Vote 2020 graphic
Everything you need to know about and expect during
the most important election of our lifetimes

This Is a Tripod Desk. And Yes, You Need One Too.

Illustration for article titled This Is a Tripod Desk. And Yes, You Need One Too.

This is my tripod desk. There are many like it, but this one is mine. Actually, that's a lie: I've never seen anyone else with a tripod desk, and that's crazy to me.


Do you want a standing desk that improves your posture, or maybe that you just can't stop forcing into casual conversation? This is the height-adjustable standing desk you can take anywhere. Every year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, I know I'll wind up standing in line for an hour or more while I wait for an important event to begin, and I can't afford to stop working. A tripod desk means never needing to awkwardly find a place to sit or precariously cradle my laptop in one arm while banging out letters with another hand.

Instead, I just pull out my laptop and this flat aluminum surface—to which I've attached a tripod quick-release plate—then pop it on my ultralight tripod, release the tripod's telescoping legs, and suddenly I'm as comfortably busy as ever. It's also the perfect conversation starter if you ever find yourself waiting in line for an Apple product, or in a park on a sunny day, or anywhere really, because a tripod desk is not something most people can look at and not comment on.

Illustration for article titled This Is a Tripod Desk. And Yes, You Need One Too.

So now you're excitedly wondering: Where do I buy a tripod desk? And the answer, the truly magical part, is that you don't. Like all of life's most worthy possessions, the tripod desk is made, not bought. Particularly if—like me—you're a cheap son-of-a-gun.

What you'll want to make your own is a tripod tray with a nice simple 1/4-inch universal tripod mounting hole, rather than something that comes with a stupid cheap purpose-built tripod of its own. You want something you can just toss on the existing camera tripod that you already carry around. Pop off the camera, pop on the laptop. Done.

It's not quite as easy as it sounds in theory, unfortunately. It was hard for me to find a good tripod tray, and I don't honestly know which I'd recommend to you now. I picked my Onyx tray a few years back because it was the only one that was light, cheap, and relatively flat so I can toss it into my backpack or messenger bag with no trouble.

Illustration for article titled This Is a Tripod Desk. And Yes, You Need One Too.

If you do go looking for a tripod desk for your own tripod, I'll leave you with this advice: make sure your tripod ball is up to the task. If your ball isn't big enough to support the weight of a hefty DSLR zoom lens, it's not going to support the weight of your big laptop either. I had to upgrade the ball-head on my Slik Sprint Pro II to a bigger one to keep the tray stable. The tripod desk is a demanding mistress.


But it's also a noble one. As you'll find out soon enough, since by now I assume you're already halfway through building your very own.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter



I prefer a music stand for a laptop standing 'desk' — all-in-one, easier to adjust, cheaper: