For many years I do have an issue with my current tripod, it’s too heavy to bring it with me during vacation or other travels. Time to do some research to find a light weighted travel tripod. Spending hours on the Internet I had to make a choice out of the Manfrotto BeFree and the MeFoto BackPacker. After a serious comparison the MeFoto was chosen. Below a brief review of the behaviour of the Backpacker in practice.
The MeFoto BackPacker
The requirements for a new travel tripod: light weighted, easy to use, suitability and stable for my Leica cameras, and – please – not too expensive. The MeFoto BackPacker meets my requirements. It has a weight of 1200 grams, a price around 119 euro and a compact size of 40 cm. Also the stability seems to be okay, regarding the several reviews on the Internet.
First of all the carrying case is a good one. It has good straps to carry the tripod in your hands or over your shoulder. This can be an advantage if you are not able to carry a tripod together with your photo backpack. I read on the Internet a complain about the absence of a user manual. Normally a tripod is that easy to use that a manual is not needed. This counts also for the BackPacker. It is very intuitive to use. The legs and the centre column are smoothly adjustable because of the twist-lock system. The BackPacker is equipped with a Q0 ballhead with a Arca-Swiss quick release system. This is really a firm system to carry a rangefinder or DLSR camera. All you need to do is to mount the quick release plate to the camera is a coin or an allen wrench (is in the box). I was used to handle quick release systems of bigger brands (Gitzo and Manfrotto), but using this Arca-Swiss system is just a piece of cake.
The MeFoto BackPacker shows to be a good companion in practice. It was no burden at all to carry this light weighted travel tripod with me. The legs are adjustable in an easy and smooth way, while the ballhead had no problems to carry my Leica. However, some people don’t like to maximum height of 1.30 meters. This is a personal issue and it’s depends on the person how important this is. Personally (I’m 1,98 meter) I don’t have issues with the height. I just count my blessings and am satisfied to have a good tripod with me (when I normally haven’t). Another blessing is that the legs do have a two angle position (normal and extra wide for low perspectives).
As said, this tripod can easily carry my Leica even equipped with the heavy Noctilux lens. DLSR’s, equipped with bigger lenses as e.g. the 24-70mm, are no problem for the MeFoto BackPacker. I claim that this travel tripod is stable. But when you compare it with bigger non-travel tripods, there is a difference. As a tripod the BackPacker is solid and stable and a convenient companion during your travels.
This is a recommendable travel tripod for those photographers who wants to have a solid light weighted tripod. Having this tripod, there are no excuses to leave it at home instead of carrying with you. Website of the manufacturer: http://www.mefoto.com/products/backpacker.aspx
Specifications MeFoto BackPacker
Maximum Load 8.8 lb (=4 kg.)
Max Height w/Column: 45.7″ (= 130 cm)
Minimum Height: 17.3″ (=50 cm)
Folded Length: 12.6″ (= 32 cm)
Number of Leg Sections: 5 Leg
Lock Type: Twist Lock
Centre Column: Fixed Center Column
Tilt Range: -45° / +90°
Drag Control: No
Panning Range: 360°
Spiked Feet: N/A
Separate Panning Lock: Yes
Quick Release (QR) Plate: Arca-Swiss Style (PU50)
Bubble Level: Yes
Head Mount Thread Size: 3/8″-16
Weight: 2.6 lb (=1200 gr)