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6 Great Hunting Tripods

6 Great Hunting Tripods

Few things are as frustrating as attempting to keep a target steady in a field of view. Elevation or windage adjustments will matter little if the target is moving all around within the lens. This is why proper support is critical while in the field. A tripod is designed to provide a steady platform when observing targets through magnification.

But, are all tripods the same? Certainly not, as will be seen through a review of the following six products. Each offers unique advantages as well as limitations. A closer look will help to spot the best hunting tripod for hunting.


Hunting Tripod Reviews


Vortex Optics Pro GT Tripod

Vortex Optics Pro GT Tripod For Hunting


This tripod extends from 24.6 to 67.1 inches and weighs 6.05 pounds. The aluminum legs offer durable support. A quick release plate makes optics change outs quick.

Tripod Highlights

A balance hook offers extra stability in windy conditions when weight is applied.

The Good

The balance hook is a great addition that provides more stability in windy conditions. The tripod adjustments are made easier through the use of flip levers on the locks.

The Bad

The three-way head horizontal to vertical flip is not very useful for most hunting applications. The leg joint locking mechanism needs to be checked for a secure lock and may become loose with heavier loads.

Pros

  • Anodized aluminum legs are sturdy
  • The quick release plate speeds up change outs
  • A balance hook offers more stability

Cons

  • The tripod feels top heavy when operating without weight on balance hook
  • Leg lock knobs may become loose under heavy loads
  • The three-way head flip feature offers limited hunting uses

Who is this tripod for?

This tripod may be a great choice for a hunter who also enjoys taking nature photographs. This may not be the most comfortable choice for a tall user.


Vanguard Quest Shooting Stick


The light aluminum legs weigh only 2.2 pounds and can unfold from 27.5 to 62 inches fully extended. A U-shaped yoke will support a weapon or scope. The leg locks employ quick flip levers.

Tripod Highlights

This unit can be converted to a monopod, bipod, or tripod.

The Good

The ability to change between three separate support types makes this product highly versatile. The padding at the top of the legs adds comfort while deployed.

The Bad

There are a lot of parts that you can lose track of. Due to the design, the head detaches more readily than on other tripods.

Pros

  • The versatility of monopod, bipod, and tripod in one unit
  • The U-shaped yoke stabilizes a variety of equipment
  • Rubber fins help to prevent weapon slippage while in use

Cons

  • Switching between one, two, and three legs takes time
  • The head may become detached more easily due to design
  • Disassembled parts are easier to loose track of in the field
Who is this tripod for?

This might be an ideal tripod for those looking for maximum versatility in equipment support. That versatility might go unused by hunters who are comfortable with a single type of optical support.


Zomei Professional Compact Photo Camera Tripod


This tripod would be a good choice for someone who is design conscious and is looking for some versatility. The ball head may not offer the best support for users with heavy equipment.

Aircraft grade aluminum provides strength for this tripod that extends from 22 to 65 inches. The reverse folding legs and bubble level help with set up in the field.

Tripod Highlights

The four-piece legs and durable lock mechanisms allow for a proper set up in almost any terrain.

The Good

The three position angle adjustment offers a variety of leg positions. Its ability to convert from a tripod to a monopod is a nice feature as well.

The Bad

The ball head style is not the most secure mounting platform type. It also requires extra room, giving it a higher profile above the legs.

Pros

  • The tripod can convert into a monopod
  • Four leg sections allow for three leg positions
  • Knobs and padding provide ergonomic controls

Cons

  • The ball head provides less stable mounting than other designs
  • Panning around with the tripod felt stiff
  • Plastic parts on aluminum legs may betray otherwise solid construction
Who is this tripod for?


Zomei Z818 Professional Camera Tripod Monopod


The aluminum magnesium alloy upgrades the durability of this model. Twist locks provide for ample control while panning. Extends from 22 to 65 inches.

Tripod Highlights

A combination monopod/tripod that offers a variety of height and weight settings.

The Good

The addition of a hook on the center column can help prevent tipping during wind gusts. A four-piece leg design provides for multiple levels of adjustment.

The Bad

The extra weight used on the center hook will add to the strain placed on the extra joints found on the four-piece legs.

Pros

  • It can be used as a monopod or tripod
  • Additional weight may be added to the center column by a hook
  • A three piece angle adjustment with reverse folding legs

Cons

  • Ball head provides less effective mounting than two or three position heads
  • Additional weight feature may tax joints on four piece polls more
  • The stiff panning motion controls may cause high magnification jittering
Who is this tripod for?

