Best Lightweight Travel Tripod

We all like to travel light. But as you progress in photography, you quickly come to realize that you are missing out on a lot of photo opportunities while travelling, when you don’t have a tripod! And that’s probably why you are on this page 🙂 I’ve been there: over the years my photography gear got a little bigger and heavier (after getting a full frame DSLR + lenses), so it was absolutely necessary to find the best lightweight travel tripod that I could take with me on my travels.

Whether you want to capture a beautiful starry sky, a long exposure shot of this gorgeous waterfall you hiked to, get a great night shot of the city or just wants to avoid camera shake when it’s getting dark, you can only do so much without a tripod.

Nowadays a lot of options exist and it’s getting difficult to know what to buy. New brands and new products keep appearing, and making the right decision can quickly become a headache! That’s why I decided to create this guide where I selected what in my opinion are the 7 best travel tripods of 2018, and which one you should get.

Let me precise that you will not find cheap $30 tripods on this page. I have bought those before and they are not worth it if you are looking for a durable and reliable tripod you can take with you on the road, that won’t break apart after you use it 20 or 30 times.

With that all being said, let’s get started with the 7 best lightweight tripods for travel you can get today!

The 7 Best Lightweight Travel Tripods of 2018

Manfrotto BeFree Compact Lightweight Travel Tripod

Manfrotto is a well-known player in the world of tripods, and it is once again offering a great travel tripod with the BeFree series. Specifically designed for travel, this aluminium tripod only weighs 3 lbs / 1.4 kg and measures 15.7 in / 40 cm when folded. This is comparable to a majority of travel tripods and it fits easily in most daypacks – but it comes with its own shoulder bag anyway.

Its light weight doesn’t prevent it to be decently sturdy and with a maximum payload of 8.8 lbs / 4kg, it is strong enough to hold a mirrorless camera or a DSLR. However, if you are using a large, telephoto lens, you might run into the limits of this tripod. The ball head may not be the best you will ever see, but it does the job.

There is a carbon fiber version of this tripod but the weight gain is minimal and I am not sure it is worth the price increase.

 Quick Specifications

  • Weight: 1.4 kg / 3 lbs
  • Folded length: 40 cm / 15.7 in
  • Material: Aluminium
  • Maximum payload: 4 kg / 8.8 lbs
  • Included head: Ball head with Quick Release
  • Leg locks type: Flip locks

Pros

  • Very compact and light
  • Comes with 2 replacement plates
  • Manfrotto build quality

Cons

  • The maximum payload capacity is is somewhat limited, especially if you are using very heavy DSLRs and lenses
  • Cannot be used as a monopod

Utrifoto C-155 Carbon Fiber Tripod

The Utrifoto is an affordable and compact carbon fiber tripod that is compact and light enough for travel – It only weights 1.1 kg / 2.42 lb and measures 40 cm / 15.74 in once folded. It’s a good little tripod that is very easy to take for a hike, with the included carrying bag.

It is a 2-in-1 product, as one of the legs can be unscrewed to be used as a monopod, which is pretty cool. The maximum payload capacity is interesting at 6 kg / 13.22 lbs, meaning that most DSLRs can safely be used with this tripod.

In spite of its affordable price tag, its construction quality is pretty good with no cheap materials here and there, but doesn’t match the quality of the high-priced tripods (which is logical). If you are looking for good quality yet affordable travel tripod, this one is a good option.

 Quick Specifications

  • Weight: 1.1 kg / 2.42 lbs
  • Folded length: 40 cm / 15.7 in
  • Material: Carbon fiber
  • Maximum payload: 6 kg / 13.22 lbs
  • Included head: Ball head with Quick Release
  • Leg lock type: Twist locks

Pros

  • Very light and portable
  • Good maximum payload
  • Affordable price
  • Can be used as a monopod

Cons

  • Material & build quality (therefore, durability) are acceptable but may not match those of more expensive tripods

Sirui ET-1204 Carbon Fiber Tripod KitOur Top Pick

The Sirui ET-1204 tripod is a beautiful piece of equipment. It may be a little more pricey than others, but you get something really solid and durable that you can keep for may years of travel. With a weight of 1.1 kg / 2.43 lbs, it belongs to the club of the most lightweight travel tripods, and its folded height of 42 cm / 16.54 in is just right to fit in a backpack.

With carbon fiber legs (good for absorbing vibrations), the tripod offers the very good construction quality that you can expect from Sirui. The flip locks are convenient to quickly set up or fold the 4-sections of the legs. They are high quality and will not wear out.

This tripod has a good maximum load capacity of 8kg / 18 lbs. It means that in spite of being very light, it will remain steady and sturdy even while supporting a DSLR with a fairly large lens – enough for most users. A good quality E-10 ball head is included and will firmly hold any camera you attach to it.

