor than most of the other tripods on this list. If you don’t want to pay for extra luggage costs, this tripod helps keep your bag size and weight under control. 

Stability is pretty good for such a cheap piece of gear, and it’s rated to hold up to 4.4 pounds of equipment. This means it should be able to handle most basic DSLR setups along with almost all smaller cameras, but those with larger zoom lenses will need to look elsewhere.

If you’re on the go and break your main tripod, this also works as a great quick replacement. The cost, size, and weight of this AmazonBasics version makes it an ideal back-up option if you’re expecting tough shooting conditions.

On the downside (and perhaps unsurprisingly given the cost), build quality isn’t the best. The tripod works well while it lasts, but the cheap components and lightweight materials mean it’s more of a case of when, not if, something is going to break.

Is this the best travel tripod you’ll ever buy? No, it isn’t. Is the best travel tripod that costs less than a cocktail at a fancy bar? Yes, it is.

Pros
  • Extremely affordable
  • Replacement quick-release plates readily available 
  • Lightweight and mostly compact design 
Cons
  • Build quality is low: don’t expect it to last forever
  • Wouldn’t trust it with expensive cameras and lenses 
Buy on Amazon

Best Compact Travel Tripod: Manfrotto Compact Light

Manfrotto Compact Light Aluminum 4-Section Tripod Kit with Ball Head, Black (MKCOMPACTLT-BK)

If you’re looking for a high-quality tripod that takes up as little of your luggage allowance as possible, you can’t go past the Manfrotto Compact Light. Manfrotto is about as close to a household name as it gets in the world of tripods, and this particular version is purpose-built to weigh next to nothing. At barely two pounds, it likely weighs less than the camera bag you put it into. 

The Manfrotto Compact line of tripods comes in four versions: Light, Action, Smart, and Advanced. Each one is designed to help a different type of photographer have a lightweight, reliable tripod while they’re traveling.

This model, the Compact Light is the one-size-fits-all compact traveling tripod, but the range also includes models designed for smartphone photographers, and those using DSLRs with much heavier lenses.

The base model is designed to safely support 3.3 pounds of gear, but other versions of this compact tripod can support over six pounds. This tripod maxes out at a top height of just over 50 inches, but if you need more, other members of the Manfrotto Compact family add a few extra inches on top. 

As you’d expect from a model designed to keep the weight down, what you see is what you get: there’s not much in the way of extra features here. Like most compact models, it’s also not meant to handle the weight of super-heavy DSLR setups, or take large amounts of abuse.

Pros
  • Ultralight, at less than two pounds
  • Compact enough to fit inside some camera bags or backpacks 
  • Different models support heavier camera setups, so you can mix and match to suit your gear
Cons
  • Light on weight means light on features: what you see is what you get
  • Compact also means short, with a max height of only 51.7 inches
Buy on Amazon

Best Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod: 3 Legged Thing Leo Kit 2.0

3 Legged Thing Leo 2.0 Carbon Fibre Tripod System & AirHed Pro Lever - Earth Bronze/Ocean Blue

The low weight and high strength of carbon fiber has revolutionized the world of travel tripods. The 3 Legged Thing Leo Kit 2.0 is not only the best carbon fiber travel tripod, but also one of the best carbon fiber tripods in general. 

Let’s start by talking about the first thing that everyone notices about camera gear from British company 3 Legged Thing. The bold, unusual appearance of this tripod looks more like something from a sci-fi movie set than a photography shop. Its eye-catching design is either going to wow you or have you picking a more subtle tripod from our list, depending on your perspective.

While the monopod feature on a lot of travel tripods is often touted as a replacement for a walking stick, the reality is often quite different. That’s not the case here: this strong carbon fiber tripod is durable enough to handle the job.

When using it as a tripod, it can handle anything up to a remarkable 66 pounds of weight. This means that even a full frame DSLR equipped with a 300 mm telephoto lens, extra batteries, a video screen, and sound recording gear won’t have this tripod raising a sweat.

All of these features come together in a form factor that is impressively small and, at just over three pounds, very light for what you’re getting. Yes, this tripod still weighs and costs a bit more than some of the other options on this list, but none of them have anything like the strength or durability of the 3 Legged Thing Leo kit.

Pros
  • Monopod and desktop tripod conversion modes
  • Very light for the features and quality on offer
  • Huge 66-pound weight capacity
Cons
  • High-end price tag might be too much for some budgets 
  • Bold design might be a little much, especially when trying to keep a low profile 
Buy on Amazon

Best Travel Tripod for Videographers: Neewer N555

Neewer 2-in-1 Aluminum Alloy Camera Tripod Monopod 71.2'/181 cm with 1/4 and 3/8 inch Screws Fluid Drag Pan Head and Carry Bag for Nikon Canon DSLR Cameras Video Camcorders Load up to 17.6 pounds

The photography world has changed a lot over the last few years. Videography is now a service offered by professional photographers, and amateurs are getting back into creating compelling home video. Whichever category you’re in, the Neewer N555 is the best travel tripod for videographers on the go. 

Have you ever wondered how videographers are able to capture those smooth pans and tilts? It all comes down to the gimbal or tripod that they’re using. The hydraulic ball head in this Neewer tripod is designed to deliver extremely smooth video in a travel-friendly package.

We also liked the flip locks on the tripod’s legs: they’re much faster to adjust than traditional screw locks, while still keeping the tripod rock-steady once locked in place.

Videography tripods have a reputation for being not very portable: large, heavy, and too bulky to easily pack away. Neewer has stepped up and created a tripod that not only delivers impressive results for videographers, but is small enough to fit in with the rest of your travel photography gear.

