Peak Design Travel Tripod review

I love product design, so immediately, Peak Design got my attention. I’m not sure how I discovered this tripod, but I’m glad I did! I want to share my experience with you, so this is a Peak Design Travel Tripod review. A lot of influencers (especially on YouTube) were given pre-production versions of this tripod but now, as a Kickstarter backer, I have a final product and I’m ready to give it a whirl!

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jessica looking through lens

How I discovered Peak Design + about the company

In general, I love Peak Design. I’ve written another review on one of their products…the Everyday Tote V2 which I use as a camera bag. I wish I could remember how I learned about the company. I’m guessing it was some other influencer…Peter McKinnon, maybe?

I had more than one moment when I thought to myself, “Can it really be that good?”. Or, “Do they just have a really good marketing team?” Well, they probably do, but the more I looked into the company, the more I wanted to try their products and support their business.

Their first product, the Capture, was started on Kickstarter. It’s a piece of hardware that you can clip on to certain things (belt, backpack strap), and your camera snaps in safety. The main reason you would use this is to be able to stay hands-free as much as possible while your camera is still within easy reach.

Yes, it all started with one small piece of camera gear that they felt was missing from the market.

They started as a company with a focus on photographers, and even though they have embraced the idea of Everyday bags, like my Everyday Tote V2, you can tell that, at the core, they are photography-focus. So, it’s no surprise that they took on the challenge to create a travel tripod.

tldr: why I love Peak Design: they listen to customers, they give lifetime warranties, they are eco-conscious and fair, and they are all about quality.

Order your Peak Design
Travel Tripod

If you think this is the right tripod for you,
click below to purchase.

Why do a Peak Design Travel Tripod review?

I’m used to the quality of Peak Design products. Between the two of us, we own three Peak Design bags, two camera straps, and the cuff. But, now we also have the Travel Tripod. And yes, we bought everything ourselves.

Honestly, they built up the hype so much that I got sucked in. It’s one thing to make steller bags, but a tripod isn’t exactly in the same wheelhouse, you know? That begs the question, why did I buy it?

Simply, I couldn’t believe how they “fixed” all the kinks of other tripods. The innovation, the design, the attention to every tiny detail were all reasons I splurged on this product. They designed everything in-house and to insanely high standards. They’ve recently shown the camera set up they used to make sure it could withstand a ton of weight even with a design that makes it seem impossible.

The size was a big factor. I liked that they said it could fit into a water bottle holder. It doesn’t have knobs and handles sticking out (like our current one). Somehow, it has this tight form-factor and is still a full-size tripod.

Since it all sounds too good to be true, I figured this review could help you make your decision whether to purchase one or not.

Peak Design tripod in hand

Features of the Travel Tripod

It’s compact. That’s the main trait…or at least the first thing you notice about this tripod. Dimensions are: 39.1 cm (15.4”) tall and 7.9 cm (3.125″) in diameter when it’s closed up but can reach as tall as 152.4 cm (60″). That’s 5 feet, people!

It’s quick to set up. I’m a fan of the levers to open the legs because you can do it quickly. The standard plate it comes with (a Peak Design product) makes it so it snaps right into the tripod. The adjustment dial takes a little bit of getting used to since it’s the reverse of what you might think (it’s left to tighten), but it is very easy to use as well.

Tripod with cell phone adapter

There’s a hidden compartment for a phone adapter for those photos or video that just work better on the phone…or if you’re a mobile phone photographer. The ball head can go completely vertical for those IG stories and Pinterest shots. Oh, am I the only one who cares about that? Lol! But, really, the portrait feature works like a charm 🙂

To get low to the ground, there’s a low-mode for the legs, and you can get really low and put the camera upside down. Yes. You read that right. It’s versatile which I am always a fan of as long as it comes with quality.

Apparently, it’s lightweight. Considering I don’t usually carry a tripod (Sean did that!), I’ll take their word for it. There’s two options: Carbon fiber which comes in at 1.27 kg (2.81 lbs) and has a 20% better stability and aluminum which weighs 1.56 kg (3.44 lbs). We have the aluminum, because, well, funds.

You can purchase various kits for the tripod to alter it even more towards your own specific needs. The minimalist kit, the spike feet kit, the fluid ball head, and the universal tripod head.

Peak Design Travel Tripod Review - in bag

How to use the tripod

Take out of the bag which is fairly snug, so be gentle! Unclasp all the levers, extend legs (while still keeping them together), then close all clasps, and separate the legs. You now have a tripod!

Install the standard Peak Design plate onto your camera with the included alex wrench (on the inside leg of the tripod).

Place the camera on the ball head and snap it in. The click is so satisfying! Be sure the ring is in the unlocked position so that the camera can snap in, and then twist the ring again so it’s locked in place!

Top of PD tripod with ring grip

You can pull up on the ball head if you twist the ring grip (just under the lock for the plate) to the right to loosen and then pull up. This also lets you adjust the tilt of the head so you get your perfect shot! Tighten the ring to the left so it doesn’t go anywhere and there you have it.

