The spotting scope, like any other high magnification gear, works best when it’s mounted on a sturdy tripod. It will then give you the most stable platform to observe the night skies above.
There are many types of spotting scope tripods available on the market, with some trying to be as compact as possible and others focusing on stability or durability. We hope that this article will help you decide which type will fit your needs the best and also which one will allow you to use your spotting scope comfortably.
If you’re looking for the ultimate spotting scope tripod right from the get-go, we recommend that you take a look at the Manfrotto 055 Aluminum 3-Section Tripod. If you’re still in the process of exploring all the available options, scroll down just a little to find our list of all the best tripods for spotting scopes currently available.
Our Best spotting scope tripod at a glance
- Manfrotto 055 Aluminum 3-Section Tripod
- Vortex Optics Pro GT Tripod
- ZOMEi M5 Camera 2 In 1 Portable Travel Tripod
- Gosky Portable Spotting Scope Tripod
- RetiCAM Tabletop Tripod
- Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB 100 Aluminum Tripod
- Orion 5378 Paragon HD-F2 Heavy Duty Tripod
- Celestron 82050 TrailSeeker Tripod
- Bushnell 784030 Advanced Tripod
List of the best tripods for spotting scopes
1. Manfrotto 055 Aluminum 3-Section Tripod
Best spotting scope tripod
Dimensions: 24.02 x 5 x 5 inches | Weight: 5.5 pounds | Load capacity: 19.8 pounds | Maximum height: 67 inches
With Manfrotto being such a familiar brand name amongst enthusiasts and professionals, it should be of no surprise that they have also managed to create an impressive spotting scope tripod such as the Manfrotto 055. This exceptionally well-built tripod will allow you to use even the biggest professional spotting scopes and get an unparalleled level of stability and control.
The class-leading load capacity of 19.8 pounds will ensure that the tripod doesn’t move while you’re looking through your spotting scope, making any subtle adjustments or digiscoping, even if you’re working in windy conditions. This means that you’ll be able to easily find the perfect viewing position and adjust your focus and magnification without any hassle.
Another thing that makes the Manfrotto 055 stand out is its incredibly versatile height range going from 67 inches to as low as 3.5 inches. It’s like having a tabletop, compact, and a full-size spotting scope tripod, all in one.
This means that this tripod can be used comfortably and without any discomfort no matter if you’re standing up looking at the stars, sitting down to observe a beautiful vista in front of you, or even lying on the ground and on your stomach while observing a timid wild animal that would run away if it spots you.
- Class-leading weight capacity of 19.8 pounds
- Height adjustment range from 67 to 3.5 inches
- Excellent build quality
- Easy to operate
- Strong Quick power locks provide impressive stability
- Has some weight to it
2. Vortex Optics Pro GT Tripod
Second best spotting scope tripod
Dimensions: 28 x 5.5 x 5.5 inches | Weight: 4.4 pounds | Load capacity: 10 pounds | Maximum height: 67.1 inches
The second best spotting scope tripod on our list is the Optics Pro GT from Vortex. Worthy of the Pro in its name, it has great build quality, is very easy to operate, and can extend very high so you can look through your spotting scope even when standing up.
Thanks to its 3-way pan head and nicely designed locking mechanism, you’ll be able to perfectly adjust the angle your spotting scope will be positioned in and lock it in tightly, so you can concentrate more on observing the stars and the planets or taking photos of them without having to worry that the scope will wobble around and ruin your experience.
It’s also good to know that the Pro GT can be used as a compact spotting scope tripod thanks to its highly adjustable center pole, meaning that you won’t have to stand all the time. You’ll be able to continue using your spotting scope sitting down in a chair if you need some time to rest your legs or relax a bit.
- Not too heavy considering how well it’s built
- Very good maximum height of 67.1 inches
- Decent load capacity
- Includes a carrying case and a quick-release plate
- Average load capacity
3. ZOMEi M5 Camera 2 in 1 Portable Travel Tripod & Monopod
Best budget spotting scope tripod
Dimensions: 14.76 x 4.29 x 4.17 inches | Weight: 2.73 pounds | Load capacity: 17.6 pounds | Maximum height: 55 inches
If you’re looking for a very lightweight and affordable spotting scope tripod, but you still want decent build quality and load capacity, the ZOMEi M5 Travel Tripod should be on the top of your list.
It’s a very simple tripod to use and comes equipped with a traditional ball head, meaning that even if you’re a beginner you should have no problems learning how to adjust your angle and the position the spotting scope will be sitting at. Once you’ve chosen the desired position, all it takes is to tighten the head and you’re good to go.
The ZOMEi M5 is also a great choice if you own one of the more expensive and heavier spotting scopes, but you want as much portability as possible from your tripod, and it’s all thanks to its 17.6 pound load capacity. As a bonus, you will also be getting a bluetooth remote shutter button for your smartphone, making it easier to take night sky photos and avoiding any shake.