It’s still somewhat heavy, though, at 3.9 pounds with the fluid head attached. That’s somewhat inevitable for a tripod of this type — if you want stability and durability, it comes with a weight premium — but still, you’ll certainly know when you’ve got it in your bag.

The N555 also comes with a monopod mode that’s going to be more useful than most. Able to support up to 26.5 pounds, it can do some basic work as a walking stick as well as supporting all of your videography gear. Most DSLR videography setups don’t tip the scales past 25 pounds, so this should cover whatever you’re shooting with.

In case you were wondering, this is also an ideal choice for a still photographer who’s looking to make the jump into video. It might be a little overkill if all you do is still photography, but even then, if you see video in your future, it provides plenty of room to grow.

Pros
  • Supports the weight of nearly all DSLR videography setups 
  • Flip locks on the legs adjust way faster than screw locks 
  • The fluid head gives buttery-smooth results when doing pans or tilts 
Cons
  • The nearly 4-pound weight could be too heavy for some 
  • Overkill for photographers who don’t shoot video
Buy on Amazon

Best High-End Travel Tripod: Peak Design Travel Tripod

Peak Design Travel Tripod (5 Section Aluminum Camera Tripod)

If you like gear with performance as good as its looks, the Peak Design Travel Tripod is the best choice for a high-end travel tripod. Living up to the company’s reputation for catering to the finer things in a photographer’s life, it’s an attractive piece of kit, with quality that you simply don’t find on cheaper models. 

Strong and lightweight, the tripod has a minimalist design that won’t have you attracting unwanted attention. Packing down to a slimmer profile than most (around the diameter of a water bottle), Peak Design crafted this tripod with portability in mind. 

Extending to a maximum height of 60 inches and holding up to 20 pounds of weight, it should be enough for most professional and amateur photography setups. That’s covering a good amount of street, portraiture, and nature photography, along with all the gear it takes to capture an award-winning shot. 

While it’s overkill as a full-time phone tripod, it’s good to have the option to shoot with your phone now and then. To that end, there’s a smartphone mount magnetically integrated into the center column, available when you need it and invisible when you don’t.

You can also invert that center column or remove it entirely, allowing you to use the tripod just a couple of inches off the ground. If you’ve ever tried to take low-level shots with a traditional tripod that doesn’t have this feature, you’ll already know what a difference it makes.

Of course, even a high-end tripod comes with a downside or two, and in this case, it’s the price tag. If you’re spending this much on a tripod, you could get any of the more feature-packed pieces of kit on our list. Then again, what price can you put on style? 

Pros
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Sturdy design holds up to 20 pounds 
  • Sleek style and high-end build quality
  • Respected manufacturer 
Cons
  • Expensive
Buy on Amazon

Best Travel Tripod For DSLR: National Geographic Travel Tripod

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Travel Tripod Kit,90°Column 5-Section Legs, Carbon Fiber, Compatible with Canon, Nikon DSLR, Twist Locks 360 Degree Ball Head,Quick Release Plate, 8KG Load Capacity with Carry Bag

In our opinion, the best travel tripod for DSLR photographers needs to deliver on features, save on budget, and still be able to handle some serious work. That’s why we took a note from the pros and grabbed the official travel tripod of one of the most respected photography publications around.

The National Geographic Travel Tripod offers a perfect balance of features and build quality for photographers shooting on a DSLR. While these cameras are now contending with their new mirrorless rivals, they’re still in the hands of some of the world’s most respected traveling photographers.

This lightweight carbon-fiber tripod extends to a max height of 62 inches, supports up to 17 pounds, and packs down into a modest 12-inch form factor inside its own bag. The clean design and minimal branding helps keep the focus on what’s in front of the camera, not what’s behind (or underneath) it.

Usefully, there’s a spring-loaded hook at the base of the central column for adding weight. When you’re shooting in windy or other difficult conditions, just hang your camera bag off the hook for extra stability. The four adjustment points on the legs also provide more flexibility on uneven ground than traditional three-stop models.

Also doubling as a monopod, this tripod is a great choice for people who love the Nat Geo vibe. Travel the world, find great photos, and have the gear you need when it’s time to shoot. Just keep in mind that this tripod takes a no-frills approach to features, and likely doesn’t have the tools you need for dedicated videography work.

Pros
  • Supports over 17 pounds, enough for most DSLRs with large telephoto lenses 
  • Converts into a monopod 
  • Extra adjustability for uneven terrain
  • Simple design doesn’t stand out
Cons
  • Not much in the way of extra features
  • Less useful for videography 

Wrapping Up

What does it take to be the best? The SmallRig Selection T200 is the hands down best choice for travel tripods. It’s lightweight and reliable with good build quality, comes with all the features that a photographer needs out in the field, and won’t break the bank in the process. 

There are other options if you’re looking for something more specialized. The 3 Legged Thing Leo Kit 2.0 comes packed with features and offers the best build quality on our list. Peak Design's Travel Tripod is a luxury model for photographers who want a subtle way to show off, and we can’t forget Neewer’s entry that provides a much needed travel-friendly option for videographers.


Main image via Jaromir Chalabala/Shutterstock.com

About the Author
John Ericson

John Ericson

Once the owner of a small computer repair shop, John swapped fixing tech for writing about it when he hit the road to travel. A lover of backcountry hiking, language learning, and good wine, he dreams of a smartphone battery that lasts as long as his Nokia from the early 2000s.

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