Travel tripods tend to be more unstable than their heavier competitors, but the Vanguard Alta Pro 284CB offers the right blend of stability and portability and offers an excellent feature set for the price too. The legs reach up to 63 inches, but the legs can be set at a very low angle and the center column rotates 180 degrees, allowing for macro work down to around seven inches from the ground. Three different types of feet are included: rubber, spiked and sand/snow. The leg loops are a twist style and offer a relatively slim profile and quick set-up. Available for under $300 when bundled with the SBH-100 ball head, this Vanguard offers excellent value considering the extensive feature set and 17.6 lb. capacity.
While the 284CB is lighter than most studio tripods, it's a bit heavy for a travel tripod, with the legs weighing just over five pounds. But, lighter tripods usually don't offer the stability or capacity of the heavier outfits, especially when constructed with the same materials. The tripod also doesn't offer the impressive 12" folded length that a handful of travel tripods offer, but again, that's at the expense of stability through additional leg sections. If you need a tripod that's portable but doesn't sacrifice any stability and that doesn't sit at the luxuriously high prices of brands like Gitzo, this Vanguard should be on your radar.