best spotting scope tripod 2021 Review

Are you looking for a spotting scope tripod that will provide stability and durability for a variety of outdoor activities such as birdwatching, hunting, and target shooting? There are numerous spotting scope tripod models available on the market, and it can be overwhelming to choose the one that is best suited to your needs.

If you don’t have time to read the entire article and don’t feel like comparing several other tripods, we recommend purchasing the Vortex Optics High Country Tripod.

The Vortex Optics High Country Tripod is compact, light, and ideal for backpacking and hunting.

It weighs just 1Kg, making it ideal for packing. Rather than a Panhead, it comes with a ball head that is ideal for glassing and panning.

A well-constructed spotting scope tripod dampens all spotting scope vibrations (including those that have a higher magnification of 60x and beyond). As a result, a tripod specifically designed for spotting scopes is a must-have item for your toolkit. Increased magnifications can have an effect on a spotting scope’s ability to remain stable and secure on a tripod.

That is why it is critical to purchase tripods capable of supporting the weight of your spotting scope, even more so if it is a more expensive model. (Pro Tip: Do not use the free tripod that comes with your spotting scope; it is not designed to be taken outdoors or used for an extended period of time.)

The Buyer’s Guide: The Essentials for Selecting the Best Spotting Scope Tripods
Before I get into the specific top spotting scope tripods, let’s take a look at a few fundamental factors to consider before you begin shopping.

spotting scope tripod

The two primary materials used to construct the majority of spotting scope tripods on the market are as follows:

Aluminum

Carbon-fiber

Each has a number of advantages and disadvantages. While carbon-fiber tripods are an excellent choice due to their lighter weight in comparison to aluminium tripods, they are more prone to break, whereas aluminium tripods last significantly longer and are more durable. People avoid aluminium tripods due to the misconception that they are too heavy to carry. This is simply not true, as not all aluminium tripods are heavy, and there are lightweight aluminium tripods available that can support heavier loads without weighing you down.

Carbon-fiber tripods are also significantly more expensive (with a few notable exceptions), but provide the lightweight feel that some photographers seek when carrying heavier gear for an extended period of time. While lightweight is an important feature to consider, it’s critical to avoid going too light, as this may compromise a few critical functionalities, such as stability and sturdiness.

It is best to avoid all tripods weighing less than 1.5 lb/0.68 kg, as they are simply too light and will wobble excessively even with the lightest spotting scope. I primarily use aluminium tripods because I believe they are ideal for spotting scopes due to their ability to feel extra secure and stable on a variety of surfaces, but I am aware of outdoor enthusiasts who prefer the feel of carbon-fiber tripods. My guide includes several options, including aluminium and carbon-fiber tripods.

To summarise, there are several advantages to carbon-fiber tripods over aluminium tripods. For starters, the former can support an enormous amount of gear without feeling wobbly or shaky, and it is surprisingly lightweight. Second, carbon-fiber tripods are better equipped to handle and absorb vibrations that could potentially impair your spotting scope’s focus and clarity (this is especially important at higher magnifications).

Aluminum tripods are excellent at remaining stable and grounded, which is advantageous on windier days. Contrary to popular belief, not all aluminium tripods are large and cumbersome. Cost is another factor to consider when deciding between carbon fibre and aluminium spotting scope tripods.

The Chiefs

The two most common types of heads for spotting scope tripods are as follows:

Ballhead

Panhead

Choosing between the two heads mentioned previously is largely a matter of personal preference, depending on the purpose of your tripod. While ballhead tripods are excellent for photography, they lack the necessary functionality for glassing. This is because precise and smooth movements are required for accurate glassing and panning. Ballheads can generate movements in all directions, making them difficult to control and maintain track of.

This is where panhead tripods come in handy, as they can provide those smooth, skip-free movements (which is desirable for glassing). Additionally, they are much more convenient to use when scanning the landscape (at least in my personal experience, but this may not be the case for you and you may like the ballhead system). I’ve included some excellent ballhead tripods, so you’re sure to find something of interest.

