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Travel Tripod

By peak design, a travel tripod that's actually portable. imagine that..

Travel Tripod by Peak Design

  • Revolutionary compactness
  • Pro-level stability
  • Integrated ergonomic ball head

Watch the Video

See how we brought the Travel Tripod to life on Kickstarter.

We Cut the Fat

Travel tripods are supposed to be portable, right? Our revolutionary architecture removes the negative space found in traditional tripods.

Fitting More Into Less

Our Travel Tripod packs down to half the volume of traditional tripods without sacrificing height or stability. How? 4 years of engineering.

Pro Performance

Deploys to 60in and has a 20lb weight capacity. Built for use with full frame DSLRs and telephoto lenses.

Deploys in Seconds

We didn’t just make the tripod smaller, we made it faster . Packed to fully deployed in 9.8 seconds (that’s the office record).

Stable + Stiff

3rd party testing shows that the Peak Design Travel Tripod performs as well, if not better, than significantly bulkier tripods in its class.

Mobile Ready

A brilliantly integrated phone mount lets you capture timelapses and long exposures with the camera in your pocket.

Intuitive to Use

No bulky, confusing knobs. Just a single, ergonomic adjustment ring for smooth and simple control.

Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod

Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod

Aluminum Travel Tripod

Aluminum Travel Tripod

We make gear for the creative and the adventurous.

Our products keep your gear organized, protected, and accessible, so you are free to adventure, commute, and create. We pride ourselves in creating true utility through elegant, thoughtful, award-winning design we guarantee for life.

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Buy new: #buybox .a-accordion .a-accordion-active .a-price[data-a-size=l].reinventPriceAccordionT2 .a-price-whole { font-size: 28px !important; } #buybox .a-accordion .a-accordion-active .a-price[data-a-size=l].reinventPriceAccordionT2 .a-price-fraction, #buybox .a-accordion .a-accordion-active .a-price[data-a-size=l].reinventPriceAccordionT2 .a-price-symbol { top: -0.75em; font-size: 13px; } $599.95 $ 599 . 95 FREE delivery: Thursday, Feb 1 Ships from: Amazon Sold by: Peak Design

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Peak Design Travel Tripod (Carbon Fiber) Ultra-Portable, Stable and Compact Professional Camera Tripod

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Peak Design Travel Tripod (Carbon Fiber) Ultra-Portable, Stable and Compact Professional Camera Tripod

Purchase options and add-ons, about this item.

  • The Travel Tripod brings you pro-level stability, load capacity, and deployed height, yet packs down to the diameter of a water bottle.
  • Unique design allows quicker, easier setup/takedown. Secure, fast, and ergonomic camera quick release. Fast-locking, low profile leg cams.
  • 20lb weight capacity (optimized for a full-frame DSLR or mirrorless cameras + telephoto lens).Suitable for long exposure and Astrophotography when you require a stable but lightweight solution.
  • Built-in and stowable mobile mount. Securely grips any phone/case .Low and inverted modes position your camera inches off the ground . Integrated load hanging hook . Nonslip, shock-absorbing feet .
  • Weather and impact-resistant materials. All parts are serviceable, cleanable, and replaceable. Includes a padded, weatherproof case. Guaranteed for life.

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Product Description

Peak Design PD Logo

LIGHTNING-FAST DEPLOYMENT

  • Unique design allows quicker, easier setup/takedown.
  • Secure, fast, and ergonomic camera quick release.
  • Fast-locking, low profile leg cams.
  • Legs deploy in seconds, without having to flip over like traditional travel tripod legs.

Omni directional head

ERGONOMIC BALL HEAD

  • Ultra-smooth, omnidirectional Compact Ball Head.
  • One single adjustment ring. No bulky or confusing knobs
.
  • Simple locking ring for total security.

L Bracket compatible and arca swiss plates

PRO-LEVEL STABILITY & FEATURES

  • 20lb weight capacity (optimized for a full-frame DSLR + telephoto lens).
  • Stability and vibration damping performance comparable, if not better, than most tripods in its class.
  • Low and inverted modes position your camera inches off the ground
.
  • Integrated load hanging hook
.

No protruding knobs

ONLY THOUGHTFUL DETAILS

  • Anchor attachment points for carrying with Peak Design straps (sold separately).
  • Built-in and stowable mobile mount.
  • No protruding knobs.

Lighting-fast

Ergonomic Ballhead

Pro-Level Features

Thoughtful Details

Whats included

(Please note that the Bushing Removal Tool is supplied in a small, initially hard to find, internal pocket of the Weatherproof Soft Case.)

Specs and Dimensions

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Peak Design Tripod Review (Aluminum)

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Is the Peak Design Tripod Just Hype?

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Peak Design Travel Tripod Review

This Peak Design Travel Tripod review delves deep into what might be the most technological advanced tripod design ever seen. Is it worth the money though?!

Photography Gear Reviews | Tripod & Monopod Reviews | By Matthew Saville

Peak Design has been rethinking the camera accessory market for many years now. You’ve probably already seen their other highly innovative products on the market!

Well, for many years they’ve been secretly brainstorming their most innovative, impressive, and apparently most complex product to date: the Peak Design Travel Tripod.

Instead of just putting their sticker on the same knock-off tripod design that almost every other new brand has been copying for years now, these folks have redesigned this travel tripod from scratch.

Peak-Design-Travel-Tripod-Review

Revolutionary design with useful, well-implemented features. Best all round - highly recommended.

Literally, everything about it is something I’ve never seen before. It’s been a long time since I had this many instances of thinking, “What the heck? This is genius!”

To be honest, when I first heard that another travel tripod was headed my way for review, I groaned. I’ve lost count of how many cheap tripods I’ve broken over the years. Travel tripods, in particular , are usually way too short, very wobbly, and not even lightweight!

It seems that for most tripod makers, the word “travel” has focused on the one dimension- length when collapsed. But, if a tripod is still short when fully extended, not to mention very wobbly and kinda heavy, then I’m not lugging it up a mountain!

So, was I wrong to roll my eyes at the thought of yet another dinky little travel tripod? Indeed, this one is downright tiny. And yes, I was very, very wrong.

Table of Contents

Peak Design Travel Tripod Review Criteria

Peak-Design-Travel-Tripod

See More Reviews

  • Compact, space-saving leg design
  • Very well built
  • Concealed mobile stand
  • Ingenious ball head design
  • Fast Deployment
  • Rigid and strong
  • Could be lighter

Reviewing a tripod might seem very simple and easy. Does it work well? How does it feel? Is it expensive or affordable? Actually, there’s a lot more to it…

To make a long story short, I’ve lost count of how many tripods I’ve used that felt sturdy at first, did their job, and seemed affordable, …yet they broke within 6-12 months, sometimes catastrophically.

For those of you who have never trusted your expensive camera and lens to a tripod, “catastrophic failure” is not a phrase you ever want to hear.

Peak Design Tripod Review

The Peak Design Tripod is almost as short (and a whole lot lighter than) a full-size DSLR & lens, which it can easily support

So, now that I’ve got your attention, here is exactly what I’ve learned to look for in a tripod’s design, and what to test rigorously in the field, in order to determine for sure whether or not it’s a good product.

Specifically, the review categories I use are as follows:

  • Leg locks & center column joints
  • Overall stiffness and “indestructibility”
  • Size – height, weight, & portability
  • Overall value for the money

Before we dive in, here are the specs:

  • Price: $599.95 (carbon fiber; Aluminum: $349.95)
  • Max Height: 60″ (152 cm)
  • Min Height: 5.5″ (10 cm)
  • Compact Length: 15.5″ (39 cm)
  • Max Load Capacity: 20 lbs (9.1 kg)

Build Quality of the Peak Design Tripod

Peak Design Travel Tripod Review

The carbon fiber version looks great!

Right away, I’m impressed by the fact that the Travel Tripod feels strong and sturdy . Its size is deceptive – this thing is built tough, and it has a bit of heft for such a small item.

That’s probably because, unlike most other tripods, there is essentially no empty space at all in between the legs or the head; it is the very definition of space-saving design!

But, don’t let the word “heft” fool you. The Peak Design Tripod weighs in at just under 3.5 lbs (1.5 kgs) including its head, which is well into the zone of “ lightweight “.

Really, it’s the visual of such a tiny item that throws you for a loop. When the Travel Tripod is fully opened/extended, somehow, just looking at it while holding it you get the exact opposite feeling- this tripod weighs almost nothing!

I can’t name it the most “ultralight” option of all, however, since there are tripods in the 2 lb range. Most of those tripods are terrible though, and you’ll want to avoid them. Only a select few ultralight tripods are worth the money, and they’re either extremely expensive, or significantly bigger, or a significant compromise on stiffness and/or height.

Simply put, the Peak Design Travel Tripod strikes a great balance between being lightweight, compact, strong, and durable.

Peak Design Travel Tripod Review

Since I use all kinds of different tripod plates, I immediately grabbed an Allen wrench set and removed these safety pins. (An Allen key that fits these pins is included, too. It’s hidden in a secret pocket on the tripod bag!)

Peak Design Travel Tripod Review

…Now the tripod head is ready for any and all of my Arca-Swiss Plates and feet!

Its materials and workmanship are definitely superior to all of the other generic, knock-off brands out there that re-package the same basic tripod design.

This is a tripod re-imagined from the ground up.

Not only are the Peak Design Tripod’s legs, base, and center column a unique overall shape that allow it to be so compact, but the most prominent elements of design, the leg angle stem and the ball head, are downright brilliant.

(Side note: the team who designed the ball head also designed the Mobile Tripod by Peak Design.)

Tripod Height

Peak Design Travel Tripod shown with camera

Max Height, center column extended: 60″ Min Height, center column un-screwed: 4″

How tall can a tripod hold your camera, safely and steadily? That’s a very important question that some new photographers forget to consider when shopping for a tripod.

With a travel tripod, all that matters is that it’s lightweight and portable, right? Wrong. Because, if you have to hunch over to look through your viewfinder or even to get your face close to the camera’s rear LCD, that can be a problem. Bad posture is never a good thing!

Thankfully, the Peak Design Tripod, despite being one of the tiniest tripods I’ve ever used, it’s also surprisingly tall . It rises to 60″ (150 cm) which is very impressive for a tripod that packs down to just 15.4″ (39 cm).

As someone who is 74″ tall (188cm), it’s not quite tall enough for me to put my eye to the viewfinder. Then again, most travel tripods aren’t. With articulated LCDs appearing on almost every camera now, 60″ is indeed tall enough for most people.

The lowest height of 4″ is possible with the center column unscrewed (provided Allen wrench is required)

I will say, however, that one thing I miss is the medium leg angle which allows you to put the legs halfway between “as tall as possible” and “totally flat”.

Most tripods have three total leg angles, and I’ve grown very accustomed to it. However, this really won’t be a deal-breaker for most photographers. Just don’t leave your camera unattended in high winds.

Tripod Leg Locks & Joints

Peak Design Travel Tripod Review Lever Leg Locks

The leg lever locks might be a bit claw-like, but the leverage they offer will make them painless to operate in cold temperatures.

I must admit, from the pre-release pictures that I saw of the Peak Design Tripod before it was officially announced, the leg locks and joints were my main concern.

There are five leg sections per leg, which means four locks per leg, and they’re lever-lock, not twist-lock. For me as a landscape photographer who uses tripods very heavily, that seemed like two strikes against it.

To my surprise, the legs are some of the stiffest and strongest I’ve ever encountered, and the locks are strong, tight, and very easy to use .

Their large, hooked design makes them extremely easy to unlock and lock all at once when the legs are compacted, and easy enough to lock and unlock when the legs are extended.

As a bonus, the leg locks do have an easy-access Allen key tightening screw, which many lever-lock tripod legs do not have.

(By the way, in case you’re anything like me and don’t fully read instructions before taking gear out into the field to use it, the included Allen key is “hidden” in a secret pocket on the tripod bag.)

Peak Design Tripod Review Allen Key

In case you’re wondering where the Allen key is hidden, here it is!

Really, the crowning achievement to me is the low profile of not just the leg lock joints, but also the rest of the levers and clamps too.

They’re all so flush with everything else that it adds up to make a huge difference in the overall portability of the Peak Design Tripod.

There are no knobs sticking out anywhere, even on the camera plate clamp like there always have been for Arca Swiss clamps. Well done, PD!

Another neat and original feature and something I’ve never seen implemented before is hidden away in the centre column of the Travel Tripod – namely a fold-out stand for securing a smartphone to the tripod ball head.

peak-design-tripod-phone-stand-1

Hidden away in the centre column is a neat little smartphone stand.

For photographers who like to capture the occasional smartphone selfie video, or perhaps even a time-lapse or night photography long exposure to share quickly over social media, it’s a useful little feature.

To deploy it, you just twist the hook attached to the base of the centre column and pull out the clamp, which is folded up and suspended magnetically within the column. Then you clip it to the ball head, just as you would the base plate on your camera, Storing it away is just as fast and simple.

This is the kind of smart, lateral thinking that Peak Design is so well-known for, and yet another small but useful function that makes this tripod stand out from all the others on the market.

Tripod Ball Head

Is the ball head the center column, or is the center column the ball head? They are essentially one and the same.

The head of the Peak Design Travel Tripod is definitely the most unique, dare I say bizarre , and genius things about it. In fact, it’s totally integral to the tripod itself.

Peak Design has completely re-imagined the industry status quo: “you can buy legs and a head separately”. These two parts could not possibly be more intertwined.

The center column itself is part of the head; it’s topped off with a ball, and the clamp sits right on top.

When completely collapsed, the clamp itself slips down in between the leg angle platform. It is this final design characteristic that completes the “no empty spaces” compact design.

You can see more about how the ball head works in the video below:

But, does the ball head actually work well? First, the clamp’s grip itself is very strong. It is ready to keep even a full-frame DSLR with a big flagship f/2.8 zoom perfectly in place.

Of course, you have to crank the locking mechanism down a little aggressively if your body and lens begin approaching the maximum rated weight limit.

On the other hand, all those lightweight mirrorless cameras and crop-sensor systems that many photographers are adopting will feel perfectly at home on this rock-steady platform.

My only critique is that this design inherently forfeits a separate panning knob for the ball head. The center column’s triangular shape means you can’t even cheat by loosening it slightly with the center column down.

Overall, though, it’s a compromise that I’m totally willing to make for the benefit of such a strong, stable tripod being so utterly tiny when collapsed.

Performance

Peak Design Travel Tripod Review

The Peak Design Travel Tripod is slimmer than, and weighs less than, my large coffee thermos!

