Best Spotting Scope Tripod | Best Gun Scope
When it comes to hunting and harvesting your chosen game, there is quite a bit of equipment involved, including the best spotting scope tripod.
Most people can easily name the major components of a hunter’s kit. You have your weapon, scope, backpack, boots, gloves, and camouflage clothing. The majority of people will miss a two major pieces of equipment that can make a hunting trip a success or an utter failure.
The two pieces of equipment that people will forget is the spotting scope and the spotting scope tripod. A hunter could possess the best spotting scope on the market, but if they do not have a tripod that provides stability, they will never see the game they are hunting. This article will discuss the seven best spotting scope tripods on the market. This list will feature tripods made by companies that produce other hunting equipment, but it will also feature tripods from companies that specialize in photography equipment. Much like Nikon, these photography equipment companies are trying to make their way into the hunting and conservation business.
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Before we begin the best spotting scope tripod list, there are two major categories of tripod head mounts. These are important to know when purchasing a tripod because mounts are where your expensive spotting scope will be attached. The two head mounts are either a ball head or a pan head. Let’s quickly discuss the pros and cons of these two heads.
The ball head is basically a ball in a socket with a screw upon which you mount your spotting scope. The ball head is easy to use and adjust. Ball heads usually have a screw to tighten the head to hold your spotting scope still. It will also have a tension/friction adjustment that will allow the ball to move freely or with more pressure from the user. The simple design of a ball head allows more intuitive control of your spotting scope while it is attached to the tripod. The ball head is quicker to operate than a pan head. Using the ball head allows you to follow the movement of game as the adjustments are more fluid than the pan head.
Some cons of the ball head are that is less precise when adjusted than a pan head. If you are loosening the screw to make a horizontal adjustment, you are loosening a screw that could case accidental adjustments vertically as well. This can be very frustrating when the field of view through your spotting scope is small. Unfortunately, game can be lost if the adjustment causes unexpected vertical or horizontal changes. Due to their design, there is a bit of room for the ball head to be less sturdy than a pan head.
A pan head is a sturdy platform that rests on top of the tripod with a screw on top to hold your spotting scope. The pan head style gives you precise control over each plane of movement. Generally, pan head mounts have a knob or handle for each plane (vertical or horizontal or tilt) that allows you to precisely change each without impacting the other. If you were to buy a ball head that could support as much as a pan head, you would spend a significant amount of money. Pan heads are affordable compared to ball heads.
Pan heads are slower to adjust than a ball head. After loosening the head, you will need to change each plane individually. If you need to make precise movements, the pan head will take much more time than a ball head. Pan heads are more bulky than ball heads. Pan heads have handles to adjust each plane. Having so many handles makes a pan head tripod harder to store and transport.
So which mount is best for your tripod? Simply put, it is whatever mount comes on the tripod that suits your needs. Whether you are packing your tripod and spotting scope up a mountainside or you are spotting game from the road, there is a tripod on this list for you. With enough practice, a pan head or ball head will work effectively for you. With this information covered, we can begin the list for best spotting scope tripod.
Best Spotting Scope Tripod #1: Vortex Optics Pro GT
Vortex Optics are well-known in the hunting community. They produce quality scopes, red dots, and spotting scopes. They are an American company based out of Wisconsin. Producing hunting optics and their accessories naturally progressed to making tripods. If you know anything about Vortex and their commitment to excellence, it is no surprise their Pro GT tripod lands at the top of the best spotting scope tripod list.
The Pro GT features a 3-way adjustable pan head that allows for smooth adjustments that will help you effortlessly track game across the mountainside. The Pro GT has three legs that can be set to three predetermined angles. Each leg has a different diameter so that you can find the best leg positioning in tight spaces. Each leg is made up of four sections that utilize flip lever locks for rapid set up and height adjustment, and is capped with rubber feet that allow for solid footing on even the slickest surfaces. The legs of the Pro GT are anodized making them corrosion resistant and more affordable than other types of coatings or materials. Another feature of the Pro GT is a balance hook that is located on the center column. This hook allows you to add weight for greater stability when you are in windy or adverse conditions. Up to five pounds can be added to counterbalance the weight of your spotting scope.