Additionally, you can purchase the tripod and head separately, though this will cost you a significant amount of money (up to $1,000 in some cases). I recommend complete tripods in this guide to keep things simple and affordable for you, but if you’re extremely particular about the leg and head type on your tripod, purchasing them separately may be the best option for you. Although it is not required. Bear in mind, however, that scopes with higher magnification and larger objectives require durable tripod heads, which can be expensive but ensure that your equipment does not move.

The Elevation

You can use your spotting scope tripod in any of the following positions: prone, crouched, seated, or standing. The maximum height of a spotting scope tripod is critical, even more so if you’re using a straight spotting scope (a shorter tripod may suffice if you’re using an angled spotting scope). You want to purchase a spotting scope tripod with a maximum height that is comfortable for you, so that you do not end up crouching for several hours, which is not only inconvenient but also detrimental to your back’s health.

The Different Types of Tripods for Spotting Scopes

Scope

These are the smallest in terms of height, as the centre column and legs do not extend beyond 18 in/45.72 cm when fully extended. As a result, they are frequently used when shooting from a table or shooting bench. They are devoid of telescoping legs, a feature that is standard on compact and full-size spotting scope tripods. Additionally, some may omit the centre column, thereby limiting its ability to expand further. They are quite limited in their ability to accommodate large spotting scopes, but they are ideal for use in prone and sitting positions.

Tabletop tripods are omitted from this guide for these reasons: the same features are available in compact spotting scope tripods, and they are typically used indoors rather than outdoors. Additionally, the tabletop tripod that comes with most spotting scopes is excellent for quick and occasional use, but I would not recommend relying on it. While tabletop tripods are ideal for prone and sitting positions, they lack stability and range.

Tripods for Small Spaces

Compact tripods are significantly taller than tabletop tripods and can be used in a seated, crouched, or standing position, depending on your height. They are generally more portable than full-size spotting scope tripods, which makes them a popular choice for backpackers, hikers, and travellers. They are ideal for scope objectives ranging from 45mm to 70mm, and their lightweight design provides the ideal balance of portability, stability, and sturdiness. Compact tripods extend to 60 in/152.4 cm, although some extend slightly higher to facilitate packing away.

tripod for spotting scope

Tripods in Their Entirety

Due to their ability to extend to 70 in/178 cm, full-size tripods can be used in a standing position. While compact tripods can also be used standing up, the advantage of full-size tripods is that they easily support heavy-duty spotting scopes of 80mm and greater. You should keep in mind that full-size tripods for spotting scopes have one disadvantage: their size can make them feel a little heavy to carry around.

You may not need to fully extend the centre column and legs on full-size spotting scope tripods. Raising the centre column and legs slightly may be sufficient to achieve your desired height. Stability may be compromised if the legs and centre column are fully extended, so it’s best to avoid this unless you are extremely tall and require it. (Pro tip: If your full-size spotting scope tripod includes a ballast hook beneath the centre column, as is frequently the case, I recommend placing a support such as your camera bag beneath the hook for added stability.)

If you’re still unsure about which type of spotting scope tripod to purchase, I recommend watching this video. Cody explains the distinctions, benefits, and drawbacks of purchasing a lightweight vs. a heavy-duty tripod in plain English. And I concur with him regarding the purchase of both types of tripods; I keep a lightweight tripod in the back of my car so that if I’m even on a drive and feel like walking around, I can quickly set up my equipment. (I also keep an extra pair of binoculars in my car). My heavy-duty tripods are reserved for hikes that require the use of larger spotting scopes.

Additionally, while on the lookout (pun intended) for a spotting scope tripod, keep the following features in mind:

Where are you planning to take your tripod? What activities do you intend to undertake with your tripod? Will you hike alongside it or will you simply follow along in your car for the sake of birdwatching? If you intend to move your tripod frequently, I strongly recommend a lightweight tripod to keep things simple and convenient for you. Certain tripod kits, such as the Ballachy 56-Inch Tripod, may also include a smartphone adapter, allowing for multi-tasking.