How do you judge a tripod’s performance? It’s all about whether or not you can actually get sharp photos at slow shutter speeds!

So, just like I would review a lens or a camera, I ask myself: “do the images look good?”

Again, Peak Design has come up with one of the stiffest, most high-performance travel tripods that I’ve ever used.

Despite its odd leg and head design, the verdict comes easy: Not only does the tripod do a great job of holding a camera perfectly still, but the highly unique ball head design still affords a decent amount of precision and easy operation.

attached to camera. legs and tripod head with plate attached

By the way, the Peak Design Travel Tripod makes a great GoPro vlogging “battery-free gimbal” ;-)

I will say, however, that the ball head is not without its compromises. In addition to the lack of a dedicated panning knob, the clamp itself does create a slight risk of changing your composition unintentionally when locking the head down.

To Peak Design’s credit, it’s actually surprisingly good at keeping your composition exactly how you set it, but the lock-down action itself does require a little more attention than a traditional ball head.

Anyways, I just can’t get over how compact and yet tall and strong the Travel Tripod is. If anything, the design is so compact that the tripod’s heft throws you for a loop at first.

Opened and extended, though, all of a sudden it feels feather-light and yet still strong and tall. It’s definitely ready for a full-frame DSLR and standard pro lenses, but it’s also compact and portable enough that it’ll make a fantastic, solid platform for your lightweight mirrorless and/or crop-sensor system too.

Price & Value | Carbon Fiber VS Aluminum

Peak Design Travel Tripod Carbon Fiber

Carbon fiber looks gorgeous, sure, but there’s a lot more to it than that.

The Peak Design Travel Tripod will set you back $599.95 for the carbon fiber version, and $349.95 for the aluminum one.

So, are these tripods good value, when you can find “junk” tripods (in my opinion) for about half as much? Absolutely, because those junk tripods will break very quickly, whereas this product could last you a lifetime if you take decent care of it.

The aluminum version is already rather light however, at just 3.44 lbs (1.56 kgs) compared to the carbon fiber model’s 2.81 lbs (1.27 kgs). So, you might really wonder if the carbon fiber version is worth the higher price tag.

It’s definitely worth considering the carbon fiber Travel Tripod model – there’s more to carbon fiber than just its weight. Carbon fiber is also much stiffer and stronger than aluminum. This absolutely can translate to sharper images, with heavier camera gear.

Consider your kit, and the shooting conditions: Light breeze? Carbon fiber will resist the tendency to experience a “vibrato” that totally ruins fine image detail. Super-telephoto lens? Carbon fiber will allow your tripod to settle down more quickly, with or without wind, so that you can use your camera’s simple 2-3 sec exposure delay mode (self-timer) to get pin-sharp images at super telephoto focal lengths.

Lastly, if you shoot in extremely cold environments a lot, holding carbon fiber legs will keep your hands much warmer than metal legs, even through thin gloves!

height comparison peak design travel products - carbon fiber model. Easy to use. Long center column. Great travel tripods!

For Comparison- Left: Slik 700DX “heavy duty” tripod Center: Peak Design Travel Tripod Right: Manfrotto Tabletop Tripod.

So, both the aluminum and carbon fiber versions of the Peak Design Travel Tripod do present a good value, thanks to their overall quality, amazing design, and their ability to keep your camera perfectly steady even at a decent height.

If you just can’t afford the carbon fiber model, simply ask yourself how often you need to use your tripod, and how demanding are you going to be of it.

Will you be shooting in tough conditions, with larger, heavier telephoto lenses? Just keep saving for the carbon fiber model.

Or, will you be shooting more casually, with a compact lightweight setup at normal focal lengths? You’ll definitely be fine with either tripod.

No matter what, you’ll be getting sharper images , plus a less frustrating overall shooting experience and a much longer lifespan , out of a Peak Design Travel Tripod than any other cheap tripod out there, aluminum or carbon fiber.

Peak Design Travel Tripod Comparison - ball head included. Centre column strong. Fully extended length great! Carbon fiber model pictured.

For Comparison: My favorite backpacking tripod, the (discontinued) Slik 614 CF, which weighs only ~2.1 lbs with a head, is indeed significantly larger than the Peak Design Travel Tripod. Also, it is a little less stiff and only marginally taller.

What if you’re looking for something even more lightweight, though? While most no-name or newcomer brand tripods get a big thumbs down from me, I do recommend the ~2 lb range backpacking/hiking tripods from Slik, a name brand, such as the Slik Sprint and Lite series (see my full camera tripod guide for more details).

You trade a fair amount of overall build quality by going with a tripod that weighs in at under 2 lbs, of course, but for those hikers and travelers who count every ounce/gram, it’s a good option to have.

Get an exclusive Peak Design x Shotkit Discount Code:

Final Words

travel tripods - easy to use, carbon fiber model available, included tripod hear

In case you’re wondering, yes, that’s a 15″ MacBook Pro. The Peak Design Travel Tripod is THAT small!

Simply put, this is the best compact travel tripod around, especially if space in your bag(s) is very precious. The Peak Design Travel Tripod is a champion of portability. No other tripod is this low-profile yet also this strong and tall.

Yes, on certain occasions I will instead opt for my tripods in the ~2 lb range, like when I need to carry 2-3 tripods up a mountain. However, for most people who travel with just one tripod, this could be your best choice.

It’s not just made for travel, of course. The portability means the Travel Tripod is also a great everyday tripod that you can slip into your camera bag, rolling case, or almost anywhere.

It’s the perfect tripod for photographers who don’t necessarily use a tripod all the time, but would likely not even bring one if it were too big and unwieldy.

If you can’t afford the carbon fiber version, don’t worry, the aluminum version is a great choice too, for nearly half the price. Either way, this is definitely my new favorite ultra-portable travel tripod.

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travel-tripod-testing

Matthew Saville is an astro-landscape and adventure landscape photographer based in California.

15 Comments

Peak carbon tripod panning solution. Hi: You mentioned the issue of not being able to do a pan because the head can’t rotate. Here’s my solution; inexpensive and easy.

I use the Peak standard plate.

Neewer Metal 60mm Quick Release Plate https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07RS348PB/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=A39F69IW77H648&psc=1

The Neewer Camera Panoramic Panning Base https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07PB1MX35/ref=ox_sc_act_title_2?smid=A2DLO1SS82Y0QI&psc=1

When sandwiching all 3, this piece of kit adds maybe 1” of height, which is not an issue if your only primary requirement is rotation. You can’t leave it attached to the tripod as it won’t fit in the carry case, but it’s small enough to easily transport to your location and quickly attach to the tripod. Works great!

Thanks for the tips, Chris!

Hi, do I understand correctly that one can’t use the tripod head to shoot panorama, which require several horizontal shots? thanks

I think you’re right about both tripods offering good value. I love this tripod. I got the aluminum version and I really think it’s the better buy. If you need more stability attach a camera bag to the center column hook. I actually put the tripod in my camera bag so people don’t know I’m carrying a tripod even though this thing hardly looks like a tripod. Check out this article I wrote about it: https://nextinphotography.com/the-best-tripod-for-people-who-dont-like-tripods/

Thanks for sharing your review, David!

Do you think the aluminium is still an acceptable model to go for or will I regret not going for the carbon fibre? The weight seems quite high versus some other travel tripods which I’ve seen for ~1000g like the Slik Lite range.

I never use a tripod right now due to lugging the size/weight but I have wanted to get one for night shots and taking photos with me AND my family in (hurray)

I was curious what your opinion is versus these options as well, what do you think?

Both versions are definitely not the lightest travel tripods available. I owned both and sold the aluminium, simply as I prefered the look and feel of the CF!

How pathetic that you don’t publish critical comments about your articles. You deleted my comment from a few days ago because it didn’t fit this article’s narrative. I have screenshots and will be tweeting those and paying them around on Facebook to let people know what kind of hacks you are.

Calm down Josh!! Our site has just come back online, after being broken for 24 hours – google it if you like. We lost a lot of comments and 6 articles, which we’re currently rebuilding. Feel free to comment what you said again, and as long as it’s not offensive, we’ll publish it, just like we do with all reasonable comments. Sounds like you’re pretty angry though, so maybe this isn’t the best space for you to vent. All the best.

hey there …. is the aluminum version of the peak design tripod suitable for slow shutter speeds in running water … if the tripod is now in running water, is it suitable for slow shutter speeds?

Hello, please how did you mount the gopro on the Peak Design tripod ? Would you list these accessories please ? Thanks for sharing

I know you saw my reply to your FB message, but I thought I’d reply here as well, for the benefit of others who may read this review:

I used one of the Gopro adapter plates that has double-sticky tape on it, the flat one, and I stuck it to the smallest Arca-Swiss plate I could find. Kinda about the size of a Peak Design standard plate, but just slightly larger and metal surfaced so the double-sticky tape can get a more secure grip.

Hope this helps anybody else who is wondering!

It’s been a while since this review was published so I am hoping someone will see this comment and, perhaps, offer some insight.

Will the head of the PD Travel Tripod accept non-PD Arca-Swiss plates? I have Arca-Swiss L-brackets and the PD “Capture” clip does NOT accept regular A-S plates, only the little PD plates which go loose too quickly.

Can anyone help me out? Thanks.

As far as I can tell, most A-S plate should work with the tripod’s ball head. In the case of longer A-S plates (star trackers, L-brackets, etc), the ball head’s safety pegs can be removed with the provided allen key to accommodate longer plates. I hope that helps!

Thanks Matt, for such a thoughtful review. Really appreciated the effort you put into explaining why someone should consider the aluminium tripod vs the carbon-fiber. I have read a number of other reviews and no one else has really addressed this issue. As someone who is only going to use a tripod on a more casual basis with a Fuji XT mirror less camera and a prime lens I can only justify getting the aluminium tripod. So tempting though to find the extra and get the carbon!

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Peak Design Travel Tripod (Aluminum) review

Peak design's unconventional design has resulted in a very compact yet strong and stable travel tripod.

5 Star Rating

Digital Camera World Verdict

The Peak Design Travel Tripod is a tripod you won't mind carrying just in case you need it. It takes a little while to get used to the unconventional head design, but overall it works well, and it's capable of holding a heavy load still in a breeze. We love the carbon fibre version, but the aluminum one is only a little heavier and saves a heap of money.

Extremely compact

Stable for its size and weight

Fast to deploy

Centre column must be raised to allow head movement

Supplied tool is easily lost

Why you can trust Digital Camera World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out how we test.

Peak Design make two versions of the Travel Tripod, one made from carbon fibre (£599/$649.95) and the other, reviewed here, from aluminum. Aside from the pattern of the carbon fibre weave, the two tripods look identical and have the same maximum and minimum heights, but at 1.56kg, the aluminum version is 290g heavier than the carbon fibre version (see our separate review of the Peak Design Travel Tripod Carbon Fiber ).

The Travel Tripod has 5-section legs that enable it to pack down to 39.1cm, but its narrow diameter of less than 8cm is what really impresses. Rather than round, the leg tubes are shaped to fit closely together around the centre column to reduce the packed diameter. 

With the legs fully extended and the centre column at its longest point, the tripod is 152.4cm high. Dropping the centre column but keeping the legs at full length gives a height of 130.2cm. At the other end of the scale, the main section of the centre column can be removed to reduce the height to 14cm, or the column can be reversed for super-low shooting.

Peak Design has used a very unusual design for the tripod's head as the ball is visible at the top of the centre column beneath the pivoting top section with the release plate clamp. When the tripod is collapsed fully, the ball is surrounded by the top of the legs and the three struts that mount the clamp onto it slot neatly between the legs. This means that the centre column must be extended a little before the head can be moved.

Peak design supplies the tripod with a dual hex key tool and a stretchy bag. Also, if you remove the hook at the bottom of the centre column, you'll find a phone holder that can take the place of the Arca-Swiss quick release plate in the clamp.

Specifications

Peak Design Travel Tripod (Aluminum)

Material : Aluminum 

Folded length : 39.1cm

Maximum height: 152.4cm

No. leg sections: 5

Weight: 1.56Kg

Maximum load: 9.1Kg

Build and handling

Peak Design Travel Tripod (Aluminum)

Because of the unusual shape of the legs and the novel head design, the Peak Design Travel Tripod looks quite different from other tripods, but it feels great, and the aluminum legs are robust.

The legs have clip locks, and it's easy to flip open all four locks on a leg with one movement. This, plus the fact that the legs don't flip over the head and centre column for storage, means the tripod can be ready for use in a matter of seconds. 

The centre column is locked and unlocked using the small knob between the tops of two of the legs. Once the column has been extended a little, the tripod head can be angled for shooting. A knurled ring above the head ball locks and unlocks the head's movement, and just above it there's a lock for the quick release plate. 

Peak Design Travel Tripod (Aluminum)

Peak Design has used the same Arca-Swiss compatible quick release plate as it uses for its clips. This requires a hex key to mount it on a camera, and the supplied tool comes in handy. However, this tool slips quite easily out of its plastic holder on one of the legs, especially if the tripod is inverted for any reason.

Many backpacks have a side pocket for carrying a water bottle, and the Peak Design Travel Tripod slips neatly in. Alternatively, there are mounting points on the tripod and its bag for Peak Design's Anchor Loops for attaching one of the company's straps. 

Performance

Peak Design Travel Tripod (Aluminum)

Peak Design spent four years developing the Travel tripod, and it was clearly time very well spent because it's an excellent tripod. It can bear a maximum payload of 9.1Kg, and I've captured sharp long-exposure images using it to support a full-frame mirrorless camera with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. It's even delivered sharp long-exposure results with a medium format camera.

The only weak point I've encountered is the quick release plate mount on the camera. If the camera is in landscape orientation, it's fine, but if the camera or lens is very heavy and you're shooting in portrait orientation, it's hard to tighten the plate on sufficiently to avoid it slipping. 

In terms of performance, it's difficult to discern a difference between the aluminum and carbon fibre versions of the tripod. However, even when the tripod is added to a backpack full of camera gear, it is possible to tell the difference in weight between the two models.

Peak Design Travel Tripod (Aluminum)

With around $270 difference in price between the carbon fiber and aluminum versions of the Peak Design Travel tripod, the aluminum tripod makes a desirable alternative to its more expensive sibling. The difference in weight, 290g, is noticeable, but it's only about the same as a bottle of water. If you're going to walk long distances, then the carbon fiber version may be more attractive, but many photographers will be happy to accept the extra weight for the cost-saving.

Whichever model you opt for, the Peak design Travel Tripod is an impressively well-designed and well-made tripod. It's small and light enough to be taken on most photographic expeditions, and it's ready for use in seconds.

