Gear Review: GorillaPod Hybrid Tripod

GorillaPod Hybrid Tripod attaches a camera to a tree

GorillaPod Hybrid Tripod attaches a camera to a tree

If there’s one piece of camera equipment (other than the camera and immediate accessories like its SD card and camera case) that we find most useful on our treks around the wilderness areas of the US, it would be our GorillaPod Hybrid Tripod.  It’s so useful when I need a long exposure, something to steady the camera, or we want to take group photo for the Christmas letter.  It’s also small and flexible enough to fit in our waistpacks, which is a real plus.  The flexible legs can wrap around just about anything, but still are strong enough to hold up my larger-than-average point-and-shoot.



The GrillaPod Hybrid without a camera

The GrillaPod Hybrid without a camera

I’ve used the GorillaPod Hybrid in a variety of situations.  Often it’s a stone wall, an uneven rock surface, or a convenient fallen log or tree branch.  Occasionally I’ll use it to steady the camera during a long exposure (that would be more useful if I didn’t rely on the pre-programed settings so much, or if I took more pictures in low lighting!)

GoillaPod Hybrid set up on a pile of wood

Set up on a pile of wood

I asked a group member who has done quite a bit of photography what his pros and cons were for the GorillaPod.  His pros centered on light and small, and his cons were mostly that he never seemed to have it when it wanted it most!

Setting up the camera on a GorillaPod Hybrid for a family shot in Hidden Valley

Setting up for a family shot in Hidden Valley

Quick Stats

Size: Folded, 9.75 in., set up, maximum of about 9 in.  Each leg is 7.5 in. long with 10 ball modules.  (My measurements.)

Weight: Almost 7 oz., or about the weight of a softball.  (I weighed it on my kitchen scale – the official specks are more like 6.5 oz.)

Compare: The Hybrid Edition is about 3 oz. heavier than the original GorillaPod, but it can hold about 1.5 lb. more than the original.  According to the reviews, this makes the extra cost very much worth it.

How it works: The three legs pull away from the central post like a typical tripod.  Ball modules allow you to mold the legs into different positions.  The top platform has a simple screw to attach the camera.  The platform also turns about 180 degrees so you can have portrait or landscape orientation (or you can tip the camera when it’s on an uneven surface).  Meanwhile, a ball allows the platform to be turned so the camera can swivel while securely screwed to the platform; another screw keeps the ball tight.  There is also a level on the platform – I’ve never used it, but can’t see that it would be very useful because it’s so small.

Camera on a GorillaPod Hybrid Tripod

Sitting steadily on the grass

Pros of the GorillaPod Hybrid Tripod

Stability.  It’s highly unlikely the GorillaPod will fall over once you have it set up and steady, and the ball-like modules of the legs say put once it’s how you want it to be.

Flexibility.  The legs can go into almost any shape, or around almost any object (I’ve even wrapped it around the handle of a hiking pole when there’s nothing else convenient).

Versatility.  I’ve wrapped it around tree branches, set it up so it’s flat on an uneven rock surface, used it to keep the camera out of the sand and snow, and held onto it when I just needed a steadying influence.

Lightness.  It’s almost 7oz.  That’s about as heavy as a soft ball.  Not hard at all to pop in a day pack.

GorillaPod Tripod and camera among some pine branches

Among some pine branches

Easy Screw-on.  Just screw the camera onto the top of the tripod.  Done!

Simple Landscape or Portrait Orientation.  You can easily turn the camera to portrait or landscape positions (which is a good thing considering some of the angles the GorillaPod ends up in!)

Accessories.  I haven’t used any of the accessories, but there are a number of adapters for various types of cameras, including smartphones.

Small.  You can take it almost anywhere, and because the legs bend, it’s easy to put it in a pack, even if the pack is smaller than average.  It fits great in the water bottle waist packs I picked up along the way and use for most of my outdoor adventuring.

Durability.  I’ve taken the GorillaPod on many hikes and it’s managed to endure the bottom of the pack.  That’s durability.

Camera and GorillaPod Hybrid on an old tree stump

On an old tree stump

Cons of the GorillaPod Hybrid Tripod

Collapsible.  If I push too hard (like, very hard) on the shutter of the camera, the GorillaPod will likely collapse.  A light hand is good.  Also, I have heard that this can collapse under very heavy cameras – I’ve never had any issue with it, even with my heavier-than-average point and shoot.

Unstable.  If the legs are not spread widely enough – or if the camera is off-center – it’s not unlikely for the camera to topple, especially right after the shutter clicks.  So make sure it’s very steady before you run to get in your picture.

Set Up Issues.  Getting the GorillaPod into position can be a bit of a pain, especially until you get used to it – push one leg (it’s a little stiff, which is good), and the ball modules might or might not quite do what you were thinking (or another ball module might do something you weren’t quite expecting).  So it might take a bit of patience – once you get the hang of it, though, it’s not too bad.  Tip: Make sure all of the ball modules are straight / the legs are perfectly straight before setting it up – this helps a ton.  Also, it can take some trial and error to get the tripod to sit upright and flat.  And if you put it around a tree branch, one never knows, it might pivot and the camera might flip upside down… but maybe that was what you wanted?

Top view of the GorillaPod Hybrid Tripod

Top view of the tripod

Sharp screw.  Don’t put the screw too close to the lining of your pack.  I’ve never had an issue with the GorillaPod, but the last mini tripod I carried made a mess of one of my waist packs.

Limited movement.  Every once and a while there is a shape I’d like, but the GorillaPod just won’t do it.  Also, there are times a fourth leg would be handy (especially with tree branches!)

Weight.  It’s light – you won’t even notice it in a daypack – but in an overnight pack that extra softball can be heavy.

Small.  It’s only 9.75 in. tall.  You’re not going to put this on the ground, set up your photo, and get a picture of some 6ft. guys with the mountain in the background – all you’ll get is sky if you tip the camera, or if it’s flat, all you’ll see is their knees.

Real set up of a camera on the GorillaPod Hybrid Tripod for a family shot in Elk Meadow

Real set up for a family shot in Elk Meadows


Don’t buy if you’re looking for a traditional, tall tripod.  But if you don’t mind its size and you’ll be using it on a variety of uneven surfaces (and portability is upmost), this is a great little product that makes getting everyone into the same picture so much easier!

Front view of the GorillaPod Hybrid Tripod

Front view of the GorillaPod Hybrid Tripod

Durability ★★★★☆

Value for Price ★★★★★

Ease of Use ★★★★☆

Usefulness ★★★☆☆

Portability ★★★★★

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Back view of the GorillaPod Hybrid Tripod

Back view of the GorillaPod Hybrid Tripod

You can purchase the GorillaPod Hybrid Tripod below. Don’t let the image deceive you – it works great for traditional cameras as well as that – um – round camera.



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