The best travel tripod, choosing one can be daunting. I’m here to present the best options for your style, height, and special needs as a photographer. All for under $100!


Every successful and professional photographer I know, own at least one tripod. From the birth of the very first cameras ever created a tripod always accompanied it. That was because the first cameras were huge and heavy, let alone extremely low light sensitivity. Nowadays, cameras are a lot smaller and lighter, and most come with anti-shake and stabilization technologies that eventually the camera can divorce the tripod and still make great photos.

Or is that the case? Unless they can come up with technology that can cheat physics, there will always be a need for tripods. Sure, with low noise sensors, anti-shake, and super fast lens wide-open you can capture just about anything under the Sun. What it can’t do is capture sharp images with flowing waters, the milky way, the epic sunsets and sunrises, and any long exposures that require anything above 2 seconds.

What I will review here are professional quality tripods that are under $100. That’s right. These tripods can stabilize your full-frame travel camera just as good as any $300+ tripods. What’s more, I’ve compiled the ones that are compact and can fold inside a carry-on for travel. You see, I’m a tripod fanatic. I’ve owned over 15 of them, and I have three that I keep with me at all times. About 98.99% of my photographs are taken when I was using a tripod. One of the photos published on National Geographic was shot on a tripod. All my award-winning photos and best-selling ones are shot on a tripod.

In short, tripods are very important to the creation of fantastic imagery. Let’s find out the best ones we can afford.

The Best Travel Tripods for Under $100


Mactrem 62.5” Aluminum Alloy Tripod

Mactrem 62.5

 

MSRP: $74.99
Max Height: 62.5″ Tripod | 64″ Monopod
Weight: 2.99 lbs with ball head
Folded Length: 16.9”
Leg Sections|Type: 4 Sections | Flip-Lock
Load Capacity: 33 lbs
Pros: A lot of features for the price, very compact when folded, and reasonably well built
Cons: The center column requires a little bit of force to tighten for it to stay in place

The Mactrem 62.5″ is made out of premium aluminum alloy and can support up to 33 lbs of gear. The tripod can be adjusted anywhere from 21.5″ to its max height of 62.5″ which is good enough for most photographers. Like most of the tripods on this list, the center column can be inverted so you can shoot even lower than it’s minimum height. For an aluminum-based tripod, it’s fairly light, weighing in at 2.9 lbs with the included ball head. The ball head is basic but does the job

The Mactrem is a flip-lock design, which allows you to set up the tripod within seconds. Another useful feature is the center column can be converted to a monopod with a maximum height of 64.” As with other tripods mentioned here is the padded soft foam grip that is useful for those cold days. The tripod can be folded to as short as 16.9 inches allowing you to throw it in your carry-on luggage or anywhere you prefer without taking too much space.  With a $74.99 price tag, it’s tough to beat its value.

Mactrem 62.5” Aluminum Alloy Tripod

Overall Value5
Portability5
Weight5
Durability4
Ergonomics4
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K&F Concept 62″ Aluminum Tripod

K&F Concept 62

MSRP: $79.99
Max Height: 62″
Weight: 2.99 lbs with ball head
Folded Length: 18.1”
Leg Sections|Type: 4 Sections | Flip-lock
Load Capacity: 22 lbs
Pros: Very light for aluminum, compact, fast to use and folds very small
Cons: The included ball head is a little flimsy and needs to be replaced with something more robust

The K&F Concept tripod is made of  Magnesium aluminum alloy and weighs in at just under 3 lbs with the included ball head. That’s lighter than most Carbon fiber tripod of the same design. Its legs can reflex to 180 degrees which allows it to be folded to about 18.1” (460mm) and can fit inside standard carry-on luggage. The simple flip-lock design means you can extend the legs out to full height in seconds giving you more time to catch the action. The center tube easily disengages, and you can turn it upside so you can shoot even lower to the ground.

