Looking for light weight packpacking tripod

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    • #49069

      I’m looking for a recommendation on a light weight backpacking video tripod. I’m an avid backpacker and go out west to hike in the mountains for days at a time. My pack weights anywhere from 35 to 55 pounds. I have a light weight (1 pound) Panasonic TM700 video camera which I use on these trips. I would love the stability of a tripod, but can’t afford the weight of a full sized tripod.
      Is there anyone out there who does similar activities and has discovered a rugged light weight tripod that you can carry with all your other gear? I’m willing to spend the money necessary for composite or light weight metal legs and a half decent video head, but there are so many choices that it’s difficult to choose. Having a personal recommendation would really help. Thank you in advance.
      Dave Socky

    • #201063

      Dave, I’m sure that you will get plenty of suggestions for a light weight tripod but I have another suggestion for a light weight solution for steadying your camcorder while shooting. If you take a 1/4-20 eye bolt (should thread into tripod tap on camcorder) and screw on a nut far enough to allow the bolt to attach to the cam but not too far to bottom out. Next, attach a loop of cord to the eye of the eye bolt. This should be long enough to allow you to standwithone or both feet inside the loop. As you stand on the loop and lift the cam putting pressure on the loop the make-shift tripod effect helps steady your shot. Not as steady as a tripod but certainly very light weight and can be used anywhere that you can actually stand or even works where only kneeling is possible (shortening the loop). You can even steady an around the corner shot. The loop of cord sliding through the eye bolt allows relatively smooth panning. Hope this helps. Keep shooting.

    • #201064

      Thank you Vid-e-o-man. That is a really good idea and one that’s not very difficult to try – to see if I like it. Maybe I’ll use that technique for ‘tripod’ like shots, and then look for a device that can steady your camera as you walk. Just like a tripod, I know there are lots of products out there, but knowing which one is the best (and lightest) is the trick. Any suggestions there?

      Thanks, Dave

    • #201065

      ‘Merlin Steadicam’ is what your after but might cost you abit

    • #201066

      I’d pack a superclamp and miniballhead as well as a beanbag, and loop cord idea above.

      otherwise look at this:


      when camping or hiking, I find the best gear is anything that has more than one purpose, so don’t rule out a monopod/hiking stick…. homemade or store bought…

    • #201067


      You can consider for a monopode for light weight some model have a base like a tripod. The reason your camera weight is less than 1 pound is not necessary to buy a heavy tripod heavy head also.



    • #201068

      Dave, I have used a monopod, gripped just below the head unit as a poor man’ssteadycam. It takes a little practice but gives acceptable results for the price. As Don suggested somethingthat serves two or more purposes (monopod/hiking stick) helps lighten your load. I have been working on a DIY handle which would clamp onto the monpod and havea gimble arrangement to make the poormans’ steadycam more steady and easier to use. Keep shooting.

    • #201069

      Dave – I love my Dolica ST-650 (quick release, bubble level), but at 6 lbs, it’s a little heavy for backpacking.

      I recommend its little brother, the $25 ST-500, which has the same features and weighs in at 3.7 lbs.

      Good luck,


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