The Vortex Optics Pro GT weighs only 4.4 pounds so you will not have to worry about carrying too much additional weight while hiking through rough terrain that usually accompanies hunting areas. This tripod does have a carrying bag that can be attached to your pack or slung over your shoulder. It can be broken down to an overall length of 24.6 inches and a width of 5 inches. When the Pro GT’s legs are fully extended along with the center column, the maximum height is 67.1 inches. With the legs and center column collapsed as much as possible, the Pro GT stands only 23.9 inches. This tripod can support a maximum weight of 10 pounds. This ability to hold this much weight means that it can hold any spotting scope available on the market. The Pro GT comes with a standard mounting screw that is a ¼”-20 thread pitch. That thread pitch is very common among spotting scopes and cameras, so this tripod can serve multiple purposes in your outdoor adventures. The Pro GT can be used as a rifle rest if you chose to do so. However, Vortex does not recommend using the tripod as a rifle rest. The only major con of the Vortex Pro GT is that does not have a built in bubble level to ensure that your spotting scope is optimally positioned.
One of the reasons that the Pro GT is at the top of the best spotting scope tripod list is its available accessories and warranty. Vortex offers a quick release plate, a binocular adaptor, and a window mount that can be used in conjunction with your tripod when trying to spot game in your chosen hunting area. Vortex offers a VIP warranty which is known as their Very Important Promise warranty. This will repair or replace your tripod with no questions asked. The next tripod on the best spotting scope tripod list is manufactured by a company that has nothing to do with hunting or wildlife exploration.
Best Spotting Scope Tripod #2: Neewer Carbon Fiber
Neewer is a multinational company that specializes in innovative products for the music, photography, and film industries. It is understandable that you would be leery of a product that isn’t designed for hunting or outdoor adventures. Although Neewer does not market directly to the hunting and outdoor enthusiast, this tripod can still be trusted to hold your spotting scope. If photographers are willing to place their multi-thousand dollar cameras on a Neewer tripod, you should be willing to place your expensive spotting scope on it as well. Many times, multimedia productions are shot in harsher conditions than many hunters find themselves.
The Neewer Carbon Fiber Tripod is the first ball head tripod on the best spotting scope tripod list. The ball head can swivel 360 degrees and is equipped with a quick release plate. The ball head allows you to follow your game across any type of terrain whether you need to traverse horizontally or follow them up a steep vertical incline. The Neewer tripod has legs that are made from carbon fiber that helps keep this tripod extremely light. The carbon fiber material has a better heat resistance and shock absorption than aluminum legs. Each leg has a one inch diameter and has three sections. The legs can be adjusted quickly using Neewer’s quick release connections. You simply turn the quick release ring and you can collapse or expand the length of the legs in under a second. Each leg is capped with rubberized non-slip feet. Like the Vortex Pro GT, the Neewer features a hook mounted on the center column for additional counter balance weight.
With the carbon fiber legs, the Neewer tripod weighs only 3 pounds and 6 ounces. When ounces equal pounds on long hiking treks to find your perfect spotting position, the Neewer’s lightweight sets it apart from all of the other tripods on this list. The Neewer can be extended to a maximum height of 63 inches or a minimum height of 24 inches. This tripod is perfect for use while standing or sitting. When you have finished using your tripod, it can be folded down and placed in its included carrying bag. When folded, the Neewer is only 17.7 inches in length. This scope will not add too much additional weight to your pack and it will not occupy too much space in your vehicle. This tripod has the standard ¼”-20 threaded mount which will work on your camera or spotting scope.
The Neewer Carbon Fiber finds itself second on the best spotting scope tripod list, but it does have some features that the number one tripod does not have. This tripod can be disassembled and one leg can be used as a monopod. Although not as sturdy as a tripod, the monopod can serve a purpose if weight and storage space is a concern. This tripod also features a bubble level to ensure that you are positioned perfectly when observing your target. The Neewer Carbon Fiber tripod may be light, but it can support up to 33 pounds of equipment. There isn’t a 33 pound spotting scope on the market, so there should be no worry about whether this tripod can hold your equipment. This tripod is covered by a one-year warranty, but it only protects against manufacturer defects and not against accidental damage. The next entry on the best spotting scope tripod list is from another company that has a rich background in hunting and shooting sports.
Best Spotting Scope Tripod #3: Vanguard Alta Pro 264
Founded in 1986, Vanguard World began as a single facility and has grown into a global corporation. Vanguard World manufactures photo-video accessories (tripods, monopods, tripod heads, camera bags and cases), sporting optics (riflescopes, binoculars and spotting scopes), and sporting accessories (gun cases and gun pods/shooting sticks). Vanguard may not be the first name that comes to mind when you are searching for rifle scopes or hunting accessories, but they make a high quality product that is rugged and has features that are ideal for difficult terrain and conditions.
