The aluminum group, from left to right: Sirui T-2005x, Cullmann Concept One 622T, Benro Travel Angel II, Manfrotto BeFree, Dolica LX600 Ultra Premium.

It is frequently said that 'the best camera is the one you have with you,' and when a stable platform for that camera is needed, the same could be said for tripods. Some leg sets are so large and heavy that they stay 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 compare five tripod kits that are designed to be as compact and light as they can be, 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 aluminum leg tubes, although most are also available with carbon fiber legs at a higher 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 larger camera bags; and each should fully extend to at least 4.5 feet (137cm) for a more comfortable working height. Finally, they are also sold as complete kits, with an included 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.