Top 5 Best Glassing Tripods For Hunters

Best Glassing Tripods cover

Most experienced hunters understand the need for good optics. A pair of binoculars, a spotting scope, and a riflescope make up the optics triad helping you spot game in the distance. But what are the best glassing tripods that allow you to observe their behavior, and finally make the shot?

Why Every Serious Hunter Needs a Glassing Tripod

Powerful optics are difficult to use without some form of stabilization. You might kneel or take a prone position to steady your riflescope when you’re using it. But what about before it’s time to take the shot? That’s where a tripod comes in.

A good glassing tripod provides a stable platform for binoculars and spotting scopes. When you’re using 10x or greater magnification, the slightest shakiness in your hand or even the beating of your heart will make it impossible to stay on target.

Best Glassing Tripods sitting down mountain

If you’re scanning an area, those jitters will be distracting and will prevent you from noticing any game movement. Tripods minimize these movements, making game spotting much easier.

Things To Consider When Looking  For The Best Glassing Tripods

To choose the right tripod, you’ll need to consider the kind of optics you’re carrying. Larger spotting scopes or binoculars require a stronger, heavier base to keep them stable.

Optics with greater zoom necessitate a tripod head that’s capable of very fine adjustment, as the slightest touch is amplified to sweeping movement at that magnification.

Nothing’s worse than glassing an animal and then finding yourself off target as you try to follow it. As with any optics, a tripod is not the place to cheap out. However, even the worst tripod is better than no tripod at all.

If you want to cut straight to it, here is a quick snapshot of our favourite glassing tripods.

  • Vortex Optics Pro GT Tripod (Editors Pick)
  • ZoMei Z818 Tripod
  • Manfrotto MK190X3-2W Tripod
  • Orion 5378 Paragon HD-F2 Tripod
  • Mactrem PT55 Tripod

A Review Of The Top 5 Best Glassing Tripods

1. Vortex Optics Pro GT Tripod (Editors Pick)

Best Glassing Tripods Vortex Optics Pro GT Tripod

Vortex Optics Pro GT Tripod Specifications

Weight: 4.4 lbs
Collapsed Height: 23.9″
Extended Height: 67.1″
Maximum Load: 10 lbs
Price: Click here to find the latest price

Vortex Optics Pro GT Tripod Review

The Vortex Pro GT is an all-around good choice for hunters of any level. The most important aspect of a tripod is its stability, and the PRO GT is as steady as a surgeons hands.

Three lever locks keep the legs in place, making set up quick and allowing you to verify at a glance whether all the sections are firmly in place before mounting any optics.

If the weather is really windy and you need to fully extend the legs, it would be a good idea to add some weight to the center column’s balance hook. Especially if you’re using a heavy spotting scope.

In addition to stability, a great tripod needs buttery-smooth head movement. When you’re glassing a buck for example, you need to be able to easily follow it as it moves through the brush.

If there’s any friction in the head, it will be difficult to pan, and you’ll see some jerkiness through your spotting scope or binoculars. Fortunately, the Pro GT has an excellent three-way panning head that allows for very fine adjustment and glossy movement.

Best Glassing Tripods Vortex Optics Pro GT Tripod
The Vortex Optics Pro GT Tripod has smooth panning movements for subtle adjustments when spotting.


The head comes with an aluminium shoe that can stay attached to your optics. For convenience sake, you’ll probably want to purchase separate shoes for your binoculars and spotting scope, as swapping them out in the field is time consuming.

“Perfect for long glassing sessions”

The Pro GT has a stated load weight limit of 10 lbs., but know that the closer you get to the maximum, the more unstable it will become. A 100mm spotting scope might only weigh 5 lbs., but you’ll definitely want to handle it with care and avoid leaving the scope set up when it’s not in use.

The Vortex Optics Pro GT is 67 inches tall when fully extended. Which is high enough for most people, though maybe not if you’re 6’2” or taller. When collapsed, it compacts down to 24.5 inches which was ideal for sitting cross legged while glassing.

The Pro GT weighs 4.4 lbs., which is on the heavier side as far as tripods go, but still light enough to carry on longer hikes.

Final thoughts

One downside to this tripod is that the rubber feet on each leg don’t articulate. Most higher-end tripods have ball-mounted feet that can be rotated to the most stable angle. While this is a fairly small issue, it’s an oversight on an otherwise rock-sold tripod.

Best Glassing Tripods Vortex Optics Pro GT Tripod
Using the Vortex Optics Pro GT Tripod adapts well with scopes and binoculars.