  • The best tripod
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Angela Nicholson

Angela has been testing camera gear from all the major manufacturers since January 2004 and has been Amateur Photographer’s Technical Editor and Head of Testing for Future Publishing’s photography portfolio ( Digital Camera Magazine ,  PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine ,  N-Photo ,  Practical Photoshop ,  Photography Week and Professional Photography magazines, as well as the Digital Camera World and TechRadar websites). She is the founder of SheClicks - a community group that encourages and supports female photographers.

Peak Design Travel Tripod review

The peak design travel tripod is a narrow, novel, and night-friendly support for full-frame dslrs and even smartphones.

Peak Design Travel Tripod review: Image shows Tripod extended with Camera attached

Space Verdict

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.

Narrow design

  • Compact ball head

Hidden smartphone mount

Lacks height

Requires Hex key

Why you can trust Space.com Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test and review products.

  • Functionality
  • Related products

Night photography demands a solid yet lightweight tripod. But a ‘travel tripod’ like the Peak Design Travel Tripod? Well, yes - unless you happen to live in a rural area, the likelihood is that you’re going to have to travel far and wide to escape light pollution and find starry skies. Cue the Peak Design Travel Tripod, as compact a travel tripod as you’re likely to find, and one that’s ideal for anyone considering wide-field astrophotography, or indeed any kind of landscape photography , with one of the best cameras for astrophotography . That even extends to shooting nightscapes with a smartphone, something the Peak Design Travel Tripod is also built for. 

Material: Aluminum/carbon fiber

Leg sections: 5

Weight: 3.44 lbs (aluminum) /2.81 lbs (carbon fiber)

Max load: 20 lbs

Folded height: 15.4 in

Ball head or pan/tilt head: Ball head

While the Peak Design Travel Tripod is very clearly designed for travel, that doesn’t necessarily make it the lightest possible product you can buy. The aluminum version we reviewed weighs 3.44 lbs, a shade more than the very lightest travel tripods available, though Peak Design does also make a much more expensive version crafted from carbon fiber. That one weighs a mere 2.81 lbs, but we’re really not convinced many are going to pay that kind of money for a tripod that’s only slightly lighter.

Either way, the Peak Design Travel Tripod is a hugely impressive product for astrophotographers who are after something highly mobile with a fast set-up and takedown, a great performance outdoors, and a compact size when packed up. It's one of the best tripods to buy, if you're completing an astro set-up.

Peak Design Travel Tripod review: Design

  • Narrow, space-saving design
  • Integrated smartphone mount

The Peak Design Travel Tripod’s principal physical characteristic is its exceptionally narrow design. Most tripods are bulky and somewhat awkwardly shaped to fit into luggage; we regularly stuff socks, food, and anything else squishy into the gaps of most folded-up tripods when checking-in luggage, but not so with the Peak Design Travel Tripod. It’s super-sleek, with its three legs and ball-head folding and collapsing to meet with no gaps. 

With no wasted space, the tripod is just 3.125 inches in diameter when packed up. That, along with its 15.4 inches height, makes it easy to pack not only in luggage but even inside some camera bags, which is also handy when traveling. It comes in a soft, slightly padded case that’s a cut above the usual, with a waterproof zip and three handles for carrying or securely strapping to the side of a camera bag.

However, there’s a lot more to the Peak Design Travel Tripod than its unique physical form. The neatness continues through its five-section legs, which are held in place by soft-close cams that can be fastened and released with one hand. When fully unfurled, center column included, it reaches 60”/152.4 cm.

More potentially divisive is the way a camera is attached. Atop a ballhead on that center column the tripod plate takes a camera plate that attaches using a hex tool. The ball head is really compact, massively more so than on almost all other so-called travel tripods we’ve seen. The hex tool physically nestles into one of the tripod legs, but still … a tool-free D-ring plate would be easier.

Another hidden feature is the Peak Design Travel Tripod’s smartphone clamp. As on most travel tripods there’s a small hook at the bottom of the centre column, which you can hang a bag to add more stability. Twist the hook and out comes a folded-up, spring-loaded C-shaped device measuring 2.75”/7 cm that securely fits into the tripod plate, and hence takes even large smartphones

Peak Design Travel Tripod review: Functionality

  •  Not as tall as some tripods 
  •  Arca-Swiss quick release tripod plate 
  •  Speedy setup and takedown 

If there is a drawback with the Peak Design Travel Tripod’s form, it is its fully extended height. It’s about 10 inches lower than the tallest typical landscape photography tripods. You’re never going to find a travel tripod that reaches full size— it’s a sizing compromise that has to be made to keep the weight down — but the nature of wide-field astrophotography does mean that tall people may find themselves having to stoop when using the Peak Design Travel Tripod. It’s otherwise very versatile, able to sit on a tabletop at 13.125 inches (and up to 22.5 inches with the center column raised) and it goes as low as 5.5 inches.

The Arca-Swiss quick-release tripod plate that accepts a camera is pretty stable, but it takes a little getting used to. With the base plate attached to a camera’s 1/4 inch tripod thread using that hex tool, it’s then necessary to clip it into the tripod plate. Once it’s in, it’s really stable, but it’s actually pretty hard to do in the dark, at least until you’ve spent some time with the product. Just be careful to make sure you’ve got your camera’s strap around your neck while you learn how to fix your camera in place; it’s easy to let it slip, and if it’s wearing a heavy lens it could fall.

One thing we were disappointed by was the hex key. Its very appearance is slightly annoying but initially tempered by the fact that it nestles into a small clip that attaches to one of the tripod legs. However, after a few months of use everything worked itself loose; not only did the hex key fall out several times — in the dark, in a field — but that clip itself got knocked off a few times. We ended up storing the hex key in our camera bag while cursing its existence, though the camera plate never did slip during use … which kind of justifies its existence. 

While most ball-heads use levers and knobs that stick out, this one does not; it’s another travel-friendly feature. Instead, a clockwise swivel of one lever secures the camera in place while the ball-head can be swiveled to either unlock or lock a camera into position. With that twist-lock done, the rig really is very stable. Even with the center column raised to its maximum, we were confident to leave a full-frame DSLR shooting a star trail for many hours in windy conditions. 

Adding to the stability are tough ‘feet’ on the bottom of the three legs, which are sturdier than on most tripods, and which hook onto the center column.

Finally, we loved the speedy takedown. The set-up is quick, too, but the ability to unclip a camera and the soft-touch cams with barely any effort makes for fuss-free takedowns.

Should you buy the Peak Design Travel Tripod?

Peak Design’s is one of the best travel tripods around for those who move about a lot and create a lot of widefield astrophotography content. We’re not at all convinced it’s worth investing in the carbon fiber version — the very high premium only saves 9.5 oz on weight when compared to the aluminum version — and the weight of the Peak Design Travel Tripod isn’t itself much of a problem. 

As well as being of excellent build quality, it’s exceptionally narrow and neat when packed up. Having to attach a base plate to a camera using a hex key is slightly annoying, particularly as this is easy to lose, though it also means zero slippage. It does also take a while to get used to the way a camera clips into place, but once you’ve mastered the technique, the Peak Design Travel Tripod is a very stable tripod even with the center column fully extended. We also love the ‘hidden’ smartphone mount, which given the boom in smartphone astrophotography, could become increasingly useful even to seasoned astrophotographers.

If this product isn’t for you

If you want to check-out the competition then study the Manfrotto Befree Advanced Aluminum Travel Tripod . It’s slightly lighter at 3.28 lbs, though it reaches a lower 59 inches when fully extended. 

If you want something as light as possible for a compact mirrorless camera and don’t mind having a slightly shorter tripod, try the Vanguard VEO3GO235AB . It weighs just 2.7 lbs and reaches 53.5 inches but only supports 8.8 lbs of gear.  

If casual smartphone astrophotography is your aim, try a good quality small tabletop all-rounder like the Joby Handypod . It will take any smartphone clamp and its ball-head moves through 360°, though vertical positioning is limited.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: [email protected].

Jamie Carter

Jamie is an experienced science, technology and travel journalist and stargazer who writes about exploring the night sky, solar and lunar eclipses, moon-gazing, astro-travel, astronomy and space exploration. He is the editor of  WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com  and author of  A Stargazing Program For Beginners , and is a senior contributor at Forbes. His special skill is turning tech-babble into plain English.

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A Tripod Terribly Misjudged by Many: A Technical Review of the Peak Design Travel Tripod

A Tripod Terribly Misjudged by Many: A Technical Review of the Peak Design Travel Tripod

This tripod was so different from all others in the market when it was released four years ago. Now that it’s obvious that many other brands have copied its unique form factor one way or another, it definitely deserves a closer look.

It has been over four years since Peak Design first launched their travel tripod as a crowdfunding project, and ever since, the tripod’s design has polarized opinions of photographers around the world. The unusual and (then) uniquely minimalistic design of the Peak Design travel tripod excited a lot of photographers enough to raise well over the targeted funding, but at the same time raised some eyebrows on those who were not instantly convinced.

The Minimalist Design

Peak Design’s travel tripod seems to have been designed with the aim of taking the concept of portability to a whole new level. While most travel tripods were designed to have the legs fold upwards to reduce the folded length, this one took an entirely different approach. Instead, the legs are divided into five shorter sections. This made it possible to make the folded length even shorter than most tripods, which would make it very easy to pack inside a regular camera bag. At the same time, the legs were made in a more flattened shape instead of the usual rods, which made it more possible to keep the width of the entire tripod thinner. This is in combination to the extremely thinner center column that fit perfectly in between the three legs to form what seems like the most dense and most compact folded form of any tripod.

peak design travel tripod weight

The aluminum version of the PD travel tripod comes as a solid 1.56 kg compact cylinder while the carbon fiber version weighs 1.29 kg. These two variants can both carry up to 9.1 kg of camera gear. The entire tripod folds down to 39.1 cm with a beverage bottle-like diameter of just 7.9 cm. When all five sections are fully extended, the maximum height is 130.2 cm with the center column down and 152.4 cm with the center column fully extended. The lowest configuration with the center column partially removed and legs spread to the widest angle gives a minimum height of just 14 cm. 

peak design travel tripod weight

The Unusual Ball Head

At first glance it seems that this tripod only has a quick-release clamp for a head because the ball joint was very well concealed within the groove of the central joint of the tripod and this was done for a very obvious reason. On the base of the head are three protrusions that perfectly fit within the grooves of the central joint and makes the folded form of the tripod almost without any gaps. However, these protrusions also act as the connection of the ball to the head itself, and it does prevent the ball head from having a full range of motion especially when turning the camera vertical.

peak design travel tripod weight

The head itself does not have any knobs, but instead has rings around the circumference of the head that control the necessary movements. A ring with a textured surface can be found closest to the base of the head, and this controls the friction on the ball joint. Above that is another ring with a very small notch that locks and unlocks the quick release clamp, and above that is a button that releases the plate holding the camera. This quick release clamp follows the Arca-Swiss format which means that while the supplied plate is the same as the ones found on other Peak Design accessories, it is compatible with most Arca-Swiss mount tripod plates, L-brackets, and rotating brackets. Rings were used instead of knobs to rid the assembly of anything protruding and bulky. The ball head was designed to keep it as non-intrusive as possible, however if any tilt has to be done, the user would have to raise the center column a bit.

peak design travel tripod weight

The Minimalist Center Column

One of the most unusual features of this tripod was the remarkably thin center column. It was obvious that it was made that way and followed the shape of the hexagonal legs and so that the entire width of the tripod would be thinner and easier to store. However, the concern lies in the fact that it might not be as stable given the width.

peak design travel tripod weight

What was not as obvious was that the frame that encases the center column was much longer than what is seen on other tripods. This meant that there was more surface area on the center column that was being stabilized by this frame when locked in. Regardless of whether it was fully extended or not, about 20% of the entire length is being stabilized by the frame, which virtually makes it even more stable.

peak design travel tripod weight

Application and User Experience

Like any other piece of photography gear, this tripod is better used for certain kinds of photography than others. With the main goal of making the tripod as portable as possible while still being generally usable, Peak Design basically created an entirely unique experience for whoever uses this tripod.

peak design travel tripod weight

Using the tripod does require a bit of time to get used to the controls since rings are being used instead of knobs, but this is just a consequence of a new design approach. All in all, it does provide a viable solution to the challenges that travel photographers and traveling photographers encounter, all while carrying Peak Design’s minimalist aesthetics and functional design approach. As far as for other uses, I personally think that this tripod is usable in most landscape photography scenarios, especially since the center column can be shortened to achieve a much lower camera angle without having to swap out heads. This can also be quite useful for outdoor content creators as well as anyone who just needs camera support on-the-go. Given the height and the trade-offs on the ball head, this might not be the best to use inside a studio and not the best to use for when significant height is required. However as a tripod in general, it does the job while offering unique portability.

peak design travel tripod weight

What I Liked

  • Slim but sturdy build
  • Unique head controls
  • Detachable center column

What Can Be Improved

  • Limited ball head range of motion
  • More size options
  • Perhaps colored accent elements on future versions

Nicco Valenzuela's picture

Nicco Valenzuela is a photographer from Quezon City, Philippines. Nicco shoots skyscrapers and cityscapes professionally as an architectural photographer and Landscape and travel photographs as a hobby.

We Review the SmallRig AP-20 Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod: Does It Live Up to Expectations?

Nice review. It's a shame that the design has been copied so much albeit with cheaper materials and construction.

Thomas H's picture

The review is not really very reviling. Several similar reviews exist for a very long time. I never heard of someone complaining about flip locks, which I prefer every day of a week because I see if the locks are closed, as opposed to the twist locks. Interesting would be to see a compare to the Benro Cyanbird, which shares with the Peak Design the revolutionary elliptical leg. This reviewer failed to mention this detail. Of course such light tripod has a limited application, and is not a replacement for e.g. my Manfrotto. However when I travel and fly, my Cyan-bird is in my luggage.

David Zeller's picture

They mentioned it in the Minimalist Design section. "The legs take the shape of a seemingly flattened hexagon..." They referenced it again in the next section. "One of the most unusual features of this tripod was the remarkably thin center column. It was obvious that it was made that way and followed the shape of the hexagonal legs..."