Overall an excellent option made of quality materials, fulfilling every need of a lightweight travel tripod in all conditions. That’s my top pick because I believe the quality and performance justify the price.

 Quick Specifications

  • Weight: 1.1 kg / 2.5 lbs
  • Folded length: 42 cm / 16.54 in
  • Material: Carbon fiber
  • Maximum payload: 8 kg / 17.6 lbs
  • Included head: Ball head with Quick Release
  • Leg lock type: Flip locks

Pros

  • Good travel size and weight
  • High quality, durable materials
  • Sirui build quality
  • Good load capacity
  • Central column adapted to low angle/macro shots
  • Good quality ball head

Cons

  • A little more pricey (but you get what you pay for!)
  • Cannot be used as a monopod

Vanguard VEO 2 235CB Carbon Fiber Tripod

The Vanguard VEO 2 travel tripod is a good quality, mid-priced option with good weight and size for the road. It weights 1.2 kg / 2.63 lbs and measures 40 cm / 15.75 in in folded position, which comparable to most other travel tripods.

An effort has been made on the quick set up aspect. Indeed, a unique feature of this tripod is the central column rotation system that enables to get the tripod ready really quickly.

The 5-section carbon fiber legs are both light and sturdy, and the tripod can hold up to 6 kg / 13.2 lbs which is fine for most users. If your gear is very heavy, this tripod might be a little too weak for you.

There are a few Vanguard VEO 2 models varying in weight, size and load capacity. I feel that the 235CB is the one offering the best compromise between portability and load capacity.

 Quick Specifications

  • Weight: 1.2 kg / 2.63 lbs
  • Folded length: 40 cm / 15.75 in
  • Material: Carbon fiber
  • Maximum payload: 6 kg / 13.2 lbs
  • Included head: Ball head with Quick Release
  • Leg lock type: Twist locks

Pros

  • Good portability for travel
  • Interesting rotating central column system for quick set up
  • Load capacity is fine for most users
  • Good quality ball head

Cons

  • Can lack stability with larger cameras
  • Cannot be used as a monopod

Benro Travel Angel 2 Series Carbon Fiber Tripod (FTA28CC)

The Benro Travel Angel 2 is a rock solid tripod designed for travel. Made of excellent quality materials and 9-layer carbon fiber legs, it can support up to a whooping 14 kg / 30.9 lbs, in spite of it weighing only 3 lbs / 1.4 kg. Perfect sability is ensured no matter what kind of camera gear you are using. Of course, if you are using a small point-and-shoot, this tripod is a bit overkill.

At 44 cm / 17.3 in for its folded size, it is very slightly longer than other tripods reviewed here, but can still definitely be considered travel size. The difference is minimal.

One of the legs can be used as a monopod, or even as a hiking stick.

Such product quality comes at a price, but we are here speaking about a really strong, reliable and durable tripod. If you are on the road with rather heavy camera equipment and are looking for a really good tripod that will not add a lot of weight on your shoulders, that’s a great one.

 Quick Specifications

  • Weight: 1.36 kg / 3 lbs
  • Folded length: 44 cm / 17.3 in
  • Material: Carbon fiber
  • Maximum payload: 14 kg / 30.9 lbs
  • Included head: Ball head with Quick Release
  • Leg lock type: Twist locks

Pros

  • Good travel size and weight
  • High quality, durable materials
  • Amazing load capacity
  • Can be used as a monopod
  • Good quality ball head

Cons

  • Quite pricey
  • Very slightly longer than others when folded

MeFOTO Classic Aluminum Roadtrip Travel Tripod/Monopod Kit

If you are looking for a high quality, highly versatile travel tripod, the MeFOTO Classic Aluminium tripod is a serious option.

Lightweight (1.6 kg / 3.6 lbs) and compact (39 cm / 15.4 in once folded), it can easily go with you on your trips and hikes. It is a sturdy tripod capable of supporting a load of 8 kg /17.6 lbs. Supporting a DSLR will not be an issue.

There is a carbon fiber version that only saves 0.5 lb, with a steep increase of the price! Not worth it in my opinion. This aluminium version is just fine.

It is not the absolute most lightweight travel tripod, but still very portable, and sturdy even with larger cameras which can be great depending on the gear you own.

 Quick Specifications

  • Weight: 1.6 kg / 3.6 lbs
  • Folded length: 39 cm / 15.4 in
  • Material: Aluminium
  • Maximum payload: 8 kg / 17.6 lbs
  • Included head: Ball head with Quick Release
  • Leg lock type: Twist locks

Pros

  • Good travel size and weight
  • Strong and sturdy
  • Good load capacity
  • Can be converted into a monopod

Cons

  • Not the most lightweight (but still light enough in my opinion)

Sirui T-005X Aluminum Tripod

The Sirui T-005X Tripod is essentially an aluminium version of the T-025x, with $100 less. It is extremely lightweight – its weight is under 900 g / 2 lbs with the head and the (extremely small) weight difference with the fiber carbon version is not worth the price gap.

