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I have a tripod for my SLR camera that I want to carry on my bike. It's just a generic tripod like this one, but if I strap it to my top tube it rubs against my legs while riding (and it's slightly too long for that).

enter image description here

I do have a pannier rack, but I haven't been able to attach it in a way I'm happy with yet. Do I have any other options?

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What kind of riding will you be doing? Does it have to be on the bike? – milesmeow Sep 16 '10 at 3:19
    
Mostly urban, with the occasional trip to the countryside. – Wilka Sep 16 '10 at 8:04

14 Answers 14

up vote 15 down vote accepted

Your best bet is to find a good way of attaching it to the rear rack. Anything attached to the main triangle much larger than a bottle is likely to cause interference with your legs.

One way you could attach it to the rear rack would be to buy some pannier hardware and make your own pannier for it. Or possibly attach the hardware (zip ties?) to one of the tripod's legs, making it into its own pannier?

The other option is to strap it down to the rack deck. A nice sturdy rack like the Surly ones should give you plenty of stability, using a couple bungees to tie it down. I've hauled 3 foot long loads on my rack this way without any trouble.

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I agree it wants to go on the rear rack. I think that being able to carry it more or less vertical is proably the ideal (once upon a time you could, in the netherlands at least, buy a carrier for a McClaren style pushchair...) – Murph Sep 16 '10 at 7:29
    
The pushchair carriers @murph mentions are still available as of 2016. But most tripods would be easier to mount with just straps on a full rack. – Chris H Mar 29 at 5:54
    
One other option would be to get one of the bags that the folding camping style chair come in and carry it on your back. Just a thought – Nate Wengert Mar 30 at 18:50

stick it inside the pannier bag, protruding if needed. I've carried 4' long tubes of prints that way just fine.

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This may not work, but it may not….

Can you can a section of plastic drain pipe. You can get screw on end and fixed ends for drain pipes.

Pipe Pipe End Clip

Then:

  • Fix the drain pipe to the top of your rack and use a screw on end to keep the Tripod in.
  • Or fit the drain pipe to the back strays and have the Tripod standing partly above your rack.

Jubilee clips may be useful for fixing on the drain pipe maybe comfined with Pannier Mounting Hardware.

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I used to strap mine to the bike frame, but I have a bike specifically built to facilitate touring with a camera. This is a cheap Manfrotto tripod rather than my expensive one, used while making sure that the idea worked. The camera goes in the black canvas sack above the tripod, BTW.

camera tripod strapped under seat of recumbent

One thing no-one else has mentioned is mounting the tripod vertically next to one leg of your front fork. You'll probably find you put it there instead of a front pannier, but with a bit of thought to the mount you'll have it readily accessible and reasonably well protected. I would be tempted to use a PVC pipe section with an end cap as the bottom end, perhaps only ~100mm deep, then a hoop at the top just under the point where the tripod legs pivot. I'd also make a cover for the head of the tripod to keep the rain and dust off it.

camera tripod strapped to front fork of bike

(via http://www.wildconfluence.com/story/2015/11/biking-baja-a-gear-list)

What I normally do these days is carry a mini tripod instead. I have tried a whole pile of different ones but eventually gave up and made one. It takes a standard, full size ball head and is almost flat - you could do the same just with a sheet of plywood and a bolt through that for the head, then three bolts down through the plywood as "legs". Mine has horizontal legs, two of which pivot so the whole thing folds into an L shape with the head poking out of the ~150mm long legs. I use ocky straps to tie that to poles or whatever when I want the camera high up, but mostly I just place it on a flat surface. It's made of a length of aluminium "square tube" about 15mm on a side and ~1.5mm wall thickness, and the centre is two bits of ~3mm plate cut to roughly T shapes. It doesn't weigh much.

