With this round-up we cover a selection of tripods that are suitable for use by taller people, and for those who use straight spotting scopes and need extra working height.
As tripods lose steadiness when they are fully extended, we are focusing on models that are tall even without the center column being deployed.
Before examining the top picks’ main features and their pros and cons, let’s introduce you to the line-up of tall tripods…
Quick comparison: best tall tripod for birding
Vortex Ridgeview Carbon Tripod Kit
Rugged, reliable, the Ridgeview is able to handle large spotting scopes and especially suits taller birders.
Best overall tall tripod for birding
Celestron 82050 TrailSeeker Tripod
The Trailseeker has angle-adjustable, sturdy aluminum legs that fold right down in order to be easily packable.
Best value tall tripod for birding
Sirui W-2204 Waterproof Carbon Fiber Tripod
Durability is not an issue for this waterproof tripod that is protected against damp and dirt, meaning it’s easy to operate as well as being tall and strong.
Best waterproof tall tripod for birding
SLIK Pro 700 DX Tripod Legs
So many good points to appreciate about this budget pick that provides extra height via its two-part center column.
Best tall tripod for birding - legs only
Reviews: Best tall tripod for birding
In this review section, we list all the mst important specifications of each product along with a summary of its main features. For each model there is a quick summary of its pros and cons, before a fuller review of how it performs.
As price is always a key consideration, we have included the facility to check the current price so that you can also compare from that point of view.
Best overall tall tripod for birding
Main Features of the Vortex Ridgeview Carbon Tripod Kit
The Vortex Ridgeview Carbon Tripod Kit offers impressive features. Here are a few of them, just to spark your interest!
- Arca-Swiss compatible plate
- Two-way pan head with tension handle
- Lockable center column
- Central hook to add counterweight
Materials carbon fiber legs, aluminum center post
Load Capacity 22 pounds
Weight 3.2 pounds
Maximum Working Height 75”
Minimum Working Height 8.3”
Folded length 29”
- Lightweight carbon frame
- Smooth panning movements
- Easy to adjust legs with rubber twist locks
- Compact pan head that can be switched if necessary
- Three-section legs mean that the overall packable length is quite long
Vortex Ridgeview Carbon Tripod Kit Overview
Vortex products are rugged and reliable. The Ridgeview Carbon is no exception and can handle large spotting scopes and full size binoculars. The maximum load capacity is 22 pounds.
The Ridgeview’s construction is from a mix of carbon fiber and aluminum. While the legs are carbon fiber, the center post is aluminum and measures 10 inches. This keeps weight to a minimum - at 3 pounds and 2 ounces.
Alternatively, you can completely detach the center column if you prefer. If you wish to use a counterweight, there’s a hook at the bottom of the center column.
Three-section legs are more stable but less packable
Three leg sections mean that the Ridgeview doesn’t pack right down like some tripod legs divided into four or five sections. When retracted, the length is 28 inches, with each leg measuring about 22 inches.
So it is long and not all that packable. The benefit of this extra length is that the total height is great for tall birders, at 75 inches.
Set-up and adjustment is a cinch, even in slippery conditions. The chunky rubber twist controls on the legs are easy to grip even with gloves. It’s really quick to deploy the tripod because they only need a quarter turn to release or lock.
Highly versatile leg angles
Each leg pivots right out. The legs can be set individually at a different angle, either moved freely or locked simply into position with just a click.
The Vortex Carbon Ridgeview has a two-way pan head perfect for anyone looking for quality and ease of use. The pan head is controlled by a tension handle, which makes it easy to make smooth pans.
The twist locking mechanism on the handle is incredibly simple to use with the same hand.
Straightforward quick-release pan head
The whole head attachment is very compact. This top-end versatile and straightforward pan head is Arca-Swiss compatible in case you want to change to a different tripod head.
The included pan head comes with a standard tension quick-release plate that works with a variety of styles of plates and other brands, if you prefer to switch it over to a different set of tripod legs.
