The 5 Best Traveling Tripods in 2020 Reviewed
A must-have essential for any keen travel photographer? A Best Travel Tripod! Whether you snap images on a smartphone or DSLR camera: a travel tripod can be the key to capturing the perfect picture. But finding the ideal travel tripod for your needs can be tricky, because, with so many options on the market, you’re simply spoiled for choice. That is why our team at Outdoor Command has created the ‘Best Travel Tripod’ Overview. Carefully combing the web, selecting the top-rated tripods – as rated by other photography enthusiasts.
We’ve ensured to include a match for every preference and budget. From lightweight, budget-friendly smartphone tripods to high-end and heavy-duty tripods with large load capacity. Which is the ‘best tripod’ will differ for each consumer, which is exactly why this overview has such diversity.
That said, we have ensured each product listed ticks the most important boxes: great value-for-money, lightweight, easy-to-use, and with outstanding Amazon customer reviews. Guaranteeing that no matter which product you choose, you get a great deal on this travel essential!
These are our favorite Best Travel Tripods:
- Manfrotto Element Tripod Kit
- Gitzo Lightweight Traveler Series 1 Carbon Fiber Tripod
- Vanguard VEO 235AB Aluminum Travel Tripod
- JOBY GorillaPod 3K Kit
- ZOMEi T60 Tripod
Discover our top-rated Best Travel Tripods below, and explore which style is your perfect, lightweight match!
Best Travel Tripod – Overview
Manfrotto Element Traveller Small Tripod Kit
The Manfrotto Element Traveler is an ideal match for a Compact System Camera (CSC) and can holds payloads up to 8.8 lbs. The design features an aluminum ball head with an independent 360° pan, enabling smooth movements and transitions when framing a shot. The ball head of the tripod mounts an Arca-type quick release plate with a 1/4”-20 camera screw on the top, guaranteeing that your equipment is well-balanced when using zoom lenses. To improve stability, this lightweight tripod comes with a spring-loaded hook located at the bottom of the center column. This allows you to add additional weight if desired.
Portable and lightweight
This ‘Small’ model of the Manfrotto Element Traveler has a telescopic mechanism that extends the column up to a maximum height of 56.3”, with a minimum height of 14.17″. The design measures approximately 12.6″ in closed length. The total weight of the Manfrotto Element Traveler is a mere 2.54 lbs. The Manfrotto Element Traveler has 5 leg sections with a twist-lock design. The leg angles are 21.5°, 54.5°, and 83°.
Do note that the Manfrotto Element Traveler does not offer a tilt drag or pan drag, though we think for most amateur photographers, this shouldn’t be an issue. If you’re looking for a mid-budget tripod with high-end versatility, made of quality materials, and excellent durability, focus on the Manfrotto Element Tripod Kit!
- 360° Panoramic rotation
- Independent pan lock
- 3 adjustable leg angles
- Twist lock legs
- Aluminum ball head
- Spring-loaded hook stabilizer
- Quality construction
- +90°/-32° front tilt
- Quick-release function
- Carrying bag included
- Excellent value-for-money
- No friction control
- No pan drag
- No tilt drag
- Still costs over $100
Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod Kit
If you like the style of the Manfrotto Element, but want a slightly upgraded version with a few high-end perks, do check out the Manfrotto BeFree, as this design also gets a big thumbs up from both amateur and professional photographers.
Also, if you want a smartphone-compatible tripod, the Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod Kit is a great choice. For this compact little smartphone photography tripod, the brand has scaled-down a full-sized tripod to petite dimensions. The result: an ultralight, ultra-functional, and very affordable mini tripod that takes up minimum packing space, yet offers maximum stability and support for taking smartphone travel snaps!
Gitzo Lightweight Traveler Series 1 Carbon Fiber Tripod
If you want superior build quality, and you’re willing to spend top dollar, the Gitzo Lightweight Traveler Series 1 Carbon Fiber Tripod could be your luxurious match. Granted, this tripod comes with a hefty price-tag, but it’s lightweight and ultra-compact silhouette could be worth the investment if you want to take your photography to the next level. The Gitzo GT1545T Series 1 Traveler carbon fiber tripod is recommended for use with 135mm lenses, though it can accommodate larger lenses up to 200mm.
