PRODUCT REVIEW: VORTEX SUMMIT CARBON II: Vortex Optics has released an entire new line of tripods.  One of the new tripods is the Summit Carbon II.  There are many advantages to this tripod.  There are also a few things to consider before you run out and buy one.

Design and Features

The new tripods introduced by Vortex Optics are almost all carbon fiber.  This is a huge upgrade from the aluminum models.  Carbon fiber is extremely lightweight and strong.  It is also warmer than aluminum during the cold months.  Over the past several months, we have been testing this tripod.  Obviously those months are winter months, with temperatures below freezing.  It has been nice carrying the tripod and not having it freeze our hands.

The new twist lock leg construction is also an upgrade from the clamp lock legs on previous models.  The twist nobs are large and easy to handle.  When the legs are locked into place, they are sturdy and didn’t collapse once during testing.

Photo Credit: Terron Hunt

The Summit Carbon II is the lightest tripod in the new series of tripods for Vortex.  It weighs in at just 2.3 pounds, and it has a load capacity of 22 pounds.  Again, that is the benefit of the carbon fiber.  You don’t trade weight for strength.  Another great feature is the compact design of the tripod.  During testing, this tripod spent a lot of time in the backpack.  It fit perfectly and didn’t take up a lot of space.

One thing to note with the tripod is the overall height.  It has a max height of 53.3 inches.  For most hunters, this tripod will not work while standing.

Field Testing

As stated above, this tripod has been used during the winter months.  We used the tripod to video deer during the rut, large elk herds as they came together for the winter, and many other types of wildlife.  We were able to spend many of hours behind glass while using the tripod, and it performed flawlessly.

During the winter, you worry about the cold freezing up the moving parts of a tripod.  The twist lock legs didn’t jam or bind at all, even when covered with snow.  The legs extended and retracted as they should.

The one problem we ran into was the overall height of the tripod.  It was impossible to look through our binoculars while standing.  However, it did work nicely for our angled spotting scopes.  While glassing, it is common for us to glass while seated on a stool, and that’s where this tripod really worked great.

One of our favorite things about the tripod was the new head design.  It provides a more universal platform that is both solid and smooth.  During our testing, we used an Outdoorsman’s binocular mount.  It went onto the tripod easily and worked flawlessly.  The new shorter handle on the head also made for easy packing, while still providing a comfortable and smooth control arm.

Final Thoughts

Overall, this is a fantastic lightweight tripod.  We consider this a backpacking tripod, and feel that it would be the best option in our packs if we had to hike a reasonable distance.  It’s compact, smooth and sturdy.  If you’re looking for a tripod to throw in the truck to glass while standing, this isn’t the tripod for you.  You’ll be frustrated trying to bend down to make this work for your binoculars.  With that being said, if you’re a spotting scope type of hunter, and you have an angled spotting scope, this will work wonderfully.

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