Andy Westlake investigates an ultra-small and lightweight travel tripod

MeFoto Backpacker Air

MeFoto Backpacker Air tripod at a glance:

  • Max height: 151cm
  • Folded length: 26.5cm
  • Weight: 0.9kg
  • Max load: 4kg
  • Price: £100
  • Website: www.mefoto.com/uk

Over the past couple of years, Chinese tripod manufacturer MeFoto has made a name for itself with its brightly coloured travel tripods. It might be tempting to take a look at the firm’s rainbow displays and dismiss them as gimmicky, but this would miss the point. MeFoto is a subsidiary of Benro and aims its products at a younger market, without compromising on quality.

Aimed at users of smartphones and lightweight cameras, the aluminium Backpacker Air is MeFoto’s smallest-folding model yet. This is due to its five-section HyperLock legs, which can be extended or collapsed with a single twist of each foot. The same mechanism is used in the removable centre column, which can be detached to form a selfie stick. Clip on your smartphone using the supplied clamp mount and trigger its camera using the included Bluetooth remote.

Each leg can be set to one of three angles, and the centre column can be inverted for low-level shooting, although as always this is rather awkward. The smoothly adjusting ball head can’t be removed, and has a single lock for its ball joint and panoramic base. Potential buyers should note that MeFoto’s specified 151cm maximum height is with the telescopic centre column fully extended, at which point it’s distinctly wobbly. It’s much more stable if kept retracted, giving a more realistic height of 110cm.

MeFoto Backpacker Air tripod – key features

Bluetooth remote

A micro USB-rechargeable remote for your smartphone is included, with a clip to attach it to a leg or the centre column

Arca-compatible

The quick-release clamp accepts any Arca Swiss-style plate

Weight hook

A sprung hook on the base of the centre column allows you to hang a bag for added stability

Phone holder

There’s also a smartphone clamp for when you’re using the centre column as a selfie stick

MeFoto Backpacker Air tripod with smartphone

MeFoto Backpacker Air tripod – our verdict

As a compact travel tripod for use with an enthusiast compact camera or a small DSLR or CSC, the Backpacker Air kit has a lot to recommend it. It’s beautifully made and finished, very quick to set up and packs up remarkably small for its height. It’s also surprisingly strong, just as long as you don’t over-extend that centre column.

SCORE: 4.5 out of 5

You may also consider

RoadTrip Air

MeFoto Roadtrip Air

If the Backpacker Air sounds appealing but you want something more substantial, MeFoto also offers the slightly larger RoadTrip Air for £140. This has broadly the same feature set, but includes a separate lock for the ball head’s panning base. It comes in black, blue, green, orange, purple, red and titanium finishes.