Best Compact and Lightweight Travel Tripods

Looking for a compact and lightweight travel tripod? You’re in the right place!

If you travel or hike like we do, it’s important to find compact and lightweight travel photography gear, without sacrificing quality!

8 compact and lightweight travel tripods

This guide will define travel tripods and explain the difference between aluminum and carbon fiber material.

We detail the specifications and features of each tripod to help you find the one to suit your travel and photography style and budget.

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What is a Travel Tripod?

Travel tripods are designed to be compact and lightweight.

Many travel tripods fold up into a compact package that you can fit into a carry-on bag. They are also designed to be lighter than full-sized tripods.

Tripods designed for portability usually have four or more leg sections that can fold up around the center column, or a center column that drops down between the legs for transport.

Most lightweight travel tripods don’t extend to the same heights as full-sized tripods so you will need to bend over a bit while shooting.

Other than the features of being compact and lightweight, the travel tripod is basically the same as any other tripod.

carbon fiber or aluminum tripod

Carbon Fiber or Aluminum Tripod?

Carbon fiber is lighter than aluminum. Does a few ounces of weight difference really matter?

If you’re someone who is traveling a lot or carrying around a gear pack, every ounce counts.

Aluminum is less expensive, and a bit more durable, than carbon fiber.

You would think due to carbon fiber being lighter, that’s what makes it more expensive. Actually the higher cost is due to production costs.

Best Lightweight Tripods for Travel

The most-asked question we receive is “What tripod do you recommend?”

Most of our photography is outdoor landscape and wildlife that requires a STURDY tripod that’s also portable and lightweight.

A tripod is an essential part of our travel photography gear. We rely on using a travel tripod to create the best images of the landscape and wildlife we see on our outdoor adventures.

Here’s our list of travel tripods because they are sturdy, lightweight and portable. Keep reading below for a detailed description, pros and cons for each one.

Peak Design Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod

Peak Design Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod

All travel photographers equally agree that the ideal travel tripod should be compact, lightweight, sturdy, durable, and easy-to-use. But most of the best travel tripods out there still fail to deliver in at least one of these sought after features. 

Innovatively, Peak Design has solved this problem and the result is a beautifully designed travel tripod that checks all the above boxes. Simply put, this is the only tripod you’ll ever need in all your travel photography adventures, whether as a professional or enthusiast!

At 2.81 lbs and 15.2” collapsed length, the Peak Design Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod stands out as the most portable and packable travel tripod on the market. And it has been engineered with top-quality carbon fiber material for pro-level stability even when shooting with professional-grade full-frame DSLR + telephoto lenses.

Yet, what we really fancy about this tripod is the ease of use. It features an excellent ergonomic ball head with an omnidirectional adjustment ring and a quick-release plate locking ring that’s easy to grip and lock in place with a simple twist.

  • Build: Carbon Fiber
  • Load Capacity: 20 lbs
  • Max. Height: 51.6″ (60.2” with the center column up)
  • Min. Height: 5.6”
  • Folded Length: 15.2″
  • Leg Sections: 5
  • Ballhead: Included
  • Tripod Weight: 2.81 lbs


  • Architecturally inspired and built to last with weather and impact-resistant materials.
  • Low-profile aluminum leg-lock cam levers that offer for super-fast deployment. 
  • A reversible center-column for ground-level shots and a weight hook under center-column.
  • Offers extra stiffness and vibration damping for tack sharp travel photography.
  • Rubberized grippy non-slip-feet for an enhanced vibration damping.
  • Included in the package are mobile-mount, a tiny rock-solid hex wrench, and a bushing removal tool.  
  • It comes with a well-engineered low profile design Peak Design standard plate, and is Arca-type compatible.


  • Unusual ball head design may not be ideal for some.
  • Carbon fiber version priced at a premium, but we feel it’s worth it!
  • Included quick release plate requires hex key which is a bit annoying, but not a deal breaker.

This Peak Design travel tripod comes with a nice weather-proof carry bag that’s thoughtfully designed to last as long as the tripod itself. The tripod gets rid of the bulky, confusing knobs of traditional tripods to give you a single, ergonomic adjustment ring for smooth and easier operation.