The Vanguard Alta Pro 264 utilizes a ball head mount that can be moved 360 degrees so that game cannot escape the gaze of your spotting scope. The legs of the Alta Pro 264 are what separate it from the tripods that are lower on this list. The aluminum legs are divided in to three sections that utilize that a flip lock. The lock is simple and quick to use. The legs have predetermined angles and can be set to 25, 50, or 80 degrees. Each leg is foam-covered so that you can comfortably carry it without the carrying case. Unlike the top two tripods on this list, the Alta Pro 264 has retractable spikes that can be deployed by twisting the rubber feet. This tripod has unique patented features that allow the center column to move more freely than other tripods on this list. The Alta Pro 264 uses an Instant Swivel Step-n-lock System. The ISSL system allows the central column to be raised or lowered without moving the tripod at all. The other unique feature is the Multi-angle central column. The MACC system allows the central column to be moved 90 degrees to either side of the tripod. This would allow you to set the tripod to your right or left and you can look through your spotting scope while sitting in a different, more comfortable position. The center column of the Alta Pro 264 is a hexagon in shape which allows it to be more rigid and sturdier than a circular shaft. Like many of the other tripods, this tripod has a removable hook for hanging accessories or a counter balance weight.
The Alta Pro 264 weighs only 5.38 pounds and it can hold up to 15.4 pounds of equipment. When fully extended, the Alta Pro 264 is 68.125 inches in height. It has a the tallest minimum height of any tripod on our list at 56 inches. When folded for carrying, the Alta Pro 264 is a larger than most 28.25 inches. It features two bubble levels, one on the ball head and one on the center column near where the legs meet. It has a standard ¼”-20 threaded mount, but an adapter can be purchased to add a ⅜”-16 threaded mount. The Alta Pro 264 is backed by a two-year limited warranty. Much like the Neewer, the warranty only protects you from manufacturer defects and not accidental damage. The next tripod on the best spotting scope tripod list is manufactured by another company that specializes in photography equipment.
Best Spotting Scope Tripod #4: Zomei Z818
Zomei is a photographic equipment company that is a professional manufacturer of camera filters and camera tripods. The Zomei brand mainly focuses on the lens filter, camera tripod, and video tripod, photographic light, and relevant accessories. Another tripod manufactured by a company that does not have any background in hunting is not a bad thing. These companies that produce high quality tripods are constantly innovating and providing constant pressure on other companies to continue to produce lightweight and durable equipment. This is a massive benefit to the hunter and hunting community. The Zomei Z818 has some great features that make it perfect for use outdoors in any conditions.
The Z818 has magnesium and aluminum legs that have an anti-corrosion coating. This coating will help your tripod last longer if you use it in rain, snow, or sandy conditions. Each leg is divided into four sections and feature an all metal twist lock. This type of lock provides a little more friction to keep the leg adjustments in place. This tripod’s legs have three predetermined angles. Like some of the other tripods on this list, the Z818 has rubberized feet for extra grip. The feet of this tripod also have spiked feet for traction in the harshest of conditions. The Z818 utilizes a ball head that can swivel 360 degrees so you should never lose track of that trophy animal you have spent so much time tracking. On top of the ball head is a quick release plate that allows you to detach your spotting scope in the blink of an eye and keep pace with your game. Like most of the other scopes on this list, the Z818 does feature a hook on the center column for added counterbalance weight. This tripod does feature a bubble level to ensure that your tripod is stable before placing your expensive spotting scope atop the QR plate.
This tripod does have a few features that help it stand out amongst the tripod crowd. The center column of this tripod can be inverted. In theory, if you found yourself in a precarious spot, you could invert the center column and mount your spotting scope under the tripod. This tripod can also be disassembled and used as a monopod. The Z818 comes with a carrying case and an additional center column. The only con to this tripod is that it only has a ⅜”-16 screw mount which is less common in the spotting scope market.
The Zomei Z818 tripod has a maximum height of 65 inches and a maximum height of 72 inches when used as a monopod. The tripod can be lowered to a minimum height of 22 inches. When folded completely for transport, the Z818 is only 18 inches. With a weight of only 3.7 pounds, the Z818 is one of the lightest scopes on our list. The next tripod on the best spotting scope tripod is manufactured by a company that isn’t a photography company nor a hunting equipment company.
Best Spotting Scope Tripod #5: Celestron Trailseeker
Celestron is a company with a rich background in producing optics. These optics are not riflescopes, but they are microscopes and telescopes. Celestron recently began producing binoculars and spotting scopes, but these types of optics did not help Celestron build their reputation as much as their telescopes and microscopes have.
