Best travel tripods 2024: Lightweight and compact tripods

If you're a photographer who loves to take your camera with you when you venture outdoors, you will almost certainly want to pick up one of the best travel tripods. 

These tripods are an essential accessory whether you're hoping to capture stunning landscape shots or photograph the starry night sky. A travel tripod lets you frame the perfect shot, take your time to set up and, crucially, keep your camera stead if you're in low-lighting conditions and are shooting with long exposures. 

Unlike the best tripods, the best travel tripods are portable and lightweight, often made from carbon fiber, meaning you can save on space and weight in your kit bag. They also incorporate a telescopic design — collapsing into a compact package that fits in one of the best camera backpacks

Our expert reviewers have tested the best travel tripods in a range of real-world environments, assessing their ease of use, portability, and weight—making note of how easily they'll fit into your bag. They've also examined any trade-offs you'll make, with some, for example, restricting the payload. 

Remember, with Amazon Prime Day coming up in July, you should take the time now to research the best travel tripod for you; there's every chance that come the big day, you will find a great discount. The same can be said if you want to pair your travel tripod with one of the best cameras and best lenses

On Prime Day last year — Amazon's annual sale event that offers major discounts to its Prime members across thousands of products — we spotted some great deals on travel tripods. The JOBY GorillaPod 5K Kit, for example, was available for less than half-price. There's every chance we'll see big discounts coming through in the run-up to Prime Day, so stay up-to-date with the latest updates from Space.com ahead of that all-important event.

The quick list

Best travel tripods we recommend in 2024

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Best travel tripod overall

Best overall: This premium travel tripod is great if you have the budget

Specifications

Weight: 2.81 lbs (1.29kg)
Leg sections: 5
Maximum payload: 20 lbs (9.1kg)
Maximum height: 60-inches (152.4cm)
Folded height: 15.4-inches (39.1cm)

Reasons to buy

+
Very light and portable
+
Bag and phone mount included
+
Fits into cabin bags 

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Not as tall as other models 
Buy if:

✅ If only the best will do: This is an exceptional, thoughtfully designed tripod for photographers on the move. We found it hard to fault.

Don't buy if:

You need more height: You'll only be able to reach a height of 60-inches with this travel tripod.

The bottom line

🔎 Peak Design Travel Tripod: An exceptionally narrow and compact design makes the Peak Design Travel Tripod a key piece of kit for traveling astrophotographers after something highly mobile and with a fast set-up and takedown. ★★★★½

The slim and compact design of the Peak Design Travel Tripod and high build quality earn it pole position in our guide thanks to the fact you can still guarantee stability – even when using heavy DSLR cameras. Its three legs and ball head meet seamlessly with no gaps when it's folded, which results in a compact package that measures 3.13 inches in diameter and 15.4 inches high. You can easily pack into int your camera bag or any luggage. But it does also come with a soft padded case that features a waterproof zip and carry handles that make life easier.

We loved this tripod's speedy setup and takedown during our Peak Design Travel Tripod review, although we were slightly less fond of the camera attachment. The ball head (one of the most compact we've seen) comes with a tripod plate that attaches to your camera using a hex tool. While this was incredibly stable for long hours when shooting star trails, we can't help but feel that a tool-free D-ring plate would have been easier.

The smartphone clamp can be cleverly stowed away under the center column, saving more space in your camera bag. True, with a tripod like this one you might not be likely to take smartphone pictures, but the option is there to take some snaps while you set up your camera. 

This tripod might not be the best option for tall photographers. With a maximum height of 60 inches/152.4cm, it's not the tallest tripod on this list, and while that keeps its overall weight down, it might be uncomfortable to use for those with a bit more height. 

It's worth noting that there are two versions of this tripod available: one with an aluminum body and the other with a carbon fiber body. The carbon fiber one is lighter than the aluminum one, but it's also much more expensive. As the aluminum option is already very light at 3.44 lbs/1.56kg, we'd question whether the extra expense is worth it.

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Peak Design Travel Tripod
AttributesNotes
DesignNarrow, space-saving design.
PerformanceSpeedy setup and takedown.
FunctionalityNot as tall as other tripods.

Best for height

Best for height: This choice from Benro is a fantastic addition to your kit, despite the confusing naming

Specifications

Weight: 3.8 lbs (1.74kg)
Leg sections: 4
Maximum payload: 39.6lbs (18kg)
Maximum height: 66.3-inches (168.5cm)
Folded height: 19.3-inches (48.5cm)

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent height
+
Converts to monopod
+
Easy to set up and take down

Reasons to avoid

-
Quite pricey
-
Not the most slimline
Buy if:

✅  You want one of the tallest travel tripods: This one reaches a maximum height of 66.3-inches.

You want a detachable monopod: Monopods are better in certain situations, like sporting events where you have limited space. This model comes with a detachable one.

Don't buy if:

❌ You're sticking to a budget: This is another premium tripod, though it's a great long-term investment.

You want something super lightweight: It's not heavy, but there are certainly more lightweight options out there.