- Very portable and lightweight design
- Excellent weight capacity
- Low price point
- Great minimum height of 14.5 inches
- Includes a lot of additional accessories
- Below average maximum height
4. Gosky Portable Spotting Scope Tripod
Second best budget spotting scope tripod
Dimensions: 25 x 5 x 5 inches | Weight: 5.5 pounds | Load capacity: 11 pounds | Maximum height: 61 inches
The Gosky Portable Tripod is another great spotting scope tripod that will appeal to anyone who doesn’t want to invest too much money but still appreciates getting a quality product. Its best selling point is the wide height adjustment range going from 18.3 to 61 inches.
Having that kind of range means that you’ll be able to use your spotting scope quite comfortably while standing up and without having to constantly bend over while looking through the eyepiece. It will also enable you to lower the tripod and sit in a chair if that’s something you prefer.
It’s also important to mention the included three-way pan head. It will allow you to make precise and smooth vertical and horizontal adjustments, so you don’t have to worry about fiddling too much with the tripod. There’s also a quick-release plate included, so you can easily mount and dismount your spotting scope when the need arises.
- Very respectable maximum height of 61 inches
- Decent weight capacity
- Not too expensive
- Decent build quality thanks to aluminum construction
- Can be used as a compact tripod as well
- Could be more lightweight
5. RetiCAM Tabletop Tripod
Best lightweight spotting scope tripod
Dimensions: 10.75 x 4 x 4 inches | Weight: 1.5 pounds | Load capacity: 6 pounds | Maximum height: 19 inches
The RetiCAM Tabletop is the most portable and lightweight spotting scope on our list, but it’s far from being a traditional one. As its name implies, it’s a tabletop tripod, meaning that it’s intended to be used on a flat surface like a table or a bench and not while you’re standing up.
This is why it has a maximum height of only 19 inches and a weight of only 1.5 pounds. While such a limited height makes it a little less practical than a traditional spotting scope tripod, it makes it an excellent choice if you’re used to spending your time in camps or mountain resorts, where it’s usually not a problem to find a suitable surface to place it on.
Just put it in your backpack and you’ll almost forget that you have it on you; it’s that small and light. It also features a very flexible three-way pan head, despite its miniature size, meaning that you shouldn’t have any problems precisely adjusting the position of your spotting scope with this tripod.
- Extremely lightweight and portable
- Very affordable
- Includes both a three-way pan head and a quick-release plate
- Decently well built
- Comes packaged with a carrying case
- Low weight capacity
- Can’t be used efficiently without the help of a raised flat surface
6. Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB 100 Aluminum Tripod
Best heavy duty spotting scope tripod
Dimensions: 30.7 x 5.1 x 4.7 inches | Weight: 5.38 pounds | Load capacity: 15.4 pounds | Maximum height: 68.12 inches
If you’re looking for a tripod that offers a perfect combination of weight capacity and height, but you aren’t interested in investing in a premium spotting tripod to get those advantages, then the Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB will certainly satisfy your needs.
So, what are the benefits of having a maximum height of 68.12 inches and a load capacity of 15.4 pounds? First of all, if you’re used to standing up while using your spotting scope, you’ll be able to easily adjust the height of the tripod to get in a comfortable working position, or better yet, get a nice view of the screen on your camera if you’re doing some digiscoping.
Secondly, the high load capacity allows you to mount a large high magnification spotting scope and a camera on the tripod and still get a shake-free experience no matter if you’re adjusting their position or just trying to focus precisely on your celestial object.
- Very good maximum height of 68.12 inches
- Great load capacity of 15.4 pounds
- High durability
- Very easy to operate
- Not the most portable spotting scope tripod on the market
7. Orion 5378 Paragon HD-F2 Heavy Duty Tripod
Best extremely high spotting scope tripod
Dimensions: 32.25 x 6.25 x 5.75 inches | Weight: 7.5 pounds | Load capacity: 6 pounds | Maximum height: 72 inches
The Orion 5379 Paragon HD-F2 may not be the best spotting scope tripod for mounting heavy premium spotting scopes or for elaborate digiscoping setups, but it does have one big advantage over most tripods, and that’s its incredible maximum height of 72 inches.
While a regular person won’t find a lot of benefits in increased height, a taller than average person certainly will, especially if they’ve previously had issues with using traditional spotting scope tripods and had to bend their back to level their eye on the eyepiece.
When fully extended, the Orion 5378 allows you to stand upright comfortably and have a more natural posture. You’ll also be getting a very stable platform to enjoy observing the night sky, all thanks to the thick and reinforced legs and spike-feet, which will dig into the ground and prevent the tripod from moving too much or swaying in the wind.
- Very impressive maximum height of 72 inches
- Extremely durable
- Has spike feet for extra stability
- Tension adjustment knobs for both vertical and horizontal adjustment
- Noticeably heavier than most spotting scope tripods
- Below average load capacity
8. Celestron 82050 TrailSeeker Tripod
Best value for money spotting scope tripod
Dimensions: 24.2 x 5.2 x 4.7 inches | Weight: 4 pounds | Load capacity: 9 pounds | Maximum height: 70.5 inches
The Celestron 82050 TrailSeeker spotting scope tripod is a great choice for anyone looking to get a balanced set of features at a very fair price point and wanting to leave some room in their budget to invest in a higher quality spotting scope or some extra accessories.
