Peak Design Tripod Review – My Favorite Travel Tripod

Heather having fun using the Peak Design Tripod at Poinsett Bridge

As a travel photographer, I need a steady and reliable travel tripod. Over the many years, I have been taking photographs, I have gone through more tripods than I can count. Some didn’t even last a month. However, I finally found a compact, lightweight, strong, and durable one that I know will last the long haul. I’m pretty rough with my camera gear as it travels everywhere with me, so here is my Peak Design Tripod review after months of use.

Heather having fun using the Peak Design Tripod at Poinsett Bridge
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Specs (Dimensions)

Peak Design Travel Tripod

I found out about the Peak Design Tripod when it was a Kickstarter project. I happily joined the campaign as I was in dire need of a reliable travel tripod. When I got it after months of waiting, I was overjoyed; the tripod was super lightweight and tiny! Here are the dimensions of the Peak Design Tripod:

  • Max Height = 60″ (152 cm) – there is a center column that adds height for the taller photographers.
  • Min Height = 5.5″ (14cm) – all you need to do is unscrew the center column to make the tripod go low to the ground.
  • Compact Length = 15.5″ (39cm)
  • Max Load Capacity = 20 lbs. (9.1lg)
  • Weight = 3.5 lbs. (1.5kg)

The Peak Design Travel Tripod has been in the design works for over four years from the ground up to optimize it for a full-frame DSLR and a telephoto lens without compromising height, stability, or features. This tripod is durable, 100% serviceable, and is secured by the Peak Design Lifetime guarantee. The kicker is that it packs down to more than half the volume of traditional tripods to the diameter of a water bottle. And I can attest that it fits right in my water bottle side net on my backpack when I travel.

Deployment

Peak Design Tripod Leg Locks

An awesome feature of this travel tripod is that it is fast to set up and takedown. The leg locks quickly open and snap shut with one hand, making it extremely efficient when you have to be fast to get the shot. But, you don’t have to worry about the tripod unlocking and your camera crashing down while you are shooting. The locks are robust and will hold up in with the wind. However, I don’t recommend leaving your camera sitting on a tripod by itself on a windy day.

Ball Head

Close up of Peak Design Ball Head

The Peak Design Tripod has an integrated ergonomic ball head part of the tripod and an ARCA compatible standard plate. I keep the plate attached to my camera body’s bottom to snap the camera on the tripod quickly. There is a simple locking ring to secure the camera to the tripod. There is one single adjustment ring around the base to adjust the ball head to rotate the camera smoothly. The knob in the front unlocks the center column and allows you to raise the ball head to get more directional movement with the ball head. The ball head is compatible with multiple plates and can be used with an L-bracket.

Heather taking photos with the Peak Design Travel Tripod

Features

The Peak Design Travel Tripod in Soft Carrying Case

The Peak Design Travel Tripod features are plenty and I’m still finding neat things that I didn’t know about. Here is a list of the tripod features:

  • Secure, fast, and ergonomic camera quick release.
  • Fast-locking, low-profile leg cams. Legs deploy in seconds, without having to flip over like traditional travel tripod legs.
  • Stability and vibration damping performance comparable, if not better, than most tripods in its class.
  • Low and inverted modes position your camera inches off the ground – allows you to lay on the ground and get those cute baby and pet photos
  • Integrated load hanging hook.
  • Nonslip, shock-absorbing feet – I purchased spike feet as well for taking photos in snow and ice.
  • Anchor attachment points for carrying with Peak Design straps.
  • Ultra-smooth, omnidirectional Compact Ball Head.
  • Built-in and stowable mobile mount. Securely grips any phone/case. This is something that I just realized that it had. at the bottom of the center column is a hook and if you pull and twist it out pops the handy phone mobile mount. No more carrying extra parts to attach to your tripod it is all there all the time!
  • Weather and impact-resistant materials.
  • All parts are serviceable, cleanable, and replaceable.
  • Includes a padded, weatherproof case – make sure to look this over as the tool has a handy slot that you might overlook.

Stability

Heather taking photos at Bald Rock Heritage Preserve

I have used my tripod in windy conditions and uneven areas, and the tripod has done its job by allowing my camera to get a stable shot. Even with it being so lightweight, I have never had a problem getting the shot I was after. And with the quick release leg locks, I can set up and take down quickly that nobody has to wait for me while I get ready.

Bald Rock Heritage Preserve

Price

The Peak Design Travel Tripod includes legs, ergonomic ball head, soft carrying case, ARCA compatible standard plate, mobile mount, hex tool w/ carrying clip, and bushing removal tool for maintenance. You can choose between the Aluminum or Carbon Fiber Tripod. The Aluminum Tripod is $349.95 and weighs 3.44 lbs. (1.56kg). The Carbon Fiber Tripod is $599.95 and weighs 2.81 lbs. (1.27kg). Which one do you choose? If you are a casual photographer, I would go with the Aluminum version. However, if you shoot in windy conditions, have a super-telephoto lens, or shoot in colder temperatures, the carbon fiber is the way to go. The Carbon Fiber Tripod gives more stability for your camera in those extreme photography conditions. I went with the Carbon Fiber as I intend to do another Northern Lights Photography trip someday.

Summary

Wildcat Wayside Falls

This is just one of the many photos I have been able to capture while traveling with my Peak Design Tripod. I can’t say enough good things about this tripod and trust me when I say I have tried a bunch of them. If you are in the market for a high-quality, lightweight, durable travel tripod, consider Peak Design. The tripods are expensive, but you get what you pay for and that is a lot in my opinion!

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Further Reading

If you need more photography tips, check out these posts for extra photography inspiration:

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