People often ask about the best equipment for plein air painting so here is a look at my kit and some links to suppliers.
I have two kinds of easel that I use outside: a French Easel and a panel/palette holder on a tripod.
The French easel is the one that looks most like a traditional easel. It’s made of wood, has a tray on the back to rest my brushes, brush washer/turps can etc. There is a drawer at the front to store tubes of paint and the palette sits on top of this. It’s a very versatile piece of kit that can support anything from a tiny board a few inches high to large canvas four feet across.
I also have a more lightwight kit in the form of a Palette/Panel Holder from Open Box M. This sits on a tripod with a quick release plate and has a small shelf for brushes, dipper etc. A spring clamp system holds panels up to 20 inches across.
The tripod I use with my pochades and Open Box M panel holder is a Velbon Ultra Rexi L. It’s light weight, packs up small and is very sturdy. The legs are able to open out wide which is great for setting up in windy locations and when set up normally it takes up very little room – ideal for street scenes. I recommend using a tripod head with a quick release plate as that allows you to set up and dismantle your kit quickly. I have found a small Manfrotto ball head is ideal, it’s compact in size and rock solid.
The tripod I use isn’t made anymore but here are some links to similar items that may be useful to you:
Velbon Ultra 655 – updated replacement for the Ultra Rexi L.
Calumet Carbon Fibre Tripod – I haven’t tried this but it looks good!
K&F Concept Aluminium Tripod – Again, I haven’t used this personally but looks good for those on a budget.