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06-29-2015, 04:47 PM   #1
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Solid Hiking Tripod

I have been looking for a good hiking tripod and need the forum's experience to aid me. I am going to be hiking and camping the Narrows in Zion National Park. I own a Manfrotto tripod with a Kirk ball head and I love it but it is way too heavy to carry on this hike. I have been looking at the MeFoto Backpacker tripod and the Manfrotto off road tripod. Both of these are under $150, which is the budget I would like to stay around. The Silk Spirit 150 has a $60 rebate making it $60, so that is very appealing if anyone has good experiences with this tripod. So I am asking if anyone has good or bad experiences with any of these three tripods, or can recommend something else they like better. I need something light and stable enough to be used in low level running water. I would like to keep it reasonably cheap because I have a solid tripod I use for most needs. I know I can't get light,stable and cheap but it only needs to be reasonably stable and can be of questionable quality because it will only be used for rare overnight hikes. Any input would help, thanks.

06-29-2015, 06:09 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ace Quote
I need something light and stable enough to be used in low level running water.
QuoteOriginally posted by Ace Quote
I know I can't get light,stable and cheap
It would appear that you stated your functional requirements and moderate price may fit too, but much depends on the camera/lens combos you are intending to use. A few years ago, I was facing the same conundrum and my initial solution was a Slik Sprint Pro II (similar to the Slik 150). Bad choice for anything more than a P&S. What then? Below are two links to a pair of blog posts I did for Hinman a few years back. The path of discovery as well as the final solution are detailed there.
The Magic Tripod

Magic Tripod, Part II
For those not patient enough to read the full articles, the executive summary is:
  • Slik 330DX legs
  • Manfrotto 494 mini ballhead
  • ~$130 USD for pair
  • 8.8 lbs real world capacity*
  • 3 lbs weight in field configuration
I have been using the combo for several years now for travel and hiking use and am still very happy. My only point of friction has been with the three-section legs. The four-section version (Slik 340DX) might be a better choice for some users.


* Tripod capacity is always a point of vagueness. Most manufacturers have a small print disclaimer indicating "with balanced load" or something to that affect. I approach it from the perspective of whether the legs and/or head will hold a set position easily without deflection and resistance to shock or vibration and/or low frequency pressure (e.g. water movement) with the intended kit. The second link above covers that aspect.

Last edited by stevebrot; 06-29-2015 at 06:17 PM.
06-29-2015, 06:31 PM   #3
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I would strongly consider the Sirui T-025x. It is a tad out of budget but if you look on ebay or for a used one you may be able to find one close to $150. I have one of their larger carbon fiber tripods, the N2205, and it is seriously rock solid. I have gone through many tripods and for its size have found nothing as stable yet. I also own the T-005x which is the aluminum version of the T-025x I am recommending. It is a tiny little tripod and definitely suffers from flex due to the small leg size. I imagine the T-025x would be more stable given the rigid nature of the carbon fiber. It is smaller and lighter than the Mefoto but still offers great flexibility. Anyway, just something to consider. Many dismiss Sirui because they are foreign and still new to the game but they have been remarkable from my experience.

Also, avoid the Slik Sprint. It is not a bad tripod but it is not even comparable to the others you are looking at. One leg on mine broke and the leg angle adjusters became locked in place within a year of owning it. My Sirui has been put through hell for 4 years and is still going strong.
06-29-2015, 07:58 PM   #4
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I cannot offer advice about specific current tripod legs (or a head); however, it seems the tripod with the fewest leg sections is much more rigid for its weight. The disadvantage is a longer collapsed tripod--but that is not usually a problem as it can attach to the side of the pack. Also it likely cannot go as low, for macro shots of flowers and the like--that may or may not be important.
I made a mistake in the early 1970's and got a 4 leg section Gitzo--and while it is good for near the ground shots, it is not very sturdy when extended. A longer 3 leg section version would have served me better. The advantage of the short collapsed length for carrying never really became an attribute (for me).

06-29-2015, 08:30 PM   #5
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You can also look into the Dolica LA600 Pro 60 inch tripod. It costs about $80.00.
06-30-2015, 12:03 AM   #6
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+1 for Sirui T-025x, you can't go wrong with this one.
Have a look at the reviews, if I remember right someone used it when they did a New Zealand Hiking Trip and wrote about it here on the PF.
06-30-2015, 03:44 AM   #7
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I got an Sirui T-004X for 169€ and I like it very much! Of course it is a tick out of your price range

weight with head 1,1kg
packing height 400mm (on my backpack waaay better than 300mm)
max height 1390mm
main column is adjustible in height
max load 4kg (legs are specified for 6kg but the head for just 4kg)
3 Sektions

source: T04X-Serie ǀ Sirui

The facts that the 400mm fits better to my backpack, the adjustible main column feels better than the fixed one, and a bit more hight i decided to go with this one instead of the t-005x/t-025x
but thats just my humble opinion

regards Sascha

pictures of the t004x

07-08-2015, 07:22 AM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by turff Quote
I would strongly consider the Sirui T-025x
I recommend this one too. Why?

1-It's the lightest in its category
2-it's the shortest, when collapsed, in its category
3-it can bear a lot of weigth
4-it's extremely well made
5-it's probably among the cheapest "brand" carbon fiber tripods you can get

I have never, for a single moment, regretted this purchase. Here's the review made by Heie

Sirui T-025x Travel Tripod Review - Introduction | Reviews

And here's my take on it:
07-08-2015, 08:11 AM   #9
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Another vote for the Sirui T-025x. It is the tripod to end all tripods for me. It does everything that my full-sized tripods can, it's at least as stable as my heavy aluminum tripod, it folds up small enough I can throw it in my purse (!!!) and it's so light that I can carry it everywhere and forget that I'm even carrying it. It's a little out of your price range, but it's absolutely worth it. I literally cannot think of how anyone would even design a better tripod.
08-10-2015, 07:06 PM   #10
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Would something like the GorillaPod Camera Tripods work?

Official Store: Shop the JOBY Store for GorillaPod, GripTight, Camera Straps and GorillaTorch - innovative adapatable accessories

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