Traveling with Gear Specifically tripods

Hello, fellow-traveling photographers. I have what might be a silly question. When flying with your tripods, do you level the spikes on the tripod when having it with your carry-on bag? Or do you put the spiked folding trident in your checked luggage?

Asking for a friend.

I never check any camera gear. Too paranoid.

I have rubber feet on my travel tripod and don’t use the spikes. Could you replace them to be safe? Otherwise I guess leveling them or recessing them all the way could disguise the point enough that it could get a pass.

I took a Monfrotto 3221 tripod along with a 4x5 field camera to Hawaii. I put the legs in my checked luggage wrapped in my clothes but the center tube and head was in my carry-on bag. The TSA agent looked at the tripod head and said it looked like a club. I said “I guess I could knock the snot out of a hijacker” and he stuffed it back in my bag and said have a good day. You can never out guess TSA.

Hey Todd, I haven’t flown recently, but when I do I either pack a small tripod in my luggage or a big tripod in it’s own carrying case and check it. I have insurance on the big tripod so I feel comfortable checkin it in. I’d never check my camera gear though…

If you’re carrying it on board I would definitely level or remove the spikes. They could be deemed a weapon I guess…

I agree with David. I wouldn’t want to have TSA deal with spikes exposed on a carryon tripod. I take off the tripod head, pack that in my carryon camera bag, and put the tripod in a padded bag in my checked bag. Never had a problem. Of course, there is always the possibility of lost or delayed baggage. For my landscape oriented photography, I could live without a tripod.

Back in the early days of TSA, they had a rule against “tools” in carryon. They confiscated a small allen wrench. I suppose I could have disassembled the jet! The agent apologized and said he was required to follow the rules. His supervisor agreed that the allen wrench was a tool - end of discussion.

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Back in the early days of TSA, they had a rule against “tools” in carryon. They confiscated a small allen wrench.

This still happens internationally sometimes. Sometimes they’ll pick the oddest things to go after. I still recall, while I was transferring planes in the Middle East on the way back from Africa, watching security completely ignore my very grenade-like BH-55 ballhead, while spending oodles of time examining, scanning and swabbing the lens hood for my 500mm.

(I always check my tripod in my suitcase/checked bag, btw. Never had issues… but when I checked a monopod in its own bag separately, the airline lost it.)