There’s a stretchable hook you can use to hang a bag or a more massive object to keep the tripod even steadier if the need arises. There’s a sponge grip on one of the legs that are useful during cold times when touching metal isn’t enjoyable. At $79.99, you’re getting a lot of value for your money here. I was very impressed with the durability of the K&F Concept that I occasionally use from time to time. I’ve used in salty waters over sand and other rugged areas. The tripod just kept on going. The one gripe I have is the cheap ball head it comes with – it’s flimsy and can’t handle a load heavier than 5 lbs. I have several ball heads that’s a better replacement, so it’s not a deal breaker. As far as tripods go in this lot, this is the best deal for the money.

K&F 62″ Aluminum Tripod

Overall Value5
Portability5
Weight4
Durability4
Ergonomics4
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Davis & Sanford 53″ Carbon Fiber Tripod

 

Davis & Sanford 53

MSRP: $69.95
Max Height: 53” with Extended Column | 53” Without
Weight: 2.99 lbs with ball head
Folded Length: 12”
Leg Sections|Type: 5 Sections | Twist-lock
Load Capacity: 10 lbs
Pros: Carbon Fiber frame means lightweight construction and also compact
Cons: The twist-lock legs were prone to having problems when exposed to sand

The Davis & Stanford branded tripods come from and manufactured by well-known camera accessory makers, Tiffen. I’ve used Tiffen products from polarizers to camera stabilizers. I’ve always trusted the quality of their products. I also the 65″ version of the Traverse (priced at $130, too high to be in this group). The Traverse 53″ comes with the same eight layer Carbon Fiber legs as its larger brother. However, it’s a few ounces lighter and comes with a 5 Section legs twist lock action that can extend the tripods full height without the center post. The

The Davis & Sanford is one of the lightest and compact tripods out of this group. At 2.6 lbs, you might be worried that it will fly off like a feather. It’s surprisingly stable and is equipped with a slightly better ball head than the K & F above. Folded to 180 degrees, the tripod’s compact frame is at 12.5 inches allowing to fit just about anywhere you can think of. It’s a matter of preference, but the twist-lock design means it will take longer to set the tripod up which could mean missing that crucial shot you wanted to capture. The other gripe I have is that twist lock is prone to lock up when sand and other debris get in there. Overall though, you’ll be impressed with the quality and build of this tripod compared to other ones costing nearly $500.

Davis & Sanford 53″ Carbon Fiber Tripod

Overall Value4
Portability5
Weight5
Durability4
Ergonomics5
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AmazonBasics 52″ Carbon Fiber Tripod

 

AmazonBasics 52

MSRP: $89.99

Max Height: 53”
Weight: 2.99 lbs with ball head
Folded Length: 12.5”
Leg Sections|Type: 5 Sections | Twist-lock
Load Capacity: 10 lbs
Pros: Very compact and lightweight
Cons: Too many sections with twist-lock takes a long time to set up and won’t be able to hold heavier cameras

Fast from the Davis & Sanford heels is Amazon’s similar designed AmazonBasics 52-inch carbon fiber tripod. No one knows who makes these products for Amazon, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it came out of the same factory as any of the mentioned tripods in this line-up. I’ve purchased a lot of AmazonBasics product before and attest their decent value for the money.  The AmazonBasics tripod is one of the most, if not the most, compact tripods I’ve ever seen. You can virtually fit and carry this thing anywhere without feeling the tug.

The twist lock design does come with the extra added time to set the tripod up just like the Davis & Sanford above. The ball head that comes with the tripod is also not up to standards. I would have reservations putting my $3,000 Nikon DSLR on this tripod. If you’ve got a lighter camera/lens combo, then this tripod is more than good enough. Priced at $89.99, it’s not expensive, but I would pick up one of the top two tripods mentioned above unless you want the Amazon name plastered on your tripod.

AmazonBasics 52″ Carbon Fiber Tripod

Overall Value4
Portability5
Weight5
Durability3
Ergonomics4
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Rangers 57” Aluminum Tripod

Rangers 57” Aluminum Tripod

 

MSRP: $69.39
Max Height: 55″ Tripod
Weight: 4.1 lbs with ball head | 2.89 lbs Without
Folded Length: 14”
Leg Sections|Type: 4 Sections | Flip-lock
Load Capacity: 26.5 lbs
Pros: Cheap aluminum tripod with lots of features
Cons: Heavier and doesn’t extend as tall as the other tripods on this list

Just like the K&F Concept tripod the Rangers 57″ is made of aluminum alloy and weighs just under 3lbs without the included ball head. However, with the ball head, it’s pushing in the 4 lbs territory. It’s not heavy by any means but something to be aware of when deciding to purchase a tripod. What you do get is a stable tripod that can cover decent height.

