A spotting scope tripod is useful for providing stability and sturdiness for all of your various outdoor activities, like birdwatching, hunting, target shooting, and other outdoor activities. A well-built and solid spotting scope tripod is able to support and minimize any vibrations even at higher magnifications of 60x and more. A tripod for spotting scopes is definitely one of those items that is a must-have in your toolkit. Higher magnifications of spotting scopes can affect its effectiveness at staying solid and sturdy on the tripod. That's why it's crucial to purchase tripods that can support the weight of your spotting scope, especially if it's a heavier model. (Pro Tip: please don't use the freebie tripod that your spotting scope is bundled with, it's not designed to be taken outdoors nor to be used for extended periods of time).
There are many different models of spotting scope tripods on the market! Searching for the right one for you can get confusing and time-consuming, but it's important to get one that's specific for spotting scopes so they can support the larger and heavier bodies. You must also take into consideration the height, weight, materials, and of course the overall cost of your equipment that will work best for you. If you're a bit short on time and would like to get straight to the point, I just mention my top choice for the best spotting scope tripod.
The Buyer's Guide: The Basics of Spotting Scope Tripods
Before I get into the specific top spotting scope tripods, let's look at a few basic factors that you should look over before you start shopping around.
There are 2 materials that make up the majority of the spotting scope tripods in the market. These are:
Each has its benefits and disadvantages. Carbon-fiber tripods, while a great option because it's more lightweight in comparison to aluminum tripods, are more likely to break whereas tripods constructed with aluminum generally last much longer and have higher durability. People shy away from aluminum tripods because they believe that they too heavy to be carried. This is simply not the case, not all aluminum tripods are heavy and you can find lightweight aluminum tripods that can support heavier weights without weighing you down.
Carbon-fiber tripods are also much more expensive (with a few exceptions) but provide that lightweight feel that's especially important when carrying heavier gear for long periods of time. While lightweight is an important feature to have, it's important to not go too lightweight because it can compromise on a few necessary functionalities, such as stability and sturdiness. It's best to avoid all tripods that weight less than 1.5 lb/0.68 kg, it's way too light and your tripod will end up wobbling too much with any amount of gear on it. I recommend primarily aluminum tripods since I do believe that they are ideal with spotting scopes since they can feel extra secure and stable on different grounds.
There are 2 types of heads that are the most common for spotting scope tripods, which are:
Choosing between the 2 heads is usually a personal preference depending on what you're using your tripod for. Ballhead tripods are great for photography, but unfortunately, they lack the proper functionality for glassing. This is because you need precise and smooth movements for successful glassing and panning. Ballheads can create movements that go in all directions and this can be difficult to control and to stay on track. This is what panhead tripods are useful for since they can provide those smooth movements without any skipping (which is desirable for glassing). They're also much easier to use when scanning the landscape (at least in my personal experience, but this may not be the case for you and you may actually like the ballhead system). I've made sure to include great options with ballheads so you're sure to find something that may be of interest to you.
You can definitely purchase the tripod and the head separately, although it could cost you a lot of money (close to a 1,000$ in some cases). I mostly recommend complete tripods in this guide just to make it simpler and more affordable for you. I do provide one option in case you would like to purchase a kit for yourself. If your spotting scope has a larger objective and higher magnification, I would recommend for you to get a separate head that you can attach to your tripod.
You can use your spotting scope tripod from a prone, crouching, seated, or standing position. The maximum height of a spotting scope tripod is important, especially if you're using a straight spotting scope (you may be able to get away with a shorter tripod if you're using an angled spotting scope). You want to get yourself a spotting scope tripod with a maximum height that is comfortable to you, so you don't end up crouching for several hours, which is not only extremely uncomfortable but not great for you.
The Types of Spotting Scope Tripods
There are 3 types of spotting scope tripods:
These are the smallest in terms of height as they do not extend beyond 18 in/45.72 cm when the center column and legs are fully extended. As a result, they are typically used for shooting on a table or a shooting bench. They lack telescoping legs, an essential feature found in compact and full-size spotting scope tripods. Some may also exclude the center column, limiting its ability to extend further. They are quite limited in their capacities to hold any substantial spotting scopes but they are ideal to use in prone and sitting positions. For these reasons, tabletop tripods are not mentioned in this guide since the same features can be found in compact spotting scope tripods and they're mostly used indoors rather than outdoors.
