Are you currently in the market for the best hunting tripod? If so, you’ve come to the right place.
A hunting tripod serves multiple purposes. First and foremost, it can be used to mount a spotting scope to survey the land and spot game out in the wilderness. But it can also be easily used to help stabilize your rifle to make a perfect rifle shot and eliminate the chance of human error if you so need as well.
That being said, not all hunting tripods are equal, and some are definitely higher or lower quality than others. A high quality hunting tripod can last you for a lifetime while still being used in adverse conditions each year.
In this article, we’ll cover the top qualities to look for in a tripod for hunting, and then we’ll dive into our choices for the top five best hunting tripods that the market currently has to offer. Buckle up, grab some MTN OPS, let’s go conquer the objective.
The Best Hunting Tripod Awards
Qualities To Look For In A Hunting Tripod
Here are the top qualities that you will need to look for in a hunting tripod:
The height of your tripod is very important because it determines largely what you can and can’t do with it. That’s also not to mention that a tripod that is too short for your height will not be very convenient or practical for you to use as well.
For typical outdoor uses, a taller tripod will be better. It’s more versatile and you’ll be able to use it when standing up to survey the land in front of you, follow the movement of a game animal you spot, or even to stabilize your rifle to take a shot.
Most hunting outdoor tripods should have a total height of between sixty five to seventy two inches when extended, and a size of around twenty five to thirty inches when closed down for storage.
Just take note that the taller your tripod is, the more flimsy it is likely to be as well. This is why having a stable tripod is equally important, which we will talk about next.
A tripod that is not very stable will just be a waste of money. Even when your tripod is fully extended, it should be able to withstand a gust of wind assuming that it’s set up over an even surface.
A hunting tripod you buy should last you for a lifetime assuming that it’s made out of high quality materials and that you take care of it. Your tripod needs to withstand water, rain, humidity, dirt, debris, gusts of wind, being transported around in a vehicle or in your backpack, and being occasionally bumped into by you or someone else. Not only should the tripod be built out of high quality materials, it should come with an anti-rust and corrosion resistant finish (such as an anodized finish).
Perhaps the most overlooked feature to look for in a tripod is the head, which is designed to hold the camera, telescope, binoculars, or spotting scope. The tripod head needs to have a fluid range of motion and it also needs to be strong enough to hold up the weight of your scope or camera.
There are three primary kinds of tripod heads:
- ball heads
- two way tripod heads
- three way tripod heads
A ball head is where the head connects to the top of a ball, allowing it to be moved in your direction of choice with a single move. Ball heads can either have trigger locks or lever locks, but either allow the device to be adjusted quickly.
Two Way Tripod Head
A two way tripod head is a common choice for use with cameras and is by far the most common design on the market. However, it only permits two range of motions: horizontal and vertical. A ball head tripod is designed to be turned in literally any direction that you want.
Three Way Tripod Head
Finally, a three way tripod head is essentially the same as a two head, except in addition to being moved vertically or horizontally, it can also be moved sideways. This means that you can change a horizontal frame into a vertical frame picture.
This category includes two factors – the weight of the tripod itself, and how much weight it is able to carry. The weight of your tripod is up to you, but just make sure that it’s light enough that you can comfortably carry it over long distances with it in your backpack. Also keep in mind that you’re going to be carrying a lot of other gear while traversing rough and uneven terrain, and also take into account the weight of your camera or spotting scope.
Finally, your tripod should be able to hold up a fair amount of weight from a spotting scope or camera as well. It’s perfectly reasonable to expect your tripod to be rated to hold twenty to thirty pounds of weight at one time.
Best Hunting Tripods Comparison Chart
The Top Five Best Hunting Tripods
Here are our choices for the top five best hunting tripods, presented in alphabetical order:
MANFROTTO MK190X3-2W TRIPOD
The Manfrotto MK190XE-2W Tripod is one of the best tripods for hunters so long as you are not concerned about the weight and overall size of your equipment, as this is definitely one of the heftier tripods that the marketplace currently has to offer.
The MK190X3 utilizes a film head, which means that it will have very smooth motion over several of its competitors. This will be perfect for if you need to scan an area or follow the movements of an animal. The adjustment knobs located on the side of the tripod will allow you to make the head move either more or less smoothly as you see fit.
