Gear & Equipment

Camera Gear: Is the Joby Gorillapod Tripod a Gimmick, or Awesome for Travel?

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Look, I know you don't want to pony up 80 bucks for a little tripod, but let me explain. These days it's increasingly difficult to sort out when you're just paying for panache or scoring something that actually solves a problem.  I've been around the block with small backpack-worthy tripods. I tried in vain to make work not one, not two, but three different $10 mini-tripods over the years. Guess what?  They all drove me nuts. Should I say more? Is it all that surprising that low-priced mediocre gear turned out to be a disappointment? Doubtful.

I kept trying, though.  Ten bucks here, ten bucks there, all the while claiming, "All I want is a little tripod to take the occasional self portrait while we're on a hike or something." Doesn't matter. An inferior tripod for the occasional photo is still an inferior tripod, and you'll know it.

At the risk of sounding like an aggrandizing buffoon, save yourself the grief, take a ride on my experience, and just get a Joby Gorillapod. You'll be stoked, and pleased you spent the money - even if just for snapshots. Joby makes several different versions, and the one to get is the the SLR-Zoom with the ball head. If your camera is super small, you get a pass on the ball head and full size tripod - get this smaller version for just about $20.

I certainly agree, the bendy legs make this thing look like a ridiculous gimmick.  Sure, secure your camera to a tree limb or hand rail - I don't see myself using that ability very often, but I know a number of photographers who dig it.  Nevertheless the bendable legs do as they say, but, more importantly, they do so with truthful ease. What I like the most, though, is whipping up a rapid shot from the top of a funky rock, above, for a memory like this. That is a frequent necessity in my life. So I'm happy.

Yep, the Gorillapod has an eccentric look. You'll get over it. Fast.

Buy at REI: the whole enchilada with ball head
Buy at REI: the little one

Thanks to my mother-in-law for somehow reading my mind and getting this as a gift for me.
Be aware that the links to buy are affiliate links.  That means if you buy through these links, I earn a small commission.


Position the legs however you need


Rubber on the feet and on each joint grab on like rock climbing shoes


That ball head on the Joby Gorillapod really make this an easy and predictable tripod to use


Bubble level, obviously, helps you get the horizon just right


Shoot vertical frames if you want - no problem

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