Are you a hiking enthusiast who loves freezing beautiful scenery? Or are you a professional photographer who often hikes to capture the best views? Either way, you cannot avoid taking your tripod along. A tripod is essential to get crisp images without any noise or blur.
Tripods are necessary when you have to click images in low light or long exposure photos of waterfalls during your journey. And if you go hiking early morning or in the evening, you need a tripod to get that shot right.
But carrying a tripod can hamper your hiking experience as it can be heavy and not compact. So, you need a tripod that’s lightweight, easy to put in your backpack and carry out, and stable.
We’ve got the correct list for you if you’re looking for ways to carry your tripod on your next hike. Read on to find more about the different ways here.
9 Ways to Carry Tripod While Hiking
We’ve compiled nine ways to carry your tripod with ease while hiking so you don’t have to worry about breaking or being a burden during your trip.
1. Carry Mono Pods
While tripods keep your camera stable, monopods often work well because they are travel friendly. Since monopods come with just a single leg, they are compact and lightweight, making them easy to carry around. Of course, nothing can beat a tripod’s stability, but carrying the long heavy tripod can be challenging.
There are convertible tripods available where you can adjust and convert them to monopods too. You can definitely go for this option as you can switch between the two when the need arises.
But that only increases the weight of your backpack. With tripods, you can walk away and not worry about the camera hitting the ground, but that’s not the case with monopods. Due to this, monopods are used only in specific locations such as crowded areas or during music and sports photography.
However, you can carry monopods and shoot at slower shutter speeds without moving far from it. Monopods have their own disadvantages, but if you need a compact one that fits your backpack easily, they can be great.
Some monopods have feet that act as a support system to reduce motion blur. So, depending on the location, you’re hiking and the distance of your hike, you can always get a monopod to get sharp images because clicking using a monopod is always better than clicking with your hands. So, assess your needs and go for the one that suits your budget and style. You can have both to use it at different scenarios such as hiking. So, buying a monopod is not that bad at all if you get images clean and sharp.
2. Tripod Straps
Using tripod straps is another best way to carry your tripod while hiking. You can connect these straps to the strap eye on your tripod while the bottom wraps around the legs of the tripod so you can carry it on your back as a shoulder-sling.
You need to fix the loops on the strap to your tripod, creating a sling. You can find many on e-commerce sites like Amazon. Tripod straps are easy to connect and disconnect, making them easy to use. If you always leave your tripod behind because it’s a hassle to carry during hiking, buy these tripod straps and notice the difference.
Most of the straps are built to withstand the tripod’s weight and are made of soft and durable material, so it doesn’t dig into your shoulder. But check the strap material, durability, and strength of the straps before buying, as sometimes, you may have a hard time carrying the tripod with the straps if they don’t sit on your shoulders perfectly.
Also, ensure it takes to take the load and doesn’t break easily. Remember not to go for a thin base as it can break easily and pierce into your shoulder, hindering your hiking experience.
Carefully do your research, check reviews or go to the nearby store and try it for yourself before buying one. Using tripod straps is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to carry tripods on a hike. But finding the right one can be challenging.
3. Fix it to your Backpacks
You can mount the tripod on your backpack from the center by clipping them on the webbing present at the back of the bag. This is one of the easiest methods as you don’t have to spend extra on straps or look for custom loops.
These webbings hold the tripod well for a long time and are best for long distances because you will have to remove the backpack every time you want to use the tripod. Another method is to place it on the side of the bag. You need to strap the two legs of the tripod on one side for uniform weight distribution.
It’s a simple way to carry tripods but may not be ideal for short distances. One more way to carry a tripod on your backpack is to strap them horizontally at the bottom. You can get tripod loops and attach them to your backpack straps so the tripod will sit horizontally below your backpack. You can also try placing the tripods using straps from Mindshift, which secure the tripods easily.
You can buy straps, place them on different sides of the backpack, and see which works the best. You need a secure and stable way to carry the tripod for long distances, and these methods will help you do it.