Compact tripods are much larger than tabletop tripods and can be used sitting a chair, or in a crouched, or standing position depending on your height. Since they are generally lighter than full-size spotting scope tripods, they can be carried around with great ease, which makes them a popular choice amongst backpackers and hikers. They are ideal with scope objectives between 45mm to 70mm. Compact tripods strike the perfect balance between portability, stability, and sturdiness due to their lightweight features. Compact tripods can extend up to 60 in/152.4 cm, although some can extend a little higher.
Full-size tripods can be used in a standing position since they can be extended upwards to 70 in/178 cm. While compact tripods can also be used while standing up, the difference between the both of them is that full-size tripods typically support heavy-duty spotting scopes of 80mm and more. Full-size tripods for spotting scopes have one downside as they can get quite heavy to be carried around. It's also recommended with this type of tripod to not fully extend the center column and the legs as this can severely comprise stability.
If you're still not sure about what type of spotting scope tripod you would be interested in getting for yourself, I recommend watching this video. Cody explains the differences, advantages, and disadvantages in purchasing a lightweight vs heavy-duty tripod in simple and easy-to-understand terms. And I agree with him regarding purchasing both types of tripods, I keep one lightweight tripod in the back of my car so if I'm even on a drive and I feel like walking around, I can setup my equipment at any moment. (I also keep a pair of extra binoculars in my car too). My heavy-duty tripods are reserved for special hikes when I have to use heavier spotting scopes.
Other essential features to keep in mind while on the hunt for a spotting scope tripod are:
- Where do you intend on taking your tripod? What kind of activities do you plan on doing with your tripod? Will you hike with it or simply keep up in your car? If you plan on moving a lot with your tripod, it's recommended to get a lightweight tripod.
- Any additional accessories that your spotting scope tripod may come with? Tripods that come with a carrying bag and other additional accessories are always great for hikes and backpacking.
- You want to make sure you get your money's worth with the tripod you purchase. You don't need to necessarily purchase the most expensive tripod but you do want to make sure that your tripod supports the weight capacity of your spotting scope. I mention the weight payload as well as the weight of the tripod so you can know if those specifications work with you and your gear. Other details such as maximum height, minimum height, head type, leg type and the materials that the tripod is built with are also mentioned to save you time and simplify the relevant pieces of information in bullet points for a quick-read.
The Top Best 10 Spotting Scope Tripods Reviewed and Ranked
Here is the list of the top 10 best spotting scope tripods ranked and review on the market that my team and I have tested over the years. Each item includes a brief summary of the specifications, features, and I mention any pros/cons that I have encountered while using the tripods. By comparing and contrasting the tripods in a clean and easy-to-read layout, I hope to help you in choosing the right model! While these are ranked, they are all great options and I'm sure you will be happy with whatever model you choose for yourself!
Ballachy 56-Inch Tripod with Bag
- Minimum height: 18.9 in/48 cm
- Extended height: 56 in/142 cm
- Weight: 1.9 lb/0.86 kg
- Maximum load capacity: 7 lb/3.2 kg
- Material: aluminum
- Flip-lock legs
- It comes with a dustproof bag, carrying case with a zippered compartment, a smartphone adapter, and a quick-release plate.
The Ballachy 56-Inch Tripod with Bag is such a good value for the price and the extra features included. It's intended to support an objective lens diameter of 45mm to 70mm, making it a great choice for a compact spotting scope tripod.
The weight of the tripod is 1.9 lb/0.86 kg on its own but it can support a maximum payload capacity of 7 lb/3.2 kg, which is a great weight-to-weight capacity ratio. The durable legs of this aluminum tripod provide stability and perform extremely well even in windy and wet weather. The minimum height of this tripod is 18.9 in/48 cm but the legs and the center column can be extended to 56 in/142 cm. This height will be either at eye-level for most people, but you may have to crouch with an angled or straight spotting scopes. The panhead supports the spotting scope with ease and provides for fluid movements. The flip-lock legs can be adjusted at different levels and angles!
