The 5 best travel tripods to take with you on the plane
Do you want to take a lightweight tripod with you when you go on holiday by plane? On the plane, you have a limited number of kilos you can take with you and your suitcase must meet certain dimensions. Of course, you need to take this into account when looking for the perfect travel tripod for you. In addition, there are some other factors that make a tripod suitable to take with you on a flight holiday.
Which tripod is good to take on a plane?
With travel tripods, the emphasis is on convenient size and the lowest possible weight. Travel tripods often have multiple leg segments and a centre column to still achieve a large maximum working height. Due to their thin legs, most aluminium tripods compromise on stability at maximum working height. This is less the case with carbon tripods. For these five tripods, we keep the weight under 1.5 kilos so that you have enough suitcase kilos left over for your other travelling gear. Expensive, theft-prone camera equipment such as your camera and lenses are better taken as hand luggage.
Should you check in a tripod as check-in baggage?
In general, it is best to check in the tripod as check-in baggage. This is because a tripod could be classified as a blunt impact weapon by security. To avoid a discussion, it is best to check it in directly to avoid extra charges.
What specifications should a travel tripod have?
When you want to buy a travel tripod, you need to ask yourself two questions: what is the minimum weight it should be able to carry and in what situations will it mainly be used? Based on these two questions, you can determine what the tripod's carrying capacity and minimum and maximum working height should be. So what specifications a travel tripod should have is almost entirely up to you. To keep things easy, we list five tripods in different price ranges from 50 to 400 euros, which have versatile and all-round qualities. And which are, of course, suitable for taking on the plane!
CULLMANN Carvao 816TC Carbon Travel tripod
CULLMANN is a not very well known brand in the United Kingdom, it is particularly popular in Germany. This brand has a number of decent tripods, including the excellent Carvao travel tripod.
- Maximum working height: 137 cm
- Minimum working height: 12 cm
- Length folded: 38 cm
- Max. load capacity: 4 kg
- Weight: 500 grams
- Price range: 90 to 110 GBP
With a pack size of 38 cm, the Carvao 816TC fits in almost any 30L rolling suitcase (you often take this size with you as hand luggage). This tripod weighs only 500 grams, which can certainly be called a light travel tripod. Because the legs are made of 8 layers of carbon, the weight still remains at an acceptable level. The Carvao tripod is stable, very sturdy and has a nice working height, from a minimum of 12 cm to a maximum of 137 cm. With a carrying capacity of 4 kg, it is also a very nice tripod to take with you at home - on a walk, for example.
Leofoto Ranger LS-225C carbon tripod with LH-25 ball head
The Leofoto Ranger LS-225C tripod is compact, sturdy and durable. The included LH-25 ball head is as versatile as the tripod itself. With a weight - including ball head - of 930 grams, this tripod goes easily with you in your suitcase.
- Maximum working height: 128 cm
- Minimum working height: 12.5 cm
- Length folded: 45 cm
- Max. load capacity: 4 kg
- Weight: 930 grams
- Price range: 260 to 275 GBP
The Leofoto Ranger LS-225C tripod has a maximum working height of 128 centimetres, and with the centre column you even increase the working height to 158.5 cm. Note; this is the only tripod of these five tripods without a built-in centre column. You mount the supplied centre column on the tripod plate to increase the maximum height. In practice, it is only used occasionally, so assume a working height of 128 cm. Because you can tilt the legs, you can achieve the small minimum working height of 12.5 centimetres. This Ranger tripod has five leg segments made of 10 layers of carbon.
The LH-25 ball head can be rotated 360° horizontally and tilted 90° vertically, has a built-in spirit level and is adjustable with a sturdy wing nut. You may find the Arca-Swiss quick-release plate included with the LH-25 ball head on the small side, but you can also use your own Arca-Swiss plate here. This small and portable travel tripod is robust and you can use it for a wide variety of possibilities.
CULLMANN Rondo 400T RB6.5 tripod
The CULLMANN Rondo 400T is an aluminium tripod, making it a lot heavier than a carbon tripod with the same specifications. The favourable price range makes the Rondo an affordable travel tripod that certainly exceeds all expectations.
