Callum McInerney-Riley looks at a selection of carbon-fibre monopods designed with travellers and photography on the move in mind

Gitzo Series 5 6X Traveler

Price: £329.95
Website:
www.gitzo.co.uk

Gitzo has several monopods in its catalogue, ranging from big 192cm (when extended) monopods, to this, the Series 5 6X Traveler six-section monopod. True to its name, it is lightweight and portable, and features a belt clip on the handstrap that allows it to be carried on a belt or rucksack strap. A drawstring carry bag is also included.

Collapsed down, the monopod is only 41.5cm in length, which is second only to the Delkin Fat Gecko. At full extension, the Series 5 6X Traveler measures 155.5cm, and with a head and a camera on top it stands at eye level with a person who is 6ft tall.

Gitzo has a range of accessories for added stabilisation that include a long spike and a rubber foot. By unscrewing the existing accessories, these can be added to improve stability.

Facts & Figures
Sections: 6
Height: 41.5cm-155.5cm
Payload: 25kg

Manfrotto 695CX 

Price £194.95
Website: www.manfrotto.co.uk

Unextended, the Manfrotto 695CX measures 47.5cm, but at a full extension of 160.5cm it’s tall enough to suit most situations. The 695CX is quite heavy at 0.6kg, which is largely due to its locking set-up. A system of spring-loaded plastic clips is attached to magnesium locking collars that can be loosened or tightened using a special tool included in the kit.

Manfrotto states that the safe payload for this monopod is 5kg, which appears to be very low in comparison to the 25kg payload claimed by some other monopods. I found it both stable and secure using camera kit weighing 4kg.

Overall, the build quality of the 695CX is exceptional and one of the best on test.

Facts & Figures
Sections: 5
Height: 47.5cm-160.5cm
Payload: 5kg

Velbon Geo POD E54

Price: £69.99
Website: www.velbon.biz

Like the Manfrotto monopod, the Velbon Geo POD E54 also features clip-lock legs rather than twist-lock. These can be tightened with the use of a hex key. Velbon’s locks are made entirely of plastic and consequently seem less durable. However, a big advantage is the weight – at just 0.371kg, the Velbon monopod is noticeably light and easy to manoeuvre even when fully extended.

This is the lightest monopod of its type on test. The payload of this monopod is unspecified, but in use it held a 3kg camera comfortably.

Facts & Figures
Sections: 4
Height: 51cm-159cm
Payload: Not specified

3-Legged Thing Evolution 2 ‘Bob’

Price: £139
Website: www.3leggedthing.com

Measuring a very long 169cm fully extended, the 3-Legged Thing Bob monopod stands tallest of the monopods on test here. This extra height is great for people over 6ft tall or anybody who might find themselves shooting on an incline. At 45.5cm unextended, it’s 2cm smaller than the Manfrotto 695CX, although it benefits from being slightly lighter at 0.456kg.

Like the Gitzo Series 5 6X Traveler, the Bob features a screw-in removable rubber foot that can be replaced with other accessories, such as a spike or alternative foot. Included with the monopod is a high-quality carry case with strap, which is a very nice touch.

Facts & Figures
Sections: 5
Height: 45.5cm-169cm
Payload: 18kg

Benro BRC38T

Price: £114
Website: www.kenro.co.uk

Being 54cm unextended, the Benro BRC38T is the largest of all six monopods on test here. This is more than 14cm bigger than the Fat Gecko Monopod and 12.5cm bigger than the Gitzo monopod. At full extension, it stands at 160cm tall.

When I tested BRC38T, I was very pleasantly surprised by the exceptional stability of the monopod, and by the fluidity and steadiness of its movements. This is thanks to a flat rubber foot that pivots around a ball. With a diameter of 5cm, this foot is great for both soft and hard ground. Straight from the box, the Benro BRC38T is the most stable of any monopod on test here due to that ball foot. So overall, it’s hard to fault.

Facts & Figures
Sections: 4
Height: 54cm-160cm
Payload: 18kg

Delkin Fat Gecko Carbon-Fibre Monopod

Price: £59
Website: www.delkin.com

With the Fat Gecko, Delkin has created something very different from a conventional monopod. A small Velcro strap holds all the sections in place, and once the strap is released they all clip into place a bit like a tent pole. Between the sections is a piece of rubber designed to act as a buffer. A small ballhead is included, which is suitable for compacts, compact system cameras or a small DSLR. A downside to the Fat Gecko is that it can only be used fully extended, although DIY section removal is possible.

The Fat Gecko is the smallest monopod on test here when folded. It does not offer the best support, nor is it the most stable, but it is compact and lightweight, so it is a worthy travel companion.

Facts & Figures
Sections: 5
Height: 40.6cm-144.8cm
Payload: 13.6kg