The carrying case that it comes with is resistant against water damage and you can store your tripod in the dustproof bag while you are hiking or backpacking. The lightweight features of this spotting scope tripod won't feel heavy while you're on the move. The carrying case that it comes with is sturdy and you can store any extra items in the roomy pockets easily. This tripod works exactly as intended! It's a safe, stable, and comfortable tripod to carry around and mount your spotting scope on!
- Made with lightweight and durable legs that are adjustable in terms of height and angles.
- Tripod comes with a nice sturdy carrying bag and a dustproof bag to protect your equipment.
- Panhead is smooth and flexible and it doesn't produce any jerky movements.
- Flip-lock legs provide for easy setup within seconds.
- Reliable tripod for lightweight spotting scopes that's great for birdwatching, spotting game, and viewing the wildlife.
- Quick adjustments can be performed using one hand.
- Great value for tripod and the extra features, solid and built to last.
- The tripod doesn't come with a hook that can add extra stability on any grounds. It would have been great if it came with one, but it doesn't limit the performance.
- Spiked feet would have also been a great addition so they can be stuck on all grounds.
Vanguard Alta 264AO
- Minimum height: 25.48 in/64.72 cm
- Extended height: 70 in/178 cm
- Weight: 4.63 lb/2.1 kg
- Maximum load capacity: 11 lb/5 kg
- Material: aluminum
- Flip-lock legs
- Great at absorbing vibration and eliminating shakiness, this full-size spotting scope tripod is ideal for all types of weather.
The Vanguard Alta 264AO is a solid full-size tripod for those who need a tripod that can support your heavy-duty spotting scope. This type of tripod is intended to support heavy-duty spotting scopes with an objective lens diameter of 80mm.
The tripod weighs 4.63 lb/2.1 kg (which is admittedly a little heavy) but it's designed to support a maximum payload capacity of 11 lb/5 kg, making it an ideal choice as a full-size spotting scope tripod. The minimum height can be folded down to 25.48 in/64.72 and it can go up to 70 in/178 cm with the legs and center column fully extended. The panhead is smooth most of the time, but it can cause some jerkiness occasionally when panning. The quick flip-lock legs are easy and fast to deploy while providing ample flexibility to be able to adjust all types of uneven terrains.
The tripod comes with a nice carrying case and a quick-release plate for fast setup. The foam legs provide for a comfortable carrying experience (this is especially a nice feature to have if you're outside in free cold temperature). A great tripod for your spotting scope made of durable and high-quality aluminum.
- Tripod offers great height and maximum weight capacity, collapses easily.
- Tripod legs are dustproof and waterproof that protect against unwanted damages.
- Feels and performs solid, designed to last many years.
- Ideal for glassing, secure locking mechanism holds spotting scope in place.
- Some jerky movements can occur when panning.
- While a heavy-duty tripod, it's not very portable due to its weight capacity of 11 lb/5 kg. Not suitable for carrying during long distances like hiking and backpacking.
Vortex Optics Pro GT Tripod
- Minimum height: 24.6 in/62.49 cm
- Extended height: 67 in/170 cm
- Weight: 4.4 lb/2 kg
- Maximum load capacity: 10 lb/4.54 kg
- Material: aluminum
- Flip-lock legs
- This tripod provides outstanding stability for heavier spotting scopes.
The Vortex Optics Pro GT Tripod is one of the best full-size tripods for supporting heavier scopes (objectives of 80mm and more) and provides great stability, even in difficult weather.
This tripod has a minimum height of 24.6 in/62.49 cm and it can be extended to 67 in/170 cm, which is a great height for viewing wildlife and birdwatching. The weight of this tripod is 4.4 lb/2 kg and the maximum payload capacity is 10 lb/4.54 kg, although I have noticed that it starts to become a little unsteady at around that weight.