Best value tall tripod for birding
Main Features of the Celestron 82050 TrailSeeker Tripod
The Celestron 82050 TrailSeeker Tripod offers impressive features. Here are a few of them, just to spark your interest!
- Two-way fluid pan head with QR plate
- Four-section legs with foam grips
- Bubble levels
- Legs will stay at three different angles
Load Capacity 9 pounds
Weight 3.9 pounds
Maximum Working Height 70.5”
Max Height without Center Column 58”
Minimum Working Height 18.9”
Folded length 24”
- Stands up to more than twice its own weight
- Handy retractable hook for more balance
- Legs can be adjusted in length and angle
- Easy to manipulate the head in a hurry to track birds
- Only one locking knob locks both pan and tilt simultaneously
- Lack of counterbalance can be noticeable with heavier optics
Celestron 82050 TrailSeeker Tripod Overview
For a compact sized aluminum tripod, this performs well. The TrailSeeker can stand up to more than twice its own weight of spotting scope on top. At only four pounds, its lightness is a good feature.
We wouldn’t load the tripod right up to the maximum advised load of 9 pounds because there is some play in the adjustable components. For smaller spotting scopes, however, it’s more than adequate.
Retractable hook for extra stability
The center column also has a retractable balance hook at the bottom end. This enables you to suspend extra weight underneath to add stability.
Heightwise, it’ll extend up to 70 inches, and tuck back down to just under 19 inches at the minimum.
The sturdy aluminum legs can be adjusted in length and angle to fit your needs. There are four sections on each leg that can be shortened or lengthened via locking levers.
Bubble levels to check alignment
Integrated bubble levels on the legs are a neat feature.
You can also set the angle of each leg individually to make the tripod flat on uneven surfaces. Each leg has a rubber foot that stops it slipping on wet or slippery surfaces.
This tripod is good for when you want to move the head around quickly. The pan head is easy in two directions with the one handle.
You can attach a spotting scope, binoculars or camera using the quick release plate and standard 1/4-20” thread mount. Celestron’s pack includes a carrying case.
Best tall carbon fiber tripod for birding
Main Features of the Sirui W-2204 Waterproof Carbon Fiber Tripod
The Sirui W-2204 Waterproof Carbon Fiber Tripod offers impressive features. Here are a few of them, just to spark your interest!
- Reverse-folding legs allowing it to pack down smaller
- Rubber feet can be switched to spikes
- Hook under the center column to hang a counterweight
- Converts to a 69.7" monopod
Materials Carbon Fiber
Load Capacity 38.7 pounds
Weight 4.6 pounds
Maximum Working Height 74.9”
Max Height without Center Column 61.9”
Minimum Working Height 10.4”
Folded length 20.5”
- Enormous maximum weight allowance in comparison to other models here
- Very high maximum height too - great for tall birders and straight spotting scopes
- Nice to have the opportunity to change the feet according to conditions
- Strong and stiff enough for larger scopes
- Despite the very welcome sealing system, we’d still advise to take care in dusty or sandy environments
- Also be mindful not to lose track of where the feet are when switching over from rubber to spikes - easily misplaced!
Sirui W-2204 Waterproof Carbon Fiber Tripod Overview
Sirui has developed a design that adds weatherproofing to their tripods. The Waterproof Sealing System aims to stop water or dirt, keeping them moving smoothly without any jams or hitches.
Twist locks secure the four-section legs. Given that they fold right down to a minimum length of 20.5”, the legs reach an impressive height of just over six feet.
A winner for tall birders!
Even without extending the center column, the height is probably sufficient for many birders. This is especially true for those birders using an angled spotting scope, which requires less height than a straight scope because you will be looking down into the eyepiece.
So the Sirui scores highly for taller birders who might otherwise have difficulty finding a tripod of sufficient height to view comfortably - particularly with a straight scope.
Each additional extension that one makes with a tripod might compromise the overall stability. So not needing to extend the center column is a good thing. Of course it also saves the extra effort.
Interchangeable feet and a hook to hang ballast
The rubber feet grip most surfaces well, but if you need more traction on wet or soft terrain you can switch them over to stainless steel spikes.
