Tripod Strap and Bag Roundup

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One thing I really don’t enjoy when I’m out taking pictures is having to carry a tripod. My tripod came with a case, but I prefer leaving it home when I’m out taking pictures. When traveling from point A to point B, or when not in use, my tripod resides safely in its case, but when I’m out on the prowl with camera in hand, I prefer attaching a tripod strap from its ends and slinging it over my shoulder.

Tripod Straps

Tripod straps are often overlooked when it comes to planning a photo outing. The way I see it, your hands shouldn’t be otherwise occupied when a photo op comes one’s way—you should be able to lift the camera to your eye or quickly set up a tripod, and the more time you futz with your tripod, the greater the chance you’re going to miss the moment.

Porta Brace Tripod-Carrying Shoulder Strap
Porta Brace Tripod-Carrying Shoulder Strap

B&H carries tripod straps from more than a dozen manufacturers, in lengths ranging from 16 to 53". Compared to camera straps, tripod straps tend to be wider, thicker, and better padded. Unlike camera straps, which connect to the camera via “O” or “D” rings, depending on the manufacturer, tripod straps are secured to the tripod just below the head and around the bottoms of the legs.

Manfrotto MSTRAP-1 Tripod Shoulder Strap
Manfrotto MSTRAP-1 Tripod Shoulder Strap

The top connector for a tripod strap is usually a loop that goes around the top of the center column, just below the tripod head. Upper connectors are typically clip or snap hooks, quick-release buckles, or SlipLock buckles. The other end of the strap attaches to the lower sections of one (or more) of the tripod legs via clip or snap hook, a hook-and-loop fastener, quick-release, or a SlipLock buckle.

One feature I always look for when shopping around for a camera or tripod strap is a grippy, non-slip surface, to prevent my camera (or tripod) from repeatedly slipping off my shoulder as I go about my business. Many straps feature slip-resistant inner surfaces that help keep the strap in place. Some tripod straps feature thicker, wider central portions made of a dense, foam-rubber-like material that prevents strap creep, while distributing the weight across a wider, cushier surface area.

Gitzo GC5210 Tripod Shoulder Strap
Gitzo GC5210 Tripod Shoulder Strap

Select tripods have accommodations for attaching tripod straps, but most do not. Before purchasing a tripod strap, eyeball your tripod to determine if it can readily accommodate a tripod strap and, at the very least, determine which tripod strap would be your best choice. Do keep in mind that most tripod straps are perfectly compatible with any tripod, regardless of brand or design.

On a personal note, I’ve owned several OP/TECH USA Tripod Straps over the years and I’ve found them to be comfortable, reliable, and affordable. Similarly designed straps include Oben’s TS-200 and the Porta Brace Tripod Carrying Shoulder Strap.

OP/TECH USA Tripod Strap
OP/TECH USA Tripod Strap

Tripod Cases

If you think tripod cases are small beans among photo accessories, think about this: B&H carries tripod cases from more than 50 manufacturers. They’re available in a choice of sizes and configurations and are available with hard or soft exteriors, soft cases with hard, reinforced bottoms, padded or unpadded interiors, wheels or no wheels, and in a choice of colors—black, blue, camouflage, or gray.

Manfrotto MBAG80PN Padded Tripod Bag
Manfrotto MBAG80PN Padded Tripod Bag

Depending on the make and model, many tripod cases incorporate exterior and/or interior storage pockets, which invariably come in handy for smaller accessories and doodads. At the very least, tripod cases protect your tripod against cosmetic scuffs and serious damage that can easily occur when transporting large equipment cases.

HPRC 6300TRIB Wheeled Hard Case for Tripods with Tri Kit (Black)
HPRC 6300TRIB Wheeled Hard Case for Tripods with Tri Kit

And Lastly, Shoulder Strap Pads

Shoulder strap pads, which come with many tripod straps, are another option for optimizing comfort by distributing the weight of the tripod across a wide area of your neck and/or shoulders. Available from literally dozens of manufacturers is a choice of materials, styles, and colors. I own a pair of Domke FA-031 U.S. Post Office Shoulder Pads that I rotate among the many camera bags I own. Over the course of the day, a good shoulder pad can greatly reduce shoulder fatigue and muscle pain.

Domke FA-031 Shoulder Pad
Domke FA-031 Shoulder Pad

It should also be noted that for photographers traveling with large lighting systems, several companies manufacture cases designed to transport tripods along with light stands and assorted grip gear.

What’s your preference for traveling and shooting with a tripod? Do you keep it in a case, on a strap, or do you have an alternate preference? Let us know in the Comments field. We’d love to hear from you.

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