Reactive Light's picture

"...did not sacrifice stability and usability in more demanding situations" [snort!] I absolutely *loathe* mine, and wish that I had never bought it. I have no problem with the head, center column, or any of the other things that most people complain about. Rather, I do not like how insecure the leg locks are. I very carefully adjusted the tension on them, and it worked reasonably well for a while. But then I took it on a trip to arctic Norway, and discovered that when it gets very cold it is pretty much impossible to tighten the screws enough to keep the damned thing from drifting down. I had to abandon a day of shooting during the trip and go buy a new (expensive...) tripod the trip to get my work done. Idiotic design, Peak. FWIW, I have the aluminum version, not carbon fiber. I suppose that could make a difference in the thermal properties, but it would have been useful to know that before purchasing.

Jon The Baptist's picture

This. I demo'd one out and was really disappointed in the rigidity of it. Ended up getting a used Series 0 Gitzo travel tripod and a RRS head off ebay for it. might not pack -quite- as small, but it's 10x the tripod the Peak Design one is, and cost less.

Sean Beers's picture

I have the aluminum version and I love it. I've traveled all over Europe and Japan with it.

Craig Stampfli's picture

I watched a CF version get blown off of a cliff in Australia from a sudden gust of wind, thankfully the Sony camera it was attached to protected the tripod from a 15 foot fall to the rocks below.

Timothy Linn's picture

Haha. It's good to know a Sony camera is good for something. ;-) Kidding.

Jeff Wiswell's picture

I really wanted to like it but that ballhead wasn't worth it

This PD tripod is insanely overpriced as well as functionally flawed. The Ulanzi x Coman (aka Zero Y) copycat is not only half the price but addresses many of the design limitations of the PD original. I honestly don't know why anyone would buy the PD version at this point, and I don't know why PD hasn't released a V2 that addresses the complaints. The manager of San Francisco's PD retail store has said on YouTube that this is the company's single most profitable product. Why be complacent?

George Fiedler's picture

The major problem with this tripod I’m not sure you touched on. And for landscape photography this is a big issue. Basically you can’t pan with it. In order to do that you have to loosen up the whole ball and it doesn’t stay fixed horizontally. Forget merging panorama shots.

There are many tripod/heads that dont pan. We all know this going in and purchase accordingly. Regardless, this can be easily rectified with a $25 panning base.

el Jefe's picture

The PD tripod is overrated and overpriced. The original list price of $600+ was insane. Out of curiosity, I bought a used one for $300. I used it a few times and found insufficient for my needs. I own vastly superior tripods that are lighter, taller, stiffer and cost far less. The PD head design is novel but counterproductive. You have to extend the center column to use it. That drastically reduces stiffness of the entire system. Truly, some of the "copy cat" tripods like Heipi are actually better designed because of their more conventional heads.

The Heipi is slightly shorter both with the center column down and extended. You can also add a different head to the Peak Design. The PD is stupidly expensive, but a lot of cimments on here seem to just want to bash them in general.

Another way to compare the Heipi and PD is that they are very similar height wise, both requiring the central column to be raised to go from 50/51 inches to 59/60 inches. They both take whatever head you want (PD has that ability). But the PD has its own standard/built-in head if you want to go minimalistic. This description sounds totally different, as it is toned in the opposite direction.

Bill Gibson's picture

I agree that there are better tripods for specific uses, but the Carbon version has replaced my other tripods almost all the time and can always go with me. The limitations of the ball head are easily overcome with inexpensive compact accessories which make the ball head like a leveling bowl on a video tripod: a very small rotating adaptor (Camera Panoramic Panning Base with Arca Swiss Style Plate, 3/8" Screw Aluminum Alloy Panorama Ball Tripod Head with Bubble Level for Tripod Monopod DSLR Cameras, Load Capacity 22 LBS at Amazon) can enable easy panning for panoramas, and recently relatively inexpensive geared heads make careful composition easier (my low-end Benro model is bulky but Leofoto makes more compact ones), and an L-bracket on the camera makes vertical and horizontal compositions stable and balanced. The vibration damping of the feet and legs is superior to any other I have used. If high winds are blowing, use the hook under the center column to connect a bungee cord to the camera bag under the tripod, or use some other weight or a tent stake to anchor the tripod! All the accessories can be left behind and the tripod can still be with me.

Robert Teague's picture

I recently took a fast trip through Spain with the CF Peak Design travel trip. I only used it a few times for early morning/evening work, with a Nikon Z8 and 24-120mm Z lens. For the purpose, it was a find combination. It won't replace my regular tripod, but if I need to go light, this tripod is what I'll use.

Andy Williams's picture

My peak design tripod travelled the world with me and braved wind, water and was great. I eventually replaced it with a monster rrs tvc34l and sold it. After less than a year, I find my self shopping for a new one because I miss it's portability. I specifically like the aluminum version for the added weight stability in moving water and wind.

Jordan Steele's picture

I don’t think I I will ever understand the love for this tripod. It does one thing very well: it’s compact. Beyond that it is essentially useless as any sort of actual camera support. The legs when extended are extremely flimsy. Pushing down gently on the tripod causes the legs to bounce, and the whole thing is easily twisted as well. There is just extremely minimal rigidity in the legs and, well, that’s it. Something like the Leofoto LS-284 is massively more stable, less expensive and only a little bigger. Not to mention the PD’s head that requires partial extension of the center column to use.

I just don’t get it.

It really comes down to how light and compact the tripod is. I had no stability problems with it, while doing night photography along the Roman Bridge in Cordoba, Spain with a Nikon Z8 (which isn't a light camera). But, in that particular trip I had to compromise, so I went with the CF Peak Design. I do love my Leofoto LS-324C though and use it most of the time.

I demo'd one out and was really disappointed in the rigidity of it. Legs had alot of flex and vibrations took a long time to settle down.

Ended up getting a used Series 0 Gitzo travel tripod and a RRS head off ebay for it. might not pack -quite- as small, but it's 10x the tripod the Peak Design one is, and cost less.

Tom Reichner's picture

Good informative article - thank you!

The writer could have been more helpful to his readers by giving the dimensions and weights in inches, pounds, and ounces as well as in metric equivalents. The lion's share of Fstoppers readers are in the United States, where metric is not used regularly by many. I don't want to do math in my head just to understand what an article is saying - it interrupts the flow of my reading.

I am really surprised that a Fstoppers editor and / or proofreader did not catch this omission and correct it before the article went up on the site.

Fewer and fewer things are in imperial units. Younger people are more accustomed to using metric. People involved in any kind of Maker activities use metric. I think it is less and less necessary for writers and video presenters to make these conversions for us. Its really time for us to join the rest of the world and the younger members of our own society and learn metric units.

The old axiom when it comes to tripods is:

"Light ... stable ... cheap ... pick two"

Well, after reading all of the comments here form people who have used this tripod, it seems that you only get to pick one of those attributes, as this model is both expensive and unstable.

David Robinson's picture

I picked mine up with the early bird promo.

I hate the ballhead. It's difficult to adjust and the range of motion due to the design is quite limited and extremely frustrating.

The tripod is not sturdy. The legs flex a lot without any weight on the the tripod.

It is decent tripod if your number one priority is travel size amd that's all that matters. Beyond that it's been quite disappointing in my view.

I would have thought the would have come out with a much improved v2 by now as well.

Martin Owen's picture

I’ve had the alu version since day one. TBH it’s replaced my other tripods. It’s lighter, easier to pack/carry and to use. Yes, there are others that are better for specific tasks, but for general use this is great for me. It may not be for everyone, but it works great for me. If you have one and don’t like it, Peak have a ‘sell a used one’ service, so you can recoup some of your expenditure. A better option than whining and slagging it off!

Have you found yours to be extremely stable? Like good enough for VERY slow shutter speeds with big heavy lenses?

No, but that’s not what it’s designed for. It’s a travel tripod designed to be easy to travel with and provide general stability. For specific use, as I indicated, there are other options. If you need VERY slow shutter speeds and a VERY big heavy lens, then there are other tripods but they may not so convenient to travel with.

Thanks for the info. The one thing I can't compromise in a tripod is stability. I don't care if a tripod is big, heavy, or expensive ..... but it absolutely must be very stable.

This Kickstarter-funded travel tripod collapses down to the size of a water bottle — it also weighs less than 4 pounds

  • Peak Design — which makes my favorite camera and travel backpacks — launched a Kickstarter campaign for its new Travel Tripod . I got the chance to try out a prototype, and in my opinion, it's revolutionary.
  • Tripods can often be a pain to carry around, but they can be key to stepping up your photography game — especially when traveling. The Peak Design Travel Tripod is incredibly lightweight and folds up smaller than any similar full-size tripod.
  • The Travel Tripod's Kickstarter campaign is live until July 18. If you back the campaign, you can get an aluminum Travel Tripod for $289 (that's $61 off the retail price), or the carbon fiber version for $479 (a $121 discount). 

Insider Today

As an amateur travel photographer and a reporter who often shoots my own photos, Peak Design has been on my radar for a while. The company, which was launched in 2010 by a photographer who was looking for a better way to carry his gear, has exploded over the past few years.

That's partly thanks to its success using Kickstarter to secure funding to scale production on new products, rather than traditional private equity or loans. The brand has had seven successful Kickstarter campaigns and has raised more money on the platform than any other single brand or product.

The eighth campaign is now live.

While the last few Kickstarters were for dynamic gear that could be used for general photography or everyday travel, this latest one heads back to Peak's roots making camera accessories specifically for the traveling photographer.

Meet the Travel Tripod .

Tripods are a necessary, but often frustrating piece of gear to use outside of a studio setting. It can help elevate your photography, but tripods are heavy, and even the best travel-oriented ones are bulky. That's because most tripods consist of three metal tubes — the legs — around a center column. Even when tripods are folded up for carrying or storage, they tend to have a lot of negative space since the tubes don't fit very tightly together.

Testing the new @peakdesign travel tripod with a few long(ish) exposures in Brooklyn. A post shared by David Slotnick (@david_slotnick) on Jun 23, 2019 at 6:21pm PDT Jun 23, 2019 at 6:21pm PDT

Peak sent over a prototype of the Travel Tripod for me to test out. I've been using the 3 Legged Thing Corey Travel Tripod for the past year or so, which I've been more or less satisfied with, so I was excited for a chance to see if Peak's tripod really makes a difference.

Read more : I'm an amateur travel photographer — and I can unequivocally say that this Kickstarter backpack is the best camera bag I've tried

Peak's Travel Tripod solves the bulk problem that most tripods have with legs that are a unique six-sided shape, rather than circular tubes. They're designed for the closed position and fit tightly together around the triangular center column.

The shape is undoubtedly effective — when closed, the Travel Tripod is just 8 inches in circumference, or about 2.5 inches in diameter (which is around the width of a standard water bottle) and a bit taller than one at 15.5 inches.

It's hard to stress how small that is for a tripod without seeing it in person. For context, the 3 Legged Thing Corey has a larger diameter of 4 inches, or 11 inches in circumference.

Of course, weight matters too for travel gear.

The Travel Tripod comes in two variations — a more affordable aluminum alloy and a premium carbon fiber. The aluminum weighs in at 3.44 pounds, while the carbon is a remarkably light 2.81 lbs. For comparison, the lightest functional tripod that I've used for travel, the 3 Legged Thing Corey, is 3.4 lbs, but has a much larger diameter at 4 inches, or 11 inches in circumference.

The Travel Tripod has efficient and intuitive features that were obviously designed by a photographer familiar with the process of setting up and using a tripod in the field.

The highlight is a small yet hyper efficient ball head mechanism for a free range of movement. There's also a single adjustment ring on the head that unlocks full articulation, or locks the head into position. One thing that's always annoyed me about tripods is that it's often unclear which knob you're supposed to turn to maneuver what you want — the adjustment ring solves that.

There's a quick release/attachment plate for your camera, with a clever locking ring to secure it in place and avoid any accidental jostling or release. For a bit of extra convenience, there are three cutouts to turn the ball head 90 degrees and drop the camera into portrait orientation — most tripods only have one.

The legs deploy quickly and easily, and the cam levers secure tightly. The center column is released and locked with a small, low-profile knob that extends for an easier grip. Combined, these two elements make setting up the tripod incredibly fast.

For example, as I was walking back from testing the tripod with a few long exposures of traffic, I heard an ambulance coming down the street that I wanted to get a shot of, but the tripod was completely folded up for storage. I managed to get it set up in about 10 seconds, leaving me a few seconds to get my exposure settings adjusted before the ambulance passed.

Other nifty features include a counterweight hook on which you can hang your camera bag for extra stability, a nifty cell phone mount hidden behind that hook in the center column, and a generous 20 lb weight capacity. That can handle a full-frame SLR or mirrorless camera with most telephoto zoom lenses. I took a few sample shots with a Sony A7 III and attached Sony 100–400 mm lens, and the tripod was more than capable of handling the weight.

If there's a downside, it's the price.

The aluminum Travel Tripod retails for $349, while the lightweight carbon fiber retails for a brutal $599. Peak has faced some criticism for the pricing, though in a Kickstarter backers video , the founder disclosed that it comes down to manufacturing costs of the unique design. Each carbon fiber Travel Tripod costs $230 to make and Peak sells it to retailers for $300, meaning the profit margin for isn't massive.

Fortunately, the Kickstarter campaig n is still ongoing, so it's possible to get a huge discount on the tripods. If you back the campaign, you can get the aluminum Travel Tripod for $289 (that's $61 off the retail price), or the carbon fiber version for $479 (a $121 discount).

The light weight of the tripod is definitely useful, but it's not much lighter than competitors. What really stands out is the small profile when it's folded up. It takes up so little room in your bag compared to other tripods that it's easy to store in any piece of luggage or camera bag.

I've been carrying mine to and from work and shoots in a few different bags for testing purposes, and have an easier time than with any other tripod I've used.

Click here to back the Peak Design Travel Tripod on Kickstarter.

  • The president of Emirates says passengers will never again be as comfortable as they have been aboard the enormous discontinued Airbus A380
  • 'Delta may be onto something': Experts describe how the company is winning with customers even though rival airlines can fit more passengers
  • United's CEO argued it's not a problem that airlines will keep burning tens of millions of cash per day for months
  • Delta's CEO reveals why the airline industry is nixing the change fees that once produced 3% of revenues — and how happier travelers could make up the difference
  • The pandemic is reshaping airlines — and how you fly will never return to 'normal'
  • DHL execs explain how they'll capitalize on the airlift of a lifetime and deliver billions of COVID-19 vaccine doses
  • New data shows how US airfares plunged alongside demand early in the pandemic, dealing airlines a double blow
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  • American will lose its crown as the biggest US airline and could fall behind Delta and United as it struggles to pay off $38 billion in debt
  • A Bill Gates-backed aviation startup founder reveals how he got $21 million to build a hydrogen plane that won't go to market for a decade
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  • I flew on Qantas' 'Project Sunrise,' a nonstop flight from New York to Sydney, Australia, that took almost 20 hours and covered nearly 10,000 miles — here's what it was like

Subscribe to our newsletter. You can purchase syndication rights to this story here. Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Reviews team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at [email protected] .

peak design travel tripod weight

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Travel Tripod

Travel Tripod

Marketplace guarantee.

