Review: Koolehaoda Tripod/Monopod

For the shots that you just can’t hand-hold the camera, you need a tripod. But who wants to lug that thing around? Travel tripods are very alluring, but how is there quality?

For our photography contest, my college club collected a few prizes together. While we were picking out our grand prize, I thought: “This is a great time to check out one of those travel tripods, and I don’t even have to spend a dime!”

So on the college books we collected our prizes, and I am very impressed with our lil’ compact tripod.

koolehaoda Q-666 SLR Camera Tripod Monopod & Ball Head Portable Compact Travel

Things I’m not totally sure of:

  • Ring tensions — These seem like the way to go, other than screw tension, as the plastic clasps tend to break, pooching a whole tripod. I’m not certain of how the rings function, so I can’t say for their longevity

  • I haven’t had the pleasure of using this for any amount of time, so I don’t know how parts will loosen or break down in the future.

    IMG_7532 All The Gear
    Tripod dismantled and re-assembled into monopod form. All the goodies here came in the box. From the top: plush case to cover the ball head, small tool kit for field tightening and repair (an allen key, pretty much), padded soft-case for whole tripod, shipping box, main body, detachable leg and centre column


$99.99 – $120

IMG_7525 Bag Compare
Here is a pack-size comparison to a Manfrotto of similar build. The Koolehaoda tripod fits into a bag roughly 2/3 the size of the Manfrotto. Also, the Manny (which cost nearly $200) came with no carrying method. This is a bag from a $40 tripod. Kool came with a sling bag and a carry strap attached to the main shaft, most visible in a photo below.

Fold size:

Folds to about 1 foot height, 6 or 8 inch diameter

IMG_7522 Dual Level Ball Head
The precision ball head on the Kool has dual levels and rubberized adjustment knobs.


  • Dual locking legs for height or width (helpful with macro)
  • Professional style ballhead with dual levels
  • Detachable centre column and leg for monopod use
  • Ring-style leg tensions
  • Carry strap on tripod and soft carry case
  • Centre column spring-loaded hook for weights (if it’s windy)

The build of this tripod appears very sturdy, but it’s mint and they always loosen up over time. Barring major physical abuse, this tripod should outlast any local $50 – $80 models, and the ring tensions seem unlikely to break (unlike the plastic clasps that are common to bargain models).

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Seen in the slideshow above, the tripod has a removable centre column and leg. Disassembling the tripod allows for it to be used as a monopod. First, unscrew the spring loaded hook at the base of the centre column. This will need to be placed somewhere (perhaps the nifty ballhead bag, and then placed inside the main bag with the remaining legs). This hook would be used to add weight to the tripod to steady it in wind. Next, loosen the centre column’s tension ring to remove it from the body. Then, unscrew the leg marked with the lock and orange collar. Finally, screw the leg into the centre column. Bam, monopod.

Yes, that is the most impressed look I am capable of.

More features, taller centre column extension, and added toolkit on a Manfrotto of about double the price.

IMG_7527 Chris Height
Max height? Here’s my college bud Chris standing just behind both tripods at full extension. Manny on the left, Kool on the right. He’s about 6′ 5″. Remember: without extending the centre column, tripods are sturdier. The Manny is taller without the centre columns extended.

Admittedly, the Manfrotto brand carries a lot of weight (respect-wise and on your back as well). I have no doubt in my mind that the Koolehaoda tripod would never outlast my Manfrotto, but the Manny didn’t come with a toolkit, and after less than five months of owning it I need to carry around an allen key to frequently tighten the ball head mount. Not impressed. It didn’t come with a bag, either.

Why do I recommend this tripod?

From my experience buying tripods, this is a good deal. Unless you’re shooting video and you need the control arm, the ball heads are magic to use. Not everyone likes them, but for me they are a godsend.

The price is right in the middle of cheap and expensive, and the build quality looks like it will hold up for a good deal of time. I’m nice to my gear, though. It might get left on a floor for a while, but it doesn’t get tossed around. When I replaced my previous $40 tripod it wasn’t totally broken, but the plastic clasp tension on one of the legs snapped in cold weather. There is no way to fix it, so I bought a Manny that I knew I could fix at a hardware store. As long as the rings hold up, everything else on this tripod seems easily replaceable.


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