Peak Design Travel Tripod Review

The Peak Design Travel Tripod promised to deliver the best travel tripod ever made — that’s a pretty tall order. However, Peak Design has provided innovative camera accessories such as camera bags, clips, and straps. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that they would deliver what may be the best travel tripod on the market.

At the very least, its sleek design is robust, portable, and full of new features. After years of shooting, we love these tripods in both carbon fiber and aluminum versions. So, what makes the Peak Design Travel Tripod stand out from other travel tripods? Let’s dig into this full Peak Design Tripod review!


Quick Overview

Peak Design Travel Tripod Waterton National Park
Pros
  • Low Profile when folded
  • Quick Release
  • Build Quality
  • Smartphone clip
  • Reversible center column
  • Smart Design Features
Cons
  • Price
  • Height
  • Unusual Ball Head
  • Tripod Level
  • Hex Key Clip

Peak Design Travel Tripod

Peak Design Travel Tripod

Peak Design Travel Tripod


Peak Design Travel Tripod Review

Pyramid Lake Bridge At Dusk Long Exposure

Peak Designs Travel Tripod Product Specs 

  • Folded Length: 15.5 inches 
  • Load Capacity: 20 pounds 
  • Maximum height: 60 inches 
  • Minimum Height: 5.5 inches 
  • Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Material: Carbon Fiber or Aluminum 
  • Quick-Release Plate: Arca-Type
  • Vertical Tilt: 90 degrees
  • Panning Range: 360 degrees

Peak Design Travel Tripod Design 

The Peak Design Travel Tripod has many elements and features. To give a better idea of its function, we’ll break them down. Items like the carbon fiber legs in a flat shape or a unique ball head allow for a lightweight and small footprint. Other features come down to personal preference and your style of photography. 


Legs

Peak Design Travel Tripod Legs

The Peak Design Travel Tripod features five-section aluminum or carbon fiber legs with quick-release latches. It does not have twisting locks, which can be troublesome and difficult to lock. Two-leg angles allow for a standard tripod height or a low ground-level shot that provides more stability. The legs extend to a maximum height of five feet, sufficient for most shooting, but taller tripods are on the market.

The tripod’s feet are tremendous and can grip most surfaces, including rock, where we do most of our shooting. A small hole on the bottom allows for quick water drainage if the tripod is placed in water. We’ve seen most of this before in quality tripods. However, what stands out the most in terms of the legs is their unique flat shape, which allows for a low profile when folded in against the center column. This shape is instrumental in the tripod’s small form and makes for a more natural surface to grip when changing camera angles.


Central Column

Peak Design Travel Tripod Column

Another stand-out feature of the Peak Design Travel Tripod is the reversible central column, which allows you to capture ground shots more easily. A hook is underneath the central column to attach a stabilizing weight in windy conditions or trickier setups.

Unique to the column is a hidden phone mount that is lightweight and easy to connect to the ball head. Another notable minor feature is the adjustment screw on the central column as it slides in and out from the body and aids in the tripod’s low profile. These little design elements add up to one beautifully engineered tripod.


Ball Head

Instead of the knobs and locking levers that many tripods have, the Peak Design Travel Tripod has a single ergonomically designed ball head. Only one ring adjusts the ball head, which allows for quick adjustments. You’ll have 360 degrees of panning motion and 90-degree vertical tilt to make panorama shots and tricky upward-angle photos possible. 

I should note that the ball head is unique in portrait mode as it is limited in angles due to the way the camera mounts. One position will allow for low portrait shots while the other faces upwards. It can be frustrating at first, but knowing which way to mount the camera with the Arca-type L clip that can attach in either direction becomes second nature.

The ball head has a quick-release system compatible with Peak Design standard plates. Arca-type L brackets can also be securely attached to make the tripod compatible with Arca-type plates. I live in the Peak Design eco-system, so it’s not a problem, but the clip requires a hex key, included with the tripod, to remove the plate.