The total collapsible length of the MK190X3 is just 27.2 inches, which is admittedly not the best size for carrying in an ordinary hunting pack. Again, you really need to be fine with the larger size and weight of this tripod in order for it to be suitable for you. The full extension of the MK190ZX3-2W is 66 inches.
- Very high quality
- Smoother motion than competitors
- Larger and heavier than competitors
ORION 5378 PARAGON HD-F2 TRIPOD
The Orion 5378 Paragon HD-42 Tripod represents a solid option for a tripod for when you are looking for a stable. At seven and a half pounds and twenty eight inches long when collapsed, the 5378 is also not the lightest or most compact option for a hunting tripod. On the flip side of things, it is very stable when set up and at 72 inches when fully extended, makes the perfect choice if you’re a taller individually.
The overall tripod is very well made and built out of high quality materials, with the exception of the lever that releases the mounting shoe, as it is built out of plastic and is on the flimsier side.
The pinion head and geared rack of the Orion means that it can create very smooth and fluid movement while utilizing a camera or a spotting scope and scanning over the terrain in front of you. The foldout crank on the side helps to either raise or lower the elevator post.
- High quality
- Very stable when set up
- Good choice for taller individuals
- Good value
- Smooth movement
- On the larger and heavier side
- Plastic lever is cheap
VANGUARD ALTA 233AO ALUMINUM TRIPOD
The Vanguard Alta 233AO Tripod is built predominantly using aluminum. The two main advantages here are that the overall package is significantly lighter in weight than its competitors, and it’s also much cheaper at under a hundred dollars.
The Alta 233AO utilizes a pan head with very smooth motion and legs that are also stable. The total height when extended is 56 inches, and the weight comes in at only four pounds overall. The legs utilize a flip lock system in order to lock into place when extended, which some consider to be an inferior design to a twist lock system.
- Very lightweight
- Inexpensive and overall good value
- Aluminum construction
- Legs are flip lock, which are not as dependable of a system as twist lock
VORTEX OPTICS PRO GT TRIPOD
The Vortex Optics Pro GT Tripod is a very reliable tripod system that enables the user to make both vertical and horizontal adjustments. The legs are very rugged and come with an anodized finish for added durability and resistance to wear and the elements. The balance hook on the legs at the bottom of the central column. As with the Vanguard Alta that we just discussed, the Vortex Pro GT Is also built out of aluminum, which both saves weight and enables the user to save money when they purchase the product.
The Pro GT has an overall length of 67 inches when extended and 24.6 inch inches when collapsed. It has an overall weight just four and a half pounds with a three way pan and tilt head to permit a full range of motion.
The feet of the Pro GT are built out of rubber to help promote stability over slippery surfaces. However, the quick release lever is built out of plastic and is admittedly not the highest quality.
- Balance hook keeps the tripod stable and helps it to old more weight
- Anodized finish resists wear and corrosion well
- Aluminum construction
- Rubber feet help promote stability
- Lever is not the best quality
ZOMEI Z818 TRIPOD
The Zomei Z818 Tripod is a good choice if you are looking for a mid-range tripod that offers lots of flexibility in terms of how it is used. The best thing about the Zomei that you will likely notice right away is how it is very compact when collapsed. It’s also very lightweight at just under four pounds, which makes it a good option to stash away in your pack while you’re out hunting in the woods. All you need to do to achieve this small size is to invert the head and then fold the legs back at a 180 degree angle.
Despite the lighter weight and small size, the Z818 still has a very impressive weight limit for its class at 33 pounds. This is more than enough weight to stabilize a rifle or to hold any kind of spotting scope.
There are also two mounting options for the Z818 available – the standard formation tripod mode, where three legs can be set on the ground, or in another option where the center post is inverted, allowing the optics to then be mounted underneath the tripod legs. While the latter mode will not be necessary for hunting, it still is a good option to use for photography purposes.
The only downside to the Z818 is that you can’t see whether they are locked before you placed weight on the tripod. Granted, this contributes to the more streamlined design of the tripod overall, but it still is something to be aware of and you will need to be careful.
- Compact and lightweight
- Weight limits of 33 pounds is impressive for its class
- Several mounting options available
- Twist locks don’t allow you to see whether they are locked before you put weight on them
Any one of the five tripods that we have covered here today will represent a solid option for your next hunting adventure. Even if you don’t end up going with one of the five models that we have covered here, so long as you take the time to look for a tripod that has each of the qualities that we’ve covered here today, you’ll be good to go.