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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 when extended 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.
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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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+2
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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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