Thursday, 28 January 2010

Product Review: TrekPod Go! PRO

From time to time a new product is launched with the aim of ‘converging’ two or more devices into one in the hope that it will make our life a little easier. More often than not these efforts result in disappointment as, in the style of the classic ‘jack of all trades’, the product will end up being ‘master of none’. This is not one of those cases. An inventive new company, Trek Technologies LLC, has taken two crucial products for the outdoor aficionado – the walking/hiking staff and the photographic tripod - and turned them into the TrekPod. Wow, they certainly knew what they were doing!

We planned a photo trip to test the Trekpod and we made it as complex as possible, we introduced long hikes, varied and difficult terrain, a difficult travel component and tricky photographs in which a sturdy tripod would be essential. We packed it in our suitcase, we carried it, we walked with it, we used every feature and possible adjustment on it and we were never disappointed.

The day it arrived we noticed immediately the incredible attention to detail put-in at the design stages. The TrekPod Go! PRO was presented in a clever carry case where each piece had a small sleeve that protected the product in transit and ensured it would not scratch. The strap made the travel case very easy to carry and the whole thing was small enough to fit in our hand-luggage. We inspected each item, put it together half a dozen times and, once familiar with the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ of the TrekPod we then packed it for its long journey to the Pacific Ocean.

During this trip we used a Canon 50D with a 18-200 mm Canon lens. We knew it would be a heavy rig to mount and that only a sturdy tripod would cope. Once on location I went about preparing the camera with the enclosed mounts, the instructions were easy to follow and it was in doing this that I really started to appreciate one of the key features of this whole product, the MagMount PRO. This clever design feature will have you amazed; it will connect and disconnect the camera from the Trekpod quickly, efficiently and with the greatest of ease. After using it for 2 weeks I am still completely stunned at how well designed this is and at how sturdy a connection it makes. I would be comfortable connecting any size DSLR (up to 13.5 pounds in the literature) and it coped fantastically with our Canon. The whole operation can be done one-handed too.

Shot taken on Trekpod in tripod mode

Once on site we decided to test the capabilities of the TrekPod on the difficult Galapagos terrain. We organized a long hike with varied rocky paths; a walking staff was pretty much necessary, or at least advisable. The TrekPod was sturdy, it did not develop any annoying noises and did not wobble or bend, each connection was tight and the padded handle offered a good grip. I will say that as a trekking staff it does feel rather heavy but, with a little practice, you will easily get used to the extra weight. The rubber-tipped pole gripped well and continued to do so in shallow rock-pools as well as on dusty trails.

On our first photo opportunity I quickly released the tripod section at the bottom (kept together by a very fine Velcro system) and mounted the camera. I was up and running within 15 seconds. The camera felt safe and well positioned and I began taking a few landscape shots. With the wind increasing we decided to take a leap of faith and set up the TrekPod for a timed group shot, we trusted that it would hold well and it did. In essence it made a great tripod, sturdy and quickly adaptable, it beat the windy condition and, when positioned carefully, it gave a very agreeable shooting position. I also used it as a monopod support when in ‘staff mode’ which was great for quick wildlife photography using a large lens and no image stabilization.

Wildlife shot taken using Trekpod as Monopod

All in all the TrekPod Go! PRO gave a wonderful performance on the road; my only slight concern is the weight as a walking staff which takes some getting used to. The good news is that for those that find it too much to carry, the top designers at Tech-Trek have an XL version available made entirely of Carbon fiber and weighing-in at only 17 ounces (vs. the 30 ounces for our tested product). Genius!

We wish this product well and we feel that it is an essential item for those of you interested in the beauty of the outdoors; this is indispensable on your next eco holiday!

For more information see:

Specifications for TrekPod Go! PRO:
Price - $229.99 US MSRP (including travel case)
Warranty – Limited Lifetime
Weight - 30 ounces / .794 kg
(including MagMount)
Height range in tripod mode - 39" to 57.5" / 99 to 146 cm
Height range in Hiking staff/
monopod mode - 42.5" to 62.5" / 106.7 cm to 158.8 cm
Materials - Various aircraft grade aluminum alloys, high strength polymers, stainless steel, nylon webbing (wrist strap), expanded foam (grip) and inject-molded polymer (palm rest).

- An absolute triumph of convergence, excellent as a tripod and great as a walking staff
- Easy to pack
- Excellent use of high-quality materials, should last a lifetime
- Brilliant fast camera mount

- A little pricey for occasional use
- A touch heavy as a walking staff

Stumble Upon Toolbar

1 comment: said...

last pic with a bird killed me. don't know why, but it laughs me a lot. thanks for good mood