MeFoto Globetrotter Carbon Fiber Tripod

Benro MeFoto Globetrotter Carbon Fiber Tripod

If we’re to recommend just one lightweight travel tripod, then it would be the MeFoto GlobeTrotter Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod kit. It’s the one we use in our travels and hiking and has proved to be highly reliable.

Its lightweight carbon fiber construction is surprisingly sturdy and allows it to steadily hold bulkier DSLR cameras for travel with larger lenses. The kit comes with the MeFOTO Q2 ball head that works well and locks tight.

MeFoto designed this portable tripod to easily convert to a monopod without tools. One of the legs has foam cushioning and it unscrews from the main hinges. It then combines with the removable center column to make a full-size monopod.

MeFoto Globetrotter is also available in an aluminum version that is less expensive but weighs more (4.6 pounds). 

  • Build: Carbon Fiber
  • Load Capacity: 26.4 lbs
  • Maximum Height: 64.2″
  • Minimum Height: 16.1″
  • Folded Length: 16.5″
  • Leg Sections: 5
  • Ballhead: Included
  • Tripod Weight: 3.7 lbs


  • A compact design with a very reliable leg locking mechanism.
  • Sturdy build quality with strong legs.
  • A bigger ball head for large cameras.
  • It comes with attachable ground spikes and a carrying case.


  • The locking mechanism isn’t completely weather sealed and elements like sand can easily get inside.

The MeFoto GlobeTrotter Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod is a great choice for anyone looking for a high-quality travel tripod that’s compact and reasonably priced.

It offers the perfect balance between performance and portability and would suit most photographers who use full-sized DSLR and mirrorless camera setups.


Manfrotto 190go Aluminum Tripod

Manfrotto 190go Aluminum Tripod

The Manfrotto 190go Aluminum tripod is a very versatile tripod and will do an excellent job in the hands of macro and landscape photographers.

It comes as a complete tripod kit with XPRO 3-way head. Plus an Easy Link adapter attachment that offers for an instant connection between tripod and accessories like LED lights.

Our favorite feature on the Manfrotto 190go is the M-Lock System twist locks that provide for a quick and easy tripod leg deployment and retraction. 

What’s more, this tripod also features an innovative 90-degree central column that allows you to work at a minimum height of just 3.5 inches for macro shots.

  • Build: Aluminum Alloy
  • Load Capacity: 15.4 lbs
  • Max. Height: 59.8″
  • Min. Height: 3.5″
  • Folded Length: 17.7″
  • Leg Sections: 4
  • Ballhead: Included
  • Tripod Weight: 3.7 lbs


  • An excellent build quality that is very sturdy and easy to use.
  • A great tripod for macro and landscape photography.
  • Its twist-lock mechanism offers a quick setup.
  • An Easy-Link attachment that enhances its overall versatility. 


  • It doesn’t hold steadily when all the legs are extended.
  • Its folded length is quite larger at almost 18 inches long.
  • At 3.7 pounds it’s a bit heavier than the competition.

If you’re looking for a lightweight tripod that offers stability, the Manfrotto 190go Aluminum tripod is an excellent choice. However, its smaller maximum load capacity of 15.4 pounds might be a drawback for photographers who use heavy telephoto lenses.


3 Legged Thing Punks Corey

3 Legged Thing Punks Corey

As a travel photographer, you may not be ready to spend more than $200 on a portable travel tripod. Luckily, the 3 Legged Thing Punks Corey Tripod Kit packs some great features at a reasonable price point.

This tripod is made from a durable aircraft-grade magnesium alloy that is both lightweight and strong. Its solid build quality and a maximum load capacity of 30 pounds allow it to steadily support most DSLR and mirrorless camera setups.

The included AirHed Neo ball head is an ultra-compact, simple, single-lock head that has one knob for controlling the pan rotation and ball orbit. And there is another separate knob that locks the Arca Swiss style attachment plate.