All gear bought on the Marketplace is guaranteed for life by Peak Design. We also guarantee that the seller has accurately represented the item's condition, or you may return the item for a full refund.

Got a Peak Design product to sell? Start here .

Assuming the seller has accurately represented their item, all marketplace sales are final sale .

Material: Aluminum Condition: PD Certified

--> Ships from: Chicago, IL

Seller Note:

This product is PD Certified, meaning that it's an open box, gently used, or refurbished item sold by Peak Design and shipped from our refurbishment facility near Chicago. Unlike other products on the PD Marketplace, the images in this listing aren't of the exact item you'll receive. But don't worry, because PD Certified products have passed a stringent in-house inspection. They may show very slight non-functional cosmetic wear, but work (and often look) as good as new. Cosmetic wear may include scratched hardware and zippers, scuffed fabric, and other surface abrasions indicative of previous use.

  • PD Certified

Shutter Muse

The Ultimate Peak Design Travel Tripod Review!

The Peak Design Travel Tripod raised an incredible $12million on Kickstarter when it was launched. If you haven’t heard of it, you must have been hiding under a rock because this is easily the most famous tripod on the market. Every time I write about or even mention the word tripod in conversation to someone, the same question always follows: “How does it compare to the Peak Design Travel Tripod?”

Regular readers of this site will have heard me talk about the tripod before. I was lucky enough to have a pre-production model in my hands for some time during the Kickstarter launch, and I took it on an epic 5000km road trip to the Arctic Ocean. I commented on that pre-production version at the time, but today I’m gathering even more information together to create the ultimate resource for people to learn about this tripod.

After returning from the Arctic and sending the pre-production version back to Peak Design, I actually went on to purchase my own copy of the tripod. I guess that’s a little bit of a spoiler as to my feelings about the tripod, but there’s still much to learn aside from my overall opinion.

In this review, we will discuss all the features and performance of the Travel Tripod, as well as comparing the carbon version with the aluminium version, and examining all the available accessories. Let’s dive in!

peak design travel tripod weight

Table of Contents

Tripod design, this isn’t a magic tripod, built-in ball head, phone adapter, tripod tool, tripod case.

  • Travel Tripod Weights
  • Carbon Vs. Aluminum
  • Universal Head Adapter
  • Ultralight Conversion Kit

Spiked Feet

  • Shoulder Strap
  • Additional Ways to Use a 3rd Party Ball Head
  • The Perfect Gimbal Head for the Peak Design Tripod
  • Where to Buy
  • *Special Offer*

peak design travel tripod weight

In order to minimize the folded size of the tripod, it features 5 telescoping leg sections that have a unique cross-sectional shape. Instead of using traditional cylindrical legs, Peak Design sought to shape the leg in such a way that the centre column would be nested closely within the folded legs. When fully collapsed, there are barely any gaps between the legs, leg locks and column.

COLLAPSED DIMENSIONS:

  • Length: 39.1 cm (15.4”)
  • Diameter: 7.9 cm (3.125″)

WEIGHT CAPACITY:

  • 9.1 kg (20 lbs)*

This clever outside-the-box thinking has truly produced the most compact full-sized travel tripod I have ever seen. Yes, there are some that collapse a little shorter in length, but they also have a shorter maximum height. Where this tripod really wins is the collapsed circumference. I can almost wrap my fingers around the entire tripod, and such a small packed volume makes it a breeze to pack on the side of a camera bag or often inside a camera bag because it’s simply that small.

DEPLOYED DIMENSIONS:

  • Max height (center column raised): 152.4 cm (60″)
  • Max height (center column down): 130.2 cm (51.25″)
  • Min height (low mode): 14 cm (5.5”)
  • Tabletop Mode (center column raised): 57.2 cm (22.5″)
  • Tabletop Mode (center column down): 35.9 cm (13.125″)

peak design travel tripod weight

Never in history has a tripod received as much online press attention as the Peak Design Travel Tripod. $12million in Kickstarter funds is an insane amount of money for anything to earn, let alone a relatively high-end product from a (sadly) declining photography market.

Due to this media attention, more photographers than ever are aware of this tripod and I have received vastly more questions about it than any other tripod or piece of support equipment. What I started to notice, though, is that a lot of people were considering this tripod when it was clearly not the right choice for them. People want a piece of the hype, and they want what is frankly one of the coolest looking piece of photo gear on the market.

It’s important to understand that this is not a magic tripod that has suddenly overcome all laws of physics. This is a travel tripod, and as such, the designers focussed on making it small and lightweight. When you do this, there will always be a sacrifice to the tripod’s stability. Period. It’s still possible to do a better job than your competitors at minimizing those sacrifices, but they will be there.

peak design travel tripod weight

For this tripod to be the right tripod for you, you must be looking for a tripod that prioritizes lightweight and compact collapsed size. If you don’t really care too much about those two criteria, this is the wrong tripod for you. There will be other larger and heavier tripods that offer a more stable platform.

Not a Replacement For All Tripods

I had people asking me whether they could sell their 2-series or 3-series tripods and just use the PD Travel Tripod? The answer here is a definitive no! I honestly don’t really know why people suddenly forgot how to choose the right tripod, but I had enough conversations like this to know it is a thing. Larger 2 or 3-series tripods are more stable than any travel tripod. Even this Peak Design tripod.

Again, there is no magic here. It’s a very good tripod, but the light weight means it does lack some stability with heavy camera setups. And it also lacks stability when you have forces applied to the legs from any angle other than directly downwards. Typically this comes in the form of heavy winds. You should be able to look at the cross-section above, and the other photos of the lower leg sections, and see that there will be some flex in these skinny legs compared to larger tripods.

Centre Column Considerations

Keeping the centre column collapsed is always a good idea in anything but the calmest wind conditions with any travel tripod. It will give you sharper images, but you’ll have to deal with constantly bending down to use the camera. This is something else you need to factor into the purchase of a travel tripod. It’s easy to get fixated on the maximum height of a tripod with its column extended – 152.4 cm in this case. But the reality is that if you want the sharpest images, you will spend more time using the tripod with the column lowered. In this case, giving you a max height of 130.2 cm.

When you consider purchasing a travel tripod of any type, this lower maximum height is another thing that needs consideration. I don’t say this as a negative of this particular tripod, it’s just a gentle reminder to everyone that you should think carefully about what you are giving up when you decide to opt for a tripod that was built with a focus on its small size and light weight in mind. This is a great tripod, but I really want to make sure that people buy the right tripod for their needs!

peak design travel tripod weight

The unique design of the Travel Tripod doesn’t stop at the legs. Included with the tripod is a built-in ball head that doesn’t look like most head on the market. For this head, Peak Design concentrated on making something that would be extremely light and low-profile when the tripod is collapsed.

Controls for the head are simple. There is an outer locking ring which loosens the jaws around the ball and gives you the traditional tilt and roll movements of a ball head. There’s also a small lever that locks the jaws of the head to prevent accidental release of your camera. This clamp is Arca-Swiss compatible, so it will work with any of your existing tripod plates and L brackets when the two stopper screws are removed. With the stopper screws in place (shown in the photo below) only the supplies Peak Design tripod plate will work. You can also remove just one of these stopper screws to allow you to slide the tripod plate in from the side. On top of the head is a bubble level to help you get a nice level horizon.

The strength of the ball head is impressive. In fact, I find it generally more impressive than the overall stability of the legs, and I’m confident you could comfortably lock a heaver-than-specified load as almost any angle. Despite its odd looks, this is a very capable head.

peak design travel tripod weight

The downside to the low-profile head design is that it doesn’t have an independent panning base. Most people would consider being a standard feature on anything but the absolute cheapest of tripod heads. In many situations, a panning base is not 100% necessary, but it is nice to have when you want to make small compositional adjustments in landscape shots. For people looking to take panoramic photographs, a panning base is a must-have feature. If pano photos are your thing, you’ll want to pay attention to a following section that discusses options for adding 3rd party heads to this tripod.

The other downside to this design is that the head is designed to nest into the top of the tripod legs when fully collapsed. The jaws around the ball slot neatly into the area between the leg joints. This helps to keep the collapsed length of the tripod down, but it means that you have to extend the centre column about an inch before you can adjust the angle of the tripod head. it’s one more thing to have to do when setting up the tripod, and it somewhat negates the speed benefits of the fancy fast opening leg locks.

peak design travel tripod weight

I often try to use a tripod without extending the centre column as this always provides increased stability, therefore this requirement was a slight annoyance. Also, with the provided tripod bag being such a tight squeeze, if you don’t collapse the column down after using it, re-seating the head into the top of the legs, you won’t actually be able to fit the tripod into the bag.

I totally get why they have gone with this design. it clearly provides a lighter tripod that is shorter when collapsed. So this just comes down to what I was saying earlier: Travel Tripods always have compromises. Your own goals need to line up with the tripod designer’s goals for this to be the right purchase for you.

One way to get around this is to use a 3rd party ball head, and the various options for this will be discussed below in another section.

peak design travel tripod weight

Included Accessories

peak design travel tripod weight

The Travel Tripod includes a phone adapter that can be used on the ball head to hold your phone. I doubt that many people will buy this tripod for the sole purpose of using it with a phone, but Youtube creators will likely find it handy for behind-the-scenes shots, b-roll and time-lapses. All of which phones are highly capable of capturing these days.

The foldable phone holder is cleverly hidden inside the centre column, accessible by rotating and removing the centre column’s bottom hook. Although designed for this tripod, you could use the phone holder in any other Arca-Swiss compatible clamp.

peak design travel tripod weight

Almost every time you buy a tripod or a ball head you’ll find one or two hex wrenches in the box. Peak Design has taken this one step further and created a bespoke mini multitool that can be stored in your bag or attached to the leg of the tripod in a removable plastic sheath. It’s these kinds of small details that set Peak Design apart from everyone else. Even the most expensive tripods from the likes of Gitzo and Really Right Stuff don’t go to this level of detail.

I’m sure that little touches like this, and the phone holder, are the sorts of things that put customers at ease with the cost of their relatively expensive purchases. I don’t expect anyone to be feeling buyer’s remorse with these tripods, and I do expect Peak Design to make some fans of their products for life.

peak design travel tripod weight

Much like the multitool, Peak Design has also gone to great lengths to make a good tripod bag. A hidden internal pocket can be used to store the multitool shown above, and in that pocket, you will also find a small tool to help you remove the tripod legs for cleaning or addition of optional tripod feet.

Peak Design Travel Tripod Weights

Any conscientious buyer will be comparing the specifications of various tripod options. The Peak Design Travel Tripod is available in two versions, and then there are further options to adapt the tripod by adding accessories or removing unnecessary parts. As such, the actual weight of the tripod isn’t going to be that clear from the single specified weight on the PD website.

In the table below I have provided my measured weights for all individual parts of the Travel Tripods, as well as combined weights of the most common setups using included parts and optional accessories. You can use these weights to give a much more accurate comparison to any other tripods you might be considering.

As you can see, by removing the centre column and making use of the various optional accessories, you have options here that range from 1613g all the way down to just 601g. This Travel Tripod as a system is incredibly versatile.

Travel Tripod: Carbon Vs. Aluminum

peak design travel tripod weight

Once you decide to purchase the Travel Tripod, the inevitable next question is “carbon or aluminum?”.

The Aluminum version of the tripod costs $349.85 and weighs 1613g in the standard configuration. The carbon version costs $599.95 and weighs 1307g in the standard configuration. That’s a weight saving of 307g for the price increase of $250. In other words, for every gram of weight you save, you spend an extra 83cents!

If you go for the carbon version, you’ll spend extra money, but do you get any extra performance?

Unfortunately not. The capacity of both versions of the tripod is the same, and as far as I can tell from my own testing, there is really no measurable difference in the stability that is provided by both options. It really just comes down to weight, and whether you want to carry that extra 307g on your hikes and travels.

It’s not insignificant weight. Just by way of example, my beloved Sony 20mm f/1.8 G lens weighs 370g, and there are lots of other small lenses out there that have weights in that range. So, do you save 300+ grams of weight on your total carrying load, or, does carrying the carbon version of the tripod allow you the capacity to carry an extra lens in your bag that you might otherwise have left at home?

These are the questions you will have to ask yourself, and the answers will be personal. Fitter, younger photographers might not bat an eyelid at an extra 300g, but you certainly will feel that difference on a long day of hiking as you get older.

One other thing I should mention is value. At $349.95 I think the aluminum version of the Travel Tripod is excellent value. You’re getting a lot of clever design for your money here, and there are fewer competitive products. With the price of the carbon version way up at $599.95, I would class that value as good, but not excellent. It’s a heck of a jump from $350 to $600, for a tripod that performs the same and looks almost identical to boot.

Owners of the carbon version can rest safe in the knowledge that they bought the best of the best (at least from Peak Design), whereas aluminum owners can sleep safely knowing they probably got the better deal and spent their money very wisely.

peak design travel tripod weight

Travel Tripod Optional Accessories

peak design travel tripod weight

If you want to use your own ball head on the Peak Design Travel Tripod, the included inverted ball head can be quickly removed and replaced with the Universal Ball Head Adapter . It costs $40 and is compatible with the centre column. Any ball head that you place on it, can be held in securely by a trio of set screws that come up from beneath the head.

The platform diameter is 5.4cm (2.13″), but you could use a head that is bigger than this if you needed to. That said, anything larger than this might not be the ideal pairing because it’s likely a large and heavy head that would make the tripod top-heavy. Try to find a small to medium-sized ball head if you go this route. I personally use an Acratech GXP on mine in this way.

peak design travel tripod weight

The included ball head weighs 214g and the Universal Head Adapter weighs 88g. This means you save 126g by removing the ball head, but of course, you then need to find a ball head of your own to install. It’s doubtful you will find a head for less than 126g, so going this route does increase the overall weight of your setup. However, a standard ball head will give you the benefits of a proper 90-degree drop notch for portrait shooting, as well as a panning base foe panoramic photography. Depending on your head choice, it’s very likely that your standard ball head will also have a higher load capacity and just generally be more ergonomically friends than the somewhat fiddly head that comes with the tripod.

Should you go down this route?

peak design travel tripod weight

If you plan on putting a camera setup on this tripod this is pushing up towards the specified weight limits, then yes, I think this is well worth doing. It’s the only way that I use the tripod myself. I have chosen a very lightweight head in the form of the Acratech GXP, and this gives me full-sized ball head controls and a 50lb load limit. I’m much happier with this setup than I was when using the included ball head.

That’s not to say that the included head is totally useless, though. If you want to keep the setup as light as possible, there’s no better way to do it. And there could very well be a case one day when I want to do such a thing myself. Perhaps an extremely long multi-day hike.

Another reason to just use the included head is the cost of entry for the system. The included head gets you started if your budget is limited. In the future, you can always look to add the flat base and a 3rd party ball head when it makes financial sense.

peak design travel tripod weight

The Ultralight Conversion Kit costs $40 and converts your Peak Design Travel Tripod into a tabletop tripod. The conversion process is relatively simple and involves the removal of the telescoping leg sections using an included tool. Once removed, new rubber feet are placed onto the tripod. You can choose to still use the centre column, or it can be removed. The height with the conversion kit is as follows:

  • Max height (center column down): 36.3cm (14.29″)
  • Max height (center column up): 58.1cm (22.87″)

Removal of the main leg sections results in a dramatic weight loss for the tripod. With this kit and the centre column removed, the carbon tripod weighs just 601g.

If you think you can get by with the height reduction, this is another cool upgrade for your tripod. Unlike the Universal Head Adapter, it’s unlikely to be a configuration that you use all the time. If you did this it would be a very expensive tabletop tripod. However, it’s nice to have the option if you want to do a lot of low-level landscape photography or macro work. Or, if you are willing to rely on natural height assistance from rocks or fallen trees when you need extra height.

peak design travel tripod weight

The Spike Feet set for the Travel Tripod are designed for use on softer ground. At $40 they are quite expensive, as as far as spiked tripod feet go, they are fairly mediocre. As you can see in the photos, the end of the spikes are not that sharp at all. This makes them on in soft mud or loose gravel, but not a lot of use on ice or smooth rock. They’re fine, I guess, but I wish they were sharper.

Shoulder Straps

Both the case for the Travel Tripod and the tripod itself has connection points for the Peak Design Anchor System. This system is a feature of all their camera straps and means that can of them can be paired easily with this tripod. The Anchor System allows a strap to be quickly disconnected, so you can swap it from the tripod to the tripod bag in a few seconds if need be.

In terms of strap choice, the Leash or the Slide Lite makes the most sense. Of course, if you already use one of these on your camera, you can quickly disconnect that and use it on the tripod, too.

peak design travel tripod weight

Additional Way To Use 3rd Party Ball Head

peak design travel tripod weight

We’ve looked at the Universal Head Adapter as a way to use a 3rd party head on this tripod, but there is another option. By installing a reducer bushing into the 3/8 16″ thread on the base of your ball head, you can then attach the included Peak Design tripod plate onto the head and directly mount it to the built-in ball head of the tripod.

This makes a taller and heavier setup, but it has the benefit of being faster to swap between using the built-in head and using a 3-rd party ball head that has additional panning features and more ergonomic controls. Another benefit is that the tripod’s built-in head than acts as a leveling head, enabling you to quickly set up a perfectly flat base for the second head for panoramic photography or filmmaking. Both things that require that perfectly level starting point.

peak design travel tripod weight

The Perfect Gimbal or Pano Head for the Peak Design Travel Tripod

peak design travel tripod weight

Gimbal heads are incredibly useful for wildlife photography with longer lenses and panoramic photography. The problem is that most gimbal heads are quite tall and heavy. Putting a heavy head on a compact ultralight travel tripod would typically result in a setup that is far too top-heavy and unstable.

For a long time I simply ruled out using a gimbal with a small tripod, but then I came across a new gimbal while I was researching updates for my in-depth guide to the best gimbals on the market . The gimbal in question is the Fotopro E-6H .

Fotopro is a Chinese tripod company that makes some very high-end equipment. In the West, we tend to associate the Chinese photo brands with cheaper, low-end photo gear, but Fotopro should not be thought of in this way. While they do have a broad product range that includes cheaper tripods, their top-of-the-range Fotopro Eagle tripods and gimbals are easily Gitzo and Really Right Stuff levels of quality, stability and price.

peak design travel tripod weight

The E-6H gimbal is absolutely tiny compared to every other gimbal on the market, yet it is rock solid and has by far the smoothest pan and tilt motions of any gimbal I have ever tested. Not only is it strong, smooth and stable, but it also has the unique ability to rotate the vertical gimbal arm forwards or backwards up to 180 degrees in 45-degree increments. This means you can shoot straight up into the night sky, straight down for macro work, or simply fold it downwards to make your tripod more compact for travel.

Panoramic photographers will appreciate the unique click stops that can be engaged on the panning base to allow for easily repeatable panning positions, and filmmakers will appreciate the included panning arm that lets you create silky smooth pan and tilt movements that are far cleaner than you get with low-end video fluid heads. This gimbal really is a jack of all trades.

peak design travel tripod weight

As you can see in the photos, the size of the Fotopro E-6H gimbal is a perfect match for the Peak Design Travel Tripod when you have the Universal Head Adapter in place. At $449 it’s not a cheap piece of equipment, but it is easily one of the best tripod heads of any kind that I have ever tested for this site.

To jump into a new segment of the market with such a unique design, and do it so successfully, is very impressive. Starting from a clean sheet of paper instead of being influenced by iterated designs from a current product lineup has catapulted Peak Design into the upper echelons of the tripod market. If you’re looking for a travel tripod, you’d be mad not to have this one on your shortlist.

If your budget can stretch to it, I think the carbon version is worth the extra money for the weight savings. But if you can’t stretch that far, the aluminum version is actually a better value. Due to the cleverly compact design, even that version is actually lighter than the carbon travel tripods from some other brands, so it is by no means a heavyweight.

But before you rush out to buy one, I must once again underline my earlier point about the general nature of travel tripods. All travel tripods make sacrifices in stability in order to achieve their compact folded size and light weight. There is nothing magic about this tripod in that regard. There are many other tripods on the market that are more stable than the Peak Design Travel Tripod, but they are heavier and larger 2-series or 3-series designs.

An alarming number of people have asked me whether this tripod can replace all their tripods, or replace things like a 3-series Gitzo tripod, and of course there the answer is no. This is still a travel tripod, and if you are planning on buying one then you must be prioritizing small size and light weight, otherwise, this isn’t the right tripod for you. It would be a mistake for most people to downsize from a larger 2-series or 3-series tripod to this one because you will find that it is less stable. A mistake that is, unless the primary reason for downsizing is to get something much smaller and lighter at the expense of some stability.

So, to sum it up, there’s a good reason why this is the very travel tripod I spent my own hard-earned money on. It can hold it’s own against the much more expensive Gitzo Traveller and the RRS TFC-14/TVC-14. If you need a travel tripod, it comes highly recommended. For people with very lightweight mirrorless camera setups, it’s possible for this to be your only tripod. For those with larger mirrorless setups that use heavier lenses, and DSLR users, you are probably going to want this tripod as a second tripod. For use when the situation dictates that an ultralight setup is the best tool for the day. If you understand what you are buying, and when such a tripod makes sense to use, you are going to be very happy indeed with this purchase.

Where to Buy + Special Offer

As always, we appreciate it when you use the links on this page to make your purchases. For Peak Design gear I always recommend buying directly. They have free shipping to many places and their customer service team are always on hand to help if you have any problems.

  • Peak Design Carbon Travel Tripod Tripod
  • Peak Design Aluminum Travel Tripod Tripod
  • Spiked Feet Set

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23 thoughts on “The Ultimate Peak Design Travel Tripod Review!”

Great piece, love your honest reviews. Even some typos are fine for me. 🙂

Thanks. I’m not a robot, there will always be some typos 🙂

I travel up to 6 months each year. This is an excellent article for those traveling with large, heavy bodies and lenses. Unfortunately, other than smartphones, travel is dominated by small, light, often stabilized, crop sensor cameras. These tripods weigh more than my camera body. While there’s certainly still a group who can benefit from these, its small and getting smaller.

“Unfortunately”? Are you serious? since when having choices is an “unfortunate” thing?

Looks real nice!

I’m really enjoying mine. I have a few tripods on the shelf, but when you need something lightweight “just in case” this ticks the boxes nicely.

“I am amazed there was $12M of total business out there for new travel tripods – that’s what 4000 pre-orders from increasingly rare animals (photographers who actually pack tripods, etc). Thanks for the detailed, honest review. Love Peak Designs, their attention to detail is excellent.

Love the multi-tool – if only all manufacturers would use the same size we could all carry just one, or maybe two hex keys – and this is the way to do it. My Oben has a clip on the legs, but I always worry it’ll come off and I won’t notice – the keys should go in the center column like the phone adapter. Perhaps in the next $12M pre-order V2 by PD!

Yeah it’s a crazy number isn’t it! I guess it just goes to show how many people were unexcited by the standard array of options out there. It’ll be interested to see if they expand the range to larger tripods. I have no info on that, but you’d have to assume that they will at some point.

It is one of the best tripod ever.

It’s one of the best travel tripods ever.

I have an older PD tool that I prefer: one-piece, and suitable for a key-ring. The hex heads are the same sizes as the new tool.

Thanks Dan great review, purchased for my son, keep up the great work

He’s a lucky guy, John! Thanks for the kind words.

It is just fantastic.

Great article on this tripod. Looking forward to seeing it live.

Thanks Chuck. It’s definitely worth a look if you have a store near you, or a friend that has one. I have larger tripods in my closet but I do keep coming back to this one when I’m packing my bag and feeling it getting heavier and heavier. The light weight is a blessing.

Great stuff!

Amazing, honest review, Dan!

Thanks, Noel. Hopefully answered those questions you had. If not, let me know!

Thank you for your very detailed review! I have been reading some reviews and so far you are the first one to mention using the tripod with a mirrorless camera. This article was a great help and helped me in my purchase.

You are welcome, Rita. I’m glad it helped.

I’m late to the discussion, but I’ve been using the aluminium version for a couple of years, and have just bought the carbon fibre version as I needed another tripod for lighting. I’ve found the PD head better than suggested in the article: it holds my Nikon D850 with a battery pack and a long lens perfectly firmly and, slightly loosened, works reasonably well to pan. The spike feet are lighter than the rubber bushes by a few grams, but are incredibly tough and bite without slippage into ice and on rock: the points are quite clever, exposed when the legs are extended at an angle but not so sharp as to snag on fabric. Avoiding the weight of a ball head is an important part of the package, as is the low profile of the PD head. I’ve noticed no “wibble” during long exposures, even when it’s been noticeably windy, although those shots are usually at quite short focal lengths.

Thanks for adding your comments, Tim. I’m glad you are getting on well with the built-in head.

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Peak Design Travel Tripod Review

peak design travel tripod weight

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Price when reviewed

Our Verdict

It has a few quirks but this is one of the best tripods and probably the best travel tripod around at the moment. It’s incredibly compact yet it extends to a sensible working height and though the legs may look spindly, the Peak Design Travel Tripod is capable of holding a substantial camera and lens combination still enough to shoot long exposures in a breeze.

  • Very compact
  • Very stable for a travel tripod
  • Quick to deploy
  • Centre column needs extending slightly to give the head full movement
  • Hex wrench (supplied) required to attach and detach the quick release plate
  • High price - especially for the carbon fibre version

What is the Peak Design Travel Tripod?

There are two versions of the Peak Design Travel Tripod, one with aluminium/aluminum alloy legs and the other with carbon fibre legs. Aside from the leg material and their weight (the aluminium tripod is heavier), the two tripods are identical, but naturally the carbon fibre tripod costs a bit more.

What sets the Peak Design Tripods apart from others is their compact size when collapsed as the legs fold in very close to each other, making them very slim.

Specification

  • Maximum height centre column raised: 152.4cm / 60inches
  • Maximum height centre column down: 130.2cm / 51.25inches
  • Minimum height: 14cm / 5.5inches
  • Collapsed length and diameter: 39.1cm / 15.4inches, 7.9cm / 3.125inches
  • Weight: Aluminium: 1.56Kg / 3.44lbs, Carbon fibre: 1.27Kg / 2.81lbs
  • Maximum payload: 9.1Kg / 20lbs
  • Number of leg sections: 5
  • Leg material: Aluminium or carbon fibre
  • Leg lock material: Aluminium

Peak Design Travel Tripod

Although it’s a travel tripod, Peak Design quotes a maximum payload for the Travel Tripod of 9.1Kg or 20lbs. It’s the same for both versions of the tripod and it’s more than enough for most camera set-ups that I’m likely to use.

It also has 5-section legs which enable it to be collapsed down to 39.1cm in length and 7.9cm in diameter.

Despite its short collapsed length, the Peak Design Travel Tripod extends to a maximum height of 152.4cm with the centre column raised or 130.2cm with the centre column down. The shorter length is fine for me most of the time, but the centre column has to be popped up a little to allow the fitted tripod head to be tilted.

The tripod head has a unique design with the ball visible at the end of the centre column. It comes with a Peak Design plate, which will also fit into Peak Design’s Capture clip. However, the head is compatible with Arca Swiss-type plates.

Peak Design supplies a zip-closing soft case with the Travel Tripod. It has loops at either end to attach a strap such as the Peak Design Slide Lite .

The head is a little unusual and the centre column must be extended slightly before the ball head movement becomes available. However, the Peak Design Universal Head Adapter (£27.95/$29.95) is available as an optional extra to replace the top section of the tripod so a standard head can be mounted.

Peak Design Travel Tripod review

Build and handling

I’ve used both the carbon fibre and the aluminium Peak Design Travel Tripod and my experience of the two has been much the same, there are some slight differences. In terms of handling, the most significant of theses is that the aluminium version is 290g heavier. Aluminium tripods are also usually a little sturdier but Peak Design quotes the carbon fibre Travel Tripod as being 20% sturdier, but I’m unable to discern a difference in this respect

When the carbon fibre Peak Design Tripod first arrived, I had my concerns. I loved the way that it packs down really small and tight, but the extended legs seemed very spindly. However, perhaps because of their strange cross-section shape, they proved to be very sturdy – more on this later.

Perhaps because of the additional weight, the aluminum tripod legs seem a little more robust.

It took me a while to spot that there’s a 4mm and 2.5mm hex wrench clipped on the inside of one of the legs. That’s handy when you come to fit the quick release plate to the camera because the plate doesn’t have a  convenient coin slot or handle.