One last feature to note, or lack thereof, is the level of the ball head. The level sits next to the quick-release plate and only allows for measuring landscape photographs. Most notable is that when any camera is mounted, the level hides under the camera’s body. It has little effect on my shooting as my mirrorless camera provides an in-camera level. However, the lack of a level may be frustrating for some shooters. The level feels like Peak Design included it to market an additional feature with little real-world use.


Included Equipment

Peak Design Travel Tripod Carrying Case

The Peak Design Travel Tripod comes with a protective fabric storage case. As stated earlier, a mobile phone mount is included, which is a nice feature given smartphones’ prevalence. For maintenance and setup, the tripod includes a 2.5mm and a 4mm hex wrench and a bushing removal tool for cleaning the inner legs’ components in case they become clogged with dust or dirt. 


Carbon vs. Aluminum

Photographing Moraine Lake With Peak Design

Which model to buy, carbon or aluminum, is probably the most asked question and debated topic for anyone considering purchasing the Peak Design Travel Tripod. After using both tripods extensively, I would say it depends. However, most photographers will be happy with the aluminum tripod.

The two models differ by 300 grams, which is significant in hand. However, with a $300 price difference, I find the carbon fiber a little difficult to justify. If I had a choice, I’d save the $300 for additional photography equipment, such as a Variable ND, a new camera bag, or better storage.


Peak Design Travel Tripod
Peak Design Travel Tripod Product Shots

Travel Capabilities

Peak Design Travel Tripod Packaging

There’s no doubt that this tripod is for a lightweight traveler. It weighs only 2.8 pounds, and it’s not going to add much drag to your backpack but will provide you with a wide range of functions for your photography needs. Once packed down, the Peak Design is about the size and shape of a 32 oz water bottle, making it easy to slip into a travel bag and conveniently take out as soon as you reach your photo destination. 

Although the Peak Design Travel Tripod won’t be the solution to absolutely every photography situation, it does an impressive job of being an all-around good travel tripod. As mentioned before, this thing is very lightweight, so carrying it around with you all day in Bali or the jungles of Costa Rica won’t wear you out too much. The Peak Design is a great travel tripod that combines functionality in many areas with a lightweight and easy-to-carry design. 


What Makes the Peak Design Travel Tripod So Great? 

Peak Design Travel Tripod at bow Lake

Design

The low profile design and attention to detail set this tripod apart from its competitors. I love the little attention to detail, like the easy-to-adjust ball head, telescoping adjustment knobs, carrying case, angled legs, and hidden phone mount.


Carbon Fiber

Most photographers agree that fiber tripods are superior to aluminum ones. They are lighter weight and more durable. When traveling and needing to watch how much weight you’re adding to your backpack, a lightweight travel tripod like the Peak Design is great. 


Reversible Central Column

You can reverse the tripod’s central column to obtain closer ground-level shots. This feature lowers the minimum height to 5.5 inches, which is lower than many travel tripod models. 


Ball Head

Some people love it, but others hate it. It saves space and makes a more versatile tripod. If you’re new to using ball-head tripods, it may take a bit of getting used to, but you might find this design even better. The Peak Design can hold various types of cameras and GoPros and has a mobile mount for even more options for photo setups. 


Carrying Case and Service Tools

The tripod comes with a storage bag for protection. Although you might already have a spot reserved for it in your backpack, it never hurts to have extra protection for your camera equipment! 


Peak Design Travel Tripod Areas of Use 

A Long Exposure Photograph Of Bow Lake In Canadian Rockies
Using the Peak Design Travel Tripod at Bow Lake In Alberta

Just because the Peak Design Travel Tripod is for travel doesn’t mean that the Peak Design must be used for travel. If you’re interested into local city photography or planning weekend hiking trips, the Peak Design is a great choice. 

Because it’s a more expensive travel tripod, it may not be the first pick for beginner photographers. There are plenty of other adequate and cheaper lightweight aluminum or carbon fiber blend tripods you can try out before deciding whether you’re ready to make a more serious photography equipment investment. If you already have some experience with photography and are annoyed with how cumbersome all your camera equipment is, then this is the tripod for you. 