Still, this is our favorite pick for the best glassing tripod because of its ability to adapt to different hunting environments. Being priced around $150, it’s not the cheapest model on the list. But this is explained by its high quality construction and ease of use.

Overall the Vortex Optics Pro GT is a good choice for both novice and experienced hunters who want great stability without breaking the bank. Highly recommended for your next hunt!


2. ZoMei Z818 Tripod

Best Glassing Tripods ZoMei Z818 Tripod

ZoMei Z818 Tripod Specifications

Weight: 3.7
Collapsed Height: 37″
Extended Height: 72″
Maximum Load: 15 lbs
Price: Click here to find the latest price

ZoMei Z818 Tripod Review

The Z818 is sure to please any hunter looking for a mid-range glassing tripod with tons of flexibility in how it’s used.

One of the best things about this tripod is its compact size, it’s only 18 inches long when collapsed, and weighs just 3.7 lbs. To accomplish this small size, you invert the head and fold the legs back 180 degrees around it.

This design allows for a smaller carrying size without sacrificing stability or maximum height when extended. It has a weight limit of 33 lbs., which is astonishing for a tripod of this size and weight.

If you want to go truly minimal, you can remove the center column and attach it to one of the tripod legs to create a monopod. This setup won’t be nearly as stable as a tripod, but it takes up a lot less space and will certainly be better than free handing your optics.  It can also be used as a trekking pole.

The tripod’s head allows for incredibly smooth panning and has separate locking knobs for head rotation and panning. This will prevent the image from bouncing around as you scan across an area.

Best Glassing Tripods ZoMei Z818 Tripod
ZoMei Z818 Magnesium Aluminium Travel Tripod with fluid ball head for spotting.


The Z818 has a few different mounting options: standard tripod formation, three legs splayed flat on the ground for extra-stability, or with the centre post inverted so the optics are mounted under the tripod legs (not very useful for hunting, but great if you also want to use it for photography).

Wrapping it up

The legs utilize twist locks, which are problematic in that you can’t see whether or not they’re locked before putting weight on them. This was probably done to save space and create a more streamlined design, but it’s something you’ll need to be careful of.

The Z818’s strong construction and unmatched portability and versatility make it a great choice for hunters who want a great product that’s better than entry-level but not overly expensive. A well deserved spot on our best glassing tripods list.


3. Manfrotto MK190X3-2W Tripod

Best Glassing Tripods Manfrotto MK190X3-2W Tripod

Manfrotto MK190X3-2W Tripod Specifications

Weight: 6 lbs
Collapsed Height: 27″
Extended Height: 66″
Maximum Load: 8 lbs
Price: Click here to find the latest price

Manfrotto MK190X3-2W Tripod Review

Next in our lineup of the best glassing tripods is the MK190X3-2W. This tripods is considered one of the best for the hunters who want an excellent glassing experience and aren’t too concerned about the size and weight of their equipment.

This particular version of the MK190X3 utilizes a film head, which gives a smoother panning motion than any other head. This is excellent for scanning an area or tracking an animal, though it does have a bit of a learning curve.

To get the maximum level of smoothness, you’ll need to take some time to get the head’s adjustment knobs just right. But once you have them set, the head is impressively smooth.

The legs on the Manfrotto MK190X3-2W leave something to be desired in terms of portability and stability with a bigger scope, but if smooth head movement is the most important feature for you, it’s a great choice.

Best Glassing Tripods Manfrotto MK190X3-2W Tripod
Scanning with the fluid head on this Manfrotto MK190X3-2W was like melted butter.


When fully collapsed, it stands at 27.2 inches long, which isn’t ideal for carrying in a backpack. But it can easily be strapped on if need be. Full extension reaches 66 inches tall with the center column fully extended and 53 inches with it retracted.

Final thoughts

The Manfrotto MK190X3-2W is one of the heavier tripods on the market at 5.8 lbs. For something so heavy, its weight limit is surprisingly low at just over 8 pounds. You’ll want to limit this tripod’s use to smaller binoculars and spotting scopes to keep it stable.

This MK190X3-2W definitely isn’t the lightest tripod, but that can be put down it’s solid build quality that can take serious abuse out in the field.

While this tripod isn’t the cheapest, its easily deserved a spot as one of the best spotting tripods due to its high quality build and buttery smooth panning.


 5. Orion 5378 Paragon HD-F2 Tripod

Best Glassing Tripods Orion 5378 Paragon HD-F2 Tripod

Orion 5378 Paragon HD-F2 Tripod Specifications

Weight: 7.5 lbs
Collapsed Height: 28″
Extended Height: 72″
Maximum Load: 6.5 lbs
Price: Click here to find the latest price

Orion 5378 Paragon HD-F2 Tripod Review

When you’re looking for the absolute most stable tripod, you’re just going to need to set aside weight as a consideration. The Orion comes in at 7.5 lbs. and even in its collapsed state is still 28-inches long. However, with the center post extended, it’s 72 inches tall, enough for even the tallest hunter to use from a standing position.

