Want to improve your hunting and birding skills? Here are the best tripods for spotting scopes for hunting.
If you are or have ever been an outdoors enthusiast, you’ve more than likely run into a spotting scope. Whether for hunting, bird watching, or target shooting, there are a lot of uses for a good spotting scope.
There are a lot of tripods on the market, so it can be overwhelming to choose the best one for your spotting scope purposes. Ideally, you want a tripod designed specifically for spotting scopes. Your tripod should do the best job of minimizing the slightest of vibrations and movements.
More over, your tripod should be sturdy enough to support the weight of your spotting scope. This will alleviate any worries you have for your spotting needs.
In this list we’ll break down the features you should consider when buying your spotting scope tripod. We’ll explain what your priorities should be when looking for the best one and provide a list of our top picks for you to buy.
We will help you buy the best hunting tripod for spotting scope to help make you the best possible hunter you could be.
How to pick your spotting scope tripod
Before we break down our recommendations for the best spotting scopes, we should first consider some of the basic features you’ll be considering when picking you hunting tripod for spotting scope.
First, we will breakdown the various choice material spotting scopes are made of and explain the advantages and disadvantages of each one. Then you’ll need to consider height, or how tall your tripod can possibly be. Lastly, the head is the attachment available for your spotting scope.
Next, we’ll discuss the different types of spotting scopes available for your purchase. Your preference will of course be subjective. However we’ll discuss the most common uses for each and some of their functionality.
Main Features for Hunting Tripods for Spotting Scope
Most spotting scopes are made primarily from of two types of material. These are either Aluminum or Carbon fiber. Both have their specific advantages, but like most things in life, it comes at a price.
Carbon Fiber Tripods
Carbon fiber tripods are known best for their namesake, and provide the vantage of being light weight in comparison to their aluminum counterpart. That being said, the main down side to that is it decreases the durability and tend to not last as long.
Carbon fiber tripods’ main advantage is how convenient they are. Providing more stiffness, and lower thermal conductivity. A carbon fiber tripod should be your choice for a lightweight, well insulated tripod.
In addition, they have much higher vibration absorption. So if you’re hunting on a cold morning from a high vantage point, best to use a carbon fiber tripod for the best experience.
This is especially important for the activities you’ll be using your tripod for. For the purposes of hunting, you’ll likely be using your tripod for out doors activities. This may render a carbon fiber tripod as a less than optimal option for your needs.
Another advantage for carbon fiber tripods is its general aesthetic. Most people who prefer carbon fiber cite its smooth functionality as the main reason for their preferences.
The other option for material for your tripod is aluminum. The main advantage for an aluminum tripod is its sturdiness. Because of the nature of the material, aluminum tripods provide great stability and help you not worry about wobbly stands or falling off. This is especially true for the use case you’ll likely be using the tripod for.
With that being said, there a lot of lightweight aluminum tripods in production as of the writing of this article. Generally speaking, however, if your preference is mobility over stability, it’s best to go with the carbon fiber option.
On the other hand, if you prefer a sturdy, hard working, and durable tripod, it’s best to go with aluminum. Add to that the fact that aluminum tripods are significantly cheaper to buy.
You have to be mindful of one fact that the lighter spotting scopes will most definitely compromise your stability. As a general rule of thumb, any spotting scope lighter than 1.5 lb/0/6 8kg will be too wobbly to use, especially on rough terrain and unstable grounds.
A hunter usually finds themselves in the most unusual positions. You’ll probably end using your scope from crouching, prone, seated, or standing positions. This requires a malleable tripod that will accommodate all the weird twists and kinks of your hunting experience.
More so, shorter tripods for spotting scopes are not ideal if you are yourself a taller person. Ideally, you’ll wan to purchase a tripod with a maximum height that allows you to be standing comfortable while using it.
The taller tripods usually have a center column to stabilize the longer settings. This helps adjust your tripod and stabilize your spotting scope on higher settings. Furthermore, you want a tripod with legs sturdy enough to be stable and comfortable when you’re standing.
Remember that you’ll be using your spotting scope for hours at a time on hunting trips. You don’t want to have a tripod that makes you stand uncomfortably in a prone position or one that you’ll have to lean down to accommodate.
Your priority should always be comfort when adjusting the height of your spotting scope tripod, for your enjoyment and your back’s health.
The two major types of heads on tripods are a ball head and a pan head. Each have their own specific use cases. We will be discussing the ideal head type specifically for a spotting scope. You should remember that this is the on feature of which your choice is purely subjective.
Ball head tripods are mostly famous for photography. This is because cameras require to be completely fixed on the tripod head for optimum quality of pictures. On the other hand, glassing requires movement of your head routinely. For this you need smooth movement on your tripod head, to allow for smooth and precise movement.
Ball head tripod connections create unpredictable movements that go all over the place. This is not ideal. Most hunters who spend hours glassing for game using spotting scopes can attest to the requirements of precise and focused movement to scan large areas.
