The best travel tripods need to be small when folded so that you can pack them into a bag or hook them onto one. They should also be light enough to carry them around all day, whether you're exploring city streets or hiking over mountains.
And, ideally, they need to do all this while also doing what you’d expect from the best tripods (opens in new tab) – being sturdy, easy to set up, versatile, adjustable, and strong enough to handle the weight of the best cameras for travel.
A good travel tripod might not reach the same maximum height as a more conventional tripod, and because they're often made from carbon fiber – a superior material to aluminum, which allows for stronger and lighter builds – they can be more expensive. A larger number of leg sections will help a tripod collapse down more but again will add to the cost.
Read more: 7 ways video tripods are different from regular ones (opens in new tab)
In this guide, we’ve made sure to cover a broad range of products, with tripods at different price points. We're here to help you pick the best travel tripod for you, whatever your needs and budget.
The best travel tripods in 2022
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The 6-in-1 billing of the Benro MeFoto RoadTrip Pro (opens in new tab) could fool you into thinking that it's all about versatility, but it's also a very good travel tripod. Even at full height, it's impressively stable for its build, and it packs a few extra features that could come in handy whether you're shooting with a camera or a phone.
It's an excellent travel tripod and the built-in monopod and mini tripod are genuinely valuable additions. It's great that things like the hex key, small tripod legs, and smartphone clamp are contained within or attached to the tripod because you're unlikely to forget or lose them, but it does mean that the tripod is a little heavier than it needs to be.
The Peak Design Travel Tripod is the first tripod Peak Design has made. There is an aluminum version that's a massive 40% cheaper, however, which has all the same design features but just a little less vibration resistance. A couple of the other tripods here will go higher, but the Peak Design will still go to eye level for an average-height person, and it packs down to just 39cm in length.
It's designed to cut out the 'dead volume' between the legs and the column when packed, which means it's not just short when folded but very slim too – you could put this IN your camera bag or cabin bag as well as strap it to the outside. The low-profile ball head is simple but brilliant, there's a phone holder hidden inside the center column and, best of all, this tripod feels seriously rigid.(opens in new tab)
The Gitzo Légende tripod (opens in new tab)stretches the purse strings, but it's an exception travel tripod that is designed to give a lifetime of service. It lacks some of the extras seen on other tripods, but it performs its core function extremely well. It also combines impressively low weight with an unusually tall maximum height for a travel tripod.
Compared with many other travel tripods, the Gitzo Légende offers a fairly limited range of features. It doesn't have a smartphone holder, it doesn't have a removable leg that converts into a monopod, it can't transform into a mini tripod, and it doesn't have any connection points for mounting accessories. It's also one of the most expensive travel tripods available. However, its build quality is exquisite, and it's designed to be the only travel tripod that you ever buy.(opens in new tab)
The Manfrotto Befree 3-Way Live Advanced (opens in new tab) is very clearly designed with this goal in mind – a lightweight photographer’s travel tripod paired with a three-way video head. The fluid head uses a hydraulic damping system to make it easy for the user to make smooth, fluid camera movements. The tripod, meanwhile, provides a good balance between capacity, weight, and price. It’ll take 6kg of kit and only weighs 2kg itself. We’ve tested lighter and stronger tripods, but they tended to be more pricey than this one.
It’s not as tall as some of the other tripods on this list, and we did find during testing that sometimes the design interfered with routine operations like changing the camera battery. But for the vast majority of purposes, this is an impressive all-around package and merits serious consideration for any traveling photographer or videographer.(opens in new tab)
The 3 Legged Thing Leo 2.0 (opens in new tab) is no ordinary tripod. It folds down to just 35cm in length but opens out to offer a maximum height of 146cm and a huge payload capacity of 30kg. It has a detachable monopod leg which can also be used as a microphone or camera boom, a Tri-Mount system for adding accessories, and an innovative two-section center column. You can buy the legs on their own but we’d recommend getting it as a kit with 3 Legged Thing’s new and improved AirHed Pro Lever ball head.
The Leo 2 is not the smallest travel tripod you can get, and not the cheapest, but its ratio of folded length to maximum height, combined with its all-around versatility, make it one of the best.(opens in new tab)
The Benro Rhino FRHN05CVX20 is the smallest of Benro’s four new Rhino travel tripods, but it’s remarkably stiff for such a compact tripod and Benro’s new VX ball heads and their secondary pan axis just under the camera plate are a triumph. Travel tripods have limitations – a lower working height and longer ‘unfolding’ time, but this goes with the territory and we can’t criticize the Benro for this.
