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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> Tripod Carrying Suggestions?
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09/19/2007 08:13:34 AM · #1
Just wondering if anyone has any neat tips for carrying a tripod.
I'm looking for a solution that will distribute the weight evenly, and leave both hands free. My pod only weighs around 7lb(3kg) but my photo excursions tend to be integrated with other family activities so I need a way of carrying it and my camera equipment reasonably unobtrusively.

At the moment I'm looking at the Lowepro Mini Trekker SW - which has an integrated tripod carrier - anyone have experience of this backpack? Does it hold the tripod securely? (don't want it bouncing about or swinging from side to side) and can you get to your camera equipment with reasonable ease? (do you need to unfasten the tripod to get to the camera?).

But I'm open to any other suggestions too if anyone has any to share..
09/19/2007 08:43:40 AM · #2
My lil tripod came with a bag to carry it!! It is highly useful. Nah, don't know about those kind of backpacks tho sowy...
09/19/2007 08:47:08 AM · #3
I found that the tripod carrier on my computrekker was about useless. It was necessary to remove the tripod to access anything inside the pack. Not a big deal if you were going to use the tripod, but for those handheld shots where it was necessary to switch lenses, it becam a big operation.

Also, since tripods are fairly heavy and it goes on the side of the pack that's away from you, the weight really pulls on your shoulders and makes it seem much heavier when wearing the pack.

What I ultimately did was to simply put a strap on the tripod and sling it crossways over my shoulder. It does move around a bit more, but it's much easier to carry. If that solution's not for you, I'd look for some way to strap the tripod to the bottom or the side of the pack, where it will not be in the way and will be closer to your body.
09/19/2007 08:48:37 AM · #4
i'm cheap. i use the nylon cover that came on one of those folding camping chairs from Target. it's got a little pad on the strap and a drawstring and it seems to work just fine.

or you can just go crazy and buy a gorillapod. :)
09/19/2007 08:49:44 AM · #5
I have a Manfrotto strap that hooks up to my tripod but I've seen people use things like belts for a makeshift strap for over the shoulder.
09/19/2007 08:52:46 AM · #6
Originally posted by muckpond:

i'm cheap. i use the nylon cover that came on one of those folding camping chairs from Target. it's got a little pad on the strap and a drawstring and it seems to work just fine.


I've used one of those too and they work well. They tend to rip where the strap joins the bag after a while (maybe I just buy cheap chairs?), but they do protect the tripod a bit more than just a strap.
09/19/2007 08:55:46 AM · #7
I looked for something this summer to carry mine on some hikes. I ended up using a shoulder strap from one of my other camera bags and it worked pretty well. My Manfrotto has a couple of clips to attach a strap. I used those 'D' clips (forget what you call them) to make it quicker to release if needed.

When looking around for a solution I noticed B&H had a tripod bag/sling that wrapped around the tripod and you wore it across your back. Looked ok, but seemed like a pain if you were going to setup/take down frequently.

Haven't used a backpak...

Good luck! :)
09/19/2007 09:05:31 AM · #8
I have a Tamrac Expedition backpack which has a tripod 'pocket'.

It works but beware - even when my tripod (carbon fibre Velbon) is strapped into position it does make the pack feel off balance. This is mainly because the tripod is hung on the outside of the pack which is hung on your shoulders.

I have tried the tripod strapped down the side of the pack and the feel is better.

Unless there is major trekkage involved I tend just to carry the tipod in my hand. I suppose another alternative though not great is a monopod - there great for keeping the kids in line as well :)
09/19/2007 09:46:31 AM · #9
I have no experience with this bag, so take this at face value. :-) Check out the second review on Fred Miranda. He talks about it being "a joke" on the Mini Trekker.

Two things that really help with "tripod flop" is a longer bag, and more importantly nice waist/chest straps. A longer bag will have more surface area for the tripod to rest on making it more stable, and the waist/chest straps keeps the backpack from swaying around from the extra weight on the extreme far end. I have a Tamrac Expexition 7 with a front tripod mount too and is very secure with two tripod straps and a pocket for the feet. It's a bit longer bag though. It has an extremely padded waist belt and chest straps which distributes the weight more evenly, and the tripod doesn't flop around at all. Very comfortable, although a bit more top-heavy due to the center of gravity being shifted further back. It's a little harder to open the main compartment of a backpack with a tripod mounted on the front, but still manageable. Oh, and those little extra straps (to keep the main compartment closed should the zipper fail) help a lot too, just keep them tight.

