Tamrac Zipshot Review: An Excellent Travel Tripod – Forbes

Tamrac’s Zipshot is exactly what I was looking for in a travel tripod, mostly, and I was surprised I was able to get all I needed (nearly) for just $50.

Every photographer is looking for something specific in their tripod, which is probably why most photographers I know have several. One for serious use, one for portability, maybe a small one for travel.

The Zipshot is definitely the latter, though in a pinch it might be able to suffice for the other two. I figured it was worth a (look out, a pun) shot, and brought it with me on some travels in Europe.


I had been looking for a travel tripod for months. I wanted some pretty specific things, and it seemed that the few tripods that matched my needs were all $300. Not out of the question, but a serious enough commitment for something I’d only use occasionally.

Zipshot Tripod Review

Here’s what I needed, in case you’re looking for the same thing:

1) Light – Ideally only 2-3lbs. I travel light, and even 3 lbs is a serious increase (percentage-wise) in the Things I Carry.

2) Small – My normal kit consists of a single Osprey Farpoint, which splits into a main pack, and a day pack. These zip together, causing a friend to amusingly refer to them as the Command Module and the LEM. I needed the tripod to fit inside the LEM.

3) Reasonable Height – There are plenty of pocket tripods that give you a few inches, but I can do hand-held or just put the camera on something for that. Chest height would be ideal.

The most compact tripods I found were around 17-18 inches fully closed, which was pushing it for the LEM. There are many under 3lbs, and a few below 2, most are carbon fiber (i.e. $$$).

Enter the Zipshot

I first heard of the Zipshot on a photo review website talking about travel tripods. They most-or-less dismissed it because it was rather flimsy and supported a limited camera/lens weight. But what caught my eye was the weight (11oz), and the size (15-inches folded, 44” expanded). Seemed like it fit 1, 2, and 3 on my list.

Oh, and it was just $50. Sold.

The easiest way to describe the Zipshot is four segmented tent poles with a plastic ball-head on top. The aluminum segments are connected by bungee cord. Adding to its simplicity (and low cost), once you’ve folded the legs closed, two more bungee cords wrap around to hold it together.

To “extend” the Zipshot, you undo the two bungee cords, hold the whole thing by its head, and let the legs fall to the ground. It literally assembles itself. The legs clackity-clack together like some sort of Transformer. You can do it with one hand, and it looks cool every time. One second, bundle of tubes. Next Next second, unfolding metallic tri-legged daddy longlegs or miniature Strider.

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