The positive side of this feature is that you have unlimited range of motion. For quick game with unpredictable movement, using a ball head helps you quickly move you spotting scope.
That being said, ball head tripod manufacturers have come a long way to provide you with the greatest possible experience and improve your stability.
The pan head tripod head is much simpler to use than the ball head. For glassing purposes specifically, pan head tripods are optimal for scanning movements to go over a large area. Pan head tripod heads attach easily to your spotting scopes, allow you to make concise and predictable movements.
In addition, pan head heads prevent skipping, a common issue with ball head scopes. Furthermore, pan head tripod heads are considered more durable and tend to last longer than their counterparts. Overall, they’re the simplest heads to use for glassing.
On the other hand, a disadvantage of pan heads is that it moves on one axis. This gives you a very limited field of motion. It can be frustrating to only be able to move your scope from left to right.
Other Types of Heads
- Fluid Head
Fluid heads are essentially pan heads but specified more for video shooting. However, their “drag” function can be utilized for glassing. This allows you to control the friction when tilting and panning. This can help you both customize and control the movement of your scope.
- Pistol Grip Head
Pistol grip heads are more alike ball heads. Instead of a knob though, you use a pistol grip to loosen the ball. This helps you reposition your spotting scope a lot more easily than a traditional ball head.
Types of Hunting Tripods for Spotting Scope
The three main types of spotting scope tripods are tabletop, compact, and full-size. These three options vary in size, mobility, and stability. We will go over these types and the specific use cases for each of them.
- Full-size Tripod
Full size tripods for spotting scope are as the name suggests. They are the largest type of tripods and can extend all the way up to 178 cm or 70 inches. You may find fold able, compact tripods that extend to similar heights, but they don’t support the weight of spotting scopes.
Full size tripods usually consist of three legs, with a center column to support the weight and height of the legs. You have to consider, however, that higher mounting usually means less stability.
More so, full-size tripods present a very important challenge which is they tend to be very heavy. This makes them harder to carry and a burden for a hunter on the move.
- Table Top Tripod
Table top tripods are the shortest of the options presented here. A regular table top tripod doesn’t extend beyond 18 inches or 46 cm. As a result, they’re usually placed on a table or bench when used with your spotting scope.
Some may not even include a central column as the three telescoping legs are usually enough support to make them manageable. This gives them the most stability from any tripod but the cost of that seems too high to consider.
We won’t go into much detail because we will not be suggesting any tabletop tripods in this list. The reason is that their overall value does not exceed the difficulties you’ll face when using it for hunting. It is notable that most spotting scopes you’ll buy come with a complementary table top tripod already.
- Compact Tripods
Compact tripods are the perfect mixture of stability and height in this list. They can be used in the sitting, crouched, or even standing positions. Their major advantage is that they generally much lighter than full size tripods.
That major upgrade to mobility does not compromise on maximum height as most are extendable to a height of 60 inches or 153 cm. This makes compact tripods easier to carry and still provide sufficient ability to extend.
The 5 Best Hunting Tripods for Spotting Scope
1. Bushnell 784030 Advanced Tripod
Our top pick for a good spotting scope tripod is the Bushnell 784030 Advanced Tripod. This lightweight, sturdy, beast is the perfect tripod for securely holding your spotting scope of binoculars. It is the perfect mixture of strength, mobility, and stability and this is why it is our top pick for you.
The Bushnell 784030 is manufactured from titanium and aluminum. As mentioned before, this material makes the Bushnell weather and water resistant. In addition, you can expect this tripod to last you several years under strenuous weather conditions with no compromise on quality.
However, this doesn’t make it heavy as it weighs just 5.5 lb / 2.5 kg. The lightweight does not skimp on power, as it has an amazing maximum load capacity of 5 kg.
The Bushnell is also very convenient on height for a compact tripod. This tripod has a minimum height of 18.3 inches/46.5 cm. Its flip lock legs allow it to expand to up to 61 inches/155 cm, which is a great height for the average hunter. The legs are also built with handy foam covers, which allows to stand comfortably on any kind of ground.
The Bushnell 784030 employs a pan head to attach your spotting scope. As mentioned before, this gives your scope the most stability and smooth motion capability. Most Bushnell tripods are optimized for hunting, and it’s easy to see while looking at the 784030.
Overall, the Bushnell is the perfect companion for a hunter on the move. It’s extremely easy to carry around swiftly and even simpler to set up and use. This is why it is out top pick for you.
- Easy to set up, and quick to stabilize.
- Titanium coated legs are resistant to water damage.
- Compatible with most spotting scopes.
- Titanium and Aluminum alloy design helps it last for several years.
- Padded legs provide security from slips and easy to set up.
- No carrying bag.
2. Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB 100 Aluminum Alloy Tripod
Our second pick for you is the Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB 100 Aluminum Alloy tripod. This is the benchmark product for Vanguard and they seem to have supplied it with all the features available.