The maximum weight is only 6.5 lbs. though, so don’t extend it too much with a heavy spotting scope. It’s only stable with lightweight optics. This tripod is definitely going to add some bulk to your hunting pack, but if you’re looking for great stability, the Orion is unmatched.

One possible downside to this tripod is that its legs are braced through to the center post. This slightly limits the leg placement, but it’s a worthy tradeoff for the extra stability the bracing provides.

The legs have graduated markings on them, making it easy to see how far each one needs to be extended to create a level platform and the head’s bubble level can be used to confirm this.

Best Glassing Tripods Orion 5378 Paragon HD-F2 Tripod
Using the Orion 5378 Paragon HD-F2 Tripod head is great for gradual movements.


The Orion’s head doesn’t disappoint either; the geared rack and pinion head is fantastic for smooth, precise movement. A foldout crank on the side raises and lowers the elevator post, while an extra-long panning handle makes for smooth scanning.

Final thoughts

Some users have complained that, despite being a “heavy duty” tripod, it was made with a couple of cheap parts, particularly the plastic lever that releases the mounting shoe. While this problem can be overcome with careful use, you wouldn’t expect that a tripod like this would need to be babied.

Priced around $100, it’s hard to go wrong with the Orion. Sure, it’s a little heavy and doesn’t collapse much, but it makes up its heft with an incredibly stable base and an excellent head motion. It easily deserved a spot on our best glassing tripods lineup.


5. Mactrem PT55 Tripod

Best Glassing Tripods Mactrem PT55 Tripod

Mactrem PT55 Tripod Specifications

Weight: 2.5 lbs
Collapsed Height: 20″
Extended Height: 55″
Maximum Load: 11 lbs
Price: Click here to find the latest price

Mactrem PT55 Tripod Review

The PT55 is a great option for hunters who are just starting to explore the world of optics. It’s a fairly lightweight (2.5 lbs.) aluminum and plastic tripod that’s 55 inches tall when fully extended and just 20 inches when collapsed.

Given that the Mactrem PT55 is an entry-level model, you’ll need to temper your expectations for stability and durability.

With the legs fully extended, it’s very tippy. If you’re using it with a heavy set of binoculars (max capacity 11 lbs.) or on a windy day, you’ll definitely want to add a little weight to the center column.

A small drawstring bag filled with a few stones or bullets is usually sufficient to keep it stable. Nothing ruins a day as quickly as broken optics though, so you probably just shouldn’t extend the legs completely.

As for usability, the PT55 is fairly middle of the road. The head pans in three directions, which is nice for an entry-level tripod. However, it doesn’t pan as well as some of the other models listed here; it’s too stiff, and you’ll notice some jitter as you scan the horizon.
Best Glassing Tripods Mactrem PT55 Tripod
Quick release plate on the Mactrem PT55 Tripod was smooth and good for quick mounting.


It’s not so bad that it’s unusable, but it’s certainly not something that you’d want to film a hunt with, where there would be panning shots.

Final thoughts

Each of the leg sections has a locking lever, which is nice because you can see whether the leg is secure with just a quick glance (unlike with twist-lock legs). It also comes with a quick-release plate that you can leave attached to your optics, but like the rest of the tripod, it’s plastic.

If you’re someone who cycles between using the tripod and free handing your optics, this was a nice feature. The Mactrem PT55 is a great option for budget-minded hunters. If this is your first time using a tripod, you’re going to love how much of a difference it makes.

However, if you’re experienced with tripods, this is probably going to feel too low-end, and you’ll be frustrated by some of its drawbacks.


The Best Glassing Tripods Roundup

When you go to choose your glassing tripod, think about how it will most often be used. If you’ll be moving around a lot as you hunt and needing to set up your optics at multiple locations, choose a lightweight model that’s easy to extend and lock into place.

But if you like to spend much of the day in one place, pick something heavier and with a better head – you’ll appreciate that added stability.

You can checkout this video below on some good glassing and spotting techniques for big game.

The best glassing tripod for you will be the one that is the easiest for you to use.

Your optics should be a pleasure to use, not a burden. If the tripod is difficult to set up or doesn’t function well, it’s likely to spend its time in the back of a closet. Consider your budget, but you’ll want to buy the best tripod that you can afford right now. If you would like to learn more about tripods, checkout my mega roundup list.