If you are going for hikes or backpacking, such light weight is of course great news. Its folded length is just as exceptional, being only 31 cm / 11.8 in. It is very easy to pack in any small backpack.

Of course, such small weight is great for portability, but for the heavier type of cameras, it may create stability issues. The maximum load capacity is 4 kg / 8.8 lbs.

If the dimensions and weight are an absolute priority for you then this tripod is a great option. It is perfect if you own a compact or mirrorless camera.

 Quick Specifications

  • Weight: 0.9 kg / 2 lbs
  • Folded length: 31 cm / 12.2 in
  • Material: Aluminium
  • Maximum payload: 4 kg / 8.8 lbs
  • Included head: Ball head with Quick Release
  • Leg lock type: Twist locks

Pros

  • extremely lightweight and compact
  • Affordable price
  • The central column can be removed for low angle shots
  • Sirui build quality

Cons

  • The load capacity is a little too low for larger DSLRs/lenses
  • No bubble level

Frequently Asked Questions

What Should I Pay Attention to When Choosing My Tripod?

Weight and size are the most obvious criteria when choosing a travel tripod but there are other things to take in consideration. It mostly depends on how you intend to use it.

Sturdiness and stability are of course important, especially when you shoot a lot of long exposure images (flowing water, light trails or night sky for example).

You must also pay attention to the maximum load capacity of the tripod. The tripod needs to be designed to hold more than the weight of your camera (and don’t forget the weight of the lens!), to ensure a perfect stability. The last thing you want is your camera overbalancing the tripod!

The type of leg locks are a bit more of a personal preference. Tripod legs can be locked with twist locks and flip locks. Both are fine really, but my personal preference goes to flip locks. I find them more convenient to use on the road, if you need to quickly unfold or collapse your tripod legs, a quick flip and it’s done.

Pay attention to the tripod head. On some cheaper tripods, it is a fixed head that can’t be changed. I don’t recommend getting that, as it can be interesting to use other (and better) tripod heads in future. Always choose a tripod with a ball head that you can unscrew and change in future if you want to (or if you want to use other types of heads for other types of photography such as panoramic photography).

Aluminium or Carbon Fiber, What’s The Difference?

Carbon fiber tripods are more lightweight, which is precisely what we want to take on a trip. In addition, they are better at absorbing vibrations, and that’s great when you are shooting long exposure images. But this comes at a higher price than aluminium.

Aluminium tripods are cheaper and slightly heavier, but heavier tripods are also more stable.

Aluminium and carbon fiber tripods usually are of a comparable quality, and both can be a great fit to your needs. Nowadays, carbon fiber is considered to be the best, but if your budget doesn’t allow, an aluminium tripod can be just fine!

How Can These Travel Tripods Become so Small Once Folded?

Usually, the legs can be folded back 180 degrees around the central column and the ball head.

What are a Classic Weight & Size For a Portable Travel Tripod?

They are usually between 1 and 1.5 kg / between 2.2 and 3.3 lbs, and about 40 cm / 15.75 in when in a folded position.

How to Deal With an Unstable Tripod?

Some tripods are designed to hold more weight than others. If your tripod is getting unstable, what you can do is use the small hook that is usually present at the bottom of the central column on most tripods, and hang something heavy to it (a bag of stones, water bottles…).

Do You Take Your Tripod in Your Carry-on Bag on The Plane?

No, I always pack it in my checked luggage to be safe.

Why Don’t You Show Any Price on This Page?

Prices change all the time. Merchants can run promotions, options you choose can make the price vary. As a result, any price displayed on this page could very quickly be outdated.

How Did You Choose Your Top Pick?

My top pick is the product I consider being the best value for money.

The most expensive is not always the best, the cheapest is not always bad. It’s a question of weighing the features, the advantages and disadvantages of each product and deciding what features are really worth the price.

There are so many products out there, that it’s easy to get caugh in a race for always more features (which you pay a high price for), when in reality they will only make little or no difference in your pictures.

But it’s not about trying to get the most affordable product possible for the sake of it either. After all, it’s the best lightweight travel tripod we are trying to find! The product offering the best quality and performance at a price that I find justified becomes the top pick. Of course this is only my opinion and that’s exactly why I am presenting 7 products and not just that one top pick!

Final Thoughts

There you have it! Finding best lightweight tripod for 2018 is no easy feat and can take enormous amounts of research and product comparison. I hope that with this page, I made the process much easier and quicker for you.

Whether you follow my top pick recommendation or not, I believe that every tripod featured on this page will make a great and reliable piece of equipment that can follow you on the road.

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If you purchase an item on Amazon through the affiliate links in this page, this website will earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps us keeping this site ad-free, and it helps you say thank you if our content is useful to you 🙂


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