- Maximum working height: 89 cm
- Minimum working height: 28 cm
- Length folded: 29 cm
- Max. load capacity: 3 kg
- Weight: 1120 grams
- Price range: 40 to 60 GBP
With a working height of minimum 28 cm to maximum 89 cm, the Cullmann Rondo is an excellent travel tripod. Its weight meets the requirements and its load capacity of 3 kg is enough to carry a regular DSLR or system camera. This tripod also has a centre column and comes with an Arca-Swiss compatible ball head. In addition, travel tripods with clamps are an exception, so the Rondo 400T is interesting if you prefer to use a tripod with clamps rather than twist locks.
Leofoto Urban LX-254CT (of LX-225CT) carbon tripod with ball head
The compact Leofoto Urban LX-254CT carbon tripod is the most stable and versatile tripod of this list. Of course, this also comes with a slightly higher price tag. The higher price can clearly be traced to the tripod's quality and specifications.
- Maximum working height: 163 cm
- Minimum working height: 20 cm
- Length folded: 45 cm
- Max. load capacity: 8 kg
- Weight: 1410 grams
- Price range: 250 to 330 GBP
You don't have to think of this Leofoto Urban tripod only as a travel tripod. Even at home, this tripod is ideal for taking with you on hikes. Despite its pack size of just 45 cm, it still has a hefty working height of up to 163 centimetres. The minimum working height is 18 centimetres and the reversible centre column allows you to reduce it even slightly. This makes this tripod very effective for all kinds of photography. With 10 layers of carbon, the legs are just another bit more sturdy and stable than the Cullmann Carvao. It can carry up to 8 kg and this tripod comes with a whopping 10-year warranty.
"This makes this tripod very effective for all kinds of photography."
There is another smaller Urban tripod than the LX-254CT, the LX-225CT. This is the smallest tripod in the Leofoto Urban series. With a pack size of 33 cm, this tripod is a bit more compact. The Urban LX-225CT is very similar to the aforementioned Ranger LS-225C tripod, but on the other hand it is equipped with a reversible centre column. This tripod is also worth considering.
Velbon UT-3AR tripod
The Velbon UT-3AR tripod is solid competition in price range to the aforementioned Rondo 400T tripod from Cullmann. But in terms of specifications, it is slightly different. A nice affordable travel tripod that will give you a lot of pleasure.
- Maximum working height: 135 cm
- Minimum working height: 36 cm
- Length folded: 29.5 cm
- Max. load capacity: 3 kg
- Weight: 787 grams
- Price range: 50 to 70 GBP
The Velbon UT-3AR travel tripod weighs just 787g, but can carry up to 3kg of camera equipment - ideal for use when travelling with mirrorless and DSLR cameras. When folded, it is extremely compact and then measures just 29.5cm in length. That's about the same length as an A4 sheet of paper. The ball head comes with an Arca-Swiss quick release plate. The UT-3AR has rather flexible legs when the legs are fully extended. You often see this on tripods with the same specifications. Nevertheless, you can rely on this tripod during a city trip.
Taking a tripod as hand luggage
Do you have no room in your suitcase or travel without checked luggage? If you start looking at even smaller tripods, you often end up with a table or vlog tripod. They are compact, light and have a small maximum working height. You usually have to set it up somewhere to achieve a decent working height.
Leofoto MT-01 mini tripod with LH-25 ball head
The Leofoto MT-01 is a mini tripod made of high-quality, hardened aircraft aluminium. The maximum weight this small tripod can carry is a surprising 6 kilos. With this little tripod, you can stably set your camera down on level surfaces.
- Maximum working height: 11.3 cm
- Minimum working height: 11.3 cm
- Length folded: 22 cm
- Max. load capacity: 6 kg
- Weight: 340 grams
- Price range: 75 to 95 GBP
The tripod legs are finished in clear aluminium and fitted with rubber feet for maximum grip on any surface. This tripod also comes - like the aforementioned Ranger LS-225C - with an LH-25 ball head. With its very practical size, you save considerable space in your hand luggage. The Leofoto MT-01 mini tripod is also available with wood print and in camouflage colours.