View Full Version : Gitzo for Backpacking Conundrum

Ben Chase
12-May-2008, 21:12
So here's the deal, I've currently got a G1410 aluminum tripod that weighs 8.4 lbs and folds to about 29 inches. Max height is like 63 inches or so.

I've always been a fan of the Gitzos, so my replacement ideas are either the GT3540XLS or the GT3540LS.

The LS folds a LOT shorter (21 inches), and weighs only 3.7 lbs. The XLS has a max height of 78 inches, but folds to a slightly smaller (than the 1410), 27 inches. Now I don't typically shoot from very high positions, but I certainly like the flexibility.

Does anyone backpack with the XLS? I've got an Arcteryx Bora 90 that would take the shorter or the longer tripod no problem stored lengthwise on the exterior, but the half pound difference on the LS and significantly smaller collapsed length have me seriously considering the LS as well. I want a system I can use backpacking as well as in the studio, maybe that's asking too much?

Please, someone talk me down from the tree.... :)

12-May-2008, 22:59
Well, I am a tall guy (until I would get on the basketball court...then I felt small), and I like my pods as tall as possible out there on the landscape. I often set up on sloping ground -- which means when the camera is pointed downhill the effective height of the pod is much reduced. The downhill leg is extended to the max and the uphill legs have to be much shorter.

This happens enough that it is an important factor to me. But since I use an 8x10, I don't backpack with it (unless I want to eat bushes and sleep on the bare ground -- just can't carry much else.)

I use to backpack with a Gitzo 301, a #2 Ballhead and a 4x5 Gowland Pocket View (20+ years ago...long before carbon fiber). It had 3 leg sections, a center column and folded down to 25" I believe. It was a nice set-up.


Frank Petronio
12-May-2008, 23:10
I have the larger XLS and it is really nice for when you need the height. I use all four sections but I rarely need to fully extend it -- but I have enough "extra" that I can leave a few inches of leg in each section for more stability.

13-May-2008, 01:28
I have the XLS too and thought I would very rarely use any legs at full extension. How wrong I was! In the past 20 photogrpahs, at least 4 have benefited from full extension on at least one leg. The situations have tended to be on rocky ground where I want height and I can safely stand on an individual rock but where the only places for tripod legs is well below the rock height. Alternatively, I've taken pictures next to a sharp drop off where I've been able to move closer to the edge by dropping a leg down the drop off onto a small ledge. The amount of times you are on a steep slope is also surprising (if you are an 'off road' sort of photographer).

It happily straps to the side of my lowepro pro trekker but does stick up rather. I've also outfitted it with the 4 inch spikes which are a real bonus in a lot of conditions..


Ben Chase
13-May-2008, 14:59
Thanks guys - I'm thinking the XLS will give me the biggest bang for the buck...or should I say about 750 of them.... :(

Jeff Keller
14-May-2008, 10:21
A couple more thoughts...

The 3540LS is lighter and is easier to fit in a suitcase.

B&H is listing different nos. with little info, such as 3541LS. Their price is also higher than Adorama who still list the earlier 3540LS. Does anybody know what the difference between a 3540 and a 3541 is?


Ben Chase
15-May-2008, 19:17
I picked up the XLS - I can't believe how much nicer this is going to be for backpacking than the 1410... It is so much lighter.

16-May-2008, 10:22
I just took a Gitzo GT-2530 with a Markins M10 ballhead 44 miles through Buckskin Gulch and Paria canyon. Seemed ok to me :-)

My starting pack weight was about 55 lbs, finishing probably about 32.