That doesn’t necessarily mean your travel tripod is going to dump your camera in the dirt,. It does mean there are a few features that you should look for.
These features will help the tripod stay put in the wind. Keep in mind though that in the windiest conditions, most travel tripods will have some difficulty.
Counterweight hooks are serious perks. Adding a simple hook to the bottom of the tripod’s center column may not seem like a big deal. In reality, this tiny feature allows travel tripods to perform more like heavy studio tripods. By adding weight to the tripod, such as your camera bag, you add more stability without sacrificing portability. This feature is essential if you are going to shoot in some wind.
Avoid lots of leg sections. Breaking the legs down into more pieces allows your tripod to fit in your carry-on bag – but will make it less stable. Instead of more leg pieces, look for a tripod that reverse folds those legs, but still has a leg section count under five.
How are the legs adjusted? Tripod legs are usually adjusted through either twist locks or lever locks. Twist locks are slimmer, but if you don’t twist them tight enough they could potentially unlock. Flip locks will add more bulk and tend to take longer to set up but stay locked. After using a monopod that kept self-shortening mid-shoot because of twist locks, flip locks are my personal preference.
Versatility matters. Travel-friendly tripods are even more portable when they do double duty. Like that, you don’t have to bring any other accessories along. If you use both a tripod and a monopod, look for a two-in-one that converts to a monopod. If you shoot macro work or low to the ground, look for a versatile height range. You’ll save yourself from bringing a tabletop tripod for those low angles.