- The Offhand Sling Method
Photo courtesy of Chris French
One straightforward approach to carry a rifle tripod is to attach a sling to your rifle – already mounted on your tripod – and simply let the tripod dangle by your side, using your offhand to carry the tripod while it remains attached. The advantage of this method lies in the convenience of having the tripod readily available while maintaining your rifle's stability. The K800 Carbon Fiber tripod with a reaper grip, weighing just 6.35lbs, makes this method feasible, as it is comparable to the weight of a liter of water. It allows you to walk several miles without excessive strain or fatigue, and you can even aim down your rifle's sights while holding the attached, fully extended tripod with your support hand with relative ease.
- Quick access to your rifle for immediate shots.
- Maintains stability through the tripod for accurate shooting.
- Lightweight tripod doesn't burden you during extended walks.
- The tripod's three legs forming a "tail" behind you can get caught in thick brush or hinder movement, requiring extra caution in dense terrain. The extended tripod could also hit the legs of anyone walking behind you.
- Utilizing a Binocular Harness
For hunters who use a binocular harness or chest rig, incorporating the tripod into the setup can be a smart solution. By running one leg of the tripod through the harness and placing the tripod's head on your shoulder while leaving the two others legs dangling over your back, you can distribute the weight evenly and free up both hands for other tasks. This method can work well for short distances and allows quick access to the tripod when needed.
- Even weight distribution through the harness.
- Hands-free operation for other tasks.
- Easy access to the tripod for setting up shots.
- May not be as comfortable for extended hikes.
- Limited to situations where you're already using a binocular harness or chest rig.
- Securing the Tripod to a Backpack
Backpacks are essential gear for any outdoor excursion, and they can offer various options for carrying a rifle tripod. If your backpack has side pockets for water bottles or straps on the bottom, secure the tripod firmly in either of these locations. This helps keep the tripod stable and prevents it from swaying while walking.
- Securely holds the tripod in place during movement.
- Frees up your hands for other tasks.
- Suitable for longer treks and uneven terrain.
- May be challenging to access the tripod quickly in high-pressure shooting situations.
- The tripod's length could be a limiting factor depending on the backpack size.
- MOLLE Webbing and Accessory Straps
In cases where your backpack lacks designated straps for tripod attachment but features MOLLE webbing on the back, accessory straps come to the rescue. You can use these straps to secure two legs of the tripod to the backpack while leaving the third leg dangling, effectively acting as a hook. This method provides versatility and keeps the tripod securely in place during your journey.
- Versatile and customizable attachment options.
- Keeps the tripod securely in place during movement.
- Allows for easy access to the tripod when needed.
- Requires a backpack with MOLLE webbing, which not all backpacks have.
- Straps may need occasional adjustment to prevent loosening during the hike.
- Specialized Camera Backpacks
If you're an avid photographer or videographer and own a specialized camera backpack, such as the SHAPE Pro Video Camera Backpack, you're in luck. These backpacks often come equipped with interior compartments and exterior straps designed specifically for tripods. This ensures optimal stability and easy access to your tripod while keeping it safe during your adventures.
- Dedicated compartments ensure secure storage.
- Easy access to the tripod without disturbing other gear.
- Ideal for professionals carrying extensive camera equipment.
- Specialized backpacks can be more expensive than regular hiking backpacks.
- May not be as comfortable for non-camera-related activities.
Caution with External Strapping
While strapping a completely collapsed Kopfjäger tripod to the outside of your pack may seem like a viable option due to its length, it's important to exercise caution. This method may make the tripod harder to take out when needed quickly, akin to placing a water bottle deep within your backpack. For ease of access, it's preferable to find a more accessible spot to secure the tripod.
The method you choose for carrying a rifle tripod into the field depends on your specific needs, the equipment you already have, and the terrain you'll be traversing. Each approach has its advantages and potential drawbacks, so it's essential to consider factors like accessibility, stability, and comfort. By selecting the right method, you can enhance your shooting experience and make the most of your time in the great outdoors. Remember to always prioritize safety and consider the specific characteristics of your gear and backpack before setting out on your hunting or shooting adventure.