The Peak Design Travel Tripod is pretty self-explanatory. It’s a lightweight, highly portable tripod that has been designed with travel in mind.
While there is no reason you couldn’t use this tripod for video, it is primarily a tripod that has been designed for photographers.
Eliminate the dead space
Peak Design spent 4 years redesigning the tripod from the ground up to eliminate dead space and minimize packed-down size. hey gave themselves some very inconvenient guardrails. It had to deploy to eye level, yet pack down to water bottle size. It had to be as stable as other, much larger, tripods in its category. It also had to be remotely affordable.
Traditional tripods are made from circular tubes. Apart from being really strong, circular tubes are the easiest shape to design and manufacture. Cost-wise, they are also the most economical.
When you surround a circular center column with 3 circular tubes, you create volumetric dead space. To remove that dead space, Peak Design reshaped their tubes into a triangular center column and pie-wedge-shaped legs. This allowed them to pack the legs and center column in a tight cluster beneath the ball head instead of a loose cluster around the ball head.
Peak Design had to rethink all the leg connection and locking hardware. Maintaining even forces and tolerances between concentric circles is much easier than doing the same for concentric pie wedges. They also had to rethink the ball head design, fitting the same functionality into a wider, but shorter physical space.
The trouble with most tripods is that they are not easily transportable and you can’t normally just put one into your backpack because they physically take up too much space.
The Travel Tripod takes up half the volume of a traditional travel tripod. Peak Design was also able to eliminate bulky, protruding knobs.
With the design and compact fold downsize of the Travel Tripod every water bottle pocket on your bag is now also a tripod pocket.
What does it weigh & what is the packed size?
The Travel Tripod will be available in two different versions. Aluminum or carbon. The aluminum version weighs in at 1.56 kg (3.44 lb) and the carbon version tips the scales at 1.27 kg (2.81 lb).
Both versions pack down to be just 39.4 cm (15.5″) long, and 8.3cm (3.25 “) wide.
Peak Design claims that both versions provide the same stability and durability.
Payload capacity & maximum height
Peak Design claims that the Travel Tripod has a 20 lb (9.1 kg) weight capacity and a 60″ (152.4 cm) max height.
Having a maximum payload of 20 lb is one thing, but if you planed on using this tripod for video purposes where you needed to pan and tilt, I seriously doubt you would be able to obtain good results.
Having a compact tripod is one thing, but if it isn’t fast to deploy no one is going to want to use it. Peak Design kept this in mind when designing the Travel Tripod. The tripod features strong, easy-to-use leg cam levers that can be operated together. I personally cannot stand those tripods that have twist lock mechanisms on the legs.
Peak Design claims that the Travel Tripod can go from being packed to completely deployed in under 10 seconds. This is a bold design considering the tripod has 5 leg stages.
A tripod that is designed for travel needs to be as versatile as possible. With the Peak Design Travel Tripod you can quickly switch to Inverted Mode, which enables you to get the camera very low to the ground. This is also handy for doing macro or product shots.
If you use the included hex wrench, you can reconfigure the tripod into Low Mode. In my personal opinion, it is a pity that you need to use a tool to put the tripod into a low mode. Peak Design claims that the Travel Tripod goes lower than any other tripod in its class.
The Travel Tripod comes with a small ball head. This has been designed with a single precision-engineered adjustment ring. Peak Design Claims that their locking ring gives you further stability and vibration reduction.
The head design is said to give users a greater range of articulation and incorporates 3 portrait mode cutouts instead of 1.
The big negative aspect for me is that if you use the included mounting plate that you have to use with the ball head you need a hex tool to tighten, adjust, remove, or install it on your camera.
If you don’t want to use the Peak Design ball head then you don’t have to. There is an optional universal head adapter that lets you mount third-party tripod heads. This would be the smartest option in my opinion if you wanted to use this tripod for video work.
The Travel Tripod also works with L-brackets and 3rd party tripod plates. You can remove the pins on the ball head to use longer plates. It is also compatible with most Arca Swiss plates.
The Travel Tripod has the ability to raise a center column and Peak Design has also added a counterweight hook which is a smart move on a lightweight tripod.
With more and more people using smartphones to capture photos and videos, Peak Design has come up with a clever solution to cater to those users. The Travel Tripod has a stowable, universal mobile mount hidden in the center column.
As you can see, the Peak Design Travel Tripod is fairly similar to other available options when it comes to size, weight, payload capacity and maximum operating height.
The biggest differences are that the Peak Design Travel Tripod looks to be a lot quicker to delpo and it has the ability to be used in an inverted mode.
Price & availability
You can back the Travel Tripod on Kickstarter. The early bird prices are $289 USD for the aluminum version and $479 USD for the carbon fiber option.
If all goes to plan, Peak Design will be shipping the Travel Tripod out to all backers by the end of December of this year.
Just like every crowwd funding project, Newsshooter always reccomends you back products at your own risk. There are no guarantees that if you hand over your money that you will ever see the product you paid for.
In saying that, this is Peak Design’s 9th Kickstarter project since 2011 and they have a good record of delivering.
There are also extras available such as spiked feet and a Universal Head Adapter that lets you mount third-party tripod heads.
Even though there is nothing particularly revolutionary about this tripod, it does seem to tick a lot of boxes if you are looking for a lightweight tripod to travel with.
For me personally, I would consider using this as a second tripod for a a small mirrorless or DSLR sized camera for a two camera sit down interview, or to use for timelapse or locked off wide shots. I don’t honestly think that you could use the included ball head for an type of serious video work. If you did want to use it for panning and tilting you would certainly need to get the Universal Head Adapter and use a compatible third-party tripod head.
What do you think about this tripod? Would you consider buying one? What are you currently using as a travel tripod? Let us know in the comments section below.