This has proved very useful when swapping the mounting plate onto different cameras, but it’s fallen out of its holder a few times. If it’s pushed fully home, it stays put, but if it get’s nudged up a little, it’s prone to falling out if the tripod is inverted to extend or collapse the legs. I’ve actually lost the tool that came with one of the tripods and but for a keen-eyed friend, I would’ve lost the other one.

A bit more fiddling around and I discovered that if you pull down the collar around the hook at the bottom of the centre column, you can turn and remove the hook to release a phone holder. Conveniently, this holder snaps directly into the tripod head and holds a large phone like the iPhone 12 Pro very securely.

Peak Design Travel Tripod review

Returning to the small size of the Peak Design Travel Tripod,  it slips easily into the side pocket of the average backpack. These are usually designed to hold a water bottle, and even those that are designed with a tripod in mind can often only house a couple of legs. The Peak Design Travel Tripod slips right in.

Because of that compactness and the fact that the carbon fibre tripod weighs just 1.27Kg, I have carried one with me on numerous walks on the off-chance I might need it. It’s a regular feature of my kit when I’m out for a day with my camera, or for a day of testing camera gear. On some occasions, I have even forgotten it was there.

When you come to use the Travel Tripod, the leg clips on one leg can all be flipped open easily in one movement, so it’s deployed and ready for use in moments.

Initially, I found the tripod head a bit on the fiddly side. It has two rings, one to lock the plate in place and the other to lock the head movement. At first, I always seemed to reach for the wrong one. However, when you locate the correct ring, both do their job well, locking the camera in place securely. After regular use, you get used the design and reach for the correct ring.

Peak Design Tripod

As I mentioned earlier, Peak Design supplies a neat little bag with the Travel Tripod. This is slightly stretchy but it’s a snug fit. So snug, in fact, that you have to ensure that the tripod head is correctly aligned so that the centre column can collapse down fully before you can close the zip completely. Nevertheless, it’s handy if you want to travel very light with your camera on one strap and the tripod on another. On most occasions, however, I’ve carried the tripod without the bag and slipped into a backpack tripod/drink pocket.

Peak Design Travel Tripod review

Performance

As is traditional with a tripod review, my first test of the Peak Design Travel Tripod was to extend the three legs to their maximum length and settle it on the ground before trying to wiggle and wobble the legs. Naturally, there is a bit of give, but I was surprised by how stable it is. The carbon fibre and aluminium versions are indistinguishable in this respect – although naturally the aluminium legs feel colder to the touch.

After that, I started to use the tripod routinely for my photography and it coped well with everything.

Wanting to give it a bit more of a challenge, I took it with me to the coast and mounted the Nikon Z7 on it with the Nikon Nikkor Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S fitted. Wanting to give the tripod a fair chance and to keep everything balanced, I used the lens’ tripod foot and collar as the mounting point.

Peak Design Travel Tripod Review

As the tripod coped with ‘normal’ exposures, I mounted a neutral density filter on the lens to take the exposure to 15 seconds in length. There was a pretty stiff breeze blowing, but the shots are completely sharp.

I was shooting with the centre column down and at the 110mm point on the lens, but it’s a very impressive performance, especially for a such a lightweight tripod.

I’ve also used the Peak Design Travel Tripod to support the Fujifilm GFX100S . As digital medium format cameras go, the Fuji GFX100S is pretty small and light, but it’s body still weighs 900g with a battery and memory card and the lenses are substantial. Nevertheless, the tripod was able to hold the camera steady enough to capture images of blurred moving water with exposures of between 1/3-1.8sec with a breeze that caused foliage to blur. I didn’t get a 100% hit rate, but it wasn’t bad. I even managed a few sharp images in portrait orientation, but this is more of a challenge as it tests your ability to tighten the quick release plate on the camera.

In fact, the only situation in which I’ve found the carbon fibre Peak Design Tripod wanting is when the feet are on a slick surface such as a tiled or wooden floor. If you press hard on the tripod’s shoulders, the feet slip and the legs start to splay slightly. Obviously, that’s not really a problem for photography because the camera weight is constant, but it’s something to bear in mind when you’re setting the tripod up. If you push down, you need to allow for the legs to creep back together before you take any shots.

The aluminium tripod fairs better in this regard and I couldn’t get the legs to slip.

peak design travel tripod weight

Which version of Peak Design Travel Tripod should I buy, Carbon Fiber or Aluminum?

I’ve often been asked if I think the carbon fibre Peak Design Travel Tripod is worth the extra expense over the aluminium version. It’s a very fair question as the carbon fibre version is close to twice the price of the aluminium one. In terms of support, I don’t think there is much, if any, difference between the two – or not that I have been able to detect.

Weight-wise, however, the aluminium tripod weighs 290g more. That’s a difference of around 23%, but it’s less than a 500ml bottle of water weighs (500ml water weighs 500g). Picking up the tripods, the extra weight of the aluminium version is apparent, but what’s more interesting, is whether you can detect the difference in the weight when you’re carrying the tripod with other kit.

peak design travel tripod weight

To test this, I loaded a backpack (the Wandrd Prvke21 ) with three cameras and four lenses and a few other bits. The combined weight of the gear and backpack camera to around 13lbs / 5.9Kg.

With the pack on my back, I then asked my parter to put one of the Peak Design Travel tripods into the tripod holder before removing it and swapping it for the other one to see if I could detect the difference in weight. To my surprise, I could instantly tell which of the tripods he had put in the pocket. So yes, the extra weight of the aluminium tripod is noticeable.

Whether you are prepared to pay the extra cost for the weight reduction, however, is another matter.

If you want the Peak Design Travel Tripod for its compact size and performance, and you don’t plan to carry it far on foot, then the aluminium version is the obvious choice. If however, you’re looking for a tripod that you can carry when you’re walking for long periods of time, or over long distances, then the carbon fibre version is the more appealing of the two if you can bear the cost.

Peak Design Travel Tripod aluminum

I doubted the Peak Design Travel Tripod when it first arrived but it quickly showed its mettle. The head is a bit quirky and takes some getting used to, but it’s very compact and it locks the camera in place securely. And while the lower sections of the legs look very thin, both the carbon fibre and aluminium versions of the tripod are very stable.

After using the carbon fibre Peak Design Travel Tripod in a wide range of situations, I think it’s one of the best tripods I’ve ever used and probably the best travel tripod , but the aluminium one makes a great alternative at a much more attractive price.

Although it comes with an extra 290g in weight, it’s tempting to opt for the aluminium version to save over £200 / $200. Many photographers might be willing to accept that, but smaller people, and those who want to walk with the tripod a lot, may wish to look at the longer-term benefit and spend the extra cash on the carbon fibre version.

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The Aftermath of the Chelyabinsk Meteor as seen by NPP

  • Released Wednesday, August 14th, 2013
  • Updated Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023 at 1:51PM
  • Visualizations by:
  • Greg Shirah

Shortly after local sunrise on February 15 th of 2013, a meteor as big as a building reached Earth’s atmosphere and produced a massive explosion above Chelyabinsk, a densely populated Russian metropolis. The highly sensitive OMPS instrument on board NPP observed the plume from the explosion 1,100km eastward. Scientists used the data from this first observation and ran two NASA models to project the path of the plume. The results show that the plume’s higher layer would move ahead of the lower layer due to the difference in wind velocity at higher and lower altitudes. The models also showed that the plume would circumnavigate the entire globe and return to Chelyabinsk by February 19 th , 2013. As more OMPS observations came in, it was clear that they coincided with the projected path perfectly. The results from this study proved the accuracy of the models as well as the unprecedented sensitivity of the OMPS instrument. The OMPS instrument was able to detect remains of the plume months after the initial explosion, which helped scientists track and study the plume for a long period of time. Since the Earth is constantly impacted by meteoric debris, an instrument like OMPS gives the scientists hope that in its 5-year design lifetime, they will better understand the effect of meteors and particles on the stratosphere, as well as the chemistry of our stratosphere and atmospheric ozone layer.

A meteor weighing 10,000 metric tons exploded only 23km above the city of Chelyabinsk in Russia on Feruary 15, 2013. Unlike previous such events, this time scientists had the highly sensitive OMPS instrument on NPP to deliver unprecedented data and help them track and study the meteor plume for months. This video shows how accurately the model prediction coincided with the satellite observations.For complete transcript, click here.

  • G2013-070_Russian_Meteor_prores.mov (1280x720) [3.8 GB]
  • G2013-070_Russian_Meteor_youtube_hq.mov (1280x720) [139.6 MB]
  • G2013-070_Russian_Meteor_appletv.m4v (960x540) [111.7 MB]
  • G2013-070_Russian_Meteor_720x480.webmhd.webm (960x540) [55.3 MB]
  • G2013-070_Russian_Meteor_appletv_subtitles.m4v (960x540) [111.6 MB]
  • G2013-070_Russian_Meteor.mov (640x360) [107.7 MB]
  • G2013-070_Russian_Meteor_720x480.wmv (720x480) [112.0 MB]
  • G2013-070_Russian_Meteor_ipod_lg.m4v (640x360) [44.2 MB]
  • G2013-070_Russian_Meteor_ipod_sm.mp4 (320x240) [23.6 MB]
  • Russian_Meteor_CAP.en_US.srt [4.4 KB]
  • Russian_Meteor_CAP.en_US.vtt [4.4 KB]
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  • chelyabinsk_still.05510_web.png (320x180) [83.1 KB]
  • Meteor_Thumbnail_thm.png (80x40) [6.6 KB]

For complete transcript, click here .

For More Information

See http://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/around-the-world-in-4-days-nasa-tracks-chelyabinsk-meteor-plume

Earth Planets & Moons

Atmosphere bolide chelyabinsk earth science hdtv meteor narrated npp omps plume polar-orbiting russian.

Please give credit for this item to: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

  • Greg Shirah (NASA/GSFC) [Lead]
  • Horace Mitchell (NASA/GSFC)
  • Silvia Stoyanova (USRA)

Video editor

  • Arlindo M. Da Silva (NASA/GSFC)
  • Didier Rault (USRA)
  • Nick Gorkavyi (SSAI)
  • Paul Newman (NASA/GSFC)
  • Mike Velle (HTSI)

Project support

  • Swarupa Nune (Vantage)
  • Narrated Movies
  • Russian Meteorite (ID: 2013070) Monday, July 29, 2013 at 4:00AM

The Aftermath

On February 15, 2013, a 59-foot-wide space rock weighing 24,000 pounds screamed into Earth's atmosphere and exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, in what became the largest known meteor explosion since the 1908 Tunguska event. Combining observations from the NASA-NOAA Suomi NPP satellite with atmospheric models, NASA scientists traced the trail of dust left behind by the meteor. The researchers found that a belt of dust traveling tens of miles above the surface encircled the Northern Hemisphere just four days after the explosion. The dust initially moved east along the stratospheric jet stream at a velocity of 190 mph. Over time, larger and heavier particles began to lose speed and altitude, while smaller and lighter particles stayed aloft. By May 2013, a thin but detectable dust plume persisted in the atmosphere. Watch the video to learn more. ||

Chelyabinsk Bolide Plume as seen by NPP and NASA Models

Shortly after dawn on Feb. 15, 2013, a bolide measuring 18 meters across and weighing 11,000 metric tons, screamed into Earth's atmosphere at 18.6 kilometers per second. Burning from the friction with Earth's thin air, the space rock exploded 23.3 kilometers above Chelyabinsk, Russia. The event led to the formation of a new dust belt in Earth's stratosphere. Scientists used data from the NASA-NOAA Suomi NPP satellite along with the GEOS-5 computational atmospheric model to achieve the first space-based observation of the long-term evolution of a bolide plume.NPP's Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS) Limb instrument first observed the dust plume from the explosion about 1,100 kilometers east of Chelyabinsk, due to the location of the satellite's orbit. NPP's second observation was farther west, close to Chelyabinsk, because the spacecraft's orbit moves from east to west. The third observation of the plume occurred the day following the event. The OMPS instrument could only see the plume during the daytime, and the NPP orbit had progressed westward away from the plume and into night by the time it was again over the plume.The OMPS Limb instrument observations are made by looking backward (relative to NPP's orbit) toward the Earth's limb. The instrument makes measurements through three separate slits. Early on, some of the plume observations where only made in one or two of the slits, but later observations tended to include all three slits as the plume stretched out. ||

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What We Now Know About The Chelyabinsk Meteor

A set of newly released papers reconstruct the fireball's impact.

By Shaunacy Ferro | Published Nov 7, 2013 4:35 AM EST

Space photo

Months after a 62-foot-wide fireball streaked through the morning sky over Chelyabinsk, Russia, scientists are starting to get a handle on the rock’s composition, trajectory and impact. Three papers released this week, two in Nature _today and one forthcoming in _Science tomorrow, reconstruct the event, finding that the superbolide (a bright fireball) was even larger than we previously thought, and that the risk of meteorites of this size hitting the earth may be underestimated.

The papers confirm that the meteorite was an ordinary chondrite, the same stony rock that Japan’s Hayabusa spacecraft recovered from the asteroid Itokawa in 2010. It likely originated from the Flora asteroid family in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. (For a refresher on the differences between meteors, meteorites and asteroids, see here ).

Impact Site

Impact Site

In the Science paper, a group of researchers visited villages around the meteorite’s landing spot and re-traced its trajectory using the dash-cams and security footage that caught it on tape that morning, at sunrise on Feb. 15, 2013. “Directly below the fireball’s path, the shock wave was strong enough to blow people off their feet,” they write.

Some interesting numbers:

  • The meteoroid likely started out being about 19 meters in diameter, around 62 feet, and had a mass of 12,000 to 13,000 tons. It entered the atmosphere at a speed of more than 40,000 miles per hour.
  • The first shock wave formed at 55 miles above the surface.
  • 19 miles above the surface, the meteor peaked in heat and brightness, shining brighter than the sun for people up to 62 miles away. The explosion was equal to about 500,000-600,000 tons of TNT.
  • An impact from as long as 4.4 billion years ago created shock veins in the asteroid, making it easier for the rock to break apart.
  • 9,000 to 13,000 pounds of meteorite fell to the ground, including the 1,400 pound fragment found in Lake Chebarkul. More than 75 percent of the rock evaporated.
  • That biggest fragment created a 23-foot-wide hole in the ice covering Lake Chebarkul, which was more than 2 feet thick at the time.

