Over the last few months, I have been trying to take my photography/videography a bit more serious when backpacking. In doing so, I realized that a tripod is key for certain types of shots, so I started looking around for something that was both effective, and lightweight. I had used the Joby Gorillapod for some time, however, I wanted something a bit taller, without having to attach it to a tree limb or whatnot. During this time (thanks to Brian Green), I was put in contact with Andy, from NV8 Design.
Andy is the creator of the TrailPix Ultralight Tripod. Andy realized that for those of us that carry trekking poles when hiking, we are already carrying 2/3’s of a camera tripod to begin with. So, he got to work on designing a plate that could incorporate the trekking poles we already carry, with one other leg to create an actual tripod. What he came up with is what he calls the TrailPix Ultralight Tripod.
The TrailPix comes in either a “universal” design, or a “custom” design. The universal design (as seen in the photo above) has oversized holes drilled in the plate and uses thumbscrews to lock the pole tips into place. The custom design has holes in the plate that are specifically sized to certain sized trekking pole tips. As well, there are also 2 different methods in which one can fashion the third leg. One option is to simply use a piece of string tied to the TrailPix, then staked out to the ground. Another option is to use the additional accessory pole as an actual third leg.
Andy was kind enough to provide me with a prototype TrailPix a few months back and I have been using it for a while, mostly on day hikes. I like that he has created something that is simple, and relies on other gear that I already have. This allows me to carry the least amount of weight necessary. Speaking of which, the final production run of the Universal model he sent me weighs in at exactly 2 oz on my scales. Of course though, I will still need to add a ball head to this, and if I would like a quick connect plate, that is also additional weight. (The weights on these will depend on the specific model that one chooses.)
As I said, I love that this is such a minimalist design, and requires the use of other items I am already using to complete this. However, that can also potentially be a downfall. For example, almost all of my shelters require my trekking poles to erect, which means if my shelter is set-up, then I will be short at least one leg for the tripod. For just one missing leg, I could still come up with other methods, such as using a found stick, or maybe even 2 pieces of cord, or even a tree. On the other hand, if I am carrying the accessory pole, I can use simply pull the pole apart and use 3 of the sections to make a shorter tripod, but it will still be quite sturdy.
Andy is passionate about his design, and has decided to put his idea up on Kickstarter to try to help get the project off the ground. If an Ultralight Tripod is something that you have been looking for, and you already use trekking poles, then I would definitely suggest heading over to his Kickstarter page and checking it out for yourself.
UPDATE: I received an email from Andy tonight (4/16/04) and it looks like he has officially created the TrailPix online store! A huge congrats to Andy for meeting his Kickstarter goal, getting those rewards shipped out, and then pushing on and creating an actual online store to sell his “Ultralight Tripods” in! Check it out:
Thanks for stopping by!
Disclaimer: Andy has provided me with both, a prototype TrailPix, as well as a final run TrailPix for the purpose of personal feedback. However, I am not obligated to write about his product, nor am I being compensated for it in anyway. I am just trying to help spread the word about an interesting product…