There are plenty of ways to attach your tripod to your backpack, so you need to explore and do your research before sticking to one that’s best for you. If you’re a serious photographer, you will know why carrying a tripod on every hike is essential.
4. Buy a Traveller Tripod
Several brands manufacture traveler tripods that can be the best alternative to regular tripods. Though nothing can beat standard tripods, these tripods do their job well. Traveler tripods are lightweight and come in a smaller size, making them easy to carry when hiking.
When tripods are heavy, it will not only be challenging to carry them even with all the hacks with straps but will also ruin your hiking experience by causing discomfort. So, traveler tripods are built keeping this in mind and hence are convenient to carry around.
These tripods are made of carbon or aluminum, but most prefer the ones made from carbon as they are lighter than aluminum. But when you go looking for lightweight tripods, their cost gradually increases. So, carbon tripods are quite expensive and may not be as reliable as standard tripods, but if you don’t want to deal with the inconvenience of carrying the heavier one, these can be the best for you.
Some of the traveler tripods may not be stable and may wobble when you place a DSLR on them, so you need to consider a lot of parameters before buying one. Some of these tripods can also be converted to monopods which is great!
You can get a two-in-one deal and also be able to carry them easily when hiking. You may even be able to capture some stunning panoramas and landscape shots with these, as they are not that bad either. You can think of this option if you don’t want to deal with making straps and mounting them on your backpacks.
5. Mini Tripod
While mounting your tripods on the side of your backpack or at the bottom requires you to put your backpack down every time you want to use it, carrying mini tripods will be seamless.
They are stable and easy to carry around too. You can carry them in your pockets and quickly take them out to get that shot. Most of these mini tripods come with exceptional features where you can use them as both a selfie stick and handgrip. So, carrying a multi-functional tripod will always benefit you when hiking.
Mini tripods come in different varieties, so you need to choose the correct one depending on your camera. For mirrorless cameras, most mini tripods can do the job well, but if you’re using a DSLR, you may need a sturdier tripod that can take the weight of your camera.
Some of these mini tripods can also be placed on uneven surfaces or tree branches, helping you get the best shot from every angle. The tripods are adjustable and have extendable legs, so you can use them on every surface without switching to other kinds of tripods.
One major drawback with these mini tripods is they may not be that rigid and be spindly when placed on uneven surfaces, so you need to buy a good one that’s robust enough to handle any camera.
Most tripods are compact when folded, so it’s easy to place them in your backpack or carry it in your pockets. But they all come at a price, so if you’re looking for a budget-friendly alternative, going with mini tripods may not be the best option.
6. Tripod Bags
If you don’t want to invest in monopods or mini tripods, buying a tripod bag for your already purchased tripod is another good option. These bags come with protective covers and have zippers that securely protect your tripods if you often go hiking in forest areas or rough terrains.
They have foam padding and come with heavy-duty loops to hold the tripods well. Tripod bags come at different sizes and prices, so you need to choose the perfect one for your tripod. Some tripod bags come with wheels to make it easier for you.
You can then pull them behind your back and not carry them on your shoulders. These bags are multi-functional, so it will benefit you if you invest in a tripod bag one time.
You can go with these three types of tripod bags:
- Classic tripod bags
- Tripod backpacks and
- Tripod cases
Classic tripod bags have a strap where you can carry them on your shoulders, and these bags have extra space and a protective covering to protect your tripod.
When it comes to tripod backpacks, you can store both your tripod and other camera accessories. But they can get heavier as you store more items which may cause discomfort when hiking.
On the other hand, Tripod cases are a little expensive and are carried over wheels or pulled. They are very stable and are a practical alternative to carrying your tripods with ease. There is also additional space to keep all your camera accessories to carry them easily on wheels. But before buying, be sure to choose the right size and check if it can take a load of your equipment well.
