Frequently Asked Questions

Will the magnet in the MagMount System damage my digital data or film from my camera?

Even in direct physical contact, the magnet will cause no harm to digital or film media. The cards and micro drive shown in the photos below are all in current use at Trek-Tech!

There is an article published in the August 2004 PC World magazine titled, “Busting the Biggest PC Myths”, explaining how magnetic devices do not damage digital forms of data storage.

A partial quote from that article reads as follows

Fortunately, most modern storage devices, such as SD and CompactFlash memory cards (as used in digital cameras, PDAs, etc.) are immune to magnetic fields. “There’s nothing magnetic in flash memory, so [a magnet] won’t do anything,” says Bill Frank, executive director of the CompactFlash Association.

The article can be read at: http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,116572,00.asp.

The magnet is a powerful rare earth magnet that can pinch fingers, and could possibly, in extremely close proximity, cause damage to the electronics in a pacemaker. It could also, again, in very close proximity, cause some data loss on magnetic types of storage, such as floppy disks and the magnetic tape used in older analog and digital video recorders. It cannot cause data loss in the newer digital video cameras that record onto DVD disks, or other types of pure digital storage media.

With thousands of TrekPods and MagMounts in daily use all over the world with all kinds of different camera gear, there have been NO reports of any kind of damage or data loss caused by our magnet mounting system.

Please handle with care!

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Can the TrekPod be made short enough to pack in a suitcase?

The short answer is yes! A small amount of disassembly and reassembly are required, but the TrekPod will break down to under 28" long (and into multiple pieces), short enough to be packed in many larger pieces of luggage. See "Packing Your TrekPod" for complete details.

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How does a camera, spotting scope or binoculars attach to a TrekPod?

Cameras (and other devices like spotting scopes, etc.) mount to the TrekPod (on the MagMount ball head actually) through the use of adapters called Mag Adapters that are supplied with your TrekPod.

The TrekPod comes with one light force (LF) Mag Adapter which is silver in color and is intended for small digital cameras. You will also receive a black heavy force (HF) Mag Adapter which is intended for use with larger cameras like DSLR’s and SLR’s, spotting scopes, binoculars and binocular mounts, etc.

The Mag Adapter mounts to your camera in an industry-standard (¼"”-20) mounting socket that virtually every camera on the market has today. Please see the PDF document which shows you in detail how this works.

Binoculars that have the ¼"-20 threaded mounting socket will work directly with the appropriate Mag Adapter (in most cases the black, heavy force one). Other binoculars have a specific tripod mounting accessory that is available, and most all binoculars can be used with one of the many “universal” type binocular tripod mounting accessories on the market. B&H Photo carries a wide range of binocular mounts, both universal and specific to brand and model. They can be found here. Any of these will work with the MagMount on a TrekPod.

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How does the TrekPod work with large cameras, long lenses and spotting scopes?

The TrekPod/MagMount will safely hold larger devices with the Safety Clip in place, but the stability will be less than a sturdy tripod. (See image of large DSLR and long lens in use by outdoor photographer Scott Keller.)

Since there are no industry standard measuring systems for determining which camera/lens combinations (or spotting scopes or binoculars for that matter) will work on which ball heads (except for manufacturer's "ratings" which don't tell you how the rating was arrived at), our engineering team has developed a simple methodology for you to determine whether or not your device will work on a TrekPod with MagMount. Click here to learn more.

Alternatively, the MagMount can be removed from the TrekPod, exposing an industry-standard ¼"-20 threaded stud. You can securely mount your very large devices on the TrekPod that way as well, or via a conventional ball head of the proper strength mounted to the stud. The center of gravity (CG or balance point) of your camera and lense combination or spotting scope is also very important to how well it will work on a TrekPod. If your device is well balanced, (see the figure below), devices up to 10 pounds or more will work well in the landscape mode. If you are not sure of your devices CG, please see our MagMount Suitabiliy page for more information.

