The carbon fiber group, from left to right: Feisol CT3441SB, 3 Legged Thing Eddie, MeFoto GlobeTrotter, Sirui ET-1204, Gitzo Series 1 Traveler.

It is frequently said that 'the best camera is the one you have with you,' and when a stable platform for that camera is required, the same could be said for tripods. Some leg sets are so large and heavy that they tend to live in the back of a closet or trunk of a car, despite the best intentions. Others are so small and fragile that using them requires bodily contortions, while a light wind could blow them over, sending your gear crashing down.

In this group review, we're comparing five tripod kits that are designed to be as compact and light as possible, while still remaining stable and comfortable platforms for photography. While this means they are marketed as travel tripods, each kit is naturally well suited to support lighter cameras and lenses for everyday use, no matter if the location is home or away.

Every tripod in this group has carbon fiber leg tubes, although many are available with aluminum legs at a lower price. Next, each kit had to meet some basic requirements to be included in the group of 'travel' tripods: their legs should fold up 180° around the center column and ball head; when folded they should be less than 17 inches (43cm) long to fit inside luggage and camera bags; and each should fully extend to at least 4.5 feet (137cm) for a more comfortable working height. Finally, all are sold and reviewed as complete kits, with a ball head designed for the tripod legs.

Use the arrows or table of contents below to read each tripod kit review. On the last page, we make some comparative recommendations.