When you take to the woods with nothing but a trophy animal on your mind, I’m sure that you already know quality optics is the key to spending hours behind your glass and finding a trophy of a lifetime. I’m sure that there are many of you out there that feel you are capable of holding your binoculars still enough to do a good job of glassing with ten power binoculars. I still carry mine around my neck, but I have become a major believer in sitting behind my ten power binoculars mounted on a tripod for afternoon and evening glassing sessions. I don’t feel the fatigue of hold my glasses up and I do a much better job of gridding the mountain while I look for trophies. The results have been many more trophies found.
There are a lot of tripods on the market, but there are some that excel above the rest for many reasons. On a recent trip to British Columbia to hunt black bears, we put the Vortex Dakota tripod with the RC128 fluid head to the test. This tripod is a little on the heavy side tipping the scale at 4.5 pounds. Unless you are going to be backpacking a long way and weight is a major concern, I like to have a heavier tripod. The wind has a tendency to blow those lighter tripods around and causes your images to be extremely shaky. This is definitely the case when you put a spotting scope onto the tripod and increase the power. You want the heaviest tripod you can physically carry. The RC128 head is extremely smooth and comes with a one quick release plate which will attach to all of your optics.
I do recommend that you get an additional quick release plate which makes changing from your binoculars to your spotting scope a simple task. The leg sections collapse into four different sections which allow you to have a folded unit that has a total length of 24.5 inches in length. When expanded to its’ highest level, it will extend to 65.50 inches high. The collapsible legs are locked into place with a flip type lock which is not only quick, but extremely quiet to operate. Two of the legs are wrapped with high density foam which make the unit quiet to carry and is much warmer to hold onto when the winter temperatures take the plunge. The legs will expand out to many different angles to accommodate nearly any type of terrain you will be glassing from. If you opt to use this tripod for filming as we did, you will be happy to see a level bubble built into the top of the tripod as well as a small compass.
Overall, this tripod is extremely well designed and performed flawlessly on its first hard core field test to British Columbia. It was bounced around the back of a pickup truck on dusty roads for twelve full days and it is still quiet and working at 100 percent.