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Smartphone Tripod Review:
Unique Hat Mount Options
For Hikers

By Diane Spicer

Another hiking gear from Hiking For Her, this time for outdoor photographers who want to versatile hands free photo options using their smartphones.

This Streamaroo smartphone tripod review gets you up to speed on how, and why, to use your phone for hands-free video photography on your next hike.

Streamaroo smartphone tripod review disclosures

Hiking For Her receives many requests for reviewing outdoor gear for camping and hiking.

But not many of them make the short list to be reviewed.

Why not?

The whole purpose of this website is to share the gear that works hard for us on a hiking trail.

Why waste your time on something that I don't use myself?

So think of this review as a conversation between two hiking buddies, me and you, walking down a trail as we test out two Streamaroo hat mounts for our smartphones.

As we hike, you learn that