Impact Trajectory

Most of the damage from the rock came from the air blast, not from actual fragments of meteorite hitting the Earth. As one of the Nature papers points out, it seems our models of air blast damage, based on the effects of nuclear blasts of the same energy, might have been overestimated what actually occurred, since asteroids break up as they fall. In not-so-good news, the researchers estimate the risk of asteroids of this size hitting the Earth might be 10 times greater than previously thought.

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We spent 4 years redesigning the tripod from the ground up, creating a travel tripod that packs down to the diameter of a water bottle—without compromising height, stability, or features.

Traditional tripods have always suffered from needless bulk and wasted space, so we made it radically faster to setup and takedown. Our tripod features ergonomic adjustment points, built-in mobile compatibility, and thoughtful details at every turn. Plus, it’s built for life on the road: durable, 100% serviceable, and backed by the Peak Design lifetime guarantee.

Tripod includes legs, ballhead, protective soft case, ARCA-compatible Standard Plate, mobile mount, hex tool with carrying clip, and bushing removal tool for maintenance. See Specs section below for details.

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Pro performance. half the size..

The Travel Tripod brings you pro-level stability, load capacity, and deployed height, yet packs down to the diameter of a water bottle. A ground-up redesign of the traditional tripod, the Travel Tripod is the result of 4 years of engineering.

Groundbreaking Architecture

Spatially efficient design eliminates wasted volume when packed down. Packs down to the diameter of a water bottle. No protruding knobs.

LIGHTNING-FAST DEPLOYMENT

Unique design allows quicker, easier setup/takedown.

Secure, fast, and ergonomic camera quick release.

Fast-locking, low profile leg cams.

Legs deploy in seconds, without having to flip over like traditional travel tripod legs.

PRO-LEVEL STABILITY & FEATURES

20lb weight capacity (optimized for a full-frame DSLR + telephoto lens). Stability and vibration damping performance comparable, if not better, than most tripods in its class. Low and inverted modes position your camera inches off the ground
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ERGONOMIC BALL HEAD

Ultra-smooth, omnidirectional Compact Ball Head.

One single adjustment ring. No bulky or confusing knobs
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Simple locking ring for total security.

Compatible with all PD plates and most 3rd party Arca-type plates.


Removable pins allow use with most Arca-type L-brackets
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For your phone, too

Built-in and stowable mobile mount.

Securely grips any phone/case
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What is in the box

  • Tripod (Legs + Compact Ball Head) x1
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Travel Tripod what's in the box

SKU/Part Number:

TT-CB-5-150-AL-1 (Aluminum)

TT-CB-5-150-CF-1 (Carbon Fiber)

Alloy: 1.56 kg (3.44 lbs) Carbon: 1.29 kg (2.81 lbs)

Weight Capacity:

9.1 kg (20 lbs)* *Optimized for pro setups, up to full-frame DSLR + telephoto lens

Instruction

Product Manual

Collapsed Dimensions:

Length: 39.1 cm (15.4”)

Diameter: 7.9 cm (3.125")

Deployed Dimensions:

Max height (center column raised): 152.4 cm (60")

Max height (center column down): 130.2 cm (51.25")

Min height (low mode): 14 cm (5.5”)

Tabletop Mode (center column raised): 57.2 cm (22.5")

Tabletop Mode (center column down): 35.9 cm (13.125")

Leg Sections

Aluminum cams

Ball Head, Hub, Load Hook: Powdercoated A380 aluminum

Legs: Anodized 6061-T6 aluminum (Alloy), Carbon F’n fiber (Carbon)

Quick Release, Adjustment Ring, Center Column Knob: Anodized 6061-T6 aluminum

Locking Ring: Polycarbonate/ABS blend

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Atmospheric physicist Nick Gorkavyi missed witnessing an event of the century last winter when a meteor exploded over his hometown of Chelyabinsk, Russia. From Greenbelt, Md., however, NASA’s Gorkavyi and colleagues witnessed a never-before-seen view of the atmospheric aftermath of the explosion.

Shortly after dawn on Feb. 15, 2013, the meteor, or bolide, measuring 59 feet (18 meters)  across and weighing 11,000 metric tons, screamed into Earth’s atmosphere at 41,600 mph (18.6 kilometers per second). Burning from the friction with Earth’s thin air, the space rock exploded 14.5 miles (23.3 kilometers) above Chelyabinsk.

The explosion released more than 30 times the energy from the atom bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. For comparison, the ground-impacting meteor that triggered mass extinctions, including the dinosaurs, measured about 6 miles (10 kilometers) across and released about 1 billion times the energy of the atom bomb.

Model and satellite data show that four days after the bolide explosion, the faster, higher portion of the plume (red) had snaked its way entirely around the northern hemisphere and back to Chelyabinsk, Russia.

Some of the surviving pieces of the Chelyabinsk bolide fell to the ground. But the explosion also deposited hundreds of tons of dust up in the stratosphere, allowing a NASA satellite to make unprecedented measurements of how the material formed a thin but cohesive and persistent stratospheric dust belt. 

“We wanted to know if our satellite could detect the meteor dust,” said Gorkavyi, of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., who led the study, which has been accepted for publication in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. “Indeed, we saw the formation of a new dust belt in Earth’s stratosphere, and achieved the first space-based observation of the long-term evolution of a bolide plume.”

Gorkavyi and colleagues combined a series of satellite measurements with atmospheric models to simulate how the plume from the bolide explosion evolved as the stratospheric jet stream carried it around the Northern Hemisphere.

About 3.5 hours after the initial explosion, the Ozone Mapping Profiling Suite instrument’s Limb Profiler on the NASA-NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite detected the plume high in the atmosphere at an altitude of about 25 miles (40 kilometers), quickly moving east at about 190 mph (more than 300 kph).

The day after the explosion, the satellite detected the plume continuing its eastward flow in the jet and reaching the Aleutian Islands. Larger, heavier particles began to lose altitude and speed, while their smaller, lighter counterparts stayed aloft and retained speed – consistent with wind speed variations at the different altitudes.

By Feb. 19, four days after the explosion, the faster, higher portion of the plume had snaked its way entirely around the Northern Hemisphere and back to Chelyabinsk. But the plume’s evolution continued: At least three months later, a detectable belt of bolide dust persisted around the planet.

The scientists’ model simulations, based on the initial Suomi NPP observations and knowledge about stratospheric circulation, confirmed the observed evolution of the plume, showing agreement in location and vertical structure.

“Thirty years ago, we could only state that the plume was embedded in the stratospheric jet stream,” said Paul Newman, Chief Scientist for Atmospheres. “Today, our models allow us to precisely trace [the dust from] the bolide and understand its evolution as it moves around the globe.”

The full implications of the study remain to be seen. Every day, tens of metric tons of small material from space encounters Earth and is suspended high in the atmosphere. Even with the addition of the Chelyabinsk debris, the environment there remains relatively clean. Particles are small and sparse, in contrast to a stratospheric layer just below where abundant natural aerosols from volcanoes and other sources collect.

Still, with satellite technology now capable of more precisely measuring tiny atmospheric particles, scientists can embark on new studies in high-altitude atmospheric physics. How common are previously unobservable bolide events? How might this debris influence stratospheric and mesospheric clouds?

Scientists previously knew that debris from an exploded bolide could make it high into the atmosphere. In 2004, scientists on the ground in Antarctica made a single lidar observation of the plume from a 1,000-ton bolide.

“But now in the space age, with all of this technology, we can achieve a very different level of understanding of injection and evolution of meteor dust in atmosphere,” Gorkavyi said. “Of course, the Chelyabinsk bolide is much smaller than the ‘dinosaurs killer,’ and this is good: We have the unique opportunity to safely study a potentially very dangerous type of event.”

By Kathryn Hansen NASA’s Earth Science News Team

IMAGES

  1. Update: The Peak Design Travel Tripod is Still Incredibly Awesome

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  2. Peak Design Travel Tripod Review

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  3. Peak Design Travel Tripod Carbon Fiber Review

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  5. The Ultimate Peak Design Travel Tripod Review!

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  1. A Travel Tripod Better Than Peak Design? Smallrig AP 01 And 02

COMMENTS

  1. Travel Tripod

    (3.44lbs) We make gear for the creative and the adventurous. Our products keep your gear organized, protected, and accessible, so you are free to adventure, commute, and create. We pride ourselves in creating true utility through elegant, thoughtful, award-winning design we guarantee for life. Go more places. Take more pictures. Lifetime

  2. Peak Design Travel Tripod Review

    The aluminum alloy model weighs 1.56 kg (3.44 lbs), while the carbon fiber version weighs 1.29 kg (2.81 lbs). They cost $380 and $650 respectively. Another way to think of it is, for a 270 g savings in weight, you pay $270 extra.

  3. Peak Design Travel Tripod (Carbon Fiber) Ultra-Portable, Stable and

    Buy Now Ships from Amazon Sold by Peak Design Returns Add a Protection Plan: 2-Year Protection $49.99 3-Year Protection 450 Sold by: 6 VIDEOS Peak Design Travel Tripod (Carbon Fiber) Ultra-Portable, Stable and Compact Professional Camera Tripod Visit the Peak Design Store 4.6 533 ratings | 26 answered questions 100+ bought in past month $59995

  4. Peak Design Travel Tripod: My Full Review

    Focus Stacking in the Unita Mountains The Travel Tripod is available in two versions and price points — aluminum ($350) and carbon fiber ($600). I own and have been using the carbon fiber version since July, and it became a mainstay in my travel photography kit. I'd say I pack it on 75% of my photography trips these days, due to its compact nature.

  5. Peak Design Travel Tripod review

    $599.95 at Peak Design Pros + Size and neatness when folded + Serious rigidity and weight capacity + Dazzling design details Cons -

  6. Peak Design Travel Tripod Review for Photographers

    1,260+ Featured Photographers 2,360+ Photography Guides & Gear Reviews Peak Design Travel Tripod Review This Peak Design Travel Tripod review delves deep into what might be the most technological advanced tripod design ever seen. Is it worth the money though?! Photography Gear Reviews | Tripod & Monopod Reviews | By Matthew Saville

  7. Peak Design Travel Tripod Review

    Reviews Cameras Camera Accessories Peak Design Travel Tripod Review The Peak Design Travel Tripod rethinks what a go-anywhere tripod looks like, eschewing the fold-up designs of competitors...

  8. Peak Design Travel Tripod (Aluminum) review

    Aside from the pattern of the carbon fibre weave, the two tripods look identical and have the same maximum and minimum heights, but at 1.56kg, the aluminum version is 290g heavier than the carbon fibre version (see our separate review of the Peak Design Travel Tripod Carbon Fiber ).

  9. Peak Design Travel Tripod review

    $379.94 at Amazon $379.95 at Adorama US $379.95 at Peak Design Pros + Narrow design + Compact ball head +

  10. Testing the Travel Tripod for Stability and Weight Capacity

    IN VOLUME-WEIGHTED STIFFNESS, THE PD TRAVEL TRIPOD IS AMONG THE BEST Here's how the PD tripod (Carbon and Aluminum) stacks up to other travel tripods he's tested. Blue = PD Travel Tripods Red = 3 very popular travel tripod models that we did a lot of benchmarking against.

  11. A Tripod Terribly Misjudged by Many: A Technical Review of the Peak

    The entire tripod folds down to 39.1 cm with a beverage bottle-like diameter of just 7.9 cm. When all five sections are fully extended, the maximum height is 130.2 cm with the center column down...

  12. Peak Design Travel Tripod Kickstarter: Compact Full-Size ...

    The shape is undoubtedly effective — when closed, the Travel Tripod is just 8 inches in circumference, or about 2.5 inches in diameter (which is around the width of a standard water bottle) and a...

  13. Travel Tripod

    For years, traditional tripods have suffered from needless bulk and wasted space; we spent 4 years redesigning the tripod from the ground up, creating a travel tripod that packs down to the diameter of a water bottle—without compromising height, stability, or features.Radically faster to setup and takedown, our tripod

  14. The Ultimate Peak Design Travel Tripod Review!

    WEIGHT CAPACITY: 9.1 kg (20 lbs)*. This clever outside-the-box thinking has truly produced the most compact full-sized travel tripod I have ever seen. Yes, there are some that collapse a little shorter in length, but they also have a shorter maximum height. Where this tripod really wins is the collapsed circumference.

  15. Peak Design Travel Tripod Review

    $379.95 View offer We check 1,000s of prices on 1,000s of retailers to get you the lowest new price we can find. Camera Jabber may get a commission from these offers. Read more here. Peak Design Travel Tripod (5 Section Carbon Fiber Camera Tripod) $599.95 View offer $599.95 View offer $599.95 View offer

  16. Hands-on with the new Peak Design Travel Tripod

    When I applied some external weight on top of Peak Design's tripod, its legs start to bend over and could not keep straight. As comparison, Gitzo GT-1555T's legs are much stronger to resist bending, and able to support heavier gear. The two tripods are very similar in weight and height, the only difference is volume (Peak Design 1.2L vs Gitzo 1 ...

  17. Chelyabinsk meteor

    On 1 March 2013, NASA published a detailed synopsis of the event, stating that at peak brightness (at 09:20:33 local time), the meteor was 23.3 km (76,000 ft) high, located at 54.8°N, 61.1°E. At that time it was travelling at about 18.6 kilometres per second (67,000 km/h; 42,000 mph) - almost 60 times the speed of sound.

  18. NASA SVS

    The Aftermath. On February 15, 2013, a 59-foot-wide space rock weighing 24,000 pounds screamed into Earth's atmosphere and exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, in what became the largest known meteor explosion since the 1908 Tunguska event. Combining observations from the NASA-NOAA Suomi NPP satellite with atmospheric models, NASA scientists ...

  19. What We Now Know About The Chelyabinsk Meteor

    The meteoroid likely started out being about 19 meters in diameter, around 62 feet, and had a mass of 12,000 to 13,000 tons. It entered the atmosphere at a speed of more than 40,000 miles per hour ...

  20. Travel Tripod

    4.8 (1102) Material Aluminum Carbon Fiber 2.630,00 kr Taxes and shipping fees applied at checkout Add to Cart "This tripod is quite possibly the best one I've ever used. I have not found a flaw and love this thing more than any other piece of equipment I have. Super easy to carry and take with me everywhere." GARRIT WES ANDERSON Mar 18, 2020

  21. Around the World in Four Days: NASA Tracks Chelyabinsk Meteor Plume

    A meteor weighing 10,000 metric tons exploded 14 miles above Chelyabinsk, Russia, on Feb. 15, 2013. Unlike similar past events, this time scientists had the sensitive instruments on the Suomi NPP satellite to deliver unprecedented data and help them track and study the meteor plume for months. Credits: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.