Carry-on Tripods

Discussion in 'Travel' started by acjtucson, Jun 15, 2008.

  1. I see this was addressed in 2004 and 2005 and briefly last year. I am looking
    for some assurances that one does not get to Airport Security before being told
    that the tripod will not be permitted on board for security reasons. Pointed
    scissors and screwdrivers are permitted but I am nervous about my Hakuba carbon
    fiber tripod and Arca Swiss ball head. Has anyone out there been told they could
    not bring a tripod as carry-on? I looked at the TSA website and it does not give
    much in the way with specifics...Thanks.
  2. I am not sure if they would allow tripod as carry on. I always check-in the tripod.
  3. I have been told by the security folks one time that the tripod is legal and another time that it is not legal. I now pack my tripod in my checked baggage to minimize problems.
  4. Wrap it up in a towel or two, and stuff it in a checked bag. Anything that can telescope into a long tube is going to count, most likely, as a no-no. Same reason you can't carry on ski poles, etc.
  5. TSA doesn't list tripods in their not-allowable list of items, but if you can't bring a golf club on board, chances are you won't be able to carry on a tripod either. I always check-in mine.
  6. I have seen advice on PN to place your expensive ball head in your carry on and the legs in your checked baggage. Or consider mailing your tripod ahead for better security for expensive legs. I have a fairly cheap combination of Bogen 3001 legs and a Bogen 486 head, so I just stuff mine into a checked bag with no problems so far.
  7. Andrew, here's the problem........

    While there might not be a specific rule saying you can't take a tripod onboard, all you need is one TSA person to say you can't. If you try to get it through as a carry-on and you can't, now it has to be checked.

    You have to get out of line, get in the ticket counter line, and check the tripod. That tripod will not have any protection while it goes through the baggage process.

    If you are lucky, you still have time to get through security again and catch your flight. And if you are real lucky, your tripod won't be damaged. Personally, I wouldn't count on either.

    I am flying out this week and just like always, my tripod and monopod w/case are packed in my checked bag. It is hardly worth the trouble.
  8. Several months ago, I overheard a couple of TSA folks at LAX disagreeing on how to deal with tripods. One claimed they were too "weapon like" and should be excluded, while the other said they were OK.

    That tells me that the rules are open to interpretation, which means that the answer you get may depend on where you are, which day of the week it is, and whether its raining.

    Planning to take your tripod as checked baggage is a safe assumption. The choice is to either take a large suitcase with the tripod inside, wrapped in underwear, or else take a separate bag/case for the tripod. I've done both - the problem with the one bag approach is that the bag will be larger, therefore heavier, and may cause the airline to assess an overweight charge. And the problem with a separate bag is that the airline may assess a charge for a second bag. Pays your money, takes your choice!
  9. As said, why struggle with it or the possibilities of security? Checked luggage for sure.
  10. Just got back from Portland, Or. Left Albany, NY flew to Philly then onto Seattle. Flight back Portland, Or to Newark NJ then to Albany, NY tripod carried on all flights never any problem.
  11. Thanks to all for the advice. I think I'll check it in.
  12. It's up to the individual inspector and it seems that often they are allowed. But it's an avoidable problem. I checked mine my last trip. Delta mangled the bag it was in but the tripod came through fine.
  13. Technically anything longer than 7 inches is forbidden in carry on luggage, except a cane or umbrella. Best to put put it into your checked luggage. You could but the ball head in your carry on kit but it really is not going to be of any use at your destination without the tripod.
  14. My experience is that JetBlue and American Airlines would not allow me to carry on my tripod. It has to go into checked luggage. Tripods are on the dangerous list since they can be used by snipers or to launch small missiles. They made me run downstairs and put it in a special box which went into checked luggage which went to a special area -where anyone could steal it - upon landing.
    So put it into your checked luggage. Never refer to any piece of equipment as a tripod. I keep a small table top /chest pod on my camera and even "bracket" that raised eyebrows.
    Similarly in Washington DC a tripod can get you arrested - you must get a tripod permit no matter how small . However if you use it near any sensitive sights you still have a problem. Interestingly - when I was shooting the Brooklyn Bridge at night , the Police boat came by in a few minutes, and choppers are always near by! This has happened several times. I believe that they use camera detectors near such sights - they see the glare from fixed lenses, binoculars, spotter scopes etc. This is also how they check out a hotel room to be sure no cameras were set up for illegal activity.
  15. I fly often within the USA with a tripod as carry-on - no problem. However, in some other countries rules are different; Philippines NO tripods in carry-on, Taiwan & New Zealand no tripods over 16cm in length when collapsed. Australia no problem, Hong Kong no problem, Turkey and Spain NO tripods in carry-on.
    Some of these rules change depending on your inspector so I tend to check it for international travel.
  16. david_henderson


    The real problem is that the answer to your question is unpredictable. The airline, the security staff, the airline staff at the gate and check-in;/bag drop can all say no and you have no recourse if any one of these says no. Much safer to check the legs, and if the head is expensive, stuff it in your camera bag. At least that way you turn up at the airport with a case or bag big enough to hold the legs.

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