The TrekPod/MagMount system was originally designed for use with relatively lightweight digital cameras. However, there is a lot of interest in putting larger cameras and optical devices like spotting scopes on the TrekPod, and we’ve worked hard to build in as much rigidity as the specialized design will allow, using the very best aircraft grade materials, extensive computerized analysis and world-class quality control.

The best way to think of a TrekPod in the photography world is as a “self-standing” monopod. It gives you all of the utility of a top quality monopod, and adds the ability to “stand on its own”. TrekPod can’t replace a top quality tripod, but it sure beats no tripod at all! Most photographers who see and use the TrekPod think it is a terrific addition to their toolset, augmenting a tripod (and replacing their monopod!), but much easier to keep with you. (See also Digiscoping for a way to use a TrekPod in conjuction with a tripod to stabilize devices with very long lenses, etc.)

Even with the caveats stated here, with a little care the TrekPod will be a great help to you in the field with your long lenses and scopes. Think of it a "one more tool in the bag" to suit all of those times when a full sized tripod just isn't practical or desirable.

A couple of our early field-test photographers also discovered that TrekPod with MagMount is also very useful as a portable light stand, and almost everyone appreciates the hiking staff utility. I guess our best answer is to try it and see how it works for you! (You'll have 30 day return privileges on any web order.)

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What is the "rating" of the MagMount?

When researching the answer to this question, we discovered that no industry standard measurement protocol exists to determine the answer. Many manufacturers provide a rating number for their ball heads, presumably trying to communicate the weight of a device that the ball head was intended to hold.

Without knowing how the measurements were taken, and because of the very wide range of variables that come into play (ie how "tight" was the ball head tightend, at what angle was the ball head when the measurement was taken, where was the center of gravity of the load, etc.), we have provided a simple test that will tell you the suitability of your device on a MagMount. It is a simple procedure that you can compete in less than 5 minutes, click here to learn more.

How is the "twisted" wrist strap properly used?

TrekPod’s wrist strap configuration was patterned after the wrist straps used for cross country skiing and, more recently, trekking. The strap is designed to provide support for your “push” on the staff without relying on the strength of your hand’s grip.

On longer hikes this will substantially decrease hand fatigue, and provide for
a more pleasant hiking experience.

Since this method of using a wrist strap will be new to all but cross country skiers and trekkers, we’ve provided some step-by-step instructions on how to use this “twisted” wrist strap! Click here for the illustrated PDF document.

Please call us at (973) 627-9600 ext. 115 with any questions.

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Will the TrekPod & MagMount take portrait (vertical) pictures?

Yes, the MagMount has a "pivot slot" built into it which allows the ball head to swivel from the landscape (standard) position to the portrait (vertical) position.

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How much does a TrekPod weigh? What is its telescoping range?

A TrekPod, complete with MagMount and Cork Palm Rest installed, weighs about 30 ounces, or .85kg. Here are TrekPod's complete specifications: (back to top)

TrekPod Go! TrekPod TrekPod II
(including MagMount)
28 ounces / .794 kg 30 ounces / .85 kg 27 ounces / .765 kg
MagMount Weight
(as separate accessory)
2.6 ounces / .073 kg.
Height range in tripod mode 39" to 57.5" / 99 to 146 cm 43" to 57.5" / 109 cm to 146 cm
Height range in Hiking staff/
monopod mode
42.5" to 62.5" / 106.7 cm to 158.8 cm 47" to 62.5" / 119 cm to 158.8 cm
Maximum load, tripod mode 9 lbs / 4 kg (see MagMount Suitability for details)
Maximum load, hiking ~ 200 lbs / 90 kg properly tightened
Hand grip dimensions Foam grip is about 1.3" / 3.3 cm in diameter and about 6.75" / 17.1 cm long (cork)
Diameter tapers from 1.35" / 3.43 cm at each end to 1.45" / 3.7 cm at the center and is about 7" / 17.8 cm long
Foam grip is about 1.3" / 3.3 cm in diameter and about 6.75" / 17.1 cm long
Packable size Go! in included travel case: 23" x 4" x 2.5" / 58.4 x 10.2 x 6.3 cm (longest Go! tube length ~22" / 55.9 cm) Disassembled: Two components, approximately 35.5" / 90 cm or less, each. (Need it shorter, see FAQ)
Open Leg Diameter 22" / 56 cm
MagMount Magnet Rare Earth Neodymium Magnet
Mag Adaptors
(Camera/Device Adapters,
1 light-force, 1 heavy-force)
Nickel plated steel alloy ¼"-20 threaded adapter (see photo)
Materials Various aircraft grade aluminum alloys, high strength polymers, stainless steel, nylon webbing (wrist strap), expanded foam (grip) and inject-molded polymer (palm rest). Various aircraft grade aluminum alloys, high strength polymers, stainless steel, nylon webbing (wrist strap) and natural cork (grip and palm rest) Various aircraft grade aluminum alloys, high strength polymers, stainless steel, nylon webbing (wrist strap), expanded foam (grip) and inject-molded polymer (palm rest).
Palm rest polymer palm rest is standard (see photo) Cork palm rest is standard (see photo) polymer palm rest is standard (see photo)

