Dry Tripod Legs

      If you have no compunction about putting your tripod legs into water, then you don't need this project. If you're like me and would rather not have to disassemble the legs and clean them, dry them or replace parts, then you might want to check this out.

      Once I completed my "Marsh Blind" project, the next step was to find a way to keep my Gitzo tripod legs dry when set into the same marsh where the blind was going. I considered a commercial solution, the Drypod Waders from R.J. Wiley, but decided I could come up with something for less than $90 for a starter set of Drypod Waders. While my solution is hardly as elegant as the Drypod Waders, and is not designed for deep water like they are, my covers get the job done for under $15, cannot get punctured, and won't need replacing for a lo-o-o-ng time. However, if you plan to be in water deeper than 15 inches or so, you will need to consider the Drypod Waders instead.

Dry leg covers Dry leg covers & Marsh Blind
in use at Lake Mattamuskeet
Use smallest diameter pipe that fits over your leg locks

Tie detail

Tie pattern
      This is an extremely simple project. All you need is a 5-foot length of black ABS plastic pipe, three matching diameter end caps and some ABS cement from your local hardware/plumbing supply. Alternately, you could probably manage well enough with silicone caulking to seal the end caps on the pipe. I chose ABS over PVC as it weighs less than the same diameter PVC pipe, and weight is always a consideration. The diameter of your pipe should be just large enough to fit over the largest leg lock, PLUS 1/8-inch to allow for the tie cord. This works very well for the twist type leg locks on Gitzo and other tripods. (Some other types of leg locks may require overly large diameter pipe.)

     Cut the pipe into three equal lengths of 20 inches (5 feet = 60 inches divided by 3 = 20 inches). Smooth the cut ends and glue one end cap on each piece. Next drill a hole about 1/2-inch from the open end of the pipe. This hole needs to be just large enough to allow a piece of 1/8-inch nylon cord to slip though. Insert an 18-inch length of cord through the hole and tie a not in one end to keep the cord from slipping back through. Now tie a small loop in the cord about 5 inches from the other end. The loop needs to only be large enough for the cord itself to slip through it. Now the cord cannot slip out from either end and get lost.

     To finish off the project, you can paint the pipe with camo paint. I recommend thoroughly scuffing the surface with sandpaper before painting. This will help the paint adhere better. That's it. You're done.

     Slip the pipes over your tripod legs and tie each cord to keep the pipe from slipping down and off the legs. The lower left diagram shows my technique for tying the cord for a snug fit to the leg. Tied like this, the cord will hold the pipe snugly in place because it wraps the leg twice. The diagram shows it tied very loosely in order to better show the path of the cord. Obviously, when you tie it, you should pull the cord snug and tie it tightly. Don't worry though, because nylon cord has a useful attribute, that of holding a knot well enough for these purposes, while still being easily untied when desired.

Now you're ready to get those wonderful low angle shots of birds on the water.