The Vortex tripods are all great options for supporting spotting scopes, but I recommend the Pro GT for its abilities to handle heavier and bigger scopes. The panhead is easy for smooth glassing and tracking. The head can be securely fastened without causing any shakiness or wobbliness. The legs can be splayed to adjust to all levels (even all the way down to the ground in a prone position). It handles Vortex spotting scopes phenomenally, the Pro GT tripod is recommended for its solid construction. You can also place a weighted sac underneath the center column to add extra weight and stability in windier conditions. The quick-release plate ensures fast transitions and will keep your spotting scope in place without wobbling. This tripod is designed for heavy-duty spotting scopes in mind!
This video goes briefly in-depth regarding all of the great features of this tripod. I recommend watching it if you're interested in purchasing this tripod!
- Unconditional lifetime warranty ensures the protection of your equipment.
- The balance hook under the center column provides stability enhancement under windy and difficult weather.
- Fluid and swift panhead motions, easy to move the scope.
- The legs are durable and can be easily adjusted.
- The tripod offers a great maximum height.
- Quite a heavy tripod for backpacking and hiking and the construction of this tripod makes it difficult to carry and its best used while in sitting or prone position.
- The carrying bag that it comes with is made with thin materials, so it's best to replace it with something more durable.
Vortex Optics High Country Tripod
- Minimum height: 15 in/38 cm
- Extended height: 52.3 in/135.13 cm
- Weight: 2.2 lb/1 kg
- Maximum load capacity: 5 lb/2.27 kg
- Material: aluminum
- Flip-lock legs
- A compact and travel-friendly version of the Vortex Optics GT Tripod.
The Vortex Optics High Country Tripod is the lightweight counterpart of the Vortex Optics GT Tripod that is ideal for backpacking. It's intended to support scopes with an objective lens diameter of 45mm to 60mm. I find that if I go higher, the tripod starts to wobble a little.
The minimum height of this tripod is 15 in/38 cm and it can be extended up to 52.3 in/135.13 (which is a little short, but this tripod is made to be used a sitting/crouching position and for shorter hikes. The weight of this tripod is 2.2 ln/1 kg and the maximum payload capacity is 5 lb/2.27 kg so it's extremely easy to pack. The legs can be adjusted separately so it is comfortable to sit down while using the spotting scope tripod.
This tripod includes a ballhead instead of a panhead (the panhead is my personal preference, but some ballheads like this one just blow me away). If you prefer the ballhead, this tripod is definitely a great buy. The ballhead is easy to adjust and scan. The adjustable legs that can be splayed all the way down to the ground by removing the center column. A surprisingly lightweight, compact, and resistant tripod that's built to be taken alongside traveling journeys, I think you will enjoy this tripod for its overall balanced appeal.
If you're interested in another review and a demonstration of this tripod with a Swarovski spotting scope, you can watch this video for another perspective.
- Incredibly sturdy, yet lightweight that is perfect for taking on backpacking adventures.
- A great tripod for spotting scopes but works extremely well with binoculars (my preferred method).
- Easy to pack and stable.
- Texturized and rounded rubber feet keep the tripod solid and from slipping.
- Vortex offers an unconditional lifetime warranty and features a great price tag.
- Since this is a relatively lightweight tripod, it's best not to leave a spotting scope on it for several hours because it can start to wobble.
- Maximum height is a little on the shorter side so most people will either have to crouch or hunch over (which can put pressure on your back), so it's ideal for scanning the landscape for shorter sessions in a kneeling or sitting position.
- Narrow legs can wobble a little but still very durable and unbreakable even in strong winds.
Vortex Optics Summit Tripod
- Minimum height: 14 in/35.56 cm
- Extended height: 54.5 in/138.43 cm
- Weight: 2 lb/0.90 kg
- Maximum load capacity: 5 lb/2.26 kg
- Material: aluminum
- Twist-lock legs
- The smallest tripod from the Vortex line great for smaller spotting scopes and binoculars.
The Vortex Optics Summit Tripod is a lightweight tripod for spotting scopes not intended to support heavy spotting scopes but ideal for objective lens diameter of less than 60mm.
