Traditional tripods weren’t built for travel. They’re heavy, they’re bulky, and they can be a little fragile. Those aren’t qualities to make a traveler happy. Someone needed to rethink the tripod for a more varied lifestyle.
While not all travel photographers may want to pack a tripod on their adventures, those who do should check out the Peak Design Travel Tripod. The company spent four years redesigning the tripod to create one that packs down to the diameter of a water bottle without compromising features, height, or stability.
There are two versions: aluminum and carbon fiber. The different materials result in a weight difference: the aluminum tripod weighs 3.44 lbs., and the carbon fiber tripod weighs 2.81 lbs. It also results in a price difference (see below), but either version is fantastically light.
But weight isn’t the only differentiator here. The consideration for cutting down on wasted space is what makes this tripod so streamlined. For example, the three legs dovetail with and curve around the center column, resulting in a compact package. Collapsed, the tripod measures 15.4 inches by 3.125 inches, so it’s easier to tuck into the side of a backpack.
The center column has a low-profile head that protrudes very little. To adjust the height, there’s a retractable knob that pops out when you need it, rather than one that sticks out and gets in the way. To adjust the ball head, twist a simple control ring to tighten or loosen. There’s an Arca Swiss compatible quick-release plate that clips into place and has a built-in lock to make sure nothing falls off. The tripod has a listed capacity for cameras up to 20 pounds, and I tested it with a variety of equipment without worrying that it was going to drop my gear.
The short length of the tripod has been achieved with 5-section legs, which gives it a maximum height of 60 inches with the center column extended or 51.25 inches without.
The tripod comes with a carrying bag with loop attachments for a shoulder strap or backpack strap, and an inner pocket containing a tool for maintaining the cam locks on the legs.
The Travel Tripod comes in aluminum ($349.95) and carbon fiber ($599.95) on the Peak Design site.