The Platypod is one of the best combination photography travel tools I have come across. I heard about the Platypod on podcasts for a long time before I pulled the trigger, but now I think it is an absolute necessity for anyone traveling that wants to do serious photography.
The Platypod is a fairly simple concept, but is very well designed. It is designed to replace your tripod, by offering a very compact base upon which you can attach any ball head. While you don’t get the legs and height adjustment you get with a tripod, the size of the Platypod means you can carry it anywhere you want and set it up with leveling screws on any surface you want.
When I was travel with my family, I carry this all the time instead of a tripod because I just hook it on the stroller with a a carabiner. It doesn’t get in the way at all and then I have a tripod when I need a longer exposure or when we want to take a family photograph. Even if there is nothing around to set the Platypod on, I just set it on the stroller and it is high enough to get a decent family photo.
I have both the Platypod Pro (replaced by the Platypod Ultra) and the Platypod Pro Max. They both have great advantages. For most conditions, I prefer the Platypod Pro Max because I like the added stability to get any angle without worrying about the camera tipping over. There are times I like using the Platypod Pro, though, and that is mainly because of the carrying case. The case is a small rectangle that holds both the Platypod and your ball head. It also has a zipper to hold everything safely (and even a belt strap). This is absolutely great for outing where you aren’t taking a camera bag and just want everything together in a small package. Because of this, I usually take the Platypod Pro for family outings.