The tripod can be extended to 54.5 in/138.43 cm and its minimum height is 14 in/35.56 cm. The weight of the tripod is 2 lb/0.91 kg. The panhead is great for glassing out the fields and surveying the landscapes. It's ideal for sitting or crouched positions. The Summit Tripod by Vortex offers a great weight payload capacity and is quite lightweight and easy to carry. It also features an excellent panhead that provides fine adjustments and buttery-smooth movements. The rubberized feet keep your tripod in place without causing any slippage.
A great value for a compact spotting scope tripod that's made with aluminum. Easy to setup within seconds, the Vortex Optics Summit Tripod is a versatile tripod that is built for durability. The center column features a ballast hook on the bottom so you can add extra weight to maximize stability. A highly recommended choice for hikers and backpackers who prefer the twist legs system.
- Lightweight and compact tripod that is built to last.
- The panhead performs smoothly and can be adjusted to fine precision.
- Telescoping legs provide stability in wind and can be splayed to different sides.
- A recommended buy for great compact and lightweight tripod.
- The amazing warranty offered by Vortex keeps customers happy in case of any unforeseen damages.
- The quick-release plate can be a little difficult to handle.
- Twist legs may take some extra time to setup (they make a clicking noise so you are aware when it's locked and unlocked).
Manfrotto Element Traveller Small Tripod with Ballhead
- Minimum height: 12.6 in/32 cm
- Extended height: 52.78 in/134 cm
- Weight: 2.54 lb/1.15 kg
- Maximum load capacity: 8.82 lb/4 kg
- Material: Aluminium
- Twist-lock system
- A lightweight, sturdy, easy-to-carry, and highly portable tripod that fits snuggly in any backpacks.
The Manfrotto Element Traveller Small Tripod with Ballhead is easy to mount and dismount. It's ideal for supporting objectives of 45mm to 70mm.
When the tripod is fully unfolded, the height reaches a maximum height of 52.78 in/134 cm and folds down really compact and small at 12.6 in/32 cm. This tripod is a great value for the price in terms of sturdiness and weight capacity. It's ideal for supporting spotting scopes in a little bit of windy weather. The tripod includes two independent locking knobs that can be independently controlled for precision. The ballhead is surprising really smooth! At a weight of 2.54 lb/1.15 kg and a maximum load capacity of 8.82 lb/4 kg, it's relatively comfortable to carry around.
The removable center column allows for the tripod to get really low to the ground. The rubberized grips on the twist lock prevent any slippage. A five-section tripod that can fold up snuggly in your backpack, it's ideal for traveling. A portable tripod that's suited for hikes and backpacking journeys. Since it's a little short in terms of the maximum height, it's an ideal tripod for scoping around while sitting. The tripod provides good stability and it's easy to mount and dismount. I would, however, limit it to using only on flat surfaces since too rough of terrains can make the tripod feel not secure at times.
- Legs are easy and quick to adjust.
- A compact tripod that comes in a nice carrying bag.
- The red and black contrasting colors look sleek!
- A solid tripod and the legs feel solid and heavy.
- A fantastic tripod for traveling, it has a little bit of weight (not to the point of being unstable to carry around) so it can stay solid in winds.
- Ballhead can have a little bit of trouble rotating smoothly and it can come loose if not locked into place properly, so be careful!
- The twist lock-legs can take a little bit of time to setup and can sometimes jam up (it shouldn't be too much of a problem as long as you clean up your equipment regularly, I have found that this is especially important with twist-lock legs).
- Height is a little short for most people.
Bushnell Titanium Tripod (784040)
- Minimum height: 23.6 in/59 cm
- Extended height: 63 in/160 cm
- Weight: 3.5 lb/1.59 kg
- Maximum load capacity: 26.5 lb/12 kg
- Material: titanium and aluminum
- Flip-lock legs
- A heavy-duty tripod that is indestructible and offers excellent load capacity and an exceptional maximum height.
The Bushnell Titanium Tripod is a great tripod for spotting scopes and binoculars that works effortlessly with objective lens diameters of 45mm to 70mm (although you can use it with 75mm, it's best to stay under 80mm).
