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It just works! Ultralight Tripod Case
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Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

It just works! Ultralight Tripod Case on 07/22/2013 19:21:27 MDT Print View

Photo gear is NOT ultralight, but a lot of landscape photographers strive to be. Going ultralight with 5-10lbs of camera gear is arguably MORE important because traditional backpacking stuff quickly clocks you up to "Too Heavy to Hike."

So, I thought I'd share this. In the (infamous?) hunt for perfect stuff sacks, I realized the Thermarest stuff-sacks by Cascade Designs come in lots of different measurements, and are ideal for keeping an expensive tripod relatively dry and dust-free when you're out on the trail. For pack-rafters, they also have drybags.

Here's my tripod, the Oben AC-1410 4-Section Aluminum Tripod with BA-0 Ball Head (3.2lbs):


At 21", it fits perfectly in the Thermarest 11.5L stuff sack. I also wrapped it in about 2 feet of Gossamer gear's Thinlite pad, which adds a bit of protection for a couple ounces that doubles as insulation in camp.


(KalebC) - F

Locale: South West
Tripods on 07/22/2013 20:58:56 MDT Print View

I only use tripods for time lapse or shooting flowing water with a ND filter in daylight. I brought my slik sprint pro II (1lb 13oz), after two trips i realized it is Waaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy too heavy to be worth bringing and is for day hikes now. I now stack rocks, fill a stuff sack with leaves to get my slow shutter shots.

Edited to add a few more a's and y's

Edited by KalebC on 07/22/2013 21:02:50 MDT.

diego dean
Slider on 07/22/2013 21:31:50 MDT Print View

I can usually do without a tripod and just use a small claw afixed to something. But im getting into video using cameras and sliders add way more interest to shots. Cant wait for this to hit the market. Hopefully it works.

Tanner M
Re: Slider on 07/22/2013 23:14:22 MDT Print View

I noticed the date that the fellow got him money.
Have you read the comments?
Looks like he has regained interest in the project... He went MIA for a while...

Josh Brock

Locale: Outside
stuff sac? on 07/23/2013 11:26:26 MDT Print View

What on your tripod would you be worried about? If you just remove the ball head and pack that away you should be fine? No need for extra stuff sack or pad.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Just general care. on 07/23/2013 12:05:21 MDT Print View

I don't want dust to stick to the grease in the joints. I don't want rust to form on the metal parts from salt corrosion along the coast, either.

Tanner M
Re: stuff sac? on 07/23/2013 12:21:47 MDT Print View

Tripod bags aren't a bad thing. I just usually keep my tripod in my pack or in my hand. It isn't typically found strapped onto or in anything else.

I made a light sack and reinforced just some areas where sharp tripod things might poke. I put the tripod in it to protect my pack from the tripod... I don't want it to abrade the coating of my pack.

Usually when I travel, I put the legs in the little sack and the head in two zipocs. This protects the pack enough. The inner ziploc does get some pokes...

I don't usually worry about wrapping my tripod to protect it. I figure if I have done a thing wrong enough to hurt it, then I got other troubles as well...

A bag wouldn't have helped with what caused this. Now, the way I was carrying the tripod may have had an effect, bag or not :^)

I call this Goblin's Grin

Induro v. ice

Edited by Tan68 on 07/23/2013 12:24:56 MDT.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: stuff sac? on 07/23/2013 12:33:12 MDT Print View

FWIW this month's Trail Groove Magazine has an article on UL tripods.

Starts on page 51

Derrick White
(miku) - MLife

Locale: Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada
TrailGroove on 07/23/2013 13:44:47 MDT Print View


Thanks for the great tip to this magazine I have never seen before. It great.


Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: TrailGroove on 07/23/2013 13:47:45 MDT Print View

I'm really impressed with the quality of this periodical too. One of the benefits of BPL surfing is coming across gems like Trail Groove.

Josh Brock

Locale: Outside
Re: Just general care. on 07/23/2013 14:24:50 MDT Print View

Hmm I have yet to see any grease in tripod legs? The ball head yeh. which is why I could see taking that off and putting it away.

and as far as rust from salt corrosion- Are you using it on the coast or just carrying it? because use alone will expose it to the same salt corrosion as not having it in a stuff sack.

Also simply cleaning your tripod after back packing would solve this issue just like I'm sure most do with their sensors and camera bodies.

Tanner M
Re: Re: TrailGroove on 07/23/2013 15:55:36 MDT Print View

Yeah, I ended up reading about the Wichitaws

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Yep! on 07/23/2013 20:33:57 MDT Print View


You are perhaps right. Call me paranoid. I'll carry the extra 3oz to guard the stuff sack.