  • Build: Aluminum Alloy
  • Load Capacity: 30 lbs
  • Max. Height: 59″
  • Min. Height: 7.3″
  • Folded Length: 13.7″
  • Leg Sections: 5
  • Ballhead: Included
  • Tripod Weight: 3.4 lbs


  • Strong build quality with a stylish finish for aesthetics.
  • Fast and silky smooth ball operation
  • Incredibly sturdy and lightweight.
  • Interchangeable footwear for use on any terrain.
  • An ergonomic bubble grip for better all-weather use.


  • Not sturdy enough for professional photography.

The 3 Legged Thing Punks Corey lightweight tripod is a perfect fit for budget travel photographers who want their tripod as compact as possible without compromising on its overall stability. It comes with a thick microfiber bag for safe storage of the ball head when not in use.


Joby GorillaPod 5K

Joby GorillaPod 5K

The GorillaPod 5K Flexible Mini-Tripod by Joby features an anodized aluminum build quality for enhanced strength and smooth movement. 

It comes as a complete kit with the high-quality BallHead 5K. The stable, strong, and durable design allows it to support a maximum load capacity of 11 pounds (5 kg).

GorillaPod 5K has a unique design with wrappable legs that are made up of several joints which allows you to secure professional camera equipment to virtually any surface. 

It works in three modes, (grip, wrap, and stand) that allows you to configure it for videography, vlogging, and still photography

  • Build: Aluminum Alloy, ABS Plastic
  • Load Capacity: 11 lbs
  • Max. Height: 15.2″
  • Min. Height: N/A
  • Folded Length: 15.2″
  • Leg Sections: N/A
  • Ballhead: Included
  • Tripod Weight: 1.1 lbs


  • Super affordable, coming at just under $100.
  • A flexible and versatile support system.
  • Perfect hand grip for vlogging. 
  • Rubberized feet and joint rings for grip.
  • The ball head offers a full 360-degrees pan and 90-degrees tilt.
  • Compatible with 1/4″-20 screw threads and 3/8″-16 screw thread adapter.


  • Not ideal for use with heavier camera setups.
  • Not ideal for professional photography.
  • Too heavy for extended handheld vlogging especially for people with smaller arms.

The Joby GorillaPod 5K Flexible Mini-Tripod with Ball Head 5K kit is ideal for roving vloggers who want a versatile but lightweight tripod. Its maximum load capacity of 11 pounds allows it to steadily hold most setups including LED lights, professional DSLRs, and mirrorless cameras.


Manfrotto Befree Advanced Travel Tripod

Manfrotto Befree Advanced Travel Tripod

The Manfrotto Befree Advanced Travel Tripod offers a 17.6 pounds maximum load capacity that will conveniently support most DSLR and mirrorless camera systems. And at just 2.6 pounds in weight, it will make such a great travel companion for serious hobbyists and professional photographers.

This tripod is made of high-quality carbon fiber material that gives it a lightweight design without compromising on its overall quality. On top of its excellent built quality, it comes with an equally sturdy center ball head that features a dedicated knob for pan movement and a friction control knob.

  • Build: Carbon Fiber
  • Load Capacity: 17.6 lbs
  • Max. Height: 59.1″
  • Min. Height: 16.1″
  • Folded Length: 16.1″
  • Leg Sections: 4
  • Ballhead: Included
  • Tripod Weight: 2.6 lbs


  • Its lightweight and compact design allow it to easily fit in a backpack and carry-on luggage.
  • A twist-lock mechanism for faster and easier leg adjustment and locking.
  • Rubberized feet for enhanced stability on a wide array of surfaces.
  • A side-pull button that allows you to set the legs in three different angles.
  • An Easy-Link attachment that allows you to connect with compatible accessories.


  • It doesn’t offer the best minimum height for macro photography.
  • It doesn’t easily convert to a monopod despite its mid-range price point.

The Manfrotto Befree Advanced Travel Tripod is a perfect choice for the enthusiast photographers who are looking for a sturdy, lightweight travel tripod. Its quick-release plate is compatible with both Arca-type and RC2 systems.