It’s a simple but welcome bonus to have the hook included underneath the centre column. While this tripod is already stable and secure, you still have the choice to add more ballast by hanging your bag under there to weigh down the whole rig, for example, in more windy conditions.
Converts to monopod
For extra versatility, one of the legs of the tripod is removable. By taking it off and attaching it to the center column, you can create a full-sized monopod (with wrist strap). The monopod reaches 73.7" - also great for taller birders.
The included ball head includes a quick release plate, a knob to add friction via the main lock, and three bubble levels.
The tripod kit also comes with a padded case, a shoulder strap, the required tools to adjust it, and the additional stainless steel spikes for the feet.
Best tall tripod for birding - legs only
Main Features of the SLIK Pro 700 DX Tripod Legs
The SLIK Pro 700 DX Tripod Legs offers impressive features. Here are a few of them, just to spark your interest!
- Independently adjustable three-position leg angle settings
- Three-section legs, all with foam cladding on upper section
- Two flip locks on each leg for easy set-up and disassembly
- Rubber feet for maximum traction
Materials Aluminum, magnesium, titanium alloy
Load Capacity 15 pounds
Weight 5.5 pounds
Maximum Working Height 70.1”
Max Height without Center Column 55.1”
Minimum Working Height 10.8”
Folded length 26.2”
- All of the components feel solid and well machined
- Padding on all three of the legs
- A reasonably priced product that delivers on results
- It even looks good!
- Not as light as a carbon fiber product might be
- The leg angle latches are not quite intuitive so need a little getting used to
- There’s no hook underneath the centre column, which would be useful for adding weight and increasing stability
SLIK Pro 700 DX Tripod Legs Overview
There is a two-part center column, so that can be shortened if necessary. The head mount is aluminium which should add durability.
To set up, the flip locks are stiff to start with, but aim to be operable with just one finger. The angular rubber feet are pretty grippy. They are not changeable, though, in case you prefer the spiked feet that some brands offer.
Three angle setting for the legs
There are a few different lockable angle settings on the legs. This angle can be set independently on each leg, in case you need to set up on extremely uneven ground.
With this facility, the tripod will also lower closer to the ground. The latches open outwards, which is not quite intuitive but there’s no complaint with their actual performance.
Foam cladding feature on all legs
The foam cladding is on all three of the legs - not just the two that some other companies limit it to (why?!). It just makes that extra difference if you prefer to carry the tripod against your shoulder, and when working with the legs when the weather is very cold or hot.
Living up to its name in respect of its matte finish, it looks pretty refined as well as feeling solid. So bonus points for the image-conscious! Even better considering the price…
The best tall tripod for birding: next steps
As well as the obvious requirement of a tall person requiring a tripod with an adequately high working height, there are other situations when a taller tripod is necessary.
While birders using angled spotting scopes can get away with a shorter tripod, those using straight scopes need a tripod sufficiently tall for the scope to be at eye level.
If much of your bird watching is done on slopes, too, taller tripods are preferable. For example, looking downhill, the scope is at a lower elevation to you. So the legs will need to be longer to bring the tripod head up to the right eye level.
Perhaps you are in one of the above situations, and looking for a tall tripod to support your straight birding spotting scope. We hope this article has been of assistance to you. To refresh yourself on what to look for when choosing a tripod, feel free to check here >>> How to choose a tripod for a spotting scope
Do you feel ready to buy one of these tripods? If not, what else would you like to know before doing so? Feel free to check the rest of our tripod section, which includes articles on the Best heavy duty tripod for extra stability (big scopes or windy conditions) and The best lightweight compact tripod kits for birding spotting scopes (top for travel).
- 1 Quick comparison: best tall tripod for birding
- 2 Reviews: Best tall tripod for birding
- 3 Best overall tall tripod for birding
- 4 Best value tall tripod for birding
- 5 Best tall carbon fiber tripod for birding
- 6 Best tall tripod for birding - legs only
- 7 The best tall tripod for birding: next steps