It’s not great for videographers though. The Peak Design lacks a fluid head, which is much better for taking videos since you can smoothly pan from one direction to another. It’s still possible to take videos straight on, or you can purchase a separate adapter if you like the other qualities of the Peak Design but want to achieve a fluid range of motion while shooting videos. 


Cost vs. Function of the Peak Design Travel Tripod

Natasha And Cameron Have Spritz Along The Lake Of Lake Maggiore
Using our Peak Design Travel Tripod to get both of us in the frame in Italy

Peak Design often carries more expensive camera products, and the Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod is no exception. This isn’t the way to go if you’re looking for something cheap. Although it hurts the wallet, the benefits of the tripod can balance out the cost. 

Since the Peak Design is compatible with many cameras and has a mobile mount, it’s also very versatile. You’ll be paying more upfront, but you probably won’t have to purchase too many adaptors and extra parts for your setup in the long run. 


Equipment compatibility 

Natasha And Cameron Hiking Down From The Hornli Ridge Off The Matterhorn
Always have a Peak Design Camera Clip on our backpacks

The Peak Design Travel Tripod fits with other Peak Design products. If you already have different cameras, travel backpacks, and accessories from Peak Design, this travel tripod will be the perfect addition to your equipment collection. I’m a massive fan of the Capture Clip that always rides my backpack. If you’re a photographer who has equipment from many different brands, there’s no need to worry. The tripod fits many other cameras, including mobile phones and GoPros. For specialized cameras, you can buy adaptors if you like the Peak Design lightweight tripod. 

The tripod also comes with its carrying case, so even if you don’t have other Peak Design products, you’ll still have a safe and convenient place to store the tripod. Thanks to its small packed size, it’s not difficult to fit in any suitcase, backpack, or equipment bag you may already have. The Peak Design comes with two hex wrenches to service the tripod. Both are held in a tool holder on one of the legs.

This makes it convenient to adjust the tripod and clean parts when necessary. If you love your Peak Design Travel Tripod, you can get a wide range of accessories to help with specific photo setups. These include spiked feet to help provide a steady grip when photoshoots on sandy or loose soil, tripod sleeves in case of wet or muddy weather, and tripod hammocks for storing equipment within easy reach when doing a photo shoot.


Drawbacks of the Peak Design Travel tripod

Peak Design Travel Tripod

The Peak Design Travel Tripod’s price is its first and most significant drawback. With so many great features (lightweight, versatile, etc.), you can expect a travel tripod of this grade to pack a punch in terms of cost. The Peak Design Travel Tripod may not be the best idea for novice photographers or people who only take photos occasionally. However, if you’re already serious about traveling and photography, it is probably one of the best pieces of equipment you can add to your photography kit! 

The other major fault of the Peak Design is also one of its best features: the weight. Since it’s just 2.8 pounds, it fits nicely into almost all backpacks and equipment bags. However, it’s not designed for super-heavy rigs and extensive clunky camera equipment. If you’ve got a big lens for wildlife photography, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

Natasha On Cameron's Shoulders In Grindelwald
we love being able to get fun shots of the two of us on our travels

Chances are, travelers will have lighter setups anyway, but it’s good to keep in mind that the load capacity is 20 pounds. While this is enough to accommodate most basic setups, it might not do the trick for specialized rigs and photo shoots. Some photographers might consider a few other things about the Peak Design drawbacks.

First, the five-section legs can become a bit of a hassle. When you’re excited to get set up and going, clasping and locking each section can feel like it takes too long. The ball head takes some getting used to when in portrait mode. Switching to other mounts with a unique camera plate can be frustrating, as a hex key is required.


Peak Design Travel Tripod

Peak Design Travel Tripod
About Cameron Seagle

Cameron Seagle is one of the principal writers and photographers for The World Pursuit. He is a travel expert that has been traveling the world for the past decade. During this time, he established a passion for conservation and environmental sustainability. When not traveling, he's obsessed with finding the best gear and travel products. In his free time, you can find him hiking, mountain biking, mountaineering, and snowboarding. His favorite countries are Scotland, Indonesia, Mozambique, Peru, Italy, and Japan.

You can learn more about Cameron on The World Pursuit About Us Page.