How to travel with a Tripod – Travel Right

Hello Everyone

It is sometimes a hassle when it comes to traveling with your camera equipment. What to do and what not is often unclear. Your camera gear may include many camera bodies, lenses, flashlights, light stands, tripods etcetera. What I’m trying to say is your camera gear might be worth a lot of money, so you must know how to manage your gear while traveling.

Among all the camera gear, you can stuff most of it in your camera bags. These bags are specially made to carry your equipment. But the real nuisance is carrying a tripod because it is heavy, there is no space for it in your luggage and you might face issues when clearing the customs if you are traveling overseas. So how to travel with a tripod? Keep reading!

WHAT PROBLEMS ONE FACES WHILE TRAVELLING

Whenever you are traveling, there is some doubt left about handling your camera gear. You might encounter problems with packing your equipment, issues at customs or damage due to mishandling. Let me explain some of the most common problems.

  • Customs : Believe me, you don’t want to be stopped at customs while traveling overseas with your camera gear. Sometimes, they won’t listen to you unless you provide a solid proof stating that you own all the camera gear and you are not trying to import something illegally. I have faced this problem myself.

Solution : Click a picture with your phone before you leave, make sure the model and the serial number of your camera and lenses are visible clearly. When you return and if you face customs issue, you can always show them these pictures as a proof and you will be good to go.

  • Packing : Okay, many of you might think that it is not a problem, you can just stuff your gear here and there in your suitcases but no, you must refrain from doing that. Packing your gear in a hasty way, may cause it to suffer damages while traveling and then you have to go through the hassle of filing a complaint with the airlines, following up on it for compensations and stuff. It is not worth the pain, trust me. It is better to pack everything nice and securely beforehand.

Solution : Always use camera bags with proper padding. These have proper compartments made of foam, to store your lenses, tripods, camera bodies and all the other paraphernalia. Pelican makes special cases for your camera equipment with enough space to accommodate your tripod and camera.

  • Heavy Carry-on luggage : Traveling with all that luggage is very troublesome. There is a ton of luggage and no helping hands. Most of your equipment is in carry on luggage and a tripod makes it all the more heavy.

Solution : Instead of putting all of your gear in carry on luggage, you can put the less fragile items like bean bags, memory cards, gorillapods, flashlights, reflectors in you checked in baggage. Cover them in bubble wrap before tucking them in.

HOW TO CARRY YOUR TRIPOD

Tripods are one of the heaviest pieces of equipment in your collection. But, you have to agree that it is one of the most indispensable ones when you are traveling. You have to be extra careful while taking your tripod on a plane. You might be asked to remove your tripod from your carry-on luggage if it doesn’t fit the size requirements or if it exceeds the allowed weight.

For traveling on land, it isn’t that big of a hassle. You just need to be careful about unwanted bumps or mishandling. For that, use a good quality tripod bag.

As you travel more and more try to use these methods for carrying your tripod. These methods will ensure that your tripod remains safe.

  1. Always use a tripod bag : A good quality tripod bag which is well padded and fits snugly over your tripod is a must-have if you want to protect your tripod from unwanted damages. Using a tripod bag, will not only protect your legs but also your head.
  2. Use a strap : Special straps made for the sole purpose of carrying your tripod on your shoulder.
  3. Get a holster : I have never used a holster before, but it can be handy when going on trekking or adventure sports. It is like a gun holster except you put a tripod instead of a gun. It is suitable for light-weight tripods. Gitzo makes them but they are expensive.
  4. Hand Carry : It is a no-brainer, just carry it around with your hand. The only downside, one of your hands will be busy.
  5. Pack it : While traveling, put your tripod in the bottle holder of your backpack and carry it inside the cabin. It you are stopped and asked to check it in. Bubble wrap it and put it inside your luggage.

PS : Bubble Wraps are life-saviors when it comes to traveling. Keep them by your side at all times.

 TRAVEL TRIPODS TO LOOK FOR

If you are an avid traveler, you might know the pain of carrying extra luggage. It gets very expensive when you have to pay for an extra slab of luggage whenever to board a flight be it domestic or international. You must not miss any opportunity to cut down the costs.

Gitzo 1541T Traveler
Photo by Lucasbosch via Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons

Using a lightweight tripod can easily save you some bucks. Since carbon fiber tripods are only a fraction of what others weigh, having them in your travel kit is definitely a wise choice.

Here are some lightweight tripods, you might wanna look into

  • Vanguard VEO 265CB : Carbon Fiber body, extends upto 5 feet, can handle around 17.5lb (8kg), weight- 3.3lb (1.5kg)
  • Gitzo Traveler Series 0 GK0545T-82TQD : Extremely expensive, max height 52 inches, max load: 22lb (10kg), weight – 2.8lb (1.3kg).
  • Benro Travel Angel FTA28CV1 : Weighs 4lb (1.8kg), max load: 22lb, extends upto 5.5 feet.

SOME ESSENTIAL KEY-POINTS

While traveling with your camera gear it is better to know some nifty tips to avoid problems. I have mentioned some guide-lines for you so that you are well-prepared for your trips.

