While leading the Scott Kelby international photo walk in Portland’s Washington Park last month, I tried out the new Trek-Tech TrekPod GO! Monopod. It is a unique monopod that might interest those of you who can’t take a tripod everywhere but want some camera support just the same.
The TrekPod weighs just 30 ounces. It’s small enough to take just about anywhere since it packs up to a length of 24? (when broken down and stored in its supplied travel case.) The unit extends to a maximum height of 62.5″.
So what is the big deal? Well this monopod has an alter ego or two. It has feet that pop out which allow it to free stand like a tripod. The legs are held to the monopod by a strip of Velcro that, when released, spreads out a small set of tripod legs The Trek-Tech is also a good walking stick.
I used the product with my own Acratech Ball Head but the Tech TrekPod comes with it’s own mounting system. It uses a square-tooth anti-rotation system (STAR) that locks the camera onto the head and prevents the camera from rotating, but also allows it to be mounted in any direction. The system is fast, secure, and incredibly solid.
I am not sure I’d trust my Nikon D3 with a 24-70 F/2.8 lens on this system but I’d trust almost anything else. The company says the product supports up to 13.5 pounds of camera gear.
In day-to-day use I did have a few problems with the TrekPod. There is a cost that comes with the nice carry case that is supplied with the product. The TrekPod must be assembled from four separate pieces before it can be used. This is not difficult, but it does take some time. Also, once assembled the real problem was trying to remember which way to turn the locking knobs when I wanted to adjust the height of the TrekPod. I would have preferred to give up the portability and small travel length of the product in favor of more conventional leg locks.
The Trek-Tech TrekPod Go! Pro has a lifetime warranty, is well made and has an ambitious agenda as a versatile piece of photo equipment that will really come in handy for anyone that enjoys hiking and photography.
For me personally, the four-section construction and the hassle of assembling and disassembling the unit – and then trying to deal with all the leg locks, made this a product I would use, but wouldn’t necessarily endorse. Some people who really want the portability may see these issues as inconsequential.
I’d also point out that at $229 this isn’t an inexpensive product. Combining the price and the problems I had adjusting the unit have caused me to avoid giving this my highest recommendation, but I can certainly recommend you give it a look. It might just be perfect for some of the photographers who read this.
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