The Gitzo GT1545T Series 1 Traveler is a headless, 4-section carbon fiber tripod. This ultra-compact, high-quality style comes with Gitzo’s patented 180° leg folding system. This system enables the tripod legs to reverse-fold around the center column and an optional ball head, enabling it to fold down to a mere 16.7″. This style has a maximum load of a whopping 22.05 lbs, more than capable of handling heavy photography gear.
Great height range
This premium Gitzo GT1545T tripod has a maximum height of 60.24″. The total weight of the tripod is 2.33 lbs. The tripod has 4 leg sections with a twist-lock design. This camera tripod has 2 leg angles (25° and 70°). The design also includes a short column for ground-level shooting: great for wildlife photography! When inserted, the short center column brings the tripod down to its minimum height of 8.66″, ideal for low-angle or macro shots.
What makes the Gitzo GT1545T tripod stand out from the crowd is its premium, lightweight construction, and superior strength and stability. The tripod legs are made of ‘Carbon eXact tubing’ and feature the ‘Traveler G-lock’, which is specifically designed to ensure security and stability. The tripod’s specially-designed rubber feet offer a non-slip stand, and can easily be replaced if necessary. The Gitzo GT1545T has a 1/4″ and 3/8″ top attachments to make it compatible with other heads and/or other accessories, plus comes with its shoulder strap for extra portability.
If you want maximum durability, stability, and security: this could be your high-end match. It doesn’t come cheap, but with proper care, this lightweight travel tripod could last you a lifetime!
- Superb quality
- Works with lenses up to 200mm
- 60.24″ maximum height
- Maximum load of 22.05 lbs
- Very compact
- 180° leg folding system
- Carbon eXact tubing
- Traveler G-lock
- Rubber feet
- 1/4″ and 3/8″ top attachments
- Short center column for ground-level shooting
- Shoulder strap
- Great for low angles and macro shots
- Only 2 Leg Angles
- Could be too heavy-duty for some
- Very expensive
Vanguard VEO 235AB Aluminum Travel Tripod
The Vanguard VEO 235AB Aluminum Travel Tripod is designed to ‘combine the best qualities of both travel-sized and full-sized tripod systems, whilst minimizing luggage and maximizing impact’. The good news is that this is not only a marketing tagline but has also been realized in the design’s construction. The Vanguard VEO 235AB Aluminum Travel Tripod is not the lightest tripod on the market, but at 3.3 lbs, it still offers great portability.
The Vanguard VEO 235AB Aluminum Travel Tripod is designed to support a wide range of camera types, including PRO DSLR, standard DSLR cameras, Compact System Cameras (CSC) and mirrorless 4/3 camera kits (including brands such as Sony, Nikon, Canon, and Fujifilm).
Quality construction, easy setup
The VEO 2 235AB has a maximum height of 57.1″, and can handle a maximum load of 13.2 lbs. The VEO 2 multi-action ball head is made of lightweight aluminum and operates seamlessly with 3 independent knobs for lock, panning and friction control. The tripod also features an Arca-Swiss compatible quick release plate with ¼” D-ring screw, enabling quick camera attachment and release. A big perk is that the VEO 2 235AB tripod features Vanguard’s exclusive central column rotation system, which allows you to set up the tripod in seconds. The style’s 5-section legs quickly secure in place using the twist-lock system, which can be operated by one hand.
The Vanguard VEO 235AB Aluminum Travel Tripod includes a low angle adaptor and offers 3 leg angles (20°, 45°, and 80°). To aid stability on uneven or slippery terrain, the style is equipped with rubber feet, giving you a perfect grip on the ground. The VEO 235AB Aluminum Travel Tripod also has a suspension loop on the canopy, which accommodates counterbalance weights or bags for additional stability. For extra-challenging underground, you can order Vanguard’s special spiked rubber feet, available for purchase separately.
Yes, you get all that functionality and design for under $100 – making the Vanguard VEO 235AB Aluminum Travel Tripod truly a steal. Granted, it’s not the fanciest design on the market, nor the lightest, but at this price-point, it is one of the best travel tripods you can get.
