Trekking Pole Tripod




Headed to Zion NP to do some backpacking in the Virgin Narrows and didn't want to lug a tripod around with me. Since there were two of us going (and 4 trekking poles), I figured I had enough poles for a last-minute tripod. Entire project done in the one hour before heading to the airport, including wandering the hardware store! I love living next door to Discount Builders!

2-6" Flexible Gas Conduit (about 3/4" in diameter)
2x 1/4-20x1" Hex Bolt
1/4-20 Long Nut
1/4-20 Washer
5-Minute Epoxy
Trekking Poles

Metal Saw (Sawzall or hacksaw)
Metal File
1/4-20 Tap/Drill Set

UPDATE: Just came across this design on the web, looks to be a bit sturdier though maybe 10x the weight. Either way, another option!

Step 1: Prep Conduit

I was originally planning on using some sort of flexible copper piping, but found this gas conduit instead. Unfortunately the tube cost $13 since it was a full assembly . . . I doubt any place would sell this stuff any other way (except at a junkyard of course!)

Pretty easy step here, cut the conduit to size and file any rough edges that may remain. I used about 4-inches since I wanted to be able to bend the tripod 90-degrees for portrait shots. As a note, I found this length to be a bit long for super-stable shots, as the weight of the camera "bounced" if you weren't careful. If you're using a heavy camera definitely go shorter! To dampen this bouncing, you might find it useful to fill the conduit with something like sand . . . but that of course adds weight!

Step 2: Epoxy Top Bolt

Next, take one of the 1/4-20 bolts (same thread for camera tripods) and fit it into one end of the conduit with the threads sticking out as shown. The hex head was slightly too large to fit in the conduit, so I put it in my drill chuck and filed it down until it did fit!

Once the bolt fits in the conduit, figure out how much thread you need to stick out in order to firmly connect your camera. Don't forget to do your test fit with a 1/4" washer in place.

Once you feel you have the correct amount of thread sticking out, epoxy the bolt and washer in place. I placed a dab of epoxy, let it dry, then filled the rest of the cavity in order to avoid messiness. Of course later I realized that I should've just plugged the conduit beneath the bolt (see next step)

Step 3: Epoxy Bottom Nut

Next epoxy the long 1/4-20 nut into the other end of the conduit. To keep things from getting too messy, I stuffed some kleenex down the conduit, and also into the end of the nut (to keep the epoxy from working it's way back up the nut thread) No need for a washer since this side screws into the trekking pole.

The reason I decided to use a nut on this side instead of another hex bolt was so that I could screw the camera directly into the trekking pole (to use as a monopod) I I wanted to.

Step 4: Drill and Tap Trekking Pole

Luckily, the end of my trekking poles were a pretty thick plastic. To make sure, i first removed the wrist straps by lightly tapping the press-fit pins out.

Next, tap and drill a 1/4-20 hole in the top of the trekking pole. Make sure you've got enough thickness for at least three threads! If not, you could easily end up stripping the plastic threads.

Once you've got your hole tapped, reattach your wrist-straps and connect the flexible conduit tube you just made!

To keep things light, I just tied the tapped trekking pole and two others together to create the three legs. This worked surprisingly well and was even stable enough for night shots!



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    7 Discussions


    9 years ago on Step 3

    What a great idea! I've been wanting to build a monopod out of one of my walking sticks and parts of your Instructable will make it finally happen. A small suggestion: Instead of cutting off a bolt's head, try using an Allen setscrew. They come in various lengths from a couple of threads long to a couple of inches. It can be difficult to cut off a bolt and then make the threads clean enough to be usable. Thanks again.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I have a simpler and easier solution. Buy an inexpensive monopod, which telescopes down to about 18" for transport and is very light weight. The m-pod screws directly into the camera and forms the third leg of the triangle (so you only ever need your own 2 walking sticks). I cinch down my walking stick straps around the m-pod grip and give them a couple twists for a nice, firm hold. Since the m-pod usually needs to be vertical (unless it has a swivel head) you have to be careful as this makes a slightly less stable tripod (unless you tie weights to the walking sticks). However, aiming a heavy lens toward the walking sticks makes this more stable and is usually able to support it with no problem.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Nice instructable. Ozark Trail(super-cheap Wal-Mart brand)'s trekking pole's handle unscrews to reveal a 1/4-20 thread that you can use as a monopod.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    That's cool. A while back I was thinking it would be cool to just attach the tripod device (that connects to the camera) on top of a hiking pole, to give a monopod. It would be good for steady shots, but not "self" shots (it could fall over, lol). Not sure how I would go about that. But this is a good idea.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Not a bad design, but i would be wary of puting anything other than that body and the kit lens on there, as anything heavier i would assume it would bend/break/droop. (i have an Xti with 70-200 2.8L) and that thing is heavy.

    1 reply

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Couldn't agree with you more! Definitely do not try to use any lens heavy enough that comes with it's own tripod mount! I wouldn't trust myself with such a nice lens on a backpacking trip anyway, let alone, 16 miles IN a river! Just had the kit lens and the 50/1.8 with me . . . disposable lenses.

    pics from the hike

    John Smith

    11 years ago on Introduction

    Nice project. We hiked in the narrows, and all around the park, too. Zion is definitely my favorite park.