What sets this tripod apart from its competitors is its ability to offer excellent sky-high maximum height at 63 in/160 cm so the majority of the people using this tripod will be able to it at standing height. The weight of the tripod is 3.5 lb/1.59 kg (which is a little heavy) but the maximum payload of 26.5 lb/12 kg makes it an excellent purchase. I wouldn't recommend it for long hikes, but its main purpose is to support heavier gear while offering great height.
The legs can be adjusted from 3 different angles. This durable full-size tripod features a smooth and easy-to-use panhead that can be adjusted in all orientations. The performance on this is excellent and it keeps your gear securely in place while you're glassing and birdwatching. A highly functional and reliable tripod that is a great value for its cost. Because it has a higher payload capacity and it's a little too heavy for me to carry, I like to keep mine in my backyard for birdwatching.
- Excellent load capacity and great maximum height.
- It features a reversible center column.
- Fast, secure, and easy setup.
- Easy to attach and detach.
- Provides accurate and clear viewings while staying stable
- It also works in a prone/crouching position since the tripod can get quite low to the ground.
- It comes with a lifetime warranty.
- Ideal for less than 80mm spotting scopes, but this works with the majority of the scopes on the market (even better with Bushnell spotting scopes).
- A little too heavy for hiking long distances.
- It does not come with a carrying bag.
Bushnell Advanced Tripod (784030)
- Minimum height: 18.3 in/46.5 cm
- Extended height: 61 in/155 cm
- Weight: 5.5 lb/2.50kg
- Maximum load capacity: 11 lb/5 kg
- Material: Titanium and aluminum
- Flip-lock legs
- A durable full-size tripod designed to hold spotting scopes and binoculars securely.
The Bushnell Advanced Tripod is a nice tripod with heavy-duty legs. It works best with spotting scopes with objective lens diameters of 45mm to 70mm, but I've seen it being able to support scopes of 80mm!
The Bushnell Advanced Tripod features a minimum height of 18.3 in/46.5 cm and extends upwards to 61 in/155 cm so its sure to be standing height for most people. The weight of this tripod is 5.5 lb/2.5 kg and it can carry a maximum payload capacity of 11 lb/5 kg (making it a much more travel-friendly option in comparison to the Bushnell Titanium Tripod (784040). The tripod is designed to be sturdy and the panhead provides glossy movements. I would not recommend using this tripod in stronger winds though because it can wobble a little.
The tripod can take a while to setup and collapse (since the maximum height is pretty tall) but its a sturdy tripod that is more portable compared to the Bushnell Titanium Tripod (784040) so, if you're looking for something to take alongside you, I think you will like this compact and portable tripod a lot! It's a unique tripod that offers durability and a great height range!
- This full-size tripod provides a stable platform and is easy to adjust.
- Padded legs provide a solid grip and extra security
- Compatible with Bushnell spotting scopes
- A great valuable tripod designed to last several years.
- Titanium-coated legs are resistant to water damage.
- Tripod comes with a lifetime warranty
- The legs are not quick-release so it may take a little extra time to setup and collapse.
- I wish it came with a carrying bag since it would make it easier to carry.
- Center column is not so easy nor fast to remove if you want to position your tripod low to the ground.
Gitzo Lightweight Series 1 Traveler Carbon Fiber Tripod with Ball Head
- Minimum height: 16.73 in/42.5 cm
- Extended height: 60.2 in/153 cm
- Weight: 2.34 lb/1.06 kg
- Maximum load capacity: 22.05 lb/10 kg
- Material: Carbon Fiber
- Twist-lock legs
- A highly portable and tall tripod that is excellent at supporting heavier spotting scopes.
The Gitzo Lightweight Series 1 Traveler Carbon Fiber Tripod with Ball Head is the tripod for those who are serious about their gear and willing to invest a lot of money. It's best at supporting spotting scopes with an objective lens diameter of upwards to 75mm. It's a rugged tripod that's extremely sturdy even though it's very expensive, it's worth every penny invested!
The minimum height of this tripod is 16.73 in/42.5 cm and it extends to 60.2 in/153 cm. The weight of 2.34 lb/1.06 kg makes it very easy to carry and it can hold a maximum payload capacity of 22 lb/10 kg. The ballhead is an Arca-type and the twist-lock legs provide for easy setup. The rubbers on the feet can fall off and can also require more frequent replacement.