DIY flat mini tripod scketch

Top view of my "tripod" - blue hole is where the bolt for the head goes, black holes are the pivot bolts/bolts that hold it together. The grey bars are the three legs in their folded position. I used strips of milk bottle plastic between legs and T piece as washers (6 pieces required, including the non-moving leg). The non-moving leg went all the way under the head bolt so I could tighten that without bending the T plates (I used a button head cap screw for that since the head was underneath, and 6mm socket heads for the rest. It's a few years old now and still works with very little slop, and it held my 1D Canon with 70-200/2.8 zoom quite comfortably.

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The way I manage it is with a pannier which has a spring clip. I just stick it under there, parallel to the frame of the bike, & it stays there quite well. Both my larger tripod & smaller ones fit there fine! Though if you're going out at night, make sure that they don't obstruct any lights you have on your bike.

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A longish trunk bag should do the trick. It'll stick out the end, but at least it won't unbalance the bike too much -- and you'll have room for other camera stuff in the bag.

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Just strap it to the top of your rear pannier rack. Bungee cords are probably the best, but you can use compression straps or whatever you tried lashing it to the top tube with.

Orient the tripod so that the swivel head is at the very front of the rack, with the feet sticking off the back. The head is the heaviest part -- the closer it is to your body on the bike, the less you'll notice it. My guess is that you'll almost forget it's back there!

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I just leave a milk crate attached to the top of my rear rack via bungee cords. Anything too big to fit all the way inside (such as a camera tripod) can be secured with more bungee cords over the top.

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I either strap it across my back rifle-style or strap it across my camera bag (I use a Mountainsmith hiking pack like this to carry my SLR when I'm biking). I've found I can control it a lot better than if it's sticking out either behind be or to either side. You can buy shoulder straps for your tripod (that incidentally ensure that it doesn't open as you're hurtling down the road) or just make one from a length of tubular webbing.

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I use a sling like shoulder strap and bag. I dont mind the bag, it has some padding and room for extra tools / supplies. I have tried hooking a strap to the tripod itself (at the head and the weight hook, but it felt more unsecured than just using the bag.

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Try out this website, it apapts to your pannier rack via the Ortlieb bag system, which means just adjust this tripod bag in a very simple way to your pannier rack (it fits to all) within a minute and then safely fix the bag within 3 seconds and take it off by just grabbing it on its handle. g Genious! http://www.koenig-photobags.de/stativhalter/ Unfortunately the website is in German only. Write in English, usually Germans understand English quite well. Good luck Roy

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Attach it to the rear rack with bungee cords and make sure it is orthogonal to the bike. This way, cars will be more careful.

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2  
I disagree. If it sticks out the side (i.e. orthogonal to the bike) it will make cars more likely to hit you when they are not careful. Nothing seems to make bad car drivers more careful. – Wayne Johnston Sep 26 '10 at 20:45
    
You'd also have to be more careful yourself to avoid hitting pedestrians or other cyclists with your cargo. – Imre May 16 '12 at 4:18

I've used a tramping pack for carrying large things, like a tool case the size of a large briefcase. As long as its not too high behind your head its a workable solution.

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I would tie it to the back rack, with the top of the tripod under the seat, as much forward on the bike as you can not to interfere with your legs. The feet end of the tripod will stick out behind the end of the rack.

If possible pack it in a bag, which will protect it and make sure you have a good visible color on the 'bottom' end of the bag. Either as part of the bag or as wrap around warning color.
'Warning' yellow or pink would be my choice.

If you have more luggage to put on your rack, I would go for tying the tripod just under the rack, to the outside, before adding the other bags and tying them together with an extra bungee strap when all it on.

When I say 'tying' I mean use bungees, straps or string as you are most happy with, but a mix for the final securing might be best.

I have tied many things to many a bike rack, never found the limits yet. Just make sure it will be seen by other people and make sure there are no sharp points sticking out anywhere.
Whenever possible I try to keep the load sticking out at the back, not to the sides, but at times you can not avoid it.

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