The phone adapter is in the center column. It’s a bit harder to explain, so be sure to read the tag that comes with the tripod for that one. Basically, it’s hidden behind the hook that you can use to stabilize the tripod but there’s a little pull and twist to take it off and put it back on. To use the adapter, just open it and put the bottom part where you plate would go, and snap it in. It literally couldn’t be easier.

Jess with PD tripod

To take the Travel Tripod with you on your day, you can attach it to one of the many Peak Design bags with space inside or external straps (like mine), or attach Peak Design anchors and add a strap. You can add the anchors to the bag or the tripod itself. I’ve done both…I like to be prepared for anything! Since I have a strap and a cuff that goes around my wrist, I have the flexibility to use the cuff on my camera and the strap on the tripod. Having the Everyday Tote V2 helps, too since I can just put the camera back in the bag if I’m not using it that second.

Order your Peak Design
Travel Tripod

If you think this is the right tripod for you,
click below to purchase.

Pros and cons

I doubt that a single product is perfect. That’s mainly because you’ll never meet every users’ needs with one product. So, let’s get into the pros and cons from my perspective.


low shot with peak design tripod

Pros

Compactness. Is that even a word? It comes together in a perfectly beautiful package with nothing sticking out. I just love that!

If you’re already in the Peak Design ecosystem, you can easily use their anchors to add a strap to the bag or the tripod itself for a real grab-and-go situation.

It’s all-in-one. The tripod comes with a bag, comes with the standard plate, has a cellphone adapter, and has its own hardware in the bag or on the tripod itself.

It’s easy to use and mostly pretty intuitive.


PD tripod head

Cons

The weight is heavier than I expected, but I have the aluminum version. If you want a lighter version with more stability, carbon fiber is the way to go. There’s a big “but” here…I say it’s a bit heavier than expected but that’s as someone who hasn’t had to carry one before. My guess is, if you’ve always had a tripod, then this will probably be lighter than the one you had previously if it was full-size. The tripod I’ve always carried was a mini Manfrotto. So, you can see why I think it’s heavy…I went from a tiny plastic one to a professional full-size. I only mention it in case you are in a similar situation as me.

There are no support bars in the middle. I’m sure they have a more proper name, but that’s what I call them. The structural integrity of the tripod doesn’t seem to need the middle support, but I feel it’s important to mention since it’s one of the first things that Sean noticed.

The Peak Design standard plate has to be used with the tripod unless you already use Arca-type plates. The good news is that it does come with a plate as part of the set-up and you can buy a universal tripod head and swap it out. We’ve ended up buying a second plate for Sean’s camera and since the hex key is part of the tripod design, if I need to remove it and put it on my Osmo Pocket, I can do that pretty quickly. It’s a trade-off, right? To set up quickly, you need a plate, but that makes it so you can’t use it on other tripods. I still travel with my mini tripod as well for holding and vlogging with the Osmo Pocket or a quick table-top video.

Peak Design Travel Tripod

My final thoughts – Would I buy it again?

Absolutely. The Peak Design Travel Tripod my first real tripod and I’m in love with it. I mentioned that I’m a sucker for design, but I also need function and quality. That’s why I’m in love with Peak Design. They really seem to be a company that has it all figured out.

The important thing is, with this perfect combination of design, quality, function, research, sustainability, and fair working environments, it all comes with a price. If you are looking for a new tripod and have the ability to purchase this one, I highly recommend it.

They say we vote with our money, and if we spend it with companies that are more than just money machines, then I think we are all better off in the long run. If you can, purchase directly through the company, and you can use my affiliate link here, or through a smaller retailer in your area.

Order your Peak Design
Travel Tripod

If you think this is the right tripod for you,
click below to purchase.


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2 Comments

  1. You missed out some of the most important cons:

    1) One has to lift the ball-head in order to level the tripod and the center column then remains extended
    2) The center column raised is not rigid and there is a little play
    3) The legs flex a little too much. I tried to take some photos in a creek and the slight flow of water was enough to cause camera shake (my RRS was rock solid there)
    4) This one is more a nit than a big issue – the bubble level gets covered once you put the camera on the ball-head. I wish PD had put the level on the side of the ball-head instead of on top
    5) The tool has propensity to fall out of that slot. Would have been a little better to have recessed the tool into one of the legs (like RRS does with the Allen keys for the L-plates).

    The whole purpose of a tripod for me is to have stable support for long exposures which this tripod doesn’t seem to have. It was disappointing for me as I was really hoping that this was the one that I could use for my hikes. I can see the appeal of this tripod for folks that really want something small and can make do with the cons.

    Reply
    • I appreciate your input! Many of these aren’t things that bother me with how I use the tripod, but I can definitely see the issue for those who use it as you do. Thank you for sharing these points with my readers.

      Reply

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