The $69.99 price tag isn’t too shabby either. The flip-lock design will have shooting in no time. Another cool feature is a removable leg that you can convert into a monopod by attaching it to the ball-adaptor. The included 360-degree panoramic ball head is stable and can hold over 20 lbs. Some users have complained that the flip-lock becomes loose over time, but that happens with any flip-lock design even if you bought a $400 tripod – it’s easy to tighten.

Rangers 57” Aluminum Tripod

Overall Value5
Portability3
Weight3
Durability4
Ergonomics4
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Geekoto 77” Aluminum Tripod

Geekoto 77”

 

MSRP: $79.99
Max Height: 55″ Tripod | 57″ as Monopod
Weight: 3.37 lbs with ball head
Folded Length: 19”
Leg Sections|Type: 4 Sections | Flip-lock
Load Capacity: 17 lbs
Pros: Extends very tall and reasonably light
Cons: It’s not as compact as the other tripods on this list and the max load is so-so

The Geekoto tripod design has tall people in mind. This tripod can extend from 19″ to 77″ in seconds with quick release flip-locks. Weighing in at 3.37 lbs, this tripod can stabilize 17 pounds of gear. Like the Ranger tripod above, you can disassemble the center column to transform into a monopod. However, it goes up even taller to 81 inches.

The taller the tripod, the taller the folding length. The Geekoto folds to a minimum of19 inches, making it one of the least portable tripods on this list. You probably don’t want to put a bulky DSLR with a 900 mm lens on this tripod, but or normal zooms and mirror-less cameras this will do just fine. For the pro features that the Geekoto carries, you might be skeptical as to the quality of the tripod. Fear not, this is a solid piece of hardware that won’t bite your bank account.

Geekoto 77” Aluminum Tripod

Overall Value4
Portability3
Weight4
Durability4
Ergonomics4
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Neewer 66” Carbon Fiber Tripod

neewer carbon fiber 66

 

MSRP: $99.99
Max Height: 66″
Weight: 4.67 lbs with ball head
Folded Length: 19.3”
Leg Sections|Type: 4 Sections | Twist-Lock
Load Capacity: 11 lbs
Pros: Extends pretty tall, have a great load capacity, and anti-skidding feet
Cons: Heavy for Carbon Fiber and not as compact as the other reviewed tripods on this list

Hovering near our $100 price point, the Neewer 66″ Carbon Fiber tripod is the most expensive tripod on this list. It’s a little heavy for Carbon Fiber touching close to the 5 lbs territory with the included ball head. However, it can withstand heavier load than other tripods on this list, with 33 lbs load capacity. It can also extend tall at 66″ of height and folds to 19.3 inches. The Neewer has an anti-skidding feet design where you can unscrew the rubber feet to expose metal points – useful in wet areas.

You center column can be converted to a monopod and since it’s made of sturdy Carbon Fiber material, can be used as a walking stick – Perfect if you’re doing some hikes to your photography location. For the features you’re getting the $99.99 price tag is a bargain. I’ve bought tripods throughout the years that were 3x the price and doesn’t even same features or build like this.

Neewer 66” Carbon Fiber Tripod

Overall Value4
Portability4
Weight3
Durability4
Ergonomics4
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BONFOTO 55″ Carbon Fiber Tripod

BONFOTO 55"

MSRP: $99.99
Max Height: 55″ Tripod | 57″ as Monopod
Weight: 2.5 lbs with ball head
Folded Length: 15.35”
Leg Sections|Type: 4 Sections | Twist-lock
Load Capacity: 17.6 lbs
Pros: Extremely lightweight with ball head included and very rigid
Cons: Does not extend very tall and included ball head is flimsy

Another Carbon Fiber tripod that is hovering near our price point. The Bonfoto Carbon Fiber tripod is equipped with similar features as the Neewer above. It has a four section leg with a twist-lock mechanism and has a center column that you can convert into a monopod. Unlike the Neweer, however, is that the Bonfoto can be folded to 15″ making it very compact. It’s also lighter at 3 lbs with the included ball head.

