on all orders over $1000
on all orders over $1000
What is the best backcountry and hunting tripod? Wow, that is a loaded question! What material are you looking for, aluminum or carbon fiber? Does weight make a big difference to you? The useability and being easily functional when time is of the essence is very important. Finding the right hunting tripod for you and your glass is a crucial part of being able to spot and track animals across vast distances.
The true value in a good quality tripod is in the stability and support that you are given. You will be able to have a much easier time glassing than with a handheld binocular (don’t get me wrong, there are times handhelds are beneficial, but not when you have time to study the lay of the land).
Using a tripod also significantly reduces the stress on your eyes, neck, facial muscles, back, and shoulders. You are not constantly strained by trying to hold the binoculars or spotting scope steady, in turn allowing yourself to be relaxed and focused on spotting animals.
A tripod for western hunting is absolutely vital, in my opinion. This article will go over what I believe to be the best hunting tripods (not the specific heads for glassing or the clamps and attachments that can be used to convert the tripod into a stable shooting platform) and I will separate them into High-End and more Budget-Friendly categories.
The Outdoorsmans Tripod System is Made in the USA and made of 100% 6061-T6 aircraft grade billet machined aluminum. Try to break it, we dare you. They both use a system of easy use lever locks, which allows you to unlock and deploy your tripod faster than you can say, “tripod.”
The only difference between the Standard and Tall variations are the heights and weights. The Standard comes in at 44 oz in weight, 18.5” height compressed, and up to 60.5” with the centerpost extension. The Tall comes in at 49.6 oz in weight, 21” height compressed, and up to 79.5” with the centerpost extension.
If quality and dependability are important to you, then this should definitely be high on your list. Either choice you make, you will be happy you chose an Outdoorsmans tripod!
The revolutionary Carbon eXact tubes on the Gitzo Mountaineer Series GT2542 are now even stiffer to maximize rigidity and image stability. Carbon eXact optimizes the fibre composition for each tube size, using HM (High Modulus) carbon fibre in the narrower tubes to make them stiffer. The tube diameters are also optimized: the final leg section of a 4-section Series 1 tripod is now 22.5% thicker than its predecessor.
A built-in hook accessory allows you to hang a stabilizing weight (e.g. a full camera bag or a sand/water bag) from the bottom of the tripod center column. Useful with long, heavy lenses, on uneven ground or in windy conditions. With interchangeable feet, a ground level set mechanism, and a G-lock Ultra system which has been designed to reduce dust and grit from getting into it. This tripod comes in weighing 59.25 oz.
Benro's most advanced range of tripods, the Mach3 TMA48CXL combines classic design with advanced materials. High performance twist locks and magnesium castings make this 9x carbon fiber tripod ideal for indoor or outdoor uses. This tripod will work great in the field, and support the weight of your spotting scopes.
The Mach3 family of tripods features Benro's signature 9x Carbon Fiber legs. Constructed from 9 layers of carbon fiber, these legs maximize the strength-to-weight ratio of the tripod legs, which gives you the sturdiness you require without weighing you down. Another great feature are the High Performance Twist Locks, which utilize high performance with the use of rubber twist locks for improved ergonomics and resistance to the elements.
Wherever possible Mach3 tripods employ magnesium castings, making them among some of the lightest tripods in the market today. The Mach3 also uses a short column which can be used for ground level scenarios. It also has spiked feet included with every tripod on the Mach3 family for increased stability when in the field or on some difficult terrain. Additionally, this tripod comes with a functional dust cover and sleek carrying case (which we wouldn’t use in the mountains (but could store at home easily).
The Really Right Stuff tripod is compactly made to be easily packed for travel or storage while maintaining strength and not sacrificing features. The 4-section carbon fiber legs provide a load capacity of 70.5 lb and a maximum height of 66.1" This tripod will definitely manage any load of hunting optic that you put on it. The sturdy CNC-machined leg apex incorporates 1/4"-20 accessory sockets for mounting microphones (for those filmed hunts that you want to make), LED lights, monitors, or other accessories.