  • If you have a camera bag to store all of your equipment, well and good. But in case you have a large set of gear, get yourself a suitcase and fill it with cubes of foam. You can get the foam from any hardware store or just buy the cubes from a toy store. Now, you can arrange your gear as you wish inside the suitcase without any tension of it getting damaged.
  • Never ever keep your camera and lens attached while traveling. It is not at all advisable to do so.
  • Buy yourself a roll of bubble wrap and keep it by your side always. Pack your tripods, flashlights, memory cards etc. in bubble wraps before packing it.
  • Carry your gear along with you, avoid putting your gear in check in baggage. If you need to shift your gear to the checked in baggage, tuck it in between your clothes after wrapping it with bubble wrap for added safety specially the tripods.
  • Make sure your batteries aren’t kept in check in luggage. Check it twice before you leave.

CONCLUSION

Traveling with so much of gear and getting them back all in one piece is no short of a feat. You have to make some ground rules for yourself and abide by them whenever you are traveling. Having said that, you always learn from your own mistakes so it is okay. Ultimately it’s you who needs to take care of your tripod and your equipment, no one else will.

“How to travel with a tripod” is something which is very easy to get used to. Use a bag, carry it in your hands or strap it, it all depends on your convenience. Once you start exploring more and more you won’t struggle with carrying a tripod with you at all times

If you have any doubts or question please leave them in the comments section and I’ll be more than happy to answer them.

Shashwat

Founder of TripodsforAll

 

 

20 thoughts on “How to travel with a Tripod – Travel Right”

  1. Hi there, thanks for this review and let me say some proposed solutions on How to travel with a tripod camera, I called it a proposed solutions because I have only read about it, I will only know if it will really work for me when traveling overseas and am stopped by customs, and all these your solutions worked for me. Customs can be crazy set of people at times but hopefully it will work for me too

  2. Dear Shashwat,

    Thanks a lot for another helpful and informative post.

    After reading your last post “Creative Photography Techniques – Improve your skills” I decided to buy a tripod so this post gave me useful insights and helpful guidance.

    You not only addressed the challenges one face while traveling with tripod’s but the best thing is you also provided with the solution. I must say I found your post highly uplifting and educational.

    Great information, you have really given a lot of value here.

    Wishing you great Success!

    Paul

  3. Wow, this is a very useful article. I am also looking forward to taking a trip with my family and children, taking the camera and configuring the tripod so that I can record the good times on the trip through the camera. Come down.Although the phone is also very good at taking pictures, I still believe that professional cameras can take better pictures.

    1. Hi

      Yes, you are right, having a camera is always useful whenever you are on a trip. 
      Glad you like the article. Keep checking for more.

  4. I really say big thanks for sharing this. I love the way you outlined the review on how to maneuver your travelling with  tripod 

    Travelling with some equipment can be so frustrating atimes especially when traveling oversea, Custom issues itself can give someone migrane headache. I can say reading through this article is never a waste of time, It worth it 

    1. Hello Michael

      I am thrilled to hear that you liked my post. Yes, custom issues can be very troublesome at times but you need to keep your head cool. They can be dealt!

      Keep checking for more.

  5. Thank you very much for the article. Although I am not a camera man, I usually carry a tripod along with my friends during the holidays to perform. We use it for video coverages. I love teh fact that you brought this up. Now I know what to do and what not to do while carrying our tripod and other  production equipments from place to place 

  6. Wow! your article is really going to be helpful. I love the simplicity at which you write, precise and straight to point and your willingness to help. I had a terrible time trying to convey my tripod the last time I went on a vacation. I wishort I found this article that time.

    Nice write up.

  7. Hi! Thank you for shedding light on the solution to the difficulties that arise when traveling with a tripod. Your experience is valuable.

    Some time ago I had seem these special cases Pelican makes. I’m glad you mentioned them here in your post. I need one of these.

    And Benro Travel Angel has really caught my attention. Thanks for mentioning it. I’ll also purchase one. Thank you very much!

    1. Thanks for going through my post so thoroughly. 
      You can go for Pelican cases, nowadays they do custom ones too, so check them out. Also, Benro Travel Angel is definitely a good choice. Do let me know if you need help regarding anything else.

  8. Thanks for sharing this review, its really nice. There is nothing worse than having no tripod during traveling. Tripod helps me to click the stable pictures, specially during hiking and landscape photography. This article help me a lot to find out the best travel Tripod for me. Thanks once again, photography is life. 

    1. I agree, not having a tripod on a trip is a lot of pain. Happy to know that you found my post helpful. 

      Keep checking for more.

  9. Great article there on How to travel with a Tripod. I must say, a well done job to you on how you put the writeup together

    One of the importance of a tripod is that it  allows you to do long exposure of up to several seconds without the risk of you moving.

    I have always want to go on a long trip with my tripod but I can’t do so simply because the one I have is somehow heavy plus the issues with custom officers 

  10. I must say that you have wrote it in the simplest yet condensed way possible which makes it easy to comprehend. Your problem-solution way of dealing the issues has made it interesting to read and understand. I love it how you support your content with your own experiences as it makes it all the more interesting to read. I just could not help but remained engrossed while reading your article. I hope you continue writing such high-quality content.

    All the best!

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