Also, don’t forget to check the material of the tripod bags and go with the bags made of nylon which is ideal. Ensure these bags have good padding and are tear-resistant, so they stay for years. Since you’ll be hiking on rugged and uneven terrains, you need to invest in a good tripod bag that is perfect for the occasion.
7. Carry the Tripod on your Shoulder
If you usually go hiking on even terrains, carrying your tripod on your shoulder is best. If the straps dig into your shoulder, you can use a closed-cell foam ground pad on your strap for better protection.
Though it may not look good, you will not have a sore shoulder after a long hike. But mounting your tripod on your shoulder is suitable for short distances. There are many options, like blue foam and yellow foam, to choose from, or you can also use elastic straps to carry it easily.
The tripod may bounce with the elastic straps, but it will not matter when you’re hiking or walking. You need to experiment with different forms and see which works the best for you. There’s one more way to carry your tripod on your shoulder: using knee pads.
These knee pads protect your shoulder from cutting a groove and will save you from shoulder abrasions. You can also get foam pipe insulation and tape it to your tripod legs which will work great as they provide excellent padding and insulation and protect your tripod in any weather condition. If you feel it’s not enough for extra protection, you can add more padding.
8. Sew your Own Tie Down Loops
If none of the techniques work for you, create your own! Yes, you can make a DIY strap or tie-down loops without spending much. There are plenty of YouTube videos on making your straps and other ways to keep your tripod for hiking.
You need to get the materials and start making them. With all the different ways of carrying the tripod and seeing them fail, you now know how your ideal tripod holder should be. Make your vision come to life by having your tripod holder.
Check the materials used and search for the material that you think is durable and soft so you can carry it on your shoulder easily. Understand the working of tripod holders and apply it to your own design. It will take a lot of tries and tests, but you will eventually have a tripod holder that’s perfect for you.
Designing your own is not easy, but you can give it a try if you have no other way around it. Doing your own is also cost-effective, so you don’t have to worry about spending another significant amount to buy a tripod holder that doesn’t do its job right.
You can make them waterproof by buying rain covers rather than going for the expensive route and buying a similar one at a price. You can modify your backpack or use old unused items in your house and turn it into something useful in no time.
9. Carry using a Soft Gun Case
This may seem a little unconventional, but you can use a gun case to carry your tripod. If you’re going on short trails or are a casual hiker, these gun cases can be the best as they are dense foam padding that offers maximum protection.
They can protect your tripods well, but people may get suspicious when carrying these, but they can be used if none of the other ways have worked. Rifle cases come in different lengths to buy the one long enough for your tripod, and they are made of durable and robust materials for extra protection. Though some may be heavy, you need to check the features of the case before buying.
Always ensure they have foam padding, roller wheels if you need them, and handles and hinges. Gun cases for tripods are always great if you’re a serious photographer and carry your tripod everywhere. Keeping your tripod safe during long-distance hikes is very important.
Still, it can be challenging to carry it on rough and uneven trails, so you need a feasible way to carry them without causing any discomfort. While we’ve seen some of the best ways to carry them around, you need to figure out which works the best for you. These are just tips to help you, but in the end, you need to choose the one that works well for you. If you think carrying gun cases is not a problem or if the area you live in is not gun-shy, you can definitely give this a try.
Since this is a universal problem for every photographer who goes on adventures, many brands have come up with solutions to make it easier for you. Overall, these are just some of the ways that you can carry your tripod when hiking for long distances.
If you’ve tried some of them but haven’t found them convenient, you can create your own using DIY methods. Depending on the tripod you have and the nature of your hike, you need to go for the one that works the best for you.
Carrying a tripod is challenging, but we hope these nine methods have helped you find a way to carry it with you conveniently on your next hike.
Hey Guys I am Michael, I am a writer & editor at Outside Origin. I love being in the outdoors and I hike quite often. I have actually hiked at Inca Trail, Samaria Gorge, and Milford to name a few. I plan on visiting more locations and hiking trails!