The Benro doesn't extend that high, and it soon gets wobbly if you use both center column sections, but with a single column extension or no center column, it's as rigid as much bigger tripods.(opens in new tab)
The Vanguard VEO 3T 235CBP (opens in new tab) has an 8kg payload rating and a compact 41cm closed length, while carbon construction keeps total weight down to a reasonable 1.6kg. The included head has a removable pan handle to allow greater control while filming, and a new Arca-compatible quick-release plate can hold a camera or smartphone up to 85mm wide, plus there's even a Bluetooth remote control for IOS or Android.(opens in new tab)
The Befree Advanced Travel Tripod (opens in new tab) Twist is all about travel but offers extra support compared to most similar products. Its safety payload tops out at 9kg, though in our tests it was able to take an awful lot of gear – we’re talking full-frame cameras with heavy lenses. Still, its key feature is that it weighs a mere 1.49kg, and when packed up it's just 40 cm long (though its ball head adds another 14cm). That’s compact enough to fit into most luggage.
The Befree Advanced Travel Tripod Twist comes bundled with Manfrotto’s compact Advanced 494 aluminum center ball head, which has three independent ergonomic controls. Factor the super-sturdy center column – complete with a locking mechanism – and this travel tripod has an excellent ability to remain solid and steady.
Ticking just about every conceivable box on our wish list, the Benro GoPlus has a modest folded length and generous operating height, coupled with a hefty maximum load capacity. It’s one of a handful of tripods to feature a pivoting center column, enabling a range of locking angles in small increments, through a complete 180-degree arc.
Bubble levels are fitted to the tripod platform for easy leveling, and interchangeable rubber feet and spikes are supplied, along with a padded soft case. One leg can be unscrewed to use as a standalone monopod. However, while it was once sold as a kit with a head, you'll now need to order a ball head (opens in new tab) to go with it (if you don't have one already). The Benro B0 or IB0 would be a good match.(opens in new tab)
For vloggers and content creators, choosing the right tripod can be a real minefield. Unless you're well versed in photography accessories (and even if you are!), the sheer volume of tripods and heads can be overwhelming. Enter Joby, maker of the GorillaPod range, to provide creators with a straightforward solution that ticks all the right boxes. The Joby RangePod Smart is the manufacturer's first full-size tripod and is a worthy travel offering in its own right.
However, this aluminum number is ideal for those who shoot on their phones; it includes a phone clamp with a pair of quarter-inch attachment points to mount your phone horizontally or vertically, so you can quickly switch between regular recording and upright shooting for Instagram or TikTok. With a quick-release Arca-Swiss plate, it's just as adept if you're using a DSLR or mirrorless camera – and its 8kg payload means it can handle chunky lenses with no problem. With a maximum 160cm height, it's also taller than many travel tripods – making it perfect for presenting to the camera at near head height.(opens in new tab)
Gitzo tripods are the Rolls Royce of camera supports, and the Traveler series combines light weight with superb build and design and disarmingly simple operation. The GT1545 Series 1 model has four-section legs, but there is a GT1555 version with 5-section legs – it all depends on whether you favor a speedy setup (fewer sections) over a shorter folded length (more sections).
The prices don't look TOO bad until you factor in the cost of the admittedly brilliant Gitzo 82TQD center ball head. It's an excellent travel tripod, but its price stops the Gitzo from getting to the top of our list, especially since there are a number of equally good tripods that don't have the glamor of the Gitzo brand but are a lot cheaper to buy. But secretly, we all want a Gitzo, right?(opens in new tab)
It's not just still photographers that need travel tripods. The Jay and AirHed Cine are a pretty specialized combination but they do cater to a growing population of series vloggers and one-person filmmakers who don't need a massive professional video tripod but do nevertheless need proper, portable support.
The 3 Legged Thing Legends Jay has no center column (this is video, not eye-level stills photography), but it does have a leveling base – a huge time-saver for setting up panning shots and keeping the camera level. The AirHed Cine is as compact as the Jay and feels like the perfect partner. It has a firm but controllable fixed drag action and a screw-on handle for precise control. The Jay is not too pricey on its own, but if you add the AirHed Cine the price takes a leap. The combination is really compact, though, and just oozes quality.(opens in new tab)
The PIXI EVO is an advanced version of Manfrotto’s original PIXI model and is just as fast to use – you flip out the legs to use it as a tripod or push them back together to make a camera grip – with a ball head that’s released and locked with a simple push button. It's one of the best phone tripods (opens in new tab).
What the EVO adds is two-section legs (yes, really) and two leg angles for low-level shooting. You can get an optional smartphone clamp but its ball head fits directly into regular camera tripod sockets, and it can support compact cameras and small DSLRs, and mirrorless models. Yes, the maximum height is restricted, but it’s super-fast to set up and you can keep it in a jacket pocket! This, or a mini-tripod like it, is the best travel tripod for those who don't want to carry a full-size version.
If you do your travel photography with a smartphone, this is the gadget you need. It’s a spring-loaded grip that opens wide enough to fit even a fat smartphone and clamps around it securely. In the base is a tripod socket for a regular tripod or the tiny pocket tripod included in the kit – you can also use this with the legs folded in as a camera grip. At the top is a Bluetooth shutter button that’s actually built into a tiny remote you can slide out to fire the shutter remotely! You do need to position bigger phones carefully in the clamp to stop the tiny tripod from tipping over, but otherwise, this is sheer genius.