Sirui T-1004SK T-S Travel Tripod

Sirui T-1004SK T-S Travel Tripod

At 5.5 inch minimum height, the Sirui T-1004SK T-S tripod is another great choice for macro and low-angle photographers. The legs fold up by 180-degrees allowing it to measure just 14.6 inches when fully collapsed.

Each leg is made of 4 sections with 3 sealed twist locks that easily unlocks for faster and easier tripod height adjustment. Yet, our favorite feature is the 2-stage rapid center column that allows the tripod to extend to a height of up to 51 inches.

The Sirui T-1004SK T-S doesn’t come with a ball head, but for the best results, we recommend the Sirui G-30X Ball Head. It’s made of high-quality aircraft-grade aluminum alloy and features separate control knobs for pan, tilt, and tension.

  • Build: Aluminum Alloy, Magnesium Alloy
  • Load Capacity: 26.4 lbs
  • Max. Height: 51″
  • Min. Height: 5.5″
  • Folded Length: 14.6″
  • Leg Sections: 4
  • Ballhead: Not Included (We recommend the Sirui G-30X Ball Head)
  • Tripod Weight: 3.3 lbs


  • Rock-solid stability for tack sharp photography.
  • Folds up compactly and will easily fit in a small backpack or carry-on luggage.
  • Rubberized feet that ensure the tripod remains steady in all terrains.
  • It comes with metal spikes that can be used in place of the rubber feet in softer surfaces.
  • A removable leg that converts into a monopod that can reach up to 52.8 inches in height.


  • Quite pricey when you factor in the price of a ball head.

When paired up with a sturdy ball head, Sirui T-1004SK T-S tripod will make a perfect choice for anyone who is looking for a lightweight travel tripod for macro and landscape photography. It has an excellent build quality and feels premium!


Gitzo Traveler Series Tripod

Gitzo Traveler Series Tripod

The Gitzo Traveler Series is a lightweight tripod that has been specifically designed for traveling and hiking. This professional-grade tripod sports a premium build quality, excellent stability, and great ergonomics.

When it comes to its overall construction, Gitzo uses Carbon eXact tubing for the center column and the four-section legs. This design enhances its overall stiffness and strength while keeping it lighter compared to the use of Carbon 6X tubes.

The twisting leg-locks are engineered to a very thin standard such that they lock tightly and loosen smoothly with minimal efforts. The design offers a quick, steady, and secure tripod leg adjustment with minimal efforts.

  • Build: Carbon Fiber
  • Load Capacity: 22 lbs
  • Max. Height: 60.2″
  • Min. Height: 8.6″
  • Folded Length: 16.7″
  • Leg Sections: 4
  • Ballhead: Included
  • Tripod Weight: 2.3 lbs


  • Highly reliable and durable.
  • Steadily supports heavy gear for tack sharp photography.
  • Compact, lightweight, and conveniently portable.
  • Gitzo sells replacement parts if you wear out a component.
  • It comes with a shoulder strap for easy carrying.


  • A bit pricey!

While you might be easily turned away by its high-end price point, the Gitzo Series 1 Traveler Carbon Fiber Tripod is a worthy investment if you take a lot of photos and you’re looking for a long-lasting solution. Allowing it to stand out as one of the best lightweight travel tripods for professional photography.


Final Thoughts about Travel Tripods

We can’t stress this enough: if you want high-quality images, you need a tripod! Period.

When you have a sturdy tripod, your photo quality will dramatically improve.

If you travel and hike often, we recommend you invest in a compact, lightweight travel tripod.

Find the BEST compact tripod that fits your budget.

We’ve had past students tell us they wish they had put more stock into the tripod they bought. With all the ‘cheap’ tripods they purchased, then had to trash, they could have bought a really good one from the start!

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    1. Storage is so important – good that you’ve invested in that! A tripod really does take your photography to the next level. Let us know if you have any questions once you get to that point.

  1. Thank you for such a through post! I’m going to be backpacking New Zealand soon and doing a lot of hiking. I’ve been looking into getting a tripod for this but there’s so many options out there, it’s hard to decide, especially when I’m such a beginner.

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