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How does the TrekPod compare to other monopods and tripod/monopod combinations?

We're happy to say, to the best of our knowledge, there isn't really any other direct competitor to the TrekPod. There are a couple of products that serve more than one function, but none which add the hiking/walking staff functionality. The Cullman model 3430 combination tripod/monopod is one combination product. The Manfrotto 682 is another. A comparison to Gitzo monopods can be found here.

We have also recently had a TrekPod owner share with us a written review of his comparison of his TrekPod to his Manfrotto monopod. Read his review here. Follow any of these links for more information.

Please email info@tocad.com with any information you would like to contribute on this subject (or any other!).

Determining MagMount Suitability to Any Camera or Optical Device

The process to determine whether your camera, spotting scope, or other optical device will be well suited to the MagMount takes the following four steps:

  1. Weigh your device
  2. Find the horizontal balance point
  3. Measure the offset distance
  4. Find your device weight and offset on our chart

See example chart »

These steps are easy to do at home, and take less than 5 minutes to complete.

Weigh your device

It's important to get the actual weight of your spotting scope or camera/lens combination. For cameras with interchangeable lenses, use your heaviest lens for this step. For accurate results, use a postal scale or kitchen scale. Remember this measurement for the last step. (back to top)

Find the horizontal balance point

For this step you need a desk ruler and a pencil (or similar item). Place the pencil on a level surface and then place the ruler across the pencil so it is perpendicular to the pencil. Next, place your device on the ruler with the lens parallel to the ruler. Then hold the device horizontally, keeping it safe, and move the device (or pencil) until you find the point where the device will nearly balance on the pencil. (You don't need to be exact.) This is the balance point of your device. Remember this point for the next step. (back to top)

Measure the offset distance

On your device find the threaded hole for mounting to a tripod. Measure the distance from this hole to the balance point of your device, which was found in the previous step. This is the offset distance of your device. Remember this measurement for the next step. (back to top)

Find your device weight and offset on our chart

This is the last step. Use our Suitability Chart, below, to find the horizontal line for the weight of your device, and the vertical line for the offset distance of your device. Now find the intersection of these two lines on the chart. If this intersection is below the curve shown on the chart, then the MagMount will accommodate your device nicely. If the intersection is above the curve, then we recommend a larger ball head for your device.

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An Example

A Canon D60 camera body weighs about 1.7 pounds (about 27 oz.). If we have a small zoom lens that weighs between 1 and 2 pounds (a Canon EF 24-85 weighs about 14 oz., a 28-200, about 18 oz and a 75-300 about 17 oz.), then the total camera with lens weight would be beween 3 and 4 pounds. The center of gravity of this combination would fall between 2 and 3 inches from the camera body mounting point (as explained in step 3 above).

With those two pieces of data, we see that this combination would be at about 50% of the TrekPod and MagMount's (with safety clip) capacity, as shown on the chart below.