The bottom line

🔎 Benro Rhino FRHN24C+VX25 Head: Although it's not cheap, for passionate photographers who need a lightweight, portable tripod capable of providing more height than most, this is a fantastic option. ★★★★★

The quality in the Benro Rhino FRHN24C+VX25 Head shines through, and is typical of the premium nature of the Rhino range – Benro's high-end tripods. It also comes with all the bells and whistles you could ask far from a higher-end model, including a phone mount, carbon fiber tubes and a detachable monopod.

In our Benro Rhino 24C Two series review, we called it an excellent tripod and praised its sleek design, reliability and portability. It's not the smallest tripod on this list, but since it folds down to 19.3 inches, it's still very compact and is TSA-friendly. When completely extended, it measures 169cm (66.3 inches) so it should be tall enough for most users. As mentioned, it can be configured into a monopod, making it versatile for different types of photography.

Although this tripod is more expensive than others on this list, many professional travel photographers would find it a wise investment. The great thing about Benro is the range of height and size options available for each product. The Rhino comes in four different sizes and a choice between either four or five leg sections, so photographers can choose whichever size best suits their needs. 

We found it easy to set up and take down in the dark. The rubber grips were soft on the hands, and the interchangeable feet were a nice touch—we found that swapping to the spiky feet helped with stability when we were shooting in windy conditions. The VX25 head also has some neat safety features to prevent your camera from slipping off or being dropped, something many other tripod manufacturers don't think of. 

Overall, we loved this tripod and gave it five stars. Although it's certainly an investment, we think it'll last you a very long time.

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Benro Rhino FRHN24C+VX25 Head
AttributesNotes
DesignStylish carbon fiber construction.
PerformanceSturdy and strong.
FunctionalityConverts to monopod.

Best compact option

Best compact option: One of the most slim options on this list, the Tortoise is a fantastic compact option for travel.

Specifications

Weight: 3.3 lbs (1.51kg)
Leg sections: 4
Maximum payload: 30.9 lbs (14kg)
Maximum height: 51-inches (129.5cm)
Folded height: 21.3-inches (54cm)

Reasons to buy

+
Slimline and compact
+
Fantastic build quality
+
Easy to set up and take down

Reasons to avoid

-
Controls on the head are bulky
-
No center column
Buy if:

✅  You want to shoot low to the ground: The legs can splay out to almost 90-degrees, which is great for those shots where you need to be as low to the ground as possible.

Don't buy if:

❌ You want height: There's no center column, so it can't reach the heights that other tripods can.

The bottom line

🔎 Benro Tortoise 24C Tripod x GX30 head: A sturdy and reliable tripod that will last you for years to come. It doesn't sit at the affordable end of the market, but for photographers who need something lightweight and user-friendly, you can't go wrong. ★★★★

The weight and compactness of this tripod make it a compelling option, as we noted in our Benro Tortoise 24C Tripod review, so much so that we weren't sure why it wasn't their flagship tripod. Ultimately, the Rhino may be the superior option for those who favor height and versatility — but the Tortoise is otherwise an excellent option.  

The Tortoise doesn't have a center column, which is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, this lack of center column means the tripod doesn't extend very high; at 5'4 feet tall, our reviewer felt they had to stoop to use it even at full height. 

However, the absence of a center column also means the Benro Tortoise 24C tripod is lighter and more compact than some of the other picks on this list, so it's a great companion for travel photographers. Additionally, having no column in the center means the tripod's legs can spread out at almost 90 degrees, making it much more flexible than other tripods in this guide. As such, it's a great choice for those seeking to take photographers from unique angles.

The GX30 head features two safety elements to prevent the camera from slipping off when you're putting it on or taking it off, but we thought overall the head was bulkier than it needed to be. The main ball adjustment knob protrudes out a fair amount when, in our opinion, it doesn't need to. That said, it's not impractical, we just think it could do with being smaller.

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Benro Tortoise 24C Tripod x GX30 head
AttributesNotes
DesignLightweight and compact.
PerformanceCan shoot low to the ground.
FunctionalityLack of center column aids its slimline design.

Best lightweight option

The Vanguard VEO 3 GO 204CB tripod on a white background

One of the lightest tripods on offer at just 1.8 lbs, the Vanguard VEO 3 GO 204 CB tripod would make the ideal travel tripod. (Image credit: Vanguard)

Vanguard VEO 3 GO 204CB Carbon Fiber Tripod

Best lightweight option: One of the most popular and accessible travel tripods out there

Specifications

Weight: 1.8 lbs (0.82kg)
Leg sections: 4
Maximum payload: 6.6 lbs (2.99kg)
Maximum height: 51.6-inches (131cm)
Folded height: 13.6-inches (34.5cm)

Reasons to buy

+
Very light and compact
+
Vanguard quality impresses
+
Smooth operating ball-head 

Reasons to avoid

-
Can be a bit unstable with center column raised
-
Not the tallest tripod on offer 
Buy if:

✅  Being lightweight is important: This tripod weighs less than 2 lbs but still has a maximum payload of 6.6 lbs. It folds down to 13.6 inches, too.