The Celestron Trailseeker is the fifth tripod on the best spotting scope tripod list. As we go through the features you will begin to see why this scope is further down the list than the others. The Trailseeker’s legs are aluminum and are divided into four sections. The legs have three angles in which they can be set. The legs utilize flip locks, which are not the most reliable, but will work. Flip locks need to be monitored to make sure their tension is set correctly so that the legs do not collapse. Two of the tripod’s legs are padded for extra comfort while carrying it without its carrying case. The Trailseeker uses a two-way pan head that can be controlled with an easy-to-use handle. The pan head is topped with a quick release plate much like many of the other tripods on this list. The pan head features the standard ¼”-20 thread which will accept almost any spotting scope. The Trailseeker does have a retractable hook on the center column to add weight for stability. This tripod also features a bubble level to ensure your tripod is stable in all weather conditions and terrain.
The Celestron Trailseeker has a maximum height of 70.5 inches and a minimum height of 18.9 inches. When the legs are folded for storage, the Trailseeker has an overall length of 24 inches. The tripod’s overall weight is 3.94 pounds and it can hold a maximum weight of 8.8 pounds. The Celestron Trailseeker lacks some of the features of their tripods, but it is still a reliable piece of equipment that can be trusted to hold your most valuable hunting equipment. The next tripod on the best spotting scope tripod list is manufactured by a company that is well known in the hunting industry.
Best Spotting Scope Tripod #6: Bushnell Advanced Tripod
Bushnell was started in the late 1940s after their founder travelled to post-WWII Japan. After seeing the quality of the glass used in their binoculars, the founder of Bushnell wanted to begin producing optics using that quality glass. After years of producing rifle scopes and spotting scopes, Bushnell began manufacturing accessories for those optics.
The Bushnell Advanced Tripod’s aluminum legs have a corrosion-resistant finish that will withstand the harshest of conditions in the field. The legs are divided into three sections and are locked in place by wing locks. Wing locks allow you to hand tighten the legs so you can ensure they will not collapse under the weight of your equipment. Each leg has a padded cushion wrap that allows for greater comfort when carrying your tripod in the field. The tripod has rubber feet, but lacks the metal spikes that several other tripods feature. The Bushnell Advanced Tripod uses a three-way pan/tilt head that offers quite a bit of movement compared to a two-pay pan head. The pan head is topped with the ¼”-20 thread screw that will accept many spotting scopes and other equipment.
The Bushnell Advanced Tripod has a maximum height of 63 inches and a minimum height of 18.3 inches. The height of the tripod without the center column being fully extended is 50.3 inches. The Advanced Tripod weighs 5.5 pounds and can hold up to 11 pounds of equipment. When you begin to break down the tripod for transport, folding its legs will result in the the tripod being 26 inches. This length is a bit longer than moist tripods for storage, but that is the only downside of the simple tripod. The next tripod on the best spotting scope tripod list is unlike any other tripod featured.
Best Spotting Scope Tripod #7: Vanguard Table Top Tripod
Vanguard is the only company to place two tripods on our list of best spotting scope tripods. Aside from having three legs, this tripod is unlike any other on our list. This tripod is perfect for keeping in your vehicle in case you need to spot game from the side of a road. You can easily put this tripod on the hood of your vehicle for extra stability.
The Vanguard Table Top Tripod is the shortest, lightest, and most compact tripod on this list. It is an ultra-compact tripod that weighs only .86 pounds. It is constructed out of aluminum and finished with a matte black coating. The legs are divided into two sections and are held in place by flip locks. The end of this tripod’s legs are covered with non-slip rubber feet. The Table Top Tripod utilizes a two-way pan head that can be swiveled 360 degrees. Unlike many of the other tripods on this list, this tripod does not come with a quick release plate. It does use the nearly universal ¼”-20 thread pitch found on most other tripods.
This tripod has a maximum height of 9 inches and can be lowered to a minimum height of 7.5 inches. When placed in its carrying case, the tripod needs to be stored in its 9 inch height configuration. This little tripod can support up to 5.5 pounds so it should be able to support even the heaviest of spotting scopes. It is backed by Vanguard’s two-year warranty that covers you in case the tripod has some type of manufacturing defect. Although not great for use in backcountry terrain or conditions, this tripod will help you track game from a conveniently-placed table or the hood of a parked vehicle.
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Many of the tripods on the best spotting scope tripod list are manufactured by companies that have no background in hunting or outdoor pursuits. That is no reason to shy away from buying these quality products. Photographers and filmmakers often travel to some of the harshest conditions on the planet to get the shots they need. You can rest assured that any tripod on this list will work well for your game tracking needs. The best tripod is the tripod that works best for you. Use this list to make an educated decision on your purchase. Whether you purchase the number one ranked Vortex or the seventh-ranked Vanguard, you will be able to find and stalk the animal that you are ready to harvest.