Do you require additional accessories with your spotting scope tripod purchase? Tripods that include a carrying case and other accessories are always a good idea because they eliminate the need to purchase them separately and you never know when you’ll need them.

You want to ensure that the tripod you purchase is the best value possible. You are not required to purchase the most expensive tripod, as this does not always imply the highest quality tripod. However, you should ensure that your tripod is capable of supporting the weight of your spotting scope and any additional accessories you intend to use. I mention both the payload and the tripod’s weight so you can determine whether those specifications work for you. Additional details such as maximum and minimum heights, head and leg types, and the materials used to construct the tripod are included to condense the pertinent information into bullet points for a quick and informative read.

The Best Spotting Scope Tripod

Bushnell 784030 Advanced Spotting Scope Tripod
tripod

spotting scope tripod

This sturdy Stand-Up tripod is made of durable aluminium and features a three-way Pan and Tilt Head with a large mounting platform.

Individual legs can be adjusted to achieve the optimal viewing height.

Another notable feature is the inclusion of padded leg cushions on all three legs, which provide additional comfort and protection regardless of the outside temperature.

Additionally, a sliding centre column with tension control, rubber feet, and a corrosion-resistant finish are included.

Although the head mount is not quick release, it can be adjusted to meet your specific requirements. Additionally, the leg adjustments are not quick release, but if you do not intend to move the tripod frequently while photographing wildlife, this tripod should be adequate.

This tripod’s durability is demonstrated by its ability to easily support a camera weighing up to 5.5 pounds. This tripod is not for everyone, as it was not designed for those who travel with their equipment in backpacks. Additionally, this tripod lacks a levelling bubble.

Manfrotto 190XPRO 4-Section Carbon Fiber Scope Tripod

spotting scope tripod

This tripod is constructed entirely of carbon fibre, which adds rigidity to the four-section legs.

The legs absorb vibration and stabilise the equipment in any condition thanks to these carbon fibre tubes.

This tripod features a one-of-a-kind Quick Power Lock and a strong, lightning-fast, and ergonomic locking system that enables the legs to fully extend with a single hand opening.

This tripod features four distinct leg angles that allow it to adapt to any terrain while maintaining exceptional stability. Additionally, you can set this tripod to the ground to obtain a new shooting perspective and produce stunning images.

Additionally, a rotating bubble level and leg angle selectors are integrated. This tripod features a quick “one-finger” operation with a 90-degree centre column that is accessible when needed.

This tripod features an innovative mechanism that allows the centre column to swing horizontally from a vertical position, increasing shooting versatility. Additionally, there is an Easy Link connector for instant accessory connection.

Scope Tripod Celestron 82050 TrailSeeker

spotting scope tripod

Although it is a small tripod, it is capable of supporting approximately 9 pounds of equipment. The aluminium legs are fully adjustable in length and angle.

Each leg is composed of four sections that can be adjusted in length or width by flipping a lever lock.

Additionally, each leg can be set at three different angles. Even if the surface on which your tripod must be placed is not perfectly flat, the ability to adjust the angle of a leg makes a significant difference.

Additionally, the legs feature rubber feet to prevent them from sliding on slick or wet surfaces. Apart from ascending and descending, the centre column is equipped with a retractable balance hook on its bottom end.

This tripod is topped with a two-way fluid Pan Head with a single handle for easy movement. A quick release plate with a standard 1/4-20″ thread mount makes it simple to attach a spotting scope, binocular, camera, or small telescope to this tripod.

ZOMEI Z818 Scope Tripod for Heavy-Duty Cameras

spotting scope tripod

This is a 2-in-1 tripod in that it can be converted to a Full-Size Monopod by screwing the removable centre column and tripod leg together.

The primary function of this tripod is to be compact, as the legs can be inverted and folded back 180 degrees, resulting in an 18-inch compact size.

This will save you some space and make it portable.

