[Tweeters] RFI: Vortex tripod carrier

plkoyama at comcast.net plkoyama at comcast.net
Sat May 11 20:27:29 PDT 2013

[Tweeters] RFI: Vortex tripod carrierAmit,
I am not sure what brand is of the tripod/scope carrier I use. I bought it at Seattle Audubon several years ago and it looks similar to the Vortex that is pictured. I volunteer at SAS weekly, but haven’t looked at that product lately—I’ll have to do so next week to see if it is the same as mine. I keep mine (whatever brand it is) permanently attached to my scope, and would not like to be without it. I think for one thing, it is more difficult for some women, especially shorties like myself, to carry a bunch of gear. Secondly, with lower back issues to combat, carrying the scope over my shoulder, even though it is the smaller Swarovski with a carbon fiber tripod, throws me out of whack, contributing to the spinal problem. I usually carry mine with the legs 2/3 extended and it only takes a moment to slip it off my back (just as you would remove a back pack) and put down one section of legs. There are times when I don’t put the scope on my back—walking along the beach for frequent shorebird looks, short trips to and from the car—but if I am hiking anywhere, I couldn’t be without it. (Even though I occasionally get whacked by the back leg!) And for tripod leg wraps, I just got that foam stuff at Home Depot for insulating pipes—I think it was less than $5! I don’t know if there is another hands-free solution that keeps you standing up straight.
Penny Koyama, Bothell
plkoyama at comcast dot net

From: Glenn Nelson
Sent: Saturday, May 11, 2013 1:17 PM
To: tweeters at u.washington.edu
Subject: [Tweeters] RFI: Vortex tripod carrier


I’ve tried several methods of carrying a tripod, for both a spotting scope and a camera-plus-lens setup. You can benefit from my trial-and-error (many errors) quest :-)

I think people buy the Vortex carrier because they go to the Audubon store and, since they carry it, assume it’s the one and only, or best. Or, like me, they didn’t know there are alternatives to using the strap that came with the scope, or slinging everything over your shoulder and get excited upon discovering one.

I bought the Vortex because a few people I knew/met used and recommended them. Mistake No. 1. Figuring out how to secure your scope and tripod with the Vortex is a CHORE. And then depending on whether you like carrying your tripod with legs close or extended, it’s a constant shifting process to keep the legs from whipping your back, your rump or your calves. Not only that, the unit is not very well made. I strongly urge you to cross this off your list.

The Vortext seems like a good idea — keeping your hands free while you are hiking and in search of birds. However, if you’re like me, if you are carrying your tripod/scope/camera, you intend to use it, often quickly. You don’t assume any birds or wildlife will wait until you uncouple the various straps on the Vortex and set up your tripod. Some variation of slinging the tripod over your shoulder is, IMHO, the best “ready” position. If balanced properly, I can balance my pro DSLR and big 500mm lens on my shoulder with a pinky finger to secure them. Then, if you have padding, it’s all a snap.

I’ve tried all of the following. I personally use a combination of LegCoats on the tripod that I use for my camera gear, plus the PodPad (that’s because the balance point is on or very near the ballhead). My gear is heavy and I often hike for hours for my photography, so I need a lot of cushioning. I use the PodPad for my spotting scope setup, but that’s because I own the PodPad already. If I were ONLY ever carrying a spotting scope, I’d use the LegCoat Wraps because you don’t need extensive padding, plus they are more streamlined. I list the Optech Wraps for purely economical reasons; but I don’t believe saving $9 over the LegCoats is close to worth the savings. The sizing of the Optech is not customized; plus they are cheaply constructed.

The difference between the LensCoat LegCoats and LegCoat Wraps, by the way, is thickness. As mentioned, if you are carrying only a scope, you don’t need the thickness. One final thing: the LensCoat products and the Pod Pad can be purchased in black or camo.

I was thinking of buying a tripod carrier and the one from Vortex seems to be the only one available in the Seattle Audubon Nature store. From the Amazon reviews though, it looks like it is a terrible product (http://www.amazon.com/Vortex-Optics-Tripod-Carrier-PAK-01/dp/B004GJMQW6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1368227983&sr=8-1&keywords=vortex+tripod+carrier).

Is this really that bad? Does anybody have this product? If so, can you share your experience offline?


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