A few days from now I’ll be at Crater Lake National Park for some winter landscape work. Crater Lake is a reasonably short drive for me, so I can easily coordinate the timing of my trip with the weather. I want fresh snowfall and no wind. One thing is sure: as usual for this time of year there is already a lot of snow on the ground. A quick online check tells me that as of today there is 72 inches of snow at the headquarters building and a lot more at higher elevations. I’ll need my snowshoes so I don’t disappear into the drifts, but what about my tripod? How do I keep it from sinking into the snow?
While you can purchase readymade tripod snowshoes, it’s quite easy to make your own set for just a few dollars. I did this years ago, and the first ones I made still work just fine. Head to your local home improvement store and purchase the following:
- Three slip-on furniture-leg tips (also known as crutch tips) in a size just large enough to slip snugly over your tripod feet.
- Three one-inch long bolts, the nuts for them, and six flat washers that fit the bolts.
- Three flat plastic test caps (look in the plastic pipe section). Mine are for 4-inch pipe and cost around $1 each.
Drill a hole through the center of each leg tip, and through the middle of each plastic test cap. Take a bolt, add a washer, and thread it through the hole in the test cap, then add a second washer and nut and tighten. That’s all there is to it. Make three of these, shove them over the tripod feet, and you’re good to go. Just as you will sink a little into the snow when you’re wearing snowshoes, your tripod will also, but it won’t sink out of sight in powder snow as it would otherwise. In deep snow start with the tripod legs less than fully spread. As you push the tripod down into the snow, the snow itself will force the legs apart.