✅  You want an affordable carbon fiber tripod: This tripod is excellent value for money and a great price for a carbon fiber model.

Don't buy if:

You're looking for a lot of height: This one can extend to a height of 51.6-inches which may be a bit small for some.

The bottom line

🔎 Vanguard VEO 3 GO 204CB Carbon Fiber Tripod: You won't find a travel tripod much lighter than this compact option from Vanguard. It would be ideal for those dark nights when you have to hike to get to your chosen location. ★★★★½

While the Vanguard VEO 3 GO 204CB tripod can only extend to a height of 51.6 inches (1.3 m), we were astonished by its lightness — with this model weighing just 1.8 lbs (0.81 kg). Although there are taller tripods in this guide, and those that can bear a weight greater than its 6.6 lbs (3 kg) maximum, you can do much worse for pure portability.

This tripod is perfect for travel or hiking, particularly if you're going to remote locations to shoot astrophotography under glorious dark skies. It can collapse down to just 13.6 inches in length, which is quite impressive. 

Although it may not be as tall as other tripods, its lightweight and compact design makes it an attractive choice. Photographers on the go will also appreciate its smooth-operating ball head, and overall, we think the build quality is top-notch.

The Vanguard VEO 3 GO is also a rather versatile tripod, given it can convert to a monopod and a selfie stick. Because of that, we think it's a great choice for videographers or photographers who like to get creative. 

Despite being a carbon fiber tripod, the Vanguard VEO 3 GO 204CB is surprisingly affordable. There is an aluminum model available, but it's not that much cheaper so in this instance, we'd recommend you go for the carbon fiber and keep the weight as low as possible (the aluminum version is a few ounces heavier at 2.1 lbs).

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Vanguard VEO 3 GO 204CB Carbon Fiber Tripod
AttributesNotes
DesignVery light and compact.
PerformanceSmooth operating ball-head.
FunctionalityConverts into monopod.

Best for videographers

Best for videographers and an excellent addition to the majority of photographers' toolkits

Specifications

Weight: 3.3 lbs (1.49kg)
Leg sections: 4
Maximum payload: 19.8 lbs (9kg)
Maximum height: 59.4-inches (150cm)
Folded height: 16-inches (40cm)

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight unit
+
Nice three-way video head included 
+
Suitable for many photography styles

Reasons to avoid

-
Some obstructions to DSLR operation
-
Maximum height is smaller than others
Buy if:

✅  You're a videographer: The three-way ball head employs a hydraulic dampening mechanism to ensure the camera moves smoothly.

Don't buy if:

You will get frustrated having to take the camera off your tripod: We found that we sometimes had to remove the camera from the plate to access the battery and memory card doors.

The bottom line

🔎 Manfrotto Befree 3 Way Advanced Tripod: At 3.28 lbs, the Italian-made Manfrotto Befree Advanced Travel Tripod isn’t ultra-lightweight, yet this aluminum travel tripod is not much heavier than its far pricier carbon fiber rivals. As travel tripods go, it’s not as compact when collapsed as others, yet it’s as advanced as any we’ve come across. ★★★★½

We highlighted the excellent build quality of this tripod in our Manfrotto Befree Advanced Tripod review, especially the presence of a central column that makes it incredibly reliable. We should note that it isn't the lightest out there — weighing 3.28 lbs (1.49 kg) — but it earns its place on this list as an excellent option for videographers.

Aside from its sturdy design, we particularly appreciated how affordable the Manfrotto Befree tripod is. It's great value for money compared to more expensive carbon fiber tripods in this guide, and it even comes with its own carry case.

This tripod can reach a maximum height of 59 inches and collapses to 15.7 inches when packed up. It has a reverse folding design which works fine for transportation, but it's not as compact as some other tripods on our list, and there are noticeable gaps between the legs which could waste space when packing it in a suitcase.

It comes with a new and improved ball head that features 360-degree flexibility and the 200PL PRO base plate attaches easily to your camera using a D-ring, which can be done anywhere and requires no extra tools, which is great when you're using it in the dark. 

The four-section legs are versatile, with three angled positions that click neatly into place and sturdy rubber feet to provide grip. While it's not the smallest or lightest travel tripod out there, it's great value for the quality you get.

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Manfrotto Befree 3 Way Advanced Tripod
AttributesNotes
DesignLightweight unit.
PerformanceSuitable for many photography styles.
FunctionalityNice three-way video head included.

Best for content creators

Best for content creators: This tripod can be wrapped around tree branches and fences

Specifications

Weight: 8.7 oz (463g)
Leg sections: 1
Maximum payload: 6.6 lbs (3kg)
Maximum height: 12-inches (30cm)
Folded height: 12-inches (30cm)

Reasons to buy

+
Uses interchangeable quick-release plate
+
Can grip onto almost anything

Reasons to avoid

-
Legs can be a bit fiddly
-
Maximum payload is a little low
Buy if: