Top 6 Strongest and Lightweight Travel Tripods in 2024

April 4, 2024
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Finding the ideal travel tripod can transform your photography journey, especially for those who love capturing the world through their lens while traveling the globe. 

The Looxcie team dove deep into the world of tripods, evaluating more than 50 models from a variety of brands across a range of price points. 

Whether you’re in the market for the latest in lightweight carbon fiber or a more budget-conscious aluminum model, this guide is tailored to help you find that perfect blend of stability and convenience.

Why Are Tripods Important?

Beyond being a mere accessory, a sturdy tripod is a game-changing tool for photographers. It’s what you need for nailing those mesmerizing long-exposure shots, from the silky flow of waterfalls to the starry night skies, or for creating dynamic time-lapses and expansive panoramic shots. 

Even more, it can be the difference between a blurred selfie and a crisp group shot. In low light, when the camera’s stability is paramount, a tripod ensures your shots are sharp and clear.

6 Perfect Travel Tripods: Lightweight and Strong

When scouting for a travel tripod, a few key attributes stand out: strength, compactness, and lightness. Your tripod should be a reliable partner that can comfortably hold up your camera setup—be it a hefty DSLR with a zoom lens or a sleek mirrorless body—without causing undue vibration or sway. 

But it’s not just about holding your camera steady; the best tripods also introduce innovative features that make photography not just easier but downright enjoyable.

Here’s the lowdown: using a tripod can take your photos from “nice” to “Are you a professional?” territory. It’s not just about avoiding blurry photos – a solid tripod can open up a world of creative possibilities, improve your shot composition, and generally make your life easier.

Based on everything we’ve seen and tested, here are our top picks for travel tripods that are sure to impress on your next outing. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just getting into photography, these are the tripods that stand out for their balance of performance, portability, and price.

1. Peak Design Tripod: The Ultimate Companion for Mirrorless and DSLR Cameras

Ever looked at a tripod and thought, “Man, that’s as slim as a can of beans when it’s packed up?” That’s the Peak Design Tripod for you. Its magic trick is folding down without leaving any awkward ‘dead space’ – making it perfect to slip into your travel backpack’s water bottle pocket. 

No bulky ball head sticking out, just a sleek design all the way. Standing at a compact folded height of just 39cm, it’s the travel photographer’s dream.

Now, let’s talk about the nitty-gritty – the specs that make this tripod stand tall (pun intended) among its peers:

  • Max Height: This beauty stretches out to 153cm, offering both a good height for ease of use and maintaining a sturdy posture. Though it’s wise to not pop the center column up on a windy day – a common tip for all light tripods.
  • Weight Matters: Opting between aluminum and carbon fiber? Both are light enough not to be a burden but robust enough to hold your gear steady. The carbon fiber shaves off an extra 29g, but whether that’s worth the splurge, is your call.
  • Built to Last: Peak Design doesn’t mess around when it comes to quality. And with a lifetime guarantee, it’s a reassuring pat on the back for anyone who’s about to hit the road often. Spotting scope users, you’re in for a treat too.
  • Sturdy as a Rock: Five leg sections and still stands firm? You bet. With a 9kg load capacity, it’s a fortress for nearly any camera-lens combo. Got a gusty day? Just hang your pack on the hook under the center column for extra stability. Perfect for mirrorless setups; hefty DSLRs with big lenses might just test their limits.
  • Feature-Packed: This tripod doesn’t skimp on extras. A hidden smartphone holder? Check. Quick deployment, easy-to-adjust lever locks, and a design that packs away with zero fuss? All checks. Its unique design doesn’t just stop at functionality; sliding it into a bag is as smooth as tucking away a water bottle.
  • Value for Money: Peek at any online forum, and you’ll see folks rave about its worth despite its price tag. You’re not just buying a tripod; you’re investing in innovation, durability, and a piece of gear that stands out. The aluminum version hits the sweet spot for value, though the carbon fiber variant has that extra oomph.

The Peak Design Tripod isn’t just another tripod. It redefines what a travel tripod can be – incredibly compact, feature-rich, and designed with the photographer’s needs in mind. 

From its unique body/ball-head combo that folds down without a hitch to its fast setup and tear-down, it’s the tripod you didn’t know you needed. With a lifetime warranty to boot, it’s hard not to recommend it as the go-to choice for anyone serious about their photography game on the go.

2. HEIPI 3-in-1: The Stability King of Travel Tripods

Ever seen a tripod that’s as snug as a bug in a rug when packed up? That’s the HEIPI 3-in-1 tripod for you. 

With its clever design, it cuts out all the unnecessary gaps when folded, making it a breeze to slide into its carry case – a refreshing change from some of the snugger fits out there.

  • Max Height: Standing tall at 150cm, it offers a good reach but, like its peers, might ask taller photographers to bend a bit.
  • Light but Mighty: Weighing in at 1.35kg (trim it down to 1.2kg by ditching the sub tripod), the HEIPI strikes a beautiful balance between being lightweight for those airport sprints and sturdy enough to stand its ground against the whims of Mother Nature. Yet, for the ultralight travelers, there are even lighter whispers in the wind.
  • Built Tough: This tripod is no delicate flower. It’s built for the adventurous, with legs that extend smoothly and lock tightly. The ball head? Solid as they come, ready for whatever trek you throw at it.
  • A Sturdy Foundation: This is HEIPI’s ace – its unique sub-tripod design. Tucked within the main frame, this aluminum mini-me adds an unparalleled level of stability. Whether you’re capturing the night sky or need something steadfast on uneven terrain, this tripod is your rock. For astrophotography enthusiasts or DSLR warriors seeking portability without compromise, the HEIPI is a dream come true.
  • Feature-Rich: Imagine a tripod that not only stands but also sits for those low-angle shots, thanks to its innovative sub-tripod. Twist open, and you’ve got yourself a mini tripod perfect for table-top photography. The design is such that you get a multi-functional tool – spiked feet for the rugged outdoors, hex keys for adjustments, and a quick-release plate for swift setup. The detachable ball head doubles as a bonus accessory, complete with a bubble level for precision and a hook for extra stability.
  • Value: It’s not what you’d call cheap, but with the HEIPI, you’re investing in versatility and innovation. Essentially, you’re bagging two tripods in one – both of exceptional quality and packed with features that justify the tag. And while it’s a premium pick, it still manages to undercut its rival, the carbon fiber variant of the Peak Design Tripod, making it a smart buy.

With its groundbreaking sub-tripod feature, the HEIPI 3-in-1 stands out in the tripod crowd. It’s a design that offers exceptional stability, whether fully extended or compacted for travel. 

The dual-functionality, coupled with its ability to support hefty gear, makes it an ideal choice for photographers on the move. Add to that its compact form factor, and you’ve got a travel companion ready to document your adventures without missing a beat.

3. 3 Legged Thing Punks Corey: The Backpacker’s Dream Tripod

Meet the Punks Corey, designed with the adventurous photographer in mind. 

Its compact design, folding down to just 35cm, means it slips into your camera bag or backpack with ease, barely taking up any room.

  • Max Height: With a stretch of 147.5cm, it’s not just about reaching a good height but doing so while maintaining a sturdy stance, essential for capturing those breathtaking views without compromise.
  • Weight and Portability: Weighing in at a mere 1.5kg, the Corey is the kind of companion that won’t weigh you down on those long hikes. It’s the epitome of what a backpacking tripod should be—lightweight yet sturdy.
  • Built Tough: Crafted from aircraft-grade magnesium alloy, this tripod doesn’t just talk the talk. It walks the walk with a strength-to-weight ratio that’s hard to beat, complemented by a top-notch ball head design for those smooth pans and tilts.
  • Steady as She Goes: Thanks to its five-section legs and a cleverly designed two-section center column, stability isn’t just a buzzword for the Punks Corey—it’s a guarantee. And with the ability to hang extra weight for even more steadiness, it’s ready for anything. Plus, it can handle a whopping 14kg of gear.
  • FeatureRich: From its twist locks for quick setup to the AirHed Neo ball head for precision shots, and not forgetting the ergonomic grip for comfort in any weather, this tripod is brimming with features. It even transforms into a monopod, offers invertible columns for those close-to-earth shots, and comes with a tri-mount plate for all your accessory needs. And, let’s not overlook the included ‘Toolz’ multi-tool—because who doesn’t love a bit of added utility?
  • Value: Offering a solid bang for your buck, the Punks Corey is a solid investment, backed by a 5-year warranty to boot. It’s a quality option without having to empty your wallet.

For backpackers, the 3 Legged Thing Punks Corey is a no-brainer. It’s got the height, the build, and the features, all wrapped up in a lightweight package that won’t slow you down. 

Whether it’s sprawling the legs out for a unique angle or using the monopod for a quick shot, this tripod is as versatile as it is dependable. A definite thumbs up from me.

4. Leofoto LS224C: Your Ultra-Light Travel Companion

Ever heard of the Leofoto LS224C? If not, you’re in for a treat. 

This tripod is a marvel of compactness, folding down to just 47.5cm, making it a snug fit for its own carry bag. And because the center column is optional, you end up with a sleek profile with zero wasted space.

  • Max Height: Standing at about 127cm, the Leofoto doesn’t reach the skies, but it’s solidly in the game. Remember, for the sake of stability, it’s wise to skip extending the center column unless you’re working with perfect ground and no breeze.
  • Featherweight Champion: Weighing in at just 1.42 kg, including the ball head, this carbon fiber wonder is the lightest I’ve tested. It’s a dream for backpackers or anyone keeping an eye on their luggage weight.
  • Construction and Build: Leofoto might not ring a bell like some other names in the tripod world, but don’t let that deter you. Under the hood of Laitu Photographic, they’ve been crafting quality gear since 2014. The LS224C is no exception – its build quality impresses, especially when you extend those legs and feel the solid hinge joints.
  • Stability: Fully deployed, minus the center column, this tripod is as steady as they comes. You’ll sacrifice a bit of height, but the trade-off for rock-solid stability is well worth it.
  • Features Galore: The absence of a designed-around center column is a neat trick for saving space. The twist locks for the legs are quick and easy, needing just a quarter turn to release. Plus, the ability to spread the legs wide for those close-to-the-ground shots is a bonus. And those included steel spikes for softer grounds? A thoughtful touch.
  • Bang for Your Buck: For under $200, the LS224C’s value is hard to beat. It’s lighter and performs just as well, if not better than, options costing twice as much.

If you’re willing to look past the relatively lesser-known name, the Leofoto LS224C is a steal. It’s supremely lightweight, built to last, and offers more stiffness than many of its pricier rivals. A top-notch choice for photographers who prioritize portability without sacrificing performance.

5. ZOMEI Z699C: A Steal for Beginners

Tight on space and budget? The Zomei Z699C could be your ticket to steadier shots without hauling around a bulky setup or emptying your wallet. 

This little guy folds down to just 35cm, making it the most compact tripod I’ve had the pleasure of testing. Ideal for the minimalist traveler or anyone keen on sticking to carry-on luggage.

