There’s the travel tripod and the studio tripod, and then there’s the new 3 Legged Thing Travis 2.0. While it’s not a travel tripod, the new Travis 2.0 is a go-between. It’s not quite as light and compact as a travel tripod but has a bit more stability, a higher weight capacity, and a height limit of almost 5.5 feet. Weighing about four pounds, it’s not too heavy that it can’t the studio. And, folding down to 17.9”, it still sits within the carry-on dimensions. Add in a price of under $200, and the Travis 2.0 is easily an intriguing option.
Tripods, however, can look great on paper but wobble in the field. Or they can sit at a great price, but be too cumbersome to set up. I grabbed the new 3 Legged Thing Travis 2.0 to photograph a waterfall and see how the tripod holds up.
Too Long, Didn’t Read
The 3 Legged Thing Travis is a happy medium between the ultra-light travel tripod and the cumbersome studio tripod. It’s sturdy, simple to use, and has a lot of features for the price. I don’t love the tripod attachment or how long it takes to set up, but the $239 price makes those things easy to overlook.
Pros and Cons
- Versatile height range
- Monopod conversion
- Two levels and labeled angle measurements
- Good balance between weight capacity and folded size
- Easy to use
- Not the fastest to set up
- Counter-weight loop isn’t as versatile as a hook
- I don’t love the plate attachment
The Travis 2.0, as the name suggests, is a modest update to the original. It keeps the same versatility but adjusts a few minor details like the metal knobs. The leg locks are sturdier than the earlier generation. All three legs can become a monopod or boom, and it can become a tabletop tripod by purchasing separate feet. There’s nothing earth-shattering here, though. It does continue to use 3 Legged Thing’s unique tri-mount plate, which adds three loops for hooking accessories.
I used the Travis 2.0 with the Panasonic S5 and the 70-200mm f2.8 S Pro lens.
3 Legged Thing lists the following features for the Travis 2.0:
- Magnesium Alloy construction
- Includes AirHed Neo 2.0 ballhead
- Folded length 17.9”
- Maximum height 65.3”
- Detachable legs convert to monopod
- Counter-weight hook
- Tabletop friendly with Vanz footwear (sold separately)
- Capacity 40 pounds
The 3 Legged Thing Travis 2.0 is topped by a ball head. The camera attaches using a metal plate, then turning a knob tightens it so the metal lip grips that plate. This attachment isn’t as fast as the Quick Release on my tripod of choice, a Manfrotto BeFree. But, it seemed to hold the camera securely enough, even with an almost 3.5-pound lens hanging upside down.
The ball head includes a bubble level, which is great for getting that horizon level. The bottom of the head is also labeled for angle adjustments. This is helpful for precision work, like panoramas. There are three knobs on the head: one tightens the camera plate, the black one adjusts the angle of the ball head, and one rotates the full head around. Under the head is 3 Legged Thing’s tri-mount plate, which is basically a plastic piece with three loops for hooking a carabiner and accessories.
The ball head sits on a reversible center column to can get the camera close to the ground. The ball head, however, can’t be attached without the center column, so if you need to be super close to the ground, you need to reverse it. The bottom of the center column has a loop for adding weight. I feel like a hook (where you can easily slide a bag strap in) is more useful than a closed loop.
The column sits in a ring that also has a screw mount for adding attachments (not included). A small bubble level sits here as well. At a glance, I could easily tell if I had set up on a slight incline or had one leg longer or shorter than the others.
The center column height is adjusted with a twist knob that’s nicely coated in tire tread grip. Each of the four leg sections are similarly adjustable with tire tread twist knobs. I prefer the lever locks over the twist type, but the twist locks held securely. To me, the twist locks seem to take more time because I check each one to make sure that it’s secure. With flip locks, I can visibly see that the legs are secure. But, I know that flip vs. twist is a deeply personal choice and photographers who prefer the twist type are going to like these legs.
The leg angle is adjusted with a push lever at the top. The lever needs to be pushed when unfolding at each possible leg angle. But, when folding back up, the legs shut completely with one push of the lever.