But, most of the time I just carry it over my shoulder with the camera attached. :-)
09/19/2007 10:19:10 AM · #10
When go on Video shoots I use lawn chair bags, I ordered two replacement bags, 3 dollars each and because I said I lost them when they asked, the shipping was free. They work great, much cheaper than the tripod bag I seen at the camera store for nearly 60 bucks and I had a choice of 15 different colors.

If I am going out to take photos I normally will leave the camera on the tripod and tend to leave the bag behind.


09/19/2007 10:36:23 AM · #11
Originally posted by Traff:

At the moment I'm looking at the Lowepro Mini Trekker SW - which has an integrated tripod carrier - anyone have experience of this backpack?


Originally posted by Telehubbie:

I have no experience with this bag, so take this at face value. :-) Check out the second review on Fred Miranda. He talks about it being "a joke" on the Mini Trekker.


On that site, 21 out of 22 people recommend the bag. The guy you referred to is the sole person who wouldn't. You could find one person who didn't like anything, no matter how good (heck, just look at the people who vote 1 on my photos *grin*).

I have this pack, and it works just fine for my lightweight tripod (probably 3-4 pounds not 7). In particular, I used it all day on the DC GTG and it was quite comfortable.

You're right that it's best to have waist and chest straps. This pack has both. The waist strap isn't padded, which would be nicer, and which I absolutely insist on for backpacks I use for serious hiking. But it's functional.

The tripod sits in a pocket that folds down from the bottom on the back. There are cords halfway up and at the top. You have to undo the top cords to get into the pack. To me, that's no big deal.

I carry everything I own in it:
D200 and 3 4 lenses (Nikon 70-200 2.8 VR, Sigma 10-20, Tamron 17-50, Nikon 50)
3 Kenko extension tubes
1.4x teleconverter
various filters
cleaning kit
spare batteries and CF cards
Gorillapod SLR-ZOOM
tripod
remote release cable
point and shoot camera

Now, this is a lightweight, smallish pack. If you have a serious tripod, two bodies, 12 lenses, etc., this pack probably isn't for you.

Message edited by author 2007-09-19 10:39:07.
09/19/2007 10:43:15 AM · #12
My manfrotto comes with a carrying strap that's about a 3 feet long loop, attached up near the head.

I hook it under one of the legs and turn it in to a shoulder sling.
09/19/2007 10:43:48 AM · #13
I have a Mini Trekker. I find it's ok for carrying the tripod around if you hang it down the centre - but, as someone else observed, it's impossible to get gear out without at least undoing one of the tripod clips on the bag, so not terribly convenient. I also have the Manfrotto tripod strap that someone mentioned.

You may also want to look at the Bazooka or other products on //www.thinktankphoto.com/ttp_products.html - noting that I haven't tried these ones out. But maybe someone else here has?

Message edited by author 2007-09-19 10:45:50.
09/19/2007 10:51:49 AM · #14
I can't tell you the brand at the moment because I don't have it with, but I purchased a nylon bag with shoulder strap designed for tripods. It has an expandable foot for longer 'pods. I can fit both my tripod and my monopod in if I want. Very easy to get into and out, and slings across my back for walking. I'm very pleased with it. Got it at Ritz Camera, and if you're interested in the brand name - pm me. Under $15.
09/19/2007 10:55:18 AM · #15
Just a quick thanks to everyone for posting so far - really appreciate the feedback - didn't expect such a quick responce! I'll read through all the comments and follow those links!
Cheers all.
09/19/2007 11:07:41 AM · #16
If you have LOTS of money, get a Gitzo 1540T (this is the Traveler version, not the regular 1540), which is only 15.4 inches long folded up and should therefore fit in most backpacks.
09/19/2007 12:49:46 PM · #17
Originally posted by levyj413:

Originally posted by Traff:

At the moment I'm looking at the Lowepro Mini Trekker SW - which has an integrated tripod carrier - anyone have experience of this backpack?


Originally posted by Telehubbie:

I have no experience with this bag, so take this at face value. :-) Check out the second review on Fred Miranda. He talks about it being "a joke" on the Mini Trekker.