  • Max Height: With a max height of 152cm, the Zomei doesn’t skimp on elevation, ensuring you’re not hunching over for that perfect shot. Despite its slender build, it stays sturdy, offering flexible leg positions for those adventurous low-angle shots.
  • Featherlight: Weighing in at just 1.3kg, thanks to its carbon fiber construction and a plastic tripod head, this tripod is all about mobility. Carbon fiber’s not just light; it’s tough, resistant to the elements, and generally feels more premium than aluminum.
  • Built for the Road: The legs extend smoothly, locks snapping into place with ease. The grips are sufficient, though winter shooters might yearn for something beefier. The included ball head is straightforward but functional, complete with a handy bubble level.
  • Stands Its Ground: Don’t let its weight fool you – the Zomei can hold up to 15kg, more than enough for most camera-lens combos. Plus, there’s a hook for extra stability, just in case.
  • Features at a Glance: Compact, versatile, and user-friendly, the Zomei checks all the boxes for travel photography essentials. From its monopod conversion capability to its multiple leg angles and rubber-to-spike feet adaptability, it’s equipped for wherever your travels take you.
  • Value That’s Hard to Beat: At its price point, the Zomei Z699C is an unbeatable deal for a carbon fiber tripod. It’s hands-down the best option for budget-conscious travelers or beginners who still demand quality.

The ZOMEI Z699C is an excellent entry-level option that doesn’t skimp on functionality. While it might not boast all the bells and whistles of its pricier counterparts, it nails the basics, offering a lightweight, sturdy, and versatile setup that’s a breeze to use. 

For beginners or those looking to get the most out of their travel photography without splurging, this tripod is a fantastic choice.

6. Manfrotto Befree Live: Videographer’s Choice for On-The-Go Shooting

The BeFree Live brings together portability and functionality, packing down to a manageable size without sacrificing the essential fluid head for video work. 

Though its design doesn’t allow for the snuggest fold compared to some rivals, the option to detach the tripod head does offer extra compactness for those tight on space.

  • Height and Portability: Standing tall at 150cm when fully extended, it offers a comfortable working height without being cumbersome. The tripod folds down to just 40cm, hitting the sweet spot for travel without skimping on usability.
  • Light Yet Sturdy: The fluid head is impressively light at 380g, capable of supporting gear up to 3.9kg. Total weights of 1.76kg for the aluminum version and 1.36kg for carbon fiber are competitive, making it easy to carry around all day. Unless the absolute lightest weight is crucial for you, the aluminum model offers a balanced blend of stability and portability.
  • Quality Build: True to Manfrotto’s reputation, the BeFree Live is solidly constructed, with an intuitive inverse foldable leg design and quality materials that feel secure in hand. It includes a well-designed carry bag for easy transport.
  • Stable Performance: Field tests with a robust camera setup proved its reliability even in challenging conditions, ensuring your video shoots go off without a hitch.
  • Fluid Head Features: The fully adjustable arm and smooth tilt control are standout features, allowing for precise movements and angles. The fluid head is interchangeable with other tripods, offering versatility. Added bonuses like a bubble level and the ‘Easy Link’ attachment point for accessories underscore its professional utility.
  • Exceptional Value: Priced around $270, it presents an unbeatable combination of functionality, quality, and value, especially for a product from a trusted brand like Manfrotto. It’s an investment in smooth, professional-quality video capture on the move.

The Manfrotto Befree Live solidifies its place as an ideal companion for video creators who prioritize mobility without compromising on the quality of their footage. 

Its blend of lightweight design, robust build, and specialized features for video work make it a standout choice for anyone looking to elevate their travel videography.

The Right Tripod Can Change Everything: Choose Wisely!

It’s pretty clear that finding the right tripod is a bit like looking for the perfect travel buddy: you want something reliable, adaptable, and ready for any adventure. Our thorough examination highlighted how crucial tripods are for stepping up your photography game and meeting a wide range of needs, from the type of material and portability to those extra innovative touches.

At the heart of it, photography is all about capturing those moments that tell a story, spark an emotion or freeze time. A trusty tripod is key to this mission, offering the stability and flexibility necessary to bring your vision to life.

So, to every photographer out there, whether you’re just starting out or have been at it for years, here’s a piece of advice: choose a tripod that not only matches your practical needs but also inspires your creative journey.

It’s more than just an accessory to hold your camera—it’s a great way to explore new angles and elevate your photography to dazzling new heights.


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