This tripod folds up quite small and extends quite high. The center column is removable and can be used to view from the ground-level. The legs are constructed of lightweight carbon fiber material that is durable and sustainable to carry for long walks. While it does not come with a carrying bag (which is a bummer because you would expect one for the price), it comes with a shoulder strap. Since it's constructed with durable aluminum, you can carry it around with ease. I recommend this versatile tripod for adventures that require long hikes! While this tripod is expensive, its versatility allows you to experiment with your tripod. This is the type of purchase that is a worthwhile investment!
- Fluid, smooth, and easy to control ballhead stays secure and locked in.
- Super lightweight and offers a great maximum payload
- Compact tripod and easy to pack.
- A great buy for the serious hobbyist, not recommended for beginners.
- This tripod doesn't come with a carrying case, which I think would have been a nice feature to add for the high price of this item.
- Rubber feet require faster replacement (but they're easy to replace)
- No hook under the center column
- The shoulder strap that it comes with is a little twisty
- Very expensive (is it worth it, that's for you to decide!)
Manfrotto MT190XPRO3 Tripod with 391RC2 Head
- Minimum height: 27.1 in/68.83 cm
- Extended height: 66.9 in/170 cm
- Weight: 5.9 lb/2.68 kg
- Maximum load capacity: 11 lb/5 kg
- Material: aluminum
- Flip-lock legs
- A professional kit featuring powerful quick-release legs and a solid panhead for smooth panning.
The Manfrotto MT190XPro3 Tripod with 391RC2 Head is the only spotting scope kit I mention in this article, partially because it's one of the more affordable kits that offer the same advantages and features as the most expensive ones. It's best suited for optics with 80mm or less (preferable to stay under 75mm) as some optics might make your tripod a little unstable.
The tripod extends t0 66.9 in/170 cm from its initial minimum height of 27.1 in/68.83 cm. It weighs 5.9 lb/2.68 kg and holds upwards to 11 lb/5 kg. The legs are quick-release so they can be extended within matters of seconds. The 391RC2 head features 3 different axes of movements, panoramic rotation, front-to-back tilt, and side tilt. You can view these motions in the video below. This tripod can easily adapt in different conditions and is easy to use in rougher terrains. The specifications and extra features of this tripod make it shine in terms of durability, stability, and an excellent height range when in full extension.
Here's a video demonstrating this kit. You can see how well it supports spotting scope optics and the movements on this panhead are buttery smooth.
- Includes a rotating bubble-level that's easy to read.
- Each leg of the tripod has 4 angles that can be accommodated to all types of grounds.
- Great extended height.
- Smooth panhead.
- Features a sleek-looking carrying case.
- It doesn't feature a hook at the bottom which could have been useful for adding more stability and extra weight.
- Don't leave your spotting scope on top of your tripod unattended as it may cause some shakiness especially if left there for a while.
All right folks, there you have it! These are my top 10 recommendations of the best spotting scope tripods in the market that have been tried and tested by me and members of my team. I hope that by reading this guide, you can find yourself a tripod that works with your needs. There's no such thing as one tripod that is the best because it depends on many factors and your intention on where and how you plan on using your tripod. So I hoped for my guide to be extremely detailed and written with different perspectives in mind. I wanted to provide a few options for those of you who prefer the ballhead system or twist-lock legs!
But, if you're still not sure about which spotting scope tripod to get for yourself. I'd recommend the Ballachy Tripod for its lightweight features and the ability to withstand a good weight! You will be able to use this tripod in a standing, prone, crouched, or even sitting position. It's a good value for a compact tripod that caters to beginners and advanced hikers, birdwatchers and wildlife viewers. But if you are looking for a full-size tripod that is designed specifically to hold heavy-duty optics, I would recommend the Vanguard Alta 264AO for its sleek design, flexibility, and great value. Both tripods are versatile and constructed with durable aluminum so they won't break on you throughout the years. I'm sure that whatever option you pick, you will have a great and easy time using your tripod!
Happy hiking and don't forget to pack light!