- Compatible with a wide range of cameras
- Bubble level built-in
- Low angle adaptor included
- Aluminum multi-action ball head
- 3 independent knobs for lock, panning, and friction control
- Arca-Swiss compatible quick release plate
- Central column rotation system for rapid setup
- Twist lock legs
- 3 leg angles (20°, 45°, and 80°)
- Rubber feet for a non-slip grip
- Suspension loop for counterbalance
- Carrying bag included
- Excellent value-for-money
- Not the lightest tripod (3.3 lbs)
- Lack of certain tilt functions
- Not the most durable/heavy-duty
JOBY GorillaPod 3K Kit
The tripod’s biggest selling point is its versatility, allowing you to ‘grip it’, ‘wrap it’, and/or ‘stand it’. Unlike traditional, twist-lock leg tripods, the JOBY GorillaPod comes with ‘wrappable’ legs, which enable you to secure the tripod to nearly any type of surface. For example, you can wrap the JOBY GorillaPod’s tripod legs onto branches to capture a unique angle, grip it in your hand for the perfect selfie, or stand it securely on any surface such as a tabletop. Do note that unlike classic tripods, the JOBY GorillaPod doesn’t extend or has telescoping legs, meaning the maximum leg height is roughly 12″.
Though JOBY GorillaPod is a tripod often favorited by the younger, ‘selfie’ vlogging generation, we reckon the style offers just as much appeal for any keen travel photographer. The JOBY GorillaPod 3K Kit is designed to work with a wide range of photography equipment, including camcorders, DSLR, Flash & LED, mirrorless cameras, Pro DSLR, and standard DSLR cameras. Another big perk is the 3K tripod’s weight: a mere 0.8 lbs. This makes it one of the lightest travel tripods on the market, ideal for backpacking or as carry-on luggage. The 3K version of the JOBY GorillaPod, as listed in this product review, has a maximum load of 6.6 lbs, which we think is sufficient for most amateur travel photographers. That said, for those that need more weight capacity, the JOBY GorillaPod is also available in a 5K version with a maximum load of 11lbs.
Other features of the JOBY GorillaPod 3K Kit include a 360° panning tripod head, and a 90° lens tilt function. The style also comes with a built-in bubble level, adding to its functionality.
Not for heavy-duty usage
A minor con is that the JOBY GorillaPod features a plastic ABS ball head, a less durable option than an aluminum or steel option. Though all the materials used for the tripod’s construction are premium-grade, the overall design does lack a bit of durability when compared to high-end tripods; and we think it’s more prone to wear and tear. That said, we think that’s a fair trade-off for the style’s amazing versatility, affordability, and ultralight – backpacking-friendly – appeal!
- Compatible with a wide range of cameras
- Can be used as a handheld monopod
- Flexible legs can be wrapped around objects
- 360° panning tripod head
- Built-in bubble level
- Great for vlogging
- Ultralight (0.8 lbs)
- Ideal for backpackers
- Fun to use
- Maximum load only 6.6 lbs
- Maximum height only 12″
- Not the easiest to level
- Plastic ball head / lacks durability
GripTight GorillaPod Stand PRO
The JOBY GorillaPod is also available in a GripTight GorillaPod Stand PRO version; designed for usage with smartphones! If you’re looking for a smaller tripod that lets you mount your smartphone for the perfect shot of your travel adventures, this could be your nifty match! The GripTight JOBY GorillaPod Stand PRO offers a universal fit for most smartphones, including the iPhone SE to iPhone 8 Plus, Google Pixel, Samsung Galaxy S8, and more.
ZOMEi T60 Phone Tripod, Cell Phone Tripod 54 inch Travel Tripod with Bluetooth Remote Cellphone Holder 360 Panorama Ball Head for Camera GoPro/Mobile Cell Phone iPhone Xs/Xr/Xs Max/X/8/Galaxy Note 9
ZOMEi T60 Tripod
The ZOMEi T60 can be used as both a smartphone tripod (universal smartphone mount plate included) and a DSLR tripod and is even compatible as a GoPro mount. Do note that the tripod has a maximum load of 4.4 lbs, which may be a bit too low for some Pro DSLR cameras. That said, for smartphones and Gopros, it’s more than equipped to keep your devices stable and secure! The total tripod only weighs 0.8 lbs, which means it will hardly make a dent in your luggage allowance.
The very affordable ZOMEi T60 comes with 3-section tripod legs made of aluminum alloy, and featuring quick-release leg locks. The tripod has a minimum height of 16″, and a maximum height of 54″ when fully extended. The ZOMEi T60 also features non-skid rubber feet and a special triangle stabilizer, ensuring it stays firmly perched on uneven undergrounds.
