Tripod Glassing Tips

Steve Speck Looking through swarovski EL SLC and Vortex razor hd binoculars on slik and sirui tripods with VA-5 Video heads
In recent years tripod glassing has become the new normal in western hunting (for good reason!). Whether you’ve been doing it forever or it is brand new to you this article lines out some tripod glassing tips that aim to improve your time behind the glass.

glassing with VA-5 head and Swarovski ATS 65mmSIT DOWN

Anytime you can, glass from a seated position. In the same way that shooting a rifle prone is more stable than shooting offhand, glassing from sitting is much more stable than glassing while standing. There are of course situations where it is unavoidable, but when you are able to take a seat.


More often than not the ground you are setting up on will be uneven. Whether it is a steep slope on a glassing knob, or rocky ground in some rimrock getting your tripod level can be tough. I’ve found the easiest way to accomplish this is to start with all the leg sections loose. This allows you to move the tripod around freely and get it roughly level before you start tightening sections down.

real life huntingIF YOU’RE NOT IN A RUSH, DON’T BE IN A RUSH

If you are sitting down to glass for a while, take your time and get everything set up perfectly. Make sure you are as comfortable as possible so you can focus on what you’re looking at and not fidgeting around. Situate yourself so you are in a natural position. Cranking your neck to the side or harshly up or downhill will fatigue you quickly.

Sirui T-024SK Carbon Fiber Hunting Tripod with VA-5 Video HeadMAXIMIZE STABILITY

Maximizing the stability of your setup allows you to get the most out of your glass. Steady glass makes spotting small movements like ear flicks and head turns that much easier. Start with your tripod’s center post. Or rather, DON’T. Avoid using the center column as much as possible. It is the least stable part of the tripod. Use the thickest leg sections first and use as few sections as possible. The thicker leg sections will help negate micro-vibrations better and are more stable than the thinner sections. binoculars on a tripod


If your tripod has multiple leg angles, use the wider settings both for the increased stability and to make room for yourself under the tripod. Sitting directly under your glass is much more efficient and comfortable.

steve speck partial frontalFLIP THE HANDLE

If your tripod head has a handle and allows you to rotate it, flip it around so it faces away from you while using binoculars. This allows you to make small adjustments without pulling off your glass.

hang weight from tripod for stabilityUSE A COUNTERWEIGHT

Many tripods come with a spring loaded counterweight hook at the base of the center column. Use a backpack, a stuff sack full of rocks, or anything else heavy to help steady the tripod in windy conditions. If you’ve made the effort to get a tripod and packed it all the way into your hunting area, take a few seconds, use these tips and make your glassing experience a lot more pleasant and hopefully, a lot more productive.

Written by: Pat Kelly

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