Vortex Radian Carbon Tripod: For the Backpacker, Hunter, and Outdoorsmen

New for 2021, the Radian Carbon Tripod from Vortex brings together the latest materials and a stable platform to give shooters the critical edge when the shot needs to count. Easily strapped to a backpack, the tripod is easily at home in the field on the hunt, or on the range putting in the work on long distance precision.

Made overall from a combination of carbon fiber and American steel, the Radian Carbon Tripod has an overall deployed height of 67.3” and when collapsed to its lowest position is just 8.3” off the ground with the ball head. But when stowed, the tripod has an overall folded up dimension of just 28” (H) x 6” (W).

Each leg of the Radian is made from carbon fiber construction giving the tripod an overall strength of 55 lbs. Max Load with the Ball Head and 44 lbs. with the Leveling Head. The legs themselves have large rubberized locking lugs (with a vaulted design for rapid deployment) in four sections that give it the ability to adjust to a wide variety of heights. Each leg ends in a rubberized pad/ball with the threaded option to add spiked feet (included) for added traction on loose terrain.

The tripod head of the Radian Carbon is available as either a removable ball or leveling head style that includes dual leveling bubbles (one on the tripod itself and another on the head) to assist in its independent pan and tension control.

An Arca-Swiss Head Mount with a quick-release plate on the tripod gives the Radian Carbon the largest compatibility with a wide array of aftermarket accessories. At the bottom of the tripod head is a counterweight hook to attach stability counterweight if needed.

The Radian Carbon Tripod is available only in carbon black and comes with its own nylon carrying case.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • Cost – Fair (2/5): With an MSRP of $1,199.99 for the Ball Head Kit and $1,099.99 for the Leveling Head Kit, the Radian Carbon Tripod is the most expensive variant of tripods offered from Vortex, and comes in either a ball or leveling platform (featured) version. It consists of some of the lightest and strongest materials available on the market, and can be used in a wide array of applications. Perhaps the closest competitor to the Radian is the TFCT Tripod ($1,270) from RSS/SOAR, while other inexpensive options include the PIGlite-CF4 Carbon Fiber Shooting Tripod ($339 and without tripod head) by Hog Saddle, and the Deathgrip Tripod ($257 with fixed rifle saddle) by BOG. Obviously the market is awash in a variety of tripods offering a variety of lightweight materials and designs. In total, this makes the Radian Carbon Tripod one of the most expensive tripods on the market, something justifiable and at a fair price point with its carbon fiber body and composite metal hardware.
  • Comfort – Excellent (5/5): Fully deployed, the Radian Carbon Tripod had an overall excellent comfort level—with a very wide and stable platform, and both the rubberized and spiked feet kept a solid grip to the ground surface with the rifle mounted and while firing. The legs adjusted smoothly and all locking lugs and metal hinges locked securely with no slippage. Most importantly, the tripod head itself moved smoothly and freely (when loosened) and allowed the shooter to find a comfortable position, tilt, and pan.
  • Durability – Excellent (5/5): From a durability aspect, the carbon fiber material was among the strongest and lightest on the market, and gave the tripod an excellent level of durability. It bore the weight of a full-length rifle in both the 5.56 and .308 caliber without any flex in the legs, regardless of how far they were extended or compressed. The metal hardware joining the various carbon fiber elements helped ensure the joints of the tripod remained aligned, and moved smoothly. The locking lugs held a secure hold and while engaged prevented any accidental slippage, even when direct pressure was applied. Minor scuffing of the rubberized feet was noted during usage, but that was to be expected over the various terrain types. Wear on these rubberized feet could be further mitigated by using the terrain spikes. Perhaps the only recommendation to Vortex on improvement to the Durability for the Radian tripod overall, would be to consider improvements to the carrying bag, as its internal material and zipper felt sub-par and thin.
  • Functionality – Good (4/5): Functionally, the use of the Radian Carbon Tripod was pretty straightforward, with locking lugs having clear icons and directional arrows to denote locking/unlocking while extending the legs. The platform itself was very stable in relation to the free-floating leveling head, that in itself could also be easily adjusted via tension control at the bottom of the leveling head. Moreover, the leveling head could be tilted, or panned and locked into any position desired that give solid support to the shooter. The Arca-Swiss Head Mount itself was also easily removed via the QD lock to install/remove any associated weapon or camera mount (in this review a PIG Saddle). The application of dual leveling bubbles (one on the tripod and one on the head) allowed for quick and easy visual recognition in differences between the angle of the tripod and terrain, and the leveling head to the rifle.
  • Weight – Average (3/5): With an overall weight of 7.3 pounds (with the ball head platform on but without weapon mount) and a max height of 67.3”—the Radian Carbon Tripod was of an appropriate (or of average) weight given its overall variable height, lightweight materials, and reinforcing hardware. In contrast, the TFCT Tripod (4.4 pounds w/max height of 71.1”) from RSS/SOAR, the PIGlite-CF4 Carbon Fiber Shooting Tripod (3.6 pounds w/max height of 63.5”) by Hog Saddle, and the Deathgrip Tripod (9.71 pounds for the aluminum version or 9 pounds for the carbon fiber version—both with a max height of 59”) by BOG illustrate that although lighter tripods are available, many lack the overall height of the Radian Carbon (although the Radian it is neither the heaviest nor the tallest).

Overall Rating – Above Average (19/25)

Product Link: https://vortexoptics.com/radian-carbon-leveling-head-tripod-kit.html

I am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via STL Shooting Enthusiasts, so that I can evaluate it and provide my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give positive reviews. All views are my own, and based off my personal experience with the product.

The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the author. The views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.