How to Build Your Own Camera Tripod

How to Build Your Own Camera Tripod
Almost all photography enthusiasts like to use a lighter, portable tripod to take backpacking. But the lightest backpacking tripods with a quality head usually weigh around three pounds---almost the weight of two days worth of food. The extra weight makes carrying something that gets used once or twice a day difficult to justify, and the tripod gets left at home. Hikers instead can build a Nalgene bottle top tripod with a string tripod attachment that weighs only a few ounces.

Instructions

Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Nalgene bottle lid 1/4 inch drill bit 1/4 inch, 20 threads per inch stainless washer 1/4-20 1 1/2 inch stainless eyebolt 1/4-20 stainless locking nut 1/4-20 bar knob Rubber washer 3mm cordage
  • Nalgene bottle lid
  • 1/4 inch drill bit
  • 1/4 inch, 20 threads per inch stainless washer
  • 1/4-20 1 1/2 inch stainless eyebolt
  • 1/4-20 stainless locking nut
  • 1/4-20 bar knob
  • Rubber washer
  • 3mm cordage
Step 1
Drill a quarter-inch hole in the center of the Nalgene lid.
Step 2
Thread a stainless washer onto an eyebolt, and top the washer by threading on a rubber washer. Then insert, from the bottom, the eyebolt into the hole you drilled.
Step 3
Thread a locking nut onto the eyebolt. Snug up the fit until the rubber washer compresses enough to make the lid watertight. If the washer leaks, find a washer that has a tighter fit around the eyebolt.
Step 4
Thread a bar knob onto the eyebolt and screw your camera onto it. The eyebolt should bottom out in your camera. If it doesn't, consider using a longer eyebolt. After the eyebolt bottoms out, snug the bar knob against the camera to make the camera stable. Once you're satisfied with the fit, fill a Nalgene bottle with water and test it out.
Step 5
Tie a loop into the end of 7 feet of cordage. On the other end, tie a taut-line hitch. Thread the looped end through the eyebolt and pass the rest of the cord through the loop to secure it to the eyebolt. Adjust the taut-line hitch so when you step through it and hold your camera to your eye, the line is tight. This tight line acts like a tripod and is easy to use while on the move.

Tips & Warnings

 
Carry a couple feet of double sided velcro wrap for attaching the bottle to a tree. The tree becomes a temporary tripod.
 
Power tools can be dangerous; follow the instructions.

Article Written By Bryan Hansel

Bryan Hansel is a freelance photographer and kayaking guide who began writing in 1993. His outdoors articles appear on various websites. Hansel holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and religion from the University of Iowa.

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