On that site, 21 out of 22 people recommend the bag. The guy you referred to is the sole person who wouldn't. You could find one person who didn't like anything, no matter how good (heck, just look at the people who vote 1 on my photos *grin*).


True, but I only referred to that because that was what the OP was actually asking about, not how much stuff the bag holds.
09/19/2007 01:18:29 PM · #18
Originally posted by Telehubbie:

True, but I only referred to that because that was what the OP was actually asking about, not how much stuff the bag holds.


Ah. Right. And searching through the Fred Miranda page, there are others who complain about the tripod holder, even while recommending the bag overall. So that page is actually even more useful. :)
09/19/2007 02:16:56 PM · #19
Originally posted by levyj413:

Originally posted by Telehubbie:

True, but I only referred to that because that was what the OP was actually asking about, not how much stuff the bag holds.


Ah. Right. And searching through the Fred Miranda page, there are others who complain about the tripod holder, even while recommending the bag overall. So that page is actually even more useful. :)


To be honest, I didn't even look at who recommended it or who didn't. I just looked for something that might help the OP in what he was asking for, and that was an opinion that I thought he might be interested in. Geesh, what was I thinking? :-)
09/19/2007 05:52:21 PM · #20
Thanks everyone.. really appreciate the feedback..

My ideal solution would be to follow EricV's suggestion and get a Gitzo 154T - then the problem of carrying a tripod pretty much disappears :) However the budget isn't stretching that far. :(

My problem seems to be that backpacks that accomodate a tripod seem to offer it as a 'final add-on' to the design - whereas i'd really like a backpack where carrying the tripod was central to the design. Positioning the tripod on the inside (ie nearest your back) would give the best balance.. but i can see the design problem - carrying a tripod would then be compulsary as the weight of the camera gear would be off balance without one.

Having said that I like the look of the Tamrac Expedition Backpacks - the tripod design looks well thought out. The Expedition 7 looks a bit big for my needs and costs significantly more than the Expedition 5 which I reckon is the right size for my gear but maybe a bit too small for my tripod - the pod will extend a third of its length above the pack so I'm a bit concerned about it working loose and wobbling about.
Though the Lowepro is about the same size the tripod pocket hangs below the pack so my pod would extend about one sixth above and below which sounds more balanced.

Well, I'll sleep on it for a while - if anyone has any other suggestions please feel free to chip in.


Message edited by author 2007-09-20 05:40:04.
09/19/2007 05:58:59 PM · #21
I have a SLIK 400DX tripod and I bought a Manfrotto bag off ebay for a couple of pounds. I measured the tripod first to ensure it fitted the bag, hey presto, one easy way to carry my tripod.
10/20/2007 01:35:32 PM · #22
Just thought I'd post back with my final choice/experience...

Finally decided to go with the Tamrack Expedition 7 - somewhat over-budget and larger than I felt I really needed to carry my gear but I wanted to be sure the tripod would hold steadily, if that became a nuisance I knew I wouldn't carry it and that was the whole point of getting the backpack.
It is of course a rule that no matter how large the backpack you'll still manage to fill it and have a couple of bits that won't fit in! Nevertheless there was ample room, to carry everything I really needed and, once I'd worked out how to adjust straps and harness it really was a very comfortable fit indeed. The tripod fitted like a dream and access to the camera equipment without unstrapping the tripod was very easy.

It's a strange thing, but when you're trying something out in a 'sterile' environment the perspective changes dramatically when you are 'in the field'. The truth is it soon became apparent that what I thought I wanted wasn't at all what I needed. I should be clear that I have no complants with the backpack - it does the job it was designed for and I'd have no hesitation in using it to treck equipment over walking terrain - but it soon became apparent that it was not the type of backpack you could pick up and use 'casually'.

Muckpond:
i'm cheap. i use the nylon cover that came on one of those folding camping chairs from Target. it's got a little pad on the strap and a drawstring and it seems to work just fine.

We'd taken my parents with us and low and behold they brought with them one such camping chair... I commandeered the nylon cover and it worked just fine - all it needs is to attach some kind of quick release strap/harnesss to hold the bag against your body so you don't have to keep steadying it and it would be perfect... If I'd only listened to your advice I'd still have cash in my pocket!
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