The additional center hook makes this a good choice for those who hunt in windy conditions. Heavy optics users may find the ball head support inadequate.


Manfrotto Aluminum Tripod Kit


This pricey tripod extends from 27.2 to 64 inches and weighs over six pounds. A fluid head provides high-level support for optics.

Tripod Highlights

This tripod provides maximum image stability through a fluid head. Four leg angles offer versatility for in the field setups.

The Good

The standout feature is the fluid head. Maximum image stability and holding power are offered through it.

The Bad

For hunting, the weight may be an issue. Also, the fluid head design is optimal for photography but might be overkill for all but long-distance scoping.

Pros

  • Fluid head design offers maximum image stability
  • Multiple leg angles allow this tripod to function nearly anywhere
  • It offers smooth motion while operating

Cons

  • The tripod comes at a high price point
  • The tripod is heavier than similar sized products
  • Safety payload rated at only 8.8 pounds
Who is this tripod for?

This would be a great tripod for hunters who also take photographs from cramped spaces in the field. A high price tag and limited payload rating may cause pause for some hunters.


Mini Tripod - Camopro Portable Desktop Mini Tabletop Tripod


This tripod weighs only 1.9 pounds and extends from 13 to 24.4 inches. A crank handle provides lift on the center shaft. Quick release locks and plates allow for fast set-up.

Tripod Highlights

This tripods compact size can provide support for general observations and low profile target scoping.

The Good

The compact size and light weight of this tripod would be ideal to use with small optics in a low profile position.

The Bad

As an overall field tripod, the weight capacity of only 4.4 pounds limits this product’s capabilities. A maximum height of 24.4 inches means this product can only be used crouched or prone.

Pros

  • This tripod comes at an economical price point
  • The design of this product makes it extremely compact
  • A stability hook allows for weight placement to increase stability

Cons

  • The ABS plastic parts take away from the tripods durability
  • This tripod's short extensions limits field applications
  • Construction limits load capacity to 4.4 pounds
Who is this tripod for?

This tripod would prove a good entry level choice for hunters traveling light with small equipment. The limited size and weight capacity may not serve hunters using medium or large optics.


Some Considerations For Using Best Hunting Tripod For Hunting


Tripods are fairly simple in design and can break down into two major components. The first is the tripod’s legs. The legs can be made from a variety of materials, with the least desirable material being plastic. Not only is plastic prone to vibrations, it will struggle the most when supporting heavier equipment.

A good hunting tripod for hunting will be constructed with aluminum which offers better support for heavy loads. Metals are also more durable. A great hunting tripod for hunting will be made from carbon fiber, which is lighter but more expensive. This material handles shakes or vibration better than aluminum, both of which become more troublesome at higher magnifications.

Many tripod legs are collapsible to allow for easier storage and transport. This is possible as the legs are designed so that one section nests inside the section above it. The joints are kept in extended positions through the use of joint locks. There are three styles of compression locks used on tripods.

As highlighted in this article on Optics4Birding, the least desirable compression employs a friction plate that presses against the joint surface. These are more prone to failure than the other styles. A good hunting tripod for hunting will use a screw mechanic that presses into the joint surface below it. The best hunting tripod for hunting will make use of a coaxial collar, as they are self-adjusting and offer the most reliable joint lock.

The second major tripod component to consider is the tripod head. As author Chuck Johnson (an avid hunter with nearly three-decades of experience) discusses in this article on BraveHunters, tripod heads can be broken down into three categories. The ball head is capable of movement in any direction as it swivels, but struggles more with weight support. A three-way head offers movement from side to side and up or down, with a flip feature that is little used with rifles or scopes.

The two-way head provides side to side motion and up or down movement. It is a simple design that is most often found on tripods. Former marine and NRA certified instructor Travis Pike writes on OutdoorEmpire that this is functional for a hunter’s needs. He believes a quick set-up, silent operation, and lighter weights are also important.

This video of the Vanguard T62 shows a tripod in use.


Final Thoughts


A monopod, bipod, or tripod support can help to provide image stability during observation or while taking a shot. The added support will also help to alleviate unnecessary fatigue caused by holding optical equipment for long periods of time. Matching current as well as future needs is an important consideration when shopping for a good hunting tripod for hunting.

The best hunting tripod for hunting will include features that allow for versatility during set-up while eliminating excessive weight. Ease of use and additional features need to match favorably with the intended job out in the field.


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