It’s Surprisingly Colossal: Manfrotto Pro Light Tough Tripod Bag Review

Most photographers automatically protect their camera with a padded bag — but what about the tripod? My own tripod is, admittedly, a little beat up from just being tossed in the bed of my pick-up truck. When I saw Manfrotto had launched a dedicated tripod bag to go along with the new accessories to their Tough series hard cases, I decided to give my tripod a much-needed break from the bumps and test it out. The Manfrotto Pro Light Tough Tripod bag uses a roll-top design that allows the bag to expand to accommodate more tripod sizes.

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Made for attaching to Manfrotto’s Tough series hard cases, the bag can also be used as a stand-alone tripod carrying case. It sports both a shoulder strap as well as a handle, along with those hard case attachment points. Priced at $60, it’s one of Manfrotto’s more affordable options for tripod bags that can accommodate a 34-inch folded tripod.

Too Long, Didn’t Read

The Manfrotto Pro Light Tough is great as a stand-alone camera bag or added to a Tough hard case. The size is better suited for mid to large-sized tripods — small travel tripods will have a lot of extra space. While I wish there were an extra pocket, it’s a solid, reasonably priced tripod-carrying solution.

Manfrotto Pro Light Tough Tripod Bag Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Three ways to carry — shoulder, hand, or attached to a Tough series hard case
  • Expandable design
  • Lots of room even for heads with larger levers
  • Comfortable to use
  • Durable, water repellent fabric

Cons

  • No extra pockets
  • Zippers are not water resistant

Gear Used

I tested the Manfrotto Pro Light Tough Tripod Bag with the Manfrotto BeFree travel tripod, as well as the Vanguard VEO 3T+ 264CB without reversing the legs. I also tested this attached to the Manfotto Pro Light Tough 55 hard case.

Innovations

Two key features set the Manfrotto Pro Light Tough Tripod bag apart from other options: an expandable design, and compatibility with hard cases. The bag’s design allows it to accommodate smaller travel tripods as well as larger heavy-duty tripods. Four attachment straps are designed to attach to the front of Manfrotto’s Pro Light hard case line, but this bag can also be used by itself.

Manfrotto Pro Light Tough Tripod Bag Tech Specs

Manfrotto lists the following specifications for the Pro Light Tough Tripod Bag:

  • Weight: 1.19 lbs
  • Minimum Weight: 1.19 lbs
  • Internal Dimensions: 7.09 x 3.94 x 34.65 in
  • External Dimensions: 7.87 x 4.72 x 36.02 in
  • Color: Black
  • Volume: 11.5 L
  • Material: Nylon, Synthetic Fabric
  • Tripod Compartment Dimensions: 7.09 x 3.94 x 34.65 in
  • Types Of Gear: Tripod
  • Type Of Bag: Carrying Solution

Ergonomics

The main compartment of the Manfrotto Pro Light Tough Tripod Bag can be from 30 to about 36 inches tall. That’s thanks to a roll-top that’s secured with a slide-on clasp on the outside of the bag. With the top fully expanded, you can fit up to a 34.65-inch folded tripod inside. The bag is narrower at the bottom and wider at the top. That means video heads with larger handles and dials will fit, provided the head is smaller than about 7 inches by 3.9 inches.

A zipper runs three-quarters of the bag’s length down one side and all the way through the top end. Even with the roll-top folded, that leaves a large enough opening to easily pull the tripod out. If you use the bag for the same tripod, you can adjust the roll-top as needed and leave it. You don’t have to undo the roll-top to unzip the bag. But, you do have to thread the zipper underneath the roll-top clasp. Reversing the zipper so that it started at the other end would have made it a bit faster to unzip for photographers using this bag for a smaller tripod. It’s a minor detail, but it would have improved the experience just a bit.

On the front exterior, there’s a built-in grab handle. On the back, two plastic loops allow you to hook on the included strap to sling the bag over your shoulder or wear cross-body. Four straps around the bottom allow photographers to attach this to a Manfrotto Pro Light Tough hard case. But, it also works on its own, and these straps have a dedicated tuck spot, so they won’t be dangling and annoying if not in use.

That’s really it. There are no extra pockets beside the main tripod compartment. A small, extra pocket to store quick release plates or adjusting tools (for the tripods that require one) would have been a nice addition. I’ve ended up packing my tripod but forgetting the quick-release plate before. But, it does what it’s supposed to do and it’s easy to carry. 

Build Quality

The Manfrotto Pro Light Tough is made from nylon and synthetic fabric with a diamond weave pattern. The material matches other accessories for the Pro Light Tough cases, including the laptop case and backpack harness. (But please note that the Tough cases can only accommodate one of those accessories at a time.) The material has a bit of padding. It feels like plenty of protection to protect a tripod from scratches and bumps.

Manfrotto claims a water-repellent fabric here. I held the bag under my sink and, true to Manfrotto’s word, no water seeped through the fabric, it just beaded up and ran off. The zippers, however, are not weather-sealed. Photographers will need to be careful to carry the bag with the zippers towards the ground as much as possible to avoid water pooling around the zippers. The fold-over top will help when carrying this bag upright on a hard case. It won’t be absolutely drenched in the rain, but it’s not 100 percent water-tight. (Unlike the Manfrotto Tough Pro Light 55 hard case, which we left in the shower for a few minutes.)

Ease of Use

This tripod bag is pretty simple to use. My only complaint is that I wish the zipper was reversed, which would make it faster to unzip when carrying a smaller tripod with the top folded. Otherwise, the three different carrying options are very convenient.

Manfrotto’s Tough carrying system took a few seconds to decipher but is pretty straightforward. The straps at the backside of the bag thread through the metal bars on the hard case, then go back through the clasp. The system felt pretty secure. I wouldn’t leave it attached to a hard case for checked luggage on a flight, largely because I’ve had straps get stuck in conveyor belts and the ensuing friction tear bags in half. Or, at least, have identification in this and the hard case, in the event the two get separated, (but that says more about my distrust of airlines than the durability of this bag itself, however).

Conclusions

Likes

  • I like the three different ways to carry.
  • The expandable design is great for larger tripods.
  • There’s room for larger video heads.
  • It’s comfortable to carry.
  • The fabric is durable and water-repellent. 

Dislikes

  • I wish there were a small pocket to store an extra quick release plate.
  • I wish the zipper started at the opposite end and was more water-resistant.

The Manfrotto Pro Light Tough Tripod Bag is a great accessory for carrying mid to large-size tripods, either independently or with the Tough series hard cases. The expandable design is great and works for tripods up to about 34-inches folded. The fabric is durable and it should do a great job of protecting tripods from scratches and dirt.

While I would readily buy this for mid to larger tripods, smaller tripods like the Manfrotto BeFree have a lot of extra room even with the roll-top all the way down. It negates some of the portability and isn’t as ideally suited for travel tripods. I could actually fit the BeFree inside the hard case instead. I also wish there were a smaller pocket to store a quick-release plate to help prevent accidentally leaving the plate at home. The zipper would also be easier to use if reversed.

Overall, I would recommend this bag for photographers with mid to large-sized tripods (under 34 inches) or photographers with the Pro Light Tough hard case. It’s affordable enough to ignore the minor cons.

I’m giving the Manfrotto Pro Light Tough Tripod Bag four out of five stars. Want one? Check out Adorama for the latest prices.

Hillary Grigonis

Hillary K. Grigonis is a photographer and tech writer based in Michigan. She shoots weddings and portraits at Hillary K Photography. A mother of three, she enjoys hiking, camping, crafting, and reading.