This tripod’s head is a 360-degree Horizontal Ball Head with a detachable Head and Pan Lock. Individual head tension is also adjustable via a lock knob at the top of this tripod to assist in making the proper adjustment.

The Quick Release mounting plate is screwed onto your camera and allows you to detach your camera from the tripod with the push of a button. Three-leg angle positions offer versatility and enable you to shoot in tight quarters or on uneven surfaces.

Pedco UltraPod II Scope Tripod

spotting scope tripod

This tripod’s versatility is demonstrated by a detachable D-ring Velcro brand clinch strap that securely attaches the tripod to posts, tree limbs, railings, and other sturdy objects.

Its three fold-out legs with non-slip vinyl feet provide a stable platform on any flat surface.

This tabletop tripod includes a Ball Head camera mount, which adjusts to any angle quickly and easily.

Additionally, this tripod features a secure universal mounting screw that fits any camera, camcorder, remote flash, video light, or other device.

This tripod is constructed with a black 30% glass-filled nylon resin frame and aluminum-threaded components for added durability. The non-slip vinyl feet will serve the aspiring photographer well for years.

The only disadvantage of this tripod is that attaching it to certain tree branches or posts will require a more involved velcro strap.

Types of spotting scope tripods

spotting scope tripod

Spotting scope tripods are available in three different sizes: table top, compact, and full-size. Whichever type you choose, you can count on the tripod to perform admirably in a wide variety of situations.

Tripod for Tabletop

Additionally referred to as a Shooter’s Tripod for spotting, this style of tripod is designed to be used on platforms such as a shooting bench or table. Their average height is between 8 and 18 inches. The majority of tripods for spotting scopes lack telescoping legs, which limits their adjustment range.

Tripod Compact

This tripod is larger than Tabletop tripods and, as a result, is unsuitable for use on a table. However, you can use this type comfortably while relaxing in a chair. If you are a backpacker or a mountain hunter, you will appreciate this tripod’s portability.

Tripod in its entirety

If you are an average height individual who prefers to use binoculars, a camera, or a spotting scope while standing, you will appreciate this style of tripod. A standard Full-Size tripod extends from 26 to 57 inches and can reach 72 inches at its highest point.

Choose the appropriate height

Whether seated, crouching, or standing, the best spotting scope tripod should be simple to operate. A centre column on a spotting scope tripod is advantageous because it enables you to adjust your scope by multiple inches. You should look for a tripod with sturdy legs that are easy to extend and lock into place.

If you are uncomfortable crouching and would rather be standing, make sure you purchase a tripod that fits your height. For instance, if you are a petite birdwatcher, you do not want to purchase a spotting scope tripod that is out of reach. If you’re six feet or taller, you’ll want a tripod that extends to your height.

The ideal height for your scope tripod is determined by your birding objectives. If you’re only interested in bird viewing, you can either purchase a tripod or a pair of binoculars. If you’re serious about taking professional bird photographs, you’ll need a tripod that can be easily adjusted to capture birds perched in high places such as tree branches.

Select the best tripod head

spotting scope tripod

The tripod head is another critical component of your spotting scope tripod. There are numerous types of scope tripod heads to choose from.

Head of the Ball

A Ball Head is one type of head that can move freely in virtually any direction.

Ball Heads have a near-limitless range of motion, which allows you to adjust their line of sight.

Ball Heads are also effective for homing in on a target initially.

Head of Pan

Pan Heads, also known as Tilt Heads, typically move independently along two axes.

One pans horizontally across your field of view, while the other tilts up or down.

The primary advantages of this type of head are its stability and the ease with which minor adjustments can be made.

Pistol Grip Head and Fluid Head

Additionally, you should consider alternative head types such as Fluid Heads and Pistol Grip Heads.

Fluid Heads are similar to Pan Heads, but are designed specifically for video work. Fluid Heads have a “drag” function that regulates the amount of friction created when panning and tilting.

Ball Heads and Pistol Grip Heads are very similar. Instead of a knob, a pistol grip will be used to loosen the ball.

