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Gear Recommendations

Looking for an inexpensive tripod to take backpacking and do time lapses with

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I am looking for a tripod that I can take hiking/backpacking. Features I would be looking for would be

  • Light and compact.
  • Steady enough to do hour-long time-lapses with.
  • Does not need to be really tall, something like 6-12 inches would work.
  • A lot of the time the ground is going to be uneven so it needs to adjust for that.
  • Under $50 USD.
  • I have a small camera (8oz) so it doesn't need to be real beefy.

Suggestions?

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2 comments

When you say it doesn't need to be tall, 6–12" would work, do you mean 6–12" when folded/compacted, or do you mean 6–12" when extended? scottbb‭ 8 months ago

@scottbb When extended Charlie Brumbaugh‭ 8 months ago

2 answers

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Pedco Ultramount Grip

Pros

  • Very small — 7" × 2" folded
  • Lightweight – 3.2 oz.
  • Built-in strap to attach to posts, poles, branches, etc.

Cons

  • the Ultramount (ball & socket) pieces are made of plastic.
  • the small mount may sag with off-center or forward-distributed weight, such as small DSLRs with lenses. The plastic clamp may not be able to provide enough friction to stop sag.

The mount on my first one, the now-discontinued Ultrapod Go, broke the first time I tried to use it when backcountry camping. I was hiking for several days, and rather than carry it the whole time, I tossed it when I came across a dump site. I decided to try again with the newer Ultramount Grip. I only use it to hold GoPros or my phone, but it hasn't let me down.

With a small load on top like a compact point-and-shoot, or GoPro or smartphone, the low and wide base makes this very stable. If you can strap it to a tree, fallen branch, or anything else sturdy, it won't budge an inch during timelapses.

Pedco Ultramount Grip

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0 comments

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Joby GorillaPod 325

Pros

  • Small — 6.9" × 1.4"
  • Very Lightweight — 2 oz.
  • Flexible legs can wrap around objects

Cons

  • The ballhead is friction operated. Can be very jerky when adjusting its position
  • The leg sockets can become worn and loose after lots of use

What can I say? Joby GorillaPods are a known quantity and have been around for quite awhile. There are several differently-sized GorillaPods. The GorillaPod 325 is the current lightest-weight GorillaPod. It is supposedly rated for 325 grams (11.5 oz.) (hence the 325 model number). The ever-so-slightly larger GorillaPod 500 supposedly supports 500 grams (17.6 oz.).

I have an older, much larger one that can support lightweight DSLRs with small lenses. I've used it some times, mostly as a table top tripod. I don't know, I'm not much of a GorillaPod fan. But they have their uses, and the GorillaPod 325 model certainly is small enough to consider for backpacking.

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2 comments

Those are not stable enough for time-lapses, they wobble slightly. Charlie Brumbaugh‭ 8 months ago

@CharlieBrumbaugh Well, it all depends on the specifics of usage. If the legs are spread wide so the camera is low, the wobble is substantially reduced. If the legs are wrapped around the right branch, that can possibly eliminate the wobble, perhaps. It's very situational. The one thing that can definitely help is substantially increased mass of the tripod. I have a rock-solid RRS tripod that I've trusted with several thousand $ equipment. But it sure ain't easy to haul around... =) scottbb‭ 8 months ago

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