If there’s one thing that makes the Celestron 82050 stand out from the rest of the tripods at its price point, it’s the impressive height adjustment range going from as high as 70.5 and as low as 18.9 inches. This means that you’ll be able to adjust it perfectly to your height, no matter if you’re standing up or sitting down.
This also means that it can be folded into a very small package and won’t take much space while sitting on the back seat of your car or in the trunk. This tripod is also a pleasure to use, with only a single knob required to lock your spotting scope in place and a fluid pan head allowing for precise and smooth panning and tilting adjustments.
- Decently portable and lightweight for a full-size tripod
- Respectable weight capacity of 9 pounds
- Great value for money
- Offers excellent maximum height of 70.5 inches
- Includes a carrying case with a shoulder strap
- Only average build quality
9. Bushnell 784030 Advanced Tripod
Second best value for money spotting scope tripod
Dimensions: 27 x 5 x 5 inches | Weight: 5.5 pounds | Load capacity: 11 pounds | Maximum height: 61 inches
The Bushnell 748030 is the second-best value for money spotting scope tripod we found. This one focuses the most on providing great build quality and enough stability to handle even the professional level spotting scopes, despite being priced as a mid-range tripod.
Its solid aluminum construction and a load capacity rating of 11 pounds will give you a lot of room when it comes to choosing the right spotting scope and also deciding between pairing it with a smartphone or a dedicated camera if you’re interested in digiscoping. You will also be able to use it comfortably while sitting down, thanks to its height range from 61 to 18.3 inches.
Another thing you’re bound to notice about the Bushnell 784030 after you’ve used it for the very first is how easy it is to operate and how precise and smooth its controls are. The included three-way pan head will allow you to adjust the position of your spotting scope in all directions, and the quick-release system will allow you to reattach it quickly when it’s time to use it again.
- Very good load capacity of 11 pounds
- Not too big and easy to carry around
- Good value for money
- Very respectable build quality
- Easy to operate
- A maximum height of 61 is average at best
- Could be more lightweight
Guide to buying the right tripod for spotting scopes
What to look for when buying a tripod for spotting scope
Size and type of spotting scope tripods
Tabletop – These are the most portable and lightweight types of spotting scope tripods and are very easy to carry around and fit in any backpack. As their name implies, they are meant to be used when sitting at a bench or a table, making them less ideal for use out in the field, but great for camping or even while you’re sitting on a balcony.
Compact – If you want a fine balance between portability and functionality, compact spotting scope tripods will be the best for you. They usually max out at a height of 25 inches and are a great option if you plan to observe the night sky with your spotting scope while sitting down in a comfortable astronomy observing or reclining camping chair.
Full Size – This is a category of spotting scope tripods consisting of all of those with a maximum height going over 25 inches and usually settling around 61 inches, with more advanced ones sometimes reaching over 70 inches. They are the least portable tripods but the most comfortable and stable to use while you’re standing up and tend to be the most durable.
Maximum adjustable height
It’s one of the most important things to keep in mind when it comes to buying a new tripod for your spotting scope. Choosing the one that has the wrong height for you could quickly end in frustration from using it in an unnatural position.
The first thing you should ask yourself is how you plan to use your spotting scope while it’s mounted on a tripod. If you’re just sitting in a chair and you have a surface in front of you that you could rest on, you can safely pick one of the smaller Tabletop spotting scope tripods.
If you’re just sitting in a chair, with only empty space around you, get yourself a Compact spotting scope since it will allow you to extend it enough to remain seated and look through the eyepiece of the spotting scope without straining your back.
All of you used to standing while observing the night sky should purchase a full-size spotting scope tripod since they are the tallest tripods around when extended all the way. They can easily reach 60 to 70 inches in height and are also capable of stabilizing even the heaviest spotting scopes on the market.
Are spotting scope tripods universal?
Yes they are. Since all the spotting scopes on the market feature standard 1/4 x 20 screw connectors, so do the tripods that are meant to be used with them. Some companies produce both the tripods and the binoculars, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the ones you decide to get have to come from the same manufacturer for you to get a great experience.
Let’s make a quick summary of what makes a tripod good for use with a spotting scope. First, it needs to be sturdy enough and offer a good level of load capacity, so you don’t have to deal with any stability or shakiness issues. It also needs to be portable enough so you can easily carry it with you while you’re traveling to your desired location.
Then there’s the matter of adjustable height. You’ll always have to decide if you plan to use your spotting scope standing up, sitting down, or on a table at home or in a camp. This will dictate how high your tripod needs to be for your body to reach a comfortable position and how light and portable a spotting scope tripod can be.
The Manfrotto 055 Aluminum 3-Section Tripod is our top choice due to its flexibility, ruggedness, and ease of use. It’s sturdy enough to withstand any spotting scope and camera combination, can be adjusted to act as full size, as well as a compact and tabletop tripod, and is portable enough to be easy to carry everywhere.
However, if you’re on the lookout for something even more portable, less expensive, or bigger in size, be sure to check the rest of the spotting scope tripods on our list.