Overview of the new Tricer LP Pan Head
There’s something to be said about the benefits of lightweight gear. But at the same time, the word lightweight sort of has some stigma around it. Can lightweight items be durable? Is something truly lightweight able to hold up to the standards of mountain hunting? Well... every now and then, I'm amazed!
The new Tricer LP pan head is a lightweight glassing workhorse! Back in January, the folks at Tricer sent me their new pan head to try out. I shared an Instagram story on February 2 after opening the box and was blown away by the weight first and foremost.
This pan head weighs in at 4.3 oz on my scale. I’m always excited when a product weighs less than the manufacturer's displayed weight and they didn't exaggerate the weight by putting something much lighter than what it actually weighed (trust me, this happens a lot). I instantly had to place the pan head on another scale I have sitting around for weighing out food, and that scale also read 4.3 oz.
The design and glassing
When an item is so ultralight, I instantly want to test out how durable it is. The pan head is made from machined aluminum, and I've been glassing behind it for some time now and haven't been able do any harm to the design. It's also buttery smooth panning. So if you're a backcountry hunter looking to shave some weight off your glassing setup, I feel you'll enjoy this pan head greatly!
One thing I noticed instantly was the compact design. In terms of size and weight, it feels similar to a ball head system. Ball heads were always intriguing to me because they are typically lighter, but they are a pain to glass with, in my personal opinion. The Tricer LP is hands down way easier to glass with than a ball head, and it’s lighter. The Tricer has separate functions for pan and tilt, but each are easy to use to allow you to smoothly glass, or you can really lock things down to grid. The handle is made out of carbon fiber and has a padded sleeve over it.
Another huge benefit of this LP head is that it’s Arca-Swiss compatible. That means that I can easily use all my current Arca-Swiss plates that I have on my binos, spotter, and even my camera.
Again, as I stated earlier, the Tricer LP pan head is extremely lightweight at 4.3 oz, but the design isn't sacrificing durability or glassability.
My normal glassing kit consists of either a Sirui T-004SK aluminum tripod with a VA-5 fluid head or a Sirui ST-124 carbon fiber tripod with a VA-5 fluid head. This past fall, I put an Aziak Equipment carbon fiber handle on my VA-5 heads.
A standard VA-5 fluid head weighs in at 16.6 ounces.
A VA-5 head with an Aziak Equipment carbon fiber handle weighs in at 14.9 ounces.
You’ll see in the table below that if I switch from a VA-5 head in the standard configuration to the Tricer LP pan head, I’m instantly saving 12.3 ounces. And the weight savings from switching from my VA-5 head with the Aziak Equipment carbon fiber handle, I’m saving 10.6 ounces.
Tricer LP vs. other heads I use
|Item||Weight||Weight savings using|
Tricer LP Pan Head
|16.6 oz||-12.3 oz|
(w/ Aziak CF handle)
|14.9 oz||-10.6 oz|
|Tricer LP Pan Head||4.3 oz||--|
So for a person who does carry a few heavy items their gear kit… you can save a lot of weight really quickly just by switching over to the Tricer LP. And a weight savings of 10.6 and/or 12.3 ounces is a lot in the big scheme of things, especially if you don't use a big spotting scope.
In the field testing
Since I received this pan head, I’ve been playing around with it in my house and have used it a few times out in the desert while shooting my rifle. I put the Tricer LP pan head on my Sirui T-004SK aluminum tripod. Last week I finally had a chance to put this head through the trials of an actual hunt with some friends from Montana looking for javelina in the desert. I've used a lot of glassing heads, and I really enjoyed my time behind the Tricer LP pan head while glassing and griding the mountains.
So what can it handle?
I really wanted to push this pan head to see what it was capable of. I feel it’s perfect for glassing with 8s, 10s, 12s, or even 15s. I use 12x50 binoculars on all my hunts for the most part, and on that recent hunt for javelina, the 12s worked phenomenally with this pan head!
I did try out my Swarovski BTX and 115mm objective setup on the Tricer LP pan head, and while I was able to make it work, that spotter is definitely pushing the limit for the pan head at roughly 7 lbs. 8 oz. I noticed when using the BTX/115 setup on the Tricer LP, I’d have to constantly place my hand on the spotter to guide it through my glassing grid lines as I scanned up and down the mountain. So while this pan head isn’t exactly made for this heavy setup, it could work in a pinch. But what you'll notice is when you vertical pan with a bigger spotting scope on a lighter head, the steadiness you encounter is in your hand alone. I feel a spotting scope in the range of a 65mm is perfect for the Tricer LP, but you could probably get by with an 85mm. Or... I feel that most people do the majority of their glassing with binoculars, and then might toss a spotter on a tripod to confirm what an animal looks like at higher magnification. If you're that type of person, this pan head would be great no matter the spotter.
The Tricer LP pan head can 100% compete with other fluid heads that weigh a lot more. When it comes to function, and smooth glassing, I've been very impressed.
If you’re a backcountry hunter looking to save some weight in your glassing setup, in my opinion, this is going to be the easiest way to shave off some ounces from your overall glassing kit. For a cost of $189, you can really shave some weight and not break the bank. I think of this setup as the ultimate lightweight backcountry run and gun glassing style system. I'm excited to continue to use this setup on future hunts.