The ergonomic, ribbed, and rubber twist-lock grips allow for quick leg setup and collapse in any conditions, even when wearing gloves. O-rings keep joint threads clean and help provide tactile feedback. Additionally, the 3-position legs feature independent spread for easily achieving level, even on uneven terrain, and the spring-loaded leg angle pull tabs have visual lock/unlock indicators for secure positioning.
This is a phenomenal tripod, however, the price tag is steep. This particular Really Right Stuff tripod can be found for just under $1,000. That’s almost twice as much as some of the other high-end hunting tripods on our list.
The SLIK Pro CF line is another solid choice in tripods for hunters in the backcountry. If you are looking for a simple-to-use but lightweight tripod that can handle some heavy camera and lens combinations, then the Slik PRO CF-833 is for you. This tripod is 40% lighter than aluminum and extremely tough due to the 8-layer Carbon Fiber. When fully extended it reaches a height of 67.3 inches and folds down to a compact 23.6 inches.
Weighing just 3.4 lbs, the PRO CF-833 is capable of handling up to 15.4 lbs. Use this tripod with professional camera bodies and/or heavy lenses. The three leg sections are secured and loosened with twist locks. Because the legs do not rotate, you can unlock all of a leg's stages at once by twisting the three large rubber grips with one hand. This enables a very fast setup.
The Manfrotto 290 Xtra Carbon is a great combination of extra-rigidity and lightness: this is the first extra-sturdy carbon tripod dedicated to hobbyist photographers.
The 290 Xtra Carbon is a three-section tripod, the biggest in the 290 range, with carbon composite leg tubes which increase the tripod’s rigidity and stability, enabling it to easily support heavy equipment.
The top casting is made of magnesium, as are the adjustable leg locking levers which can be tightened to counteract any effects of aging and wear. This tripod’s key feature is in its choice of four leg angle positions which maximize shooting creativity. Its rapid center column adds flexibility and extends the min-max height range.
The tripod comes with a dedicated shoulder bag ensuring comfortable portability at all times. The Manfrotto 290 does come in at 54.32 oz in weight, which is about 5 oz heavier than the Outdoorsmans Tall Tripod.
This high-quality travel tripod from SIRUI offers secure support for your compact or system camera despite its compact design. It is easy to handle in any situation and can be packed into any hunting pack. The legs can be folded up by 180° meaning that the tripod can be collapsed to a height of just 41cm (without head).
Each leg is made of 4 sections with 3 sealed twist locks. The rubber feet ensure the tripod is steady on all surfaces. The T-024SK Series features an adjustable centre column, and for additional stability, there is a small hook on the centre column to mount a weight. This is a great option for hunters and photographers alike.
The Leofoto LN-364C Series 4 tripod has 10 layers of Torayca carbon fiber, used to construct its legs, along with 6061 and 7075 CNC machined aluminum hardware. The tripod has a load capacity of 77.2 lb, which is suitable for your hunting binoculars and spotting scope, DSLR, and large format cameras. The leg's 4 sections unlock via twist locks, and the support extends to a maximum working height of 63".
Because of its 4 sections, the tripod folds down to a compact 22.8", and only weighs 5.7 lb. Additionally, the rubber feet unscrew, and can be replaced by stainless-steel spikes that can be driven into snow or soft ground to stabilize the support. This tripod is on the higher end of the budget tripods, but still a great option before getting into the next tier of tripods.
Whatever tripod setup you decide to go with on this list you will be happy you did. Each and every one of these have been tested in harsh conditions as rough hunters in the backcountry. It’s your decision to take into account the different weights, materials, sizes, and price points for your specific hunts, but this informative guide may help you realize what is and what is not as important to you for a backcountry hunting tripod.
Glass comfortably and freely while spending more time doing what you love to do, hunting.