The 3 Legged Thing Travis 2.0 ships with rubber feet. The feet can unscrew and be replaced with 3 Legged Thing’s other footwear options, such as spikes.
Most of the 3 Legged Thing Travis 2.0 is made from magnesium alloy. There are a few plastic pieces, including the piece where the ball head sits. The tri-mount collar is also plastic, as is the piece where the three legs attach to the center column. The legs, mounting plate, and knobs, however, all feel like metal.
I really like the feel of the twist locks. (Yes, I know I said I prefer lever locks, but that’s beside the point.) The locks have a tire tread to them, accented with a bright-colored metal. That both looks great and feels great as well.
Travis 2.0 is designed as a go-between. It’s not a travel tripod, but it’s not as heavy or bulky as most standard tripods. The tripod weighs INSERT WEIGHT HERE. It has more weight to it than a travel tripod. But if the travel options aren’t sturdy enough, it’s not too outrageous to bring on-site. It folds down to 17.9 inches with the legs reversed, so it may even still fit into a carry-on suitcase.
Can I spend a minute on the bag that comes with the tripod? A lot of the bags that are included are junk — I’ve never managed to fit my BeFree back into the bag after taking it out. That’s not the case here. The tripod fits back in easily. The bag has both a shoulder strap and a grab handle. There’s even a pocket for stashing things like feet or the camera mount plate. The zipper is oddly located on the bottom of the bag. But, the materials are also thicker and more durable than most “free” included tripod bags.
Overall, the tripod feels pretty durable. It looks like it will last quite some time, provided it doesn’t get too beat up.
Ease of Use
The 3 Legged Thing Travis 2.0 is easy to use, but it’s not the fastest tripod to set up. There are three different knobs on the head. The position of the top knob makes it pretty clear that it tightens the camera plate in place. The largest one is labeled with “lock and rock” and adjusts the ball head. The second orange one rotates the ball head. I think even new photographers will be able to spend a few minutes with those knobs and be ready to jump right into using the tripod.
Adjusting the legs will similarly take a few minutes of exploring, but shouldn’t require a user manual or Googling. The legs adjust the angle with the lever at the top; the height with the tire tread twist locks.
The trickiest thing is just making sure that the camera is secure. I didn’t really care for the twist knob securing the camera. There’s just a little lip holding that plate on. It’s important to make sure that the top knob is fully tightened. It’s secure when it’s done properly; you’ll just want to make sure that it’s tight. (we said the same thing about the pricier Winston 2.0).
While it’s easy to use, it’s not the fastest tripod that I’ve used for setup. The top plate screws in; lever-style Quick Release plates are faster. The twist locks take three good turns to get snug; lever locks feel faster. I can get my hands around all three locks on one leg to twist three at once when unfolding, but then each section needs to be tightened separately. It’s not a horribly slow process; it’s just not the fastest set-up that I’ve used.
- Travis 2.0 is very versatile — it’s also a monopod, can shoot from tall heights and low to the ground.
- There are nice extras, like two bubble levels, a counter weight hook, and angled head adjustments, for this price point.
- As a lightweight studio tripod, it’s sturdy, yet isn’t terrible to take on location either.
- It’s easy to use.
- Most included tripod bags are junk. This one is actually quite nice.
- It’s not the fastest to get set up.
- The plate attachment needs to be carefully tightened.
The 3 Legged Thing Travis 2.0 is a bridge between a travel tripod and a studio tripod — and a good one at that. The Travis 2.0 is built well, versatile, and easy to use. It’s reasonably priced, yet still includes features like two bubble levels, a counterweight hook, and magnesium alloy construction. I can see photographers who are willing to carry more weight for more versatility and stability liking this tripod.
I don’t love the twist-to-tighten camera attachment, which requires a few extra seconds to make sure that the camera is completely secure. I prefer the lever locks over the twist style. But, if you like the twist style, you’ll like the tire-like coating. I still prefer my go-to BeFree’s lever locks and Quick Release plate, but the Travis 2.0 has twice the weight capacity.
I’m giving the 3 Legged Thing Travis 2.0 four out of five stars. Want one? Check out Amazon!