The Alta Pro 263AB is a full size aluminum tripod with a magnesium pan head to increase stability and power. This makes it the most stable tripod on this list. Its strength does not imply heavier weight either, as it weighs a great 2.1 kg/ 4.63 lb. The decreased weight does not mean it carries less weight, as it still has a maximum load capacity of 5 kg or 11 lb.
The Vanguard Alta Pro stands at a minimum height of 24.5 inches/ 64.72 cm, and an awesome maximum height of 70 inches/ 178 cm. Its flip lock legs allow it to extend easily and quickly, giving it the desirable mix of mobility and ability we’re looking for in a hunting tripod for spotting scope.
The aluminum material allows the Vanguard to withstand extreme weather easily. It also provides great durability and sturdiness.
The Alta Pro 263AB employs a fluid like pan head, giving you some freedom of movement while reaping the stability and precision of a pan head.
- Secure locking mechanism for the spotting scope makes it perfect for glassing.
- Easily collapses and extends.
- Long lasting.
- A bit on the pricey side for the items on this list.
- The head is unpredictable, sometimes making sudden jerky movements.
3. Ballachy 56 inch Tripod
The Ballachy 56 inch tripod makes it on our list on third and it’s easy to see why. This awesome aluminum tripod is not only convenient on folding and storing, but also incredibly lightweight.
The Ballachy weighs in at just 1.9 lb / 0.86 kg, making it the lightest tripod on this list. This is astounding considering that it is made from aluminum material. However, this means that is compromises a bit on bearing capacity. Its maximum load capacity comes at 7 lb / 2.3 kg.
The Ballachy comes at a minimum height of 18.9 inchs/ 48 cm. Its flip lock legs allow it to extend to 56 inches / 142 cm. The flip lock legs do come with quick release technology, which makes it very simple to expand and contract.
Its material allows it to perform greatly in wet and windy weather conditions, making it a very durable option on this list.
- Quick adjustments can be made with one hand.
- Comes with a carrying bag!
- Flip lock legs have quick release.
- Its light weight makes it unable to withstand heavier spotting scopes.
- The feet don’t hold well on rough terrain.
4. Gitzo Lightweight Series 1 Traveler Carbon Fiber Tripod with Ball Head
This is our only carbon fiber selection on this list and it’s easy to see why. The Gitzo Series 1 Traveler Tripod provides awesome height range, weight durability, and is extremely light. This makes it a perfect companion for heavy spotting scopes and extreme mobility.
The Gitzo weighs a measly 2.34 lb / 1.06 kg. Amazingly, however, its maximum load capacity is the highest on this list with 22.05 lb/ 10 kg. This allows the Gitzo to withstand even the heaviest spotting scopes available on the market.
More so, the Gitzo is very compact. It folds incredibly small at 16.73 inches or 42.5 cm and easily extends to 6.2 inches/ 153 cm. It comes with twist lock legs, admittedly making it clunkier to extend and contract.
The Gitzo employs a ball head, making it able to attach spotting scopes as well as cameras easily. As aforementioned, however, this comes at a price of making its movements unpredictable and somewhat jerky.
- Extremely light with astounding load capacity.
- Compact and packs to a very small height.
- Very expensive.
- No carrying case.
- Rubber feet wear out quickly, requiring replacement.
- No hook under center column.
5. Vortex Optics Pro GT Tripod
Our final selection for this list the Vortex Optics Pro GT. This compact, aluminum tripod was specifically designed to handle extreme weather conditions and rough terrain.
The Vortex weighs a light 4.4 lb/ 2 kg. However, its maximum load capacity is not ideal at 10 lb / 4.54 lb. It also seems to become a little unsteady around that weight. So be very mindful of the weight of your scope if you decide to purchase the Pro GT.
The Vortex Pro GT’s greatest strength is height. It can expand from a minimum height of 26.5 inches/ 62.5 cm, to an astounding 67 inches/170 cm. This makes it great for the taller hunters.
Its aluminum body allows it to withstand heavy weather conditions. In addition, it’s flip lock legs are easy to manipulate and expand smoothly.
The Pro GT also employ a very stable pan head. Its pan head is concise, sturdy, and very reliable. You should not have any sudden, jerky movements from your scope while using this tripod.
- Fluid and precise pan head motions.
- Unconditional lifetime warranty from Vortex.
- Amazing maximum height.
- The carrying bag is made from lesser quality material.
- Lower maximum load capacity means its hard to support heavier spotting scopes.
- The design of this tripod makes it harder to pack.
Any hunter or bird spotter can attest that their tripod is one of the most crucial devices for their comfort. Picking a tripod for your specific use case can be a daunting task when considering the variety of options available on the market.
In this list, we have provided you with a guide on how to pick the perfect hunting tripod for spotting scope. We supplied the specific features to be mindful of when picking your spotting scope, and how to determine which ones are important to you.
We also listed our top picks of tripods from extensive research and keeping in mind the necessary features we’ve shown you.
We hope we were of help, and even if you don’t buy one of our picks, you are now more aware of what you need to consider when picking out your perfect tripod.