With the compact design, it doesn’t entirely cover as much height as the Neewer with a maximum height of 55″ and a lower holding capacity at 11 lbs. Also, unlike the Neweer, the Bonfoto comes with rubberized non-slip feet. It’s a matter of preference but I the metal points on the Neewer. Still, this tripod is more good enough for most application where travel is concerned and where you’re probably not carrying heavy equipment.

BONFOTO 55″ Carbon Fiber Tripod

Overall Value3
Portability5
Weight5
Durability3
Ergonomics4
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BONFOTO 55″ Aluminum Alloy Tripod

bonfoto 55 aluminum

MSRP: $65.99
Max Height: 55″ Tripod
Weight: 2.6 lbs with ball head
Folded Length: 14.5”
Leg Sections|Type: 4 Sections | Flip-lock
Load Capacity: 17 lbs
Pros: Just as light and durable as the Carbon Fiber version and even cheaper
Cons: The included ball head comes loose and doesn’t quite hold heavier gear firmly

This is Bonfoto’s Aluminum version of the tripod above. Frankly, it’s just as feature rich with a convertible center column that you can use as a monopod. It has the same load capacity at 17 lbs and weighs even lighter at 2.6 pounds with the included ball head. The ball head is not quite as good as the one above, but it’s decent. I’ve always found that included ball heads from sub $100 tripods to be flimsy and that’s why I have quality ball heads at hand for replacement. Still, it’s the included ball head is indeed usable as long as you make sure to tighten the knob securely.

Other notable difference from the Carbon Fiber version is the flip-lock design. It has the same 4 section legs, but you can have this version set up much faster than the twist-lock action of the Carbon Fiber. It’s a matter of preference at this point but having both designs, I prefer to work with flip-locks – though prone to loosening over time (you’ll have to tighten it again). For $15 less than the Carbon Fiber version and weighs even less? Which one would you go for?

BONFOTO 55″ Aluminum Tripod

Overall Value5
Portability4
Weight5
Durability3
Ergonomics4
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Neewer 62” Aluminum Alloy Tripod

Neewer Aluminum 62

 

MSRP: $52.94
Max Height: 55″ Tripod | 57″ as Monopod
Weight: 4 lbs with ball head
Folded Length: 22.4”
Leg Sections|Type: 4 Sections | Twis-Lock
Load Capacity: 8.8 lbs
Pros: A cheap no frills tripod that does the job
Cons: Heavier and doesn’t quite hold as much gear as the other tripods reviewed on this list

The Neewer 62″ is the Aluminum version of the Carbon Fiber tripod of the same name. At almost half the price of the Carbon Fiber version, this tripod has most of the features as any tripods on this list. It can fold to 17.7″ weighs only 3.9 lbs with the included ball head. The four leg section flip-lock design can hold a capacity of 17 lbs.

The tripod isn’t as stable as most of the tripods on this list, but if you’re using a light camera and lens combo, you won’t need anything else. The ball head is decent; it doesn’t quite hold heavier cameras in place unless you tighten hard on the locking knob. I’m tempted to say spend the extra $20 for one of the first two models on this list but if $20 is such a big deal then save the $20. At this price point, Neewer Aluminum tripod is cheap and does the job it’s meant to do with no frills.

Neewer 62” Aluminum Tripod

Overall Value4
Portability3
Weight3
Durability4
Ergonomics4
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HONORABLE MENTION

Rovtop 55″ Aluminum

The Rovtop tripod has an interesting design, like some tripods on this list it can double up as a monopod by converting the center column. It has a maximum height of 55″ and a minimum of 14,” and the center column can be inverted if you want to shoot lower. It’s made of solid aluminum and can carry up to 8.9 lbs of load. The tripod weighs in at just a hair over 4 lbs at 4.1 lbs with the included ball head. At a $59.99 price point, it’s a good deal than some of the tripods mentioned here.