Cheap and cheerful
The budget-friendly ZOMEi T60 Tripod comes with a panoramic ball head, puls has a 360° horizontal and 90° vertical rotation viewing angle. It’s by no means the fanciest or most advanced tripod on the market, but we reckon for most amateur travel photographers it should be more than sufficient in functionality.
That said, for the affordable price tag, you will need to compromise a bit on quality and durability. Though this aluminum tripod should hold up well, it is slightly more prone to wear and tear, and not the most heavy-duty option available. However, the style is backed by a 1-year product warranty, so you should get at least 12 months of usage out of this budget buy. Making it a risk-free purchase to practice your travel photography skills!
- Super affordable
- Ultralight yet tall
- Works with smartphones and cameras
- Comes with Bluetooth shutter remote
- Can be operated from a distance
- Easy in setup
- 360° horizontal rotation viewing angle
- 90° vertical rotation viewing angle
- Quick-release leg locks
- Maximum height of 54″
- Triangle stabilizer
- Non-skid rubber feet
- Only 4.4 lbs maximum load
- Not the most durable
- More prone to wear/tear
- Limited tilt/pan options
Every photography enthusiast should invest in a lightweight travel tripod, as this is one essential that comes in handy for any scenic occasion. Whether you want to snap a selfie, practice your wildlife photography skills, or simply are looking for a basic tripod to help stabilize and focus shots: a travel tripod is always a great idea.
Each of the travel tripods on this list has its appeal, pros, and cons. Which one is ‘the best’ depends on where, when, and how you plan to use the tripod, and how much you’re willing to spend. For example, if you’re serious about photography and want a tripod with all the bells and whistles, a high-end style such as the Gitzo Lightweight Traveler Series 1 Carbon Fiber Tripod could be worth the investment. If you still desire fancy features but don’t want to spend top dollar, a mid-budget choice like the Manfrotto Element Traveller. And don’t worry, even if you’re limited in choice by a strict budget, there are still some quality options available, such as the Vanguard VEO 235AB Aluminum Travel Tripod, and the very budget-friendly ZOMEi T60 Phone Tripod.
If a classic tripod is too ‘static’ for you, you’ll find a fantastic alternative in the JOBY GorillaPod 3K Kit: a tripod with flexible legs that you can stand, wrap, and grip, offering endless framing options.
Each design has its specific appeal and functionality, but all are worth the money! We’ve ensured to only include travel tripods that are a: lightweight, b: highly-rated on Amazon, and c: offer excellent value-for-money. Whether you want to spend a lot, of a little, these designs deliver maximum bang for your buck – and are nifty essentials to enhance your travel photography.
Picking a winner from this Best Travel Tripod line-up is a challenge, as each design has its pros and cons. That said, if we could only recommend one tripod, it would be the Vanguard VEO 235AB Aluminum Travel Tripod. Why? Because we think this affordable tripod offers outstanding value-for-money and would be a great fit for most amateur travel photographers. This mid-budget option combines the best of both worlds: it’s affordable, yet offers high-end functionality and quality.
The lightweight Vanguard VEO 235AB tripod is compatible with a wide range of camera types, including PRO DSLR, standard DSLR cameras, Compact System Cameras (CSC) and mirrorless 4/3 camera kits (including brands such as Sony, Nikon, Canon, and Fujifilm). The style can handle a maximum load of 13.2 lbs, which should be more than sufficient for most photographers. Plus, the silhouette has plenty of premium perks, such as a low angle adaptor, 3 leg angles, an Arca-Swiss compatible quick release plate with ¼” D-ring screw, and is easy in setup and usage. The design’s rubber feet offer a non-slip grip on the ground, whilst a suspension loop also enables you to add counterbalance weight if desired.
Stable, functional, durable, yet affordable: the Vanguard VEO 235AB Aluminum Travel Tripod is simply a great deal. No matter if you’re a beginner or experienced photographer – this nifty travel tripod is worth every penny.
Disclaimer: Due to limited and/or no stock availability on Amazon, some popular travel tripods did not make our cut, but we do want to take the opportunity to list some honorable mentions: the MeFOTO Roadtrip, the SIRUI AM2-Series, the Sirui T1004SK T-S Series Travel Tripod with Monopod Leg, the MeFOTO GlobeTrotter Classic, and the Benro Travel Angel 2 Series with Carbon Fiber Construction.