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Suggestions for a lightweight, stable tripod?

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Unread 04-06-2008, 08:53 AM
Gold Member
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: N. Central Indiana
Posts: 608
Suggestions for a lightweight, stable tripod?

I'm starting to accumulate stuff for a Muley/antelope hunt this fall in Wy. I am looking for a good lightweight tripod since I will most likely be walking/glassing quite a bit, mostly from sitting position. The spotting scope is a straight model, not angled eyepiece.

Now, once the tripod is selected, what do I have to know about the head, or is it a package deal?

Since I really would like to only buy the tripod once, I'd rather spend a few more $$ right off the bat than not be satisfied with a lesser one and have to upgrade.
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Unread 04-06-2008, 10:11 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Oregon City, OR
Posts: 509
Light weight = $$$$

I feel for your dicusuion you hvae to make. I was stuck in the same spot you are last hunting season. First off it has to be stable..The light weight one I bought first would not hold the scope steady enough to use effectively, especially in the wind.

The light weight ones that are sturdy enough were EXPENSIVE! Biogen has carbon fiber ones that I liked but could not afford. Roughly $300. The nice thing is they have a hook to add a bag of rocks to it once our set up to add weight for sturdy enough. I would look at this one very close if I had to do it over.

I went with a heavy/sturdy one from NIKON. Luckly I could split the weight of the spotting scope and tripod between my brother and my self. Booth in one pack with a gun was to heavey for a all day hunt!

Good luck, go try them out side at the store to see whick one will hold it steady.


Sorry I guess I really did not answere your question. Just wanted you to have some food for thought.
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Unread 04-07-2008, 11:53 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 209
I'm with the above, I've sat hours behind glass, no, make that days!!, There is no such thing as a good "lightweight tripod" at least none that I can speak about, or maybe could afford.

Put my pop's lecica on a lightweight cheap tripod, it turns into my past 100 dollar burris on my 15 lb tripod

My current nikon XL is the best I can afford and I really like it, and in my 15 bogen tripod its a super scope, that being said it lacks in terms of travel.

In a walking, packing type hunt I'll take a lightweight tripod but my bread and butter lately is taking 2 empty nylon bags i made (they carry about 5 lbs of sand apiece, then finding the appropriate glassing location (typically a small rock outcropping) (fill the bags with sand) place one bag down, one on the scope, panning is as accurate as a lightweight tripod, nowhere close to a good head, but it allows you to get a rock solid view of that distant slope.

I have not found one yet but I "want, need" a commercial type tripod, just built stout with a good head, legs that do not adjust,(save weight) just a simple 12" fixed legs, tracking IMO is where most tripods fail, (I'm thinking of making one),,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,BTW one great tip if you look through a scope very long, buy or make an eye patch, not kidding, it lets you relax or even open your off eye, it will save you headaches and more importantly keep you glassing longer

hope this helps
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Unread 04-08-2008, 05:08 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Vegas
Posts: 310
Bogen makes a few light weight tripods that are pretty nice. I have a carbon fiber model that is very sturdy for the weight. I can look at the model and post that later tonight if you'd like. There are usually good deals on Bogens on Ebay if that is an option for you. If money isn't a real concern, Swarovski makes a phenomenal tripod that doesn't weigh a thing. The whole tripod is carbon - including the head. I used one this past year and it was very nice. But with a $700 price tag it better be pretty sweet. These are the 2 brands i would recommend most. And like others have said, a rock bag is an efficient way to make a light weight tripod sturdy on a windy day.
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Unread 04-08-2008, 06:32 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: N. Central Indiana
Posts: 608

Thanks. I'd appreciate the model. While I'm not against spending $$ for good equipment, the Swaro tripod is a bit out of my reach right now. Maybe if I had all the other equipment already, but I'm just starting to accumulate the good stuff, and the bill keeps getting higher and higher!:eek:

A couple of years ago I came across a great deal on a Burris spotting scope. (Landmark 20-60 x 80) Well, roughly 6 months after buying that, I had the opportunity to compare that scope with a Leupy gold ring and a Swaro. I know better now! So, I need to purchase a spotting scope, plus a good pair of binocs, along with quite a few other things in preperation for Wyoming. I'm also planning on meeting with Kirby in a few months to decide on a rifle.......;)

The bag of rocks is a great idea!
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Unread 04-08-2008, 11:30 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Vegas
Posts: 310

The tripod i use is a "Manfrotto (Same as Bogen) 055MF4 magfiber". The head is a "700RC2". The head is a bit heavy, but the legs of the tripod are very light. Plus, I can extend it up high enough to glass standing up (I'm 6'-0'). I've also shot off of it standing up which can be pretty handy in tall brush . Overall I'm very pleased with it. Only problem i have had was one of the feet came off which allowed the bottom leg section to go up into the bigger upper legs and i had to take it apart to get the leg back out. A little duck tape fixed that problem.

As far as glass goes, don't scrimp there. Save as long as you need to and get the Swarovski's. They are simply 2nd to none, and their service is the best there is. They have overnighted stuff to me on a Saturday for free when i scratched my 15's before a hunt for nothing, fixed them for free too even though it was my fault. They've offered loaner pairs when they were out of a part (my fault again). And everything always came back completely cleaned and reconditioned with new eye cups... Just awesome.

And meeting with Kirby will defintiely have you shelling out some coin . I've been talking with him about a build I want to do and i just can't save fast enough :mad:

Good luck,

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Unread 04-09-2008, 07:18 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Blackfoot, Idaho
Posts: 8,871

Last year I used the Nikon XL-II and a bogen tripod. The combination worked great. But, was a pain for hauling back and forth. Way too heavy and bulky.

The setup was plenty steady even in a bit of wind.

The fancy squeeze head panned ok but was jerky and added to bulk.

The fix was to fabricate, with stuff out of my vehicle to come up with the ultimate arrangement.


An expensive camera tripod. One with the horizontal brackets when the legs are spread important. The others just aren't steady enough.

Remove the camera head and throw it away so you won't be tempted to use it for something.

There should be a 14-20 screw hole in the center of the top of the vertical rod.

Next get one of those handy vices with flanges on both ends. These are the things that are used to hold gps or pda on the dash or handle bars.
Design a block with a 1/4-20 stud to screw into the bottom of the Scope.

Lubricate the ball's with silicone of some such material.

Tighten the thumb screws properly and the pan and tilt will work very smoothly, much better than the Bogen etc, plus you can squat or sit behind it all day and Its easy to pack and carry.

I was impressed that something so "in expensive" could be fo functional.
I may be the slowest guy on the mountain . . . . but . . . . I'm on the mountain!
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