Camera and Electronics Reviews Gear Reviews

Pedco UltraPod II Lightweight Tripod

Deciding on a tripod can be a very difficult experience for hikers looking to shed weight and bulk from their packs. Some just come to grips with the fact that exposures requiring a tripod will have to go down as missed opportunities. I was in this group for a long while, and would kick myself with every missed starry night, illuminated tent, and campsite landscape. My aversion to a heavy or cumbersome tripod was put to rest when I found the Pedco UltraPod II Lightweight Tripod. Yes, you give up a ton of the adjustable features of a standard tripod, as well as a kit quick-release, but what you drop in size and weight more than makes up for it. I’ve been using this tripod for a two and a half years now. With usage on multiple treks and travels in 13 countries, I have an intimate knowledge of what it does well and where it falls short.

Pedco UltraPod II Lightweight Tripod
Pedco UltraPod II Lightweight Tripod

The Pedco UltraPod II is perfect for stuffing into a pack, folding up like a knife into a 7 inch 4 oz blade. The rubberized tips have gripped on all kinds or rock, wood, sand, and grass, and the sturdy legs (glass-filled Nylon and aluminum threaded components) stay put for long exposures. A Velcro strap comes attached to a leg when you purchase this tripod. This can be used to attach your camera to poles and other surfaces. I removed this Velcro as soon as I bought it, as my camera setup just isn’t light enough for me to feel confident in using this. For a GoPro, or something of that size, it would be perfect.

Folded Up
Folded Up

What I’ve really liked about this camera tripod is the ball and socket mount adjustment. Without being able to adjust the height of the legs, you’ll have to get creative with surfaces to create the desired photograph you have in mind. At a campsite or on the trail, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything that’s actually flat. This is where the ball and socket really comes in to play. After getting the tripod secured and balanced, it’s really easy to dial in the ball and socket to target your desired photograph.

Ball and Socket
Ball and Socket

Attaching your camera to this tripod is a breeze as you can grip it like a screwdriver and screw it in to you camera. I’ve also used a 3rd party quick release on occasion where I’ll need to switch back and forth in quick succession. Controlling the roll, pitch, and yaw of your camera is a breeze once you’ve used it for a short while.

Ready for Action
Ready for Action

The major downside is the short legs of the tripod, but for this size, it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. You just have to get very creative with where you place it, and hope to have surfaces to work with. In many situations, I have found nothing to prop my tripod up on, and thus, have grown very fond of the “from the floor” perspective. The most important thing is that this has opened up a whole new world of photography for me while camping and hiking, without having to lug around a large piece of gear. For me, that makes it a more than worthwhile purchase for less than $20!

Note: My current camera setup is a Sony a6000 with a Sony 10-18mm lens. Last year I used this same tripod with a Canon T3i and Canon 10-22mm lens. I had no problem with the weight of either camera being supported by this tripod.

Here are a few shots I took using this tripod in Joshua Tree last month:

Starlight
Starlight

DSC03220

Long Exposure
Long Exposure

8 comments on “Pedco UltraPod II Lightweight Tripod

  1. I’ve just found my new piece of kit, thanks!!

  2. I’m looking in to ditching my 2+ lb full tripod with this tripod for a thru of the JMT next year. Any idea on how it handles say a Canon 6D + 24-105mm? From what I’ve read it seems like it’ll be fine in landscape, but I’m also curious how it might handle that setup in portrait? Thanks, great review!

    • Drew Robinson

      Hey Jimmie. I hear you on wanting to ditch your 2lb tripod for the JMT. That’s a lot of weight and takes up a lot of space. I’m not sure how it would handle a 6D. I’ve been using a Sony mirrorless camera since 2014 and don’t have any recent experience with larger bodies. I think it would probably depend on balancing and angles.

      • That’s kind of what I’ve gathered. I’m not sure if you brought this with you on the JMT, but just in case – Did you ever feel like you wished you’d brought a full tripod for particular shots, or were you able to find plenty of places to setup the Pedco?

      • Drew Robinson

        I did bring it along, but didn’t use it much. Shooting long exposures on my a6000 eats up a lot of battery life. I only had a few batteries and didn’t want to risk being without before finishing the hike. I’ve used the Pedco a lot for other backpacking trips though. The only time I wish I had a full tripod is when I can’t find a high platform to set up. Shooting from the ground works for some shots, but doesn’t look good for many others.

      • That’s great info, thanks for the quick responses! Love the site, definitely keeping this one bookmarked while I plan out my hike!

      • Drew Robinson

        No problem! Feel free to ask any questions that arise as your JMT departure date approaches next year.

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