Pistol grips make it faster and easier to reposition the camera.

Related: The Best Spotting Scopes for Less Than $500 (for Wildlife, Hunting & Photography)

The right materials are critical.

Unless you come across something truly unique, you will be forced to choose between aluminium and carbon fibre tripods.

Aluminum tripods have one significant advantage over carbon fibre tripods: they are significantly less expensive to purchase. Additionally, aluminium tripods are resistant to damage.

However, carbon fibre tripods have a lot going for them due to their numerous benefits. Carbon fibre tripods offer increased stiffness and damping, as well as being lighter in weight and having a significantly lower thermal conductivity.

Handling an aluminium tripod on a cold morning can have a detrimental effect on a shoot due to the discomfort. Carbon fibre is an insulator, which keeps the tripod from becoming too cold. Aluminum will bend and deform under extreme stress, whereas carbon fibre will shatter. While a bent tripod can still be used, a shattered tripod is rendered useless.

Additionally, carbon fibre tripods absorb vibrations better than aluminium tripods. Vibrations will affect only certain photographic situations, primarily when shooting at slow or extended shutter speeds. In theory, the vibration sources, mirror flap, and operator-camera contact can all be reduced due to the properties of carbon composite construction.

Bear in mind the essential features.

Stability

One of the primary advantages of a scope tripod is its stability. The materials used to construct tripods frequently play a significant role in their long-term stability and durability. However, you cannot rely solely on the legs of the tripod for stability. The feet are covered in materials such as rubber to ensure that the spotting scope remains stable on the ground for the duration of its attachment.

Versatility

Numerous products are available on the market today that are extremely versatile in their application. Some tripods are designed to be used on hunting benches, while others are designed to be used exclusively as standing models. If you want something that can be used in a variety of situations, look for a stand that can be extended to various heights but can also be adjusted low enough to give the impression of a tabletop scope.

Quick-release

Whichever spotting scope tripod you choose, you should consider one that accepts a quick-release plate. This plate slides in and out of an opening in the centre column’s highest section. This is designed to screw onto your scope’s mounting plate, allowing you to quickly attach or detach your scope from the tripod.

Final Remarks spotting scope tripod

spotting scope tripod

There you have it, gentlemen! These are my top ten picks for the best spotting scope tripods available. These have been tried and tested by myself and other outdoor enthusiasts. These, on the other hand, will truly stand the test of time. I hope that after reading this guide, you’ll be able to find a tripod that meets your needs. There is no such thing as the best spotting scope tripod because it is determined by a variety of factors and your intended use. I hope that my buyer’s guide will assist you in finding the ideal match. When writing this article, I wanted to present a few different perspectives and consider all possible outcomes.

However, if you’re still unsure which spotting scope tripod to purchase for yourself. I’d recommend the Ballachy Tripod for its lightweight design and ability to support a reasonable amount of weight! This tripod can be used standing, prone, crouched, or even seated. It’s an excellent value for a compact tripod that’s suitable for novice and advanced hikers, birdwatchers, and wildlife viewers.

However, if you’re looking for a full-size tripod that’s specifically designed to support heavy-duty optics, I’d recommend the Vanguard Alta 264AO for its sleek design, versatility, and low price. Both tripods are versatile and made of durable aluminium, which means they won’t break on you over time. Finally, but certainly not least, is the Vortex Optics Pro GT Tripod, another superb tripod that is both sturdy and well-made. Whichever option you choose, I’m sure you’ll have a great and easy time using your spotting scope tripod!

A high-quality spotting scope will last you a long time and will significantly improve your experience. As previously discussed in this guide, weight, maximum payload, extended height, and the location of your spotting scope are all critical considerations. Therefore, take your time when selecting a tripod for your scope. If you have additional questions about spotting scopes and are unsure which ones to choose, check out our Best Spotting Scope for the Money and Best Spotting Scope for Target Shooting guides.

Have fun hiking and remember to pack light!

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