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THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN SHOPPING FOR THE BEST TRAVEL TRIPOD

For a lot of photographic applications, you still need a tripod. I’ve gone through over a dozen tripods throughout my photographic career. From 6 pound wooden behemoths when I was shooting large format film to $500 featherweight brand name Carbon Fibre tripods that were a technological leap in its day. Today, manufacturing of tripods from all over the world have made it very competitive for and cheaper for photographers. You don’t have to get the brand name tripod to get a decent and functional product. There’s a lot of tripods available now, all under $100 that work just as well as ones priced over $300.

best travel tripod

One of the things you’ll have to consider when choosing a tripod is your shooting style. Do you like to have the ability to be so low to the ground? Are you tall and love to shoot at eye level? Do you shoot with heavy telephoto lenses? Do you want to be able to set up the tripod in seconds so you can get on to shooting your subject? These factors come into play when you choose your next tripod, and I’ve touched on these points with my summaries on this list.

Your decision might be swayed by one technology over the other. Carbon Fiber vs. Aluminum? Flip-locks offer the most convenience and speed when it comes to setting up a tripod, but you can only find it on Aluminum tripods. Carbon Fiber material isn’t conducive to the flip-lock design.

Carbon Fiber vs. Aluminum

Carbon Fiber is lighter than Aluminum, that comes to no surprise. However, technologies in metallurgy have tightened that gap between the two materials. It’s probably just my imagination, but I find that Carbon Fiber tends to be more stable and more vibration resistant than aluminum. Again, having continually used and switched back and forth between one or the other, I can attest that Carbon Fiber fares slightly better in some regards it also loses in others.

Flip-lock vs. Twist-lock

twist-lock vs flip-lock tripod best travel tripod

Twist vs. Flip

Again, it’s probably a matter of preference, but I find Flip-lock to be better in most applications. It’s faster to set up, bar none. While you’re still twisting and tightening a twist-lock tripod I probably already have shot several frames with my flip-lock. Unfortunately, due to the material and design, flip-locks require more engineering in order for it to mount on Carbon Fiber tripods within the $100 price point.

Folding Size and Height

If you’re tall and like to shoot at eye level, this plays a big factor for you. I once used a short but very compact tripod on a trip and found myself wanting to shoot at eye level at every frame. Suffice it to say; my back was aching after a photo session. The more compact the tripod is, the shorter it probably extends.

Load Capacity and Weight

The rule of thumb is, the heavier the tripod, the more it can carry. It’s a simple law of physics. What gear you take and shoot with will dictate this choice. I typically never carry lenses over 4 lbs and don’t see a need to with my shooting style. So my decision on which tripod to use tend to favor the lighter ones. Your needs might be different, so keep this in mind when choosing your tripod.

Ergonomics

How cumbersome is it to use the tripod? Flimsy designs can take away the fun of photography and may make you miss the most crucial shot. Does the tripod have padded handles, so you don’t have to touch the icy aluminum material on cold days? Luckily, most if not all of the tripods I’ve compiled on this list take this factor into consideration.

With all that said, the Mactrem 62.5″ or the K&F Concept 62″ Aluminum Tripod is the best travel tripods for the money. Both can extend to 62″ which is tall enough for most photographers. Both are also surprisingly lightweight at just a hair over 3 lbs with the included ball head – that’s lighter than some Carbon Fiber Tripods listed here. The flip-lock design is a joy to work with; I have a hard time picking up my twist-lock Carbon Fiber tripod for a days shooting over these.

If you’re sold on Carbon Fiber then consider the Davis & Sanford 53″ Carbon Fiber at $69.99 it’s a steal. The AmazonBasics 52″ Carbon Fiber Tripod at $89.99 is also not far off from a great deal. If you’re tall and need a little more height, the Geekoto 77” Aluminum Tripod is your best bet as the best travel tripod.

ARE YOU LOOKING FOR THE BEST TRAVEL TRIPOD?

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