I'll be using it while backpacking and bike touring. My pack gets dirty, my bike gets dirty, my body gets dirty- I can't help but envision sand grains wedging themselves between the sliders and joints of my tripod and ball head. And the Oben most definitely comes greased.

Ted E
(Mtn_nut) - MLife

Locale: Morrison, CO
Re: Re: Re: stuff sac? on 07/08/2014 19:19:42 MDT Print View

Just so theres a better link (Ian's just take you to the homepage), here is the TrailGroove link for UL tripods


Matthew H

Locale: Boulder, CO
Re: Re: Re: Re: stuff sac? on 07/08/2014 21:45:58 MDT Print View

Cool link, thanks! Unfortunately doesn't help with my search though. I need a new tripod myself.. mine is like 5 pounds. Problem is that I can't find something light that will also be stable enough for the D800E and 14-24.

Edited by vision-quest on 07/08/2014 21:47:18 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
tripod weight on 07/08/2014 22:18:40 MDT Print View

It will help to find a good tripod if you first know the weight of your camera with lens. Plus, I would exaggerate that weight a bit, just to provide a safety factor.

I'm currently keeping my ultralightweight tripod down to about 17.5 ounces.


Brendan S
(brendans) - MLife

Locale: Fruita CO
real tripod on 07/08/2014 22:45:15 MDT Print View

I've been doing some tripod research recently and the sirui t-025x seems pretty tough to beat from a weight to capability ratio standpoint. A bit pricy but not really for a quality carbon tripod with a good head. I ordered one yesterday so I should have more useful info soon.

Edited by brendans on 07/08/2014 22:48:34 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: tripod weight on 07/09/2014 09:05:59 MDT Print View

Light tripods aren't as effective. They need to be wobble free and weight helps dampen vibrations. And yeah, that is in opposition to basic UL principles. If you can get something with sturdy joints, you can use water or rocks or even your pack to help anchor the tripod.

The ones with tent pole like legs are toys IMHO. You guys should have hauled 4x5 or even 6x6cm cameras and accessories around. My 4x5 tripod could have held up a corner of my car! My Canon F1 35mm SLR was 795g for the body alone.

I got a deal on a Slik Pro 340DX and swapped out the heavy and bulky Slik head for an Oben BA-0 ball head. It tips the scale at 3lbs. It is nearly identical to Max's Oben model.
Slik PRO 340 tripod

If I'm going light, it's usually with a digital point and shoot and an Ultrapod II.

Hmmm, I wonder if I can strap that on the dog's pack :)

Edited by dwambaugh on 07/09/2014 09:22:53 MDT.

Ted E
(Mtn_nut) - MLife

Locale: Morrison, CO
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: stuff sac? on 07/09/2014 09:26:26 MDT Print View

The article was aimed at lightweight cameras, not FF DSLR's

For a heavier camera, the lightest is a Gitzo GT-531 tabletop tripod and a RRS-25 Ballhead or a Gitzo G1077m ballhead, which will be slightly heavier than a pound. A little heavier, but still lightweight, would be a GT-0531 or GT-0541 tripod. Those are full size, vs the tabletop size. Both should easily handle the camera as long as you're not using a huge lens, and if you have the scratch to spend on a D800, you should be willing to spend some more on a quality tripod.

The GT-531 is the same height as zipshot mini. The GT-0531/0541 are "full size".

I currently have a GT-0531 and a G1077M ballhead and i love it. It has a hook on the bottom so you can hang additional weight, making it so you can dampen the tripod "on demand" when needed (very windy conditions, etc.) without having to carry a heavier tripod.

Edited by Mtn_nut on 07/09/2014 09:28:57 MDT.

Andrew Williams

Locale: Midwest
Silk Compact II on 07/09/2014 13:51:06 MDT Print View

After much deliberation I went with a Slik Compact II tripod. Yes it is a little flimsy and no it isn't full-height, more like a half-height tripod which is much more preferable to a table-top style IMO. It weighs in at 21.8 oz which I think it about as light as it gets for a tripod with these specs. Unless you can find the fabled Velbon V-pod. I doubt it would work for a bigger dslr but I think an entry level dslr (rebel series etc) would do alright with a lightweight lens. I have a Ricoh GR so I'm not too worried about the max load. Plus it's only $35, practically free in photography dollars.

Edited by spf3million on 07/09/2014 13:52:32 MDT.