OUTDOORSMANS COMPACT MEDIUM LIGHTWEIGHT TRIPOD REVIEW – By Randy Johnson
*5 out of 5 STARS
The Outdoorsman’s Compact Medium Lightweight Tripod is the newest of their original long, medium and short line of tripods. Famous for their engineering, this model of the Outdoorsman Tripod provides every unique benefit of the Medium Tall and Short Tripods, but at a fraction of the weight! This is the perfect tripod for the mountain backpack hunter where weight and space are at a premium!
Outdoorsman Compact Medium Tripod, Center Tube and Legs
- All Outdoorsman’s Tripods are 100% manufactured aluminum. The only plastic on these tripods are the small twist knobs that I’ve never had an issue with. These tripods just don’t have parts that might break, bend or malfunction when you are out on the mountain glassing for trophy animals.
- Your investment in an Outdoorsman’s Tripod makes great financial sense, as these tripods will last forever even under the toughest of conditions.
- Lever lock legs allow for quick and easy adjustment to your desired tripod height. The new Compact Medium Tripod has two lever locks as does the Tall model while the Short and Medium tripods feature one.
- The yoke of the Outdoorsman’s Tripod allows for easy connection of any of the aluminum Outdoorsman’s Tripod Accessories.
- Outdoorsman’s engineering reduces vibrations compared to other carbon fiber tripods of this weight class.
- Each leg has a full range of motion, allowing you to set your tripod up on even the most difficult angles in treacherous or uneven terrain.
Each guide, hunter, photographer or outdoor fanatic looks for different characteristics in tripods. A hardcore sheep guide/mountain backpack hunter like myself needs equipment that won’t break down under the harshest conditions while out in the field. In “no nonsense words”, we want a tripod that is “extra tough and special.” Although there just isn’t a perfect tripod for every type of condition I can tell you from my years of experience that the new Outdoorsman Compact Medium Tripod comes very close to meeting this standard. Over the past 20 years I’ve field tested many different tripods and I can honestly tell you that the Outdoorsman is the best I have had the opportunity to use. It has held up and overachieved to my demanding, very specific needs.
The following, bulleted specifications are what I look for and must have in a tripod. I can honestly recommend the Outdoorsman Compact Medium Tripod to anyone because it has met each one of these requirements. Please keep in mind that I also own their long and medium tripods.
- My tripod must be light but very strong and sturdy so that it will keep my 15 x 56 Swarovski optics and large spotting scope steady in windy conditions or on rough, uneven terrain. At 2.1 lbs the Outdoorsman Compact Medium tripod meets this criteria.
- It is absolutely essential that I have a tripod that is easily adjustable to different heights so that I can glass from prone, sitting or kneeling positions. The clever, lever locking legs and extendable center post on my Outdoorsman Compact Tripod allow me to quickly and efficiently adjust to varying heights for glassing big game animals. This little tripod will compress to 13.5” or extend to 36”. Extremely beneficial.
- The inhospitable canyon country and high desert terrain of southern Utah that I guide sheep hunters in is very rugged and convoluted. This type of terrain forces me to glass from ledges and landscape that is tough to maneuver around in. To utilize my optics I need a tripod whose legs will adjust to very unique angles. With the Outdoorman Compact tripod, the fully adjustable lever locking legs give me the full range of motion required so that I’m able to glass from the most difficult of angles with total comfort and ease.
- Because time and efficiency are so important to me while guiding for sheep or other big game animals I can’t afford to lose an opportunity to lock my optics onto my tripod quickly. It is also equally essential to have the capability of disconnecting and interchanging my binos with my spotting scope to accurately judge rams out in the field. The Outdoorsman Mounting System is absolutely perfect for this need. With my Compact Medium Tripod I have an Outdoorsman’s Tripod Adapter, plate and stud that function perfectly with the Swarovski 15 x 52 optics and 65mm spotting scope I use. It is simple to slip both my binos and spotting scope on and off smoothly. I can also connect my camera, digiscope system and range finder to this tripod when needed. A dove tail plate on the bottom attaches to the tripod head. My quick release adapter slides into the dove tail and with the simple turn of a twist knob it is secured. The hole near the top of the adapter has been engineered for the binocular stud unique to your optics so that it will slide in with a click. You can tighten the adaptor with several quick twists and you are in business with a steadfast, secure tripod mount.-The image below shows the Outdoorsman quick release adaptor, Bino Stud, and Pan Head
- Because I sometimes glass for hours at a time the last requirement that I have in a tripod is that the head must move fluently both horizontally and vertically. In other words, I must be able to adjust my binoculars or spotting scope up, down, and sideways. This movement cannot be jerky or you will miss picking up the twitch of an ear or the top of an extended horn on a ram, bull or buck. This is why I chose the Outdoorsman Panhead to go on the Compact Tripod. This incredibly lightweight tripod head is as good as anything on the market. The head has separate levers to control the vertical and horizontal travel of my optics. It also has specifically been designed to accept the Outdoorsman’s Adapter Plates that I spoke about earlier. It should be noted that when I’m glassing from a very steep incline or cliff that this pan head will hold my spotting scope with a video camera attached rock solid.
As with all quality gear the Outdoorsman Tripod System is expensive but it is well worth every dime of your investment if you are serious about mountain hunting. I’ve never regretted the hard earned money I’ve spent as I own 3 of these tripods. Each year I drag my Outdoorsman Tripods over ledges, use them in sand, mud, snow and rain and they have never failed me once.
Another positive component of the Outdoorsman Tripod is their customer service. At the end of my guiding season each year I send my tripods in for cleaning. The service and turn around time is absolutely outstanding. Also, if I ever have an issue or question all I need to do is phone and the Outdoorsman Team will take care of it immediately.
When I was young I didn’t realize just how important quality optics and a high performance tripod were to successfully glassing big game that other hunters were missing. I know better now and believe this equipment is as important to my success and that of my clients as the rifle or bow we carry.
What They Could Do Better
- I’ve put my tripods through hell and earlier on with my older long and medium tripod had a few issues with the rubber boots on the legs coming off when glassing in deep sand or muddy conditions. Now, that problem has been corrected as the boots are seated much deeper into the legs of all their tripods.
- I would recommend that the Outdoorsman find a way to better secure the rubber cover on the end of the center post. Normal hunters may not have an issue with this but I have had this cover pop off with my rough handling.
Stay safe everyone and keep those boots warm for the mountain!