Pros: can be taken where tripods are banned, magnetic attachment very slick, good hiking staff, easy to deploy as a stand
Cons: mount locking clip fragile and easy to lose, attachment screw for legs section falls apart
This review was first published on the Warehouse Express website
“I had a problem — I’m a dedicated tripod user, and the holiday firm advised that tripods are either a source of hassle or local revenue in Marrakech. Additionally I’m a bit stiff with tendonitis so a walking staff seemed a good idea. I spent a week on the internet looking at alternatives and the excellent videos on the Trek-tech website convinced me.
Warehouse Express delivered quickly, and I was able to take the trekpod on a trip to a conference in Stockholm.
The top sections join with telescopic twist locks, and the description of how to set up the wrist strap in the same way as Nordic skiers have used for ages with the strap over the wrist then up between the hand and pole is something that other manufacturers could usefully copy. The removable cap on top was comfortable when using the pole as a hiking staff.
The bottom section consists of a tripod made up from 3 x 120 degree arcs that make a round pole when closed. These are held together with a loop and hoop strap which I found completely satisfactory.
This tripod section butts onto to the telescopic sections of the pole as a fairly wide flat circle on either section held together by a hand tightened soft compound covered nut attached to the tripod (bottom section) which screws onto a thread around the bottom of the telescopic section. More of this later.
At the conference in Stockholm I was a serious delegate rather than a photographer, so it was a chance to use the light weight magnetic clip with a pocket Nikon, and it functioned well. The support was useful as one did not want to use flash in the hall, mainly as one was too far away for it to do any good anyway, so some steadying for the long exposures in a dim conference hall …
I stayed over the weekend and joined my friends Geocaching(qv) in the southern parts of the city. This involved scrambling up hillsides, some lovely viewpoints, and a reasonable walk in the woods. I was very happy with the Trek Pod, and packed it for my Moroccan trip.
In Marrakech the staff was useful for helping get through the souk, the quick change from palm rest to magnetic support worked well, and despite my guide’s trepidations I had no problems with people seeking a tripod licence. There were lots of locals who wanted a photography fee of course, not just the professionals — the water sellers and such in the square, but also artisans like the carver of plaster tiles. When you go there make sure to get a pocket full of change, and if you’re going up to the Atlas, buy a box of biros to give to the kids…
The Atlas was next, and again the pod was great. It helped me up (and more to the point down) some fairly rugged terrain, and was able to support my Canon 5D with a fairly heavy lens for some early morning shots.
Back in Marrakech one goes for fairly long treks through the old town to visit various points of interest, This was when the Pod failed. I was walking along and it seemed that the bottom was a bit wobbly. I stopped and did up the screw, and went on only to have the same experience about 200 metres further on. On the third happening I didn’t tighten as I could feel that would finish the thread on the joint entirely.
Limped home and on my return asked Warehouse Express if they would liaise with the manufacturer on my behalf. They very kindly took it back and gave me a credit, having first offered a replacement. — by that time I had concluded the engineering of the joint was not ideal. Great idea, but not quite robust enough for me.”
I later spoke to TrekTec at Focus 2009, they too were only too keen to replace the problem item, or even substitute a different version — they actually have a lifetime guarantee. Full Marks to the supply chain!
<em>Later: I have now bought the TrekTec TrekPod II which is much more robust, but at the price of not packing so well</em>
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