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Updated Feb 2, 2023 1:12 PM
Hunting tripods have become an essential tool for serious outdoorsmen because they allow you to steadily aim rifles and point binoculars or a spotting scope for a long time. Because a tripod supports the weight of the rifle or the optics, it greatly reduces fatigue, providing stable glassing and rock-steady aiming and firing.
A rifle bipod, which attaches to the rifle’s forearm, performs a similar task. But many lack the height needed to clear vegetation and uneven brushy cover. A hunting tripod allows you to shoot from a sitting, kneeling, standing, and occasionally, prone positions. With three legs, they provide a stable shooting rest as high as the tripod extends, or as low as the legs slide together. And, it has the additional benefit of providing a stable platform for binoculars or a spotting scope.
Hunters face different challenges depending on the species being hunted, and where they are pursuing it. Here are the very best hunting tripods out there today.
How We Made Our Picks
I have a lifetime of experience using tripods for both glassing and shooting. In the early 1980’s I was one of the first Western hunters to employ a tripod-mounted 15X binocular for glassing deer and elk at extended distances. I based my selections on my own experiences and those of trusted friends who happen to be experienced hunting guides. Cost was not a consideration, except when choosing the best tripod for the money—and even then, the emphasis was placed on quality for dollars spent. We looked at:
- Durability: Will this tripod stand up to the toughest field abuse over time?
- Size: Does this tripod balance overall weight with ruggedness?
- Adjustability: Is it easy to quickly adjust the legs and center post up and down?
- Height: Can the tripod be used comfortably when standing, as well as when sitting or kneeling?
- Versatility: Can you use the tripod both as a shooting rest and as a stable platform for optics?
- Value: Given the cost, is the tripod and its required aftermarket pan head worth the investment?
The Best Hunting Tripods: Reviews & Recommendations
Best Backpack: Vanguard VEO 3 GO 204B Aluminum Tripod
Why It Made the Cut: Its lightweight and small size when collapsed make this the ideal hunting tripod for backcountry hunters.
- Weighs just 2.1 pounds
- Packs down to 13 ½ inches
- Easily adjustable legs permit setup in any type of terrain
- Easy to pack
- Quick-deploy legs
- Three leg angle settings for use in various terrain
- Maximum extension is too short for most users when standing
I’ve used Vanguard tripods for both hunting and photography for decades, and their quality has never disappointed me. While designed primarily for photographers, the VEO 3 GO 204AB easily accepts aftermarket binocular brackets and shooting rests, as well as a spotting scope. It’s the best lightweight tripod for backpack hunters.
The tripod won’t take up a lot of room on your pack when folded down, and it also features three easy-set leg angles (21°, 50°, and 80°) that allow you to set up the tripod for maximum stability on any terrain. The rapid-set twist leg locks allow the tripod to be quickly deployed, and the leg locks have been designed to be easy to dismantle, clean, and reassemble. That gives you the freedom to set up the tripod in muddy or dusty conditions. For added stability in wind, there’s a retractable hook located at the base of the center column for hanging a stuff bag filled with rocks or other weights.
Best for Spotting Scopes: Vortex Ridgeview Carbon with Pan Head
Why It Made the Cut: It’s excellent for stabilizing large spotting scopes and heavy rifles at a comfortable height.
- Maximum load of 22 pounds
- Extends high enough to be able to be comfortably used while standing
- Easily adjustable legs permit setup in any type of terrain
- Weighs only 3 pounds and supports up to 22 pounds
- Extends from 8.3-73.8 inches, ideal for both sitting and standing
- Three different leg angles adapt to the terrain
- Detachable counterweight hook
- Rubber leg feet grip rocks and slick surfaces well but can wear out over time
One of the tallest tripods out there, the Vortex Ridgeview Carbon Plus Pan Head is ideal for glassing from the standing position—the only option in many hunting situations. Also, the three thick legs easily support even the largest, bulkiest spotting scopes, and provide a wide range of height options. Legs can be positioned individually for multiple heights and a quick, easy, and secure setup.
The two-way head will accept a wide variety of binocular mounts and rifle supports.
An often-overlooked feature is the counterweight hook, to which extra weight on the bottom of the center column can be attached for greater stability in windy conditions—a constant battle for mountain hunters.
Best for Crossbows: BOG Adrenaline Lever Lock Series
Why It Made the Cut: Like rifle shooters, crossbow hunters require a stable shooting platform. The BOG Adrenaline sets up quickly and provides a solid rest that’s compatible with most crossbows.
- BOG Switcheroo System makes changing shooting yokes and heads a snap
- Fast, easy leg adjustment system
- Adjustable height makes it perfect for both seated ground blind users and standing shots
- Adjust from 22 to 62 inches, making it ideal for shooting seated, kneeling, and standing
- Lever Lock Legs keep the tripod set exactly where you want it
- Retractable metal foot spikes allow for stability on any type of ground surface
- High-density foam grip is easy to grab with or without gloves at any temperature or when wet
Years ago, the original BOG POD was one of the first serious hunting/shooting tripods on the market, and it helped propel what is now a growing market. The Adrenaline is a solid choice for rifle hunters and glassers, but I have found it a superior product when crossbow hunting.
I’ve used this product extensively hunting from a ground blind, where I collapse one leg and turn it into a bipod which I rest against the blind wall with the yoke just above the lower window edge. This creates a super stable rest for my crossbow (and shotgun, when turkey hunting.) In a larger blind or shooting house, it can be used as a tripod. It’s also excellent for spot & stalk hunting, with the rapid setup providing a solid rest at a moment’s notice. The legs on the BOG shooting rest adjusts quickly and secures easily with the Lever Lock system. I find the retractable steel foot spikes excellent for use on softer ground. They can be retracted so the rubber pad can easily grip rocks and other solid surfaces. The standard BOG Universal Shooting rest can interfere with crossbow limbs if you’re not careful, so I replace mine with the BOG Wide Body Shooting Rest when crossbow hunting.
Best for The Money: Primos Trigger Stick Gen 3 Tall Tripod Shooting Stick
Why It Made the Cut: The innovative Trigger Stick revolutionized hunting tripods with a trigger that allows the tripod to be quickly adjusted up or down with one hand, allowing last-second micro adjustments without losing your sight picture.
- Patented trigger pull system makes this the fastest tripod to adjust
- Quick Detach Yoke System allows easy transitions from a shooting stick to optics support
- Locking collar splays the legs out easily
- One-hand trigger pull system is the fastest adjustment system available
- Contoured non-slip grip is easy to hang onto in all weather
- Adjusts from 24 to 62 inches, making it easy to use whether sitting, kneeling, or standing
- Weighs just 3 ½ pounds
- The trigger system takes some getting used to
The patented Trigger Stick is truly a revolutionary tripod system. It is excellent for run-and-gun hunting for big game and turkeys when you often have to prepare for and make the shot right now—which often precludes the use of a shooting tripod. The Quick Detach Yoke System allows the tripod to easily transition from optics support to a stable shooting rest. At 3 ½ pounds, it’s easy to pack long distances. And it’s inexpensive.
Best for Binoculars: Outdoorsmans Tall Tripod
Why It Made the Cut: The innovative Trigger Stick revolutionized hunting tripods with a trigger that allows the tripod to be quickly adjusted up or down with one hand, allowing last-The Outdoorsmans Tall Tripod is designed and built specifically for glassing and shooting in the rugged mountains of the West.
- Weighs less than 50 ounces
- Base unit reaches 60 ½-inches but extends to almost 80 with optional equipment
- Can take as much, or more, abuse than any tripod on the market
- Offers plenty of height for extensive standing glassing sessions
- Accepts many different pan heads and shooting rests, including Outdoorsmans heads
- Additional equipment turns this into the most stable long-range shooting tripod on the market
- Super sturdy tripod that provides rock-solid support while shrugging off abuse
- The price can reach four figures after adding pan heads, shooting rests, and other accessories
Outdoorsmans has been specializing in products for off-the-grid western hunters for decades and is best known for its glassing systems. Tripods are at the core, and their designs have benefited from years of development. I’ve yet to use a tripod better than the Outdoorsmans Tall Tripod with any sized binocular, up to and including the popular 15X glass. It’s easy to adjust, sturdy in the wind, and stout enough to take a lot of field abuse.
In addition to being a stable glassing platform, it becomes a steady shooting platform with the addition of some equipment. Attaching a rifle rest to the tripod head and the Outdoorsmans Rear Rifle Support to one of the legs creates rock-solid stability for long range shooting. If you’re going to shoot clear across a canyon, this is your tripod.
Best for Coyotes/Predators: Gunwerks Revic Stabilizer Backpacker Tripod
Why It Made the Cut: Concealment is everything to a hunter pursuing coyotes and other predators. Most of the time, you’ll be shooting from a calling station in either the sitting or prone positions, which requires a tripod designed specifically for this task.
- Adjusts down to just 2 ¼-inches, perfect for prone shooters
- Carbon fiber construction keeps weight to only 2.3 pounds, while supporting 17 ½ pounds
- Three angle stops and quarter-turn twist leg locks make it easy to set the tripod up quickly
- Lightweight and rugged construction means it’s a solid choice for both backcountry and run & gun hunting
- Ideal for both the prone and sitting shooting positions, adjusting from 2 ¼ to 47 ½-inches
- Ball head with pan feature and multiple tension knobs
- Extends to only 47 ½ inches, so it can’t be used when standing
Gunwerks specializes in long-range shooting and hunting, so providing platforms like tripods that offer rugged, functional stability is their mission. Their Revic Stabilizer Backpacker Tripod is an excellent product for the predator hunter.
With the legs extended, you can use the Revic for comfortable glassing and shooting from a sitting position. But you can also splay the legs out flat and turn it into a stable rest just 2 ¼-inches off the ground. So, you can remain seated and hidden in the brush, or go prone and stay hidden from a predator’s prying eyes when there’s no cover. The Revic acts a rock-solid shooting rest in both situations.
Interchangeable rubber and spiked feet allow the tripod legs to be firmly planted in any condition, whether it be soft dirt, hardpack, mud, or rock.
Things To Consider Before Buying The Best Hunting Tripods
Hunters who use a tripod system need it to be rugged, easy to use, and take a beating over time under tough field conditions. The last thing you need is to experience product failure in the field—and I’ve had that happen more than once with lesser tripods. You don’t want to blow an opportunity on the trophy of a lifetime because your tripod failed. Buy a quality model that can handle the worst you can give it.
Even in the big country out West, game can disappear in a hurry. You should be able to switch between your optics and rifle or another implement quickly, with minimal fuss. An easy-to-use tripod head system let’s hunters make that change quickly, so you won’t be left fumbling with complicated adapters when you should be readying yourself to take the shot.
The tripod must extend high enough for you to comfortably glass and shoot, whether that’s standing, kneeling, or sitting. If you spend most of your time in the field crawling to take advantage of low cover, you might not be too worried about how tall your tripod can get. But if you have the luxury of standing to glass, why bend yourself in half trying to get a clear view through your spotting scope?
It is not unheard of for a serious western hunter to spend more than $1,000 on a tripod/pan head/shooting rest system. But there are often less expensive products out there that can do the job for you. Make your selection based on quality, not cost.
Q: How do I attach binoculars to a tripod?
There are several adapters available that screw into the tripod and firmly hold the binoculars in place. Not all adapters fit all binoculars, so be sure to ask about the best adapter for your bino/tripod combination before purchasing.
Q: Do you need a tripod for hunting?
A tripod is a tremendous benefit in many big game and turkey hunting situations. You’ll be amazed how much more game you see through binoculars set on a tripod as opposed to hand-holding them, as the tripod eliminates arm fatigue and any wiggle in the optic. As a firearms rest, tripods provide maximum stabilization, greatly increasing your ability to hit your target exactly where you want to.
Q: How do you attach a tripod to a spotting scope?
Tripods all have a universal threaded screw on their top plate, cut with ¼-20 threads. This aligns with the joint on the spotting scope itself or an additional quick-detach mounting plate that attaches to both the tripod and spotting scope.
Q: What is the best tripod for binoculars?
Out West, where you often glass for many hours without stopping, a tripod that allows you to use binoculars from both the sitting and standing positions is important. The tripod should also be sturdy enough to minimize wobble on windy days and be easily adjustable.
Final Thoughts on the Best Hunting Tripods
There are a lot of tripods on the market, but most are designed for photography, not hunting. What makes a tripod good for camera use does not necessarily make it right for hunting. Hunters should choose a lightweight and rugged tripod capable of handling a variety of implements and adjusting quickly. Additionally, the type of hunting you do will determine the best hunting tripods. Backpack hunters might appreciate the approximate two-pound weight of the Vanguard listed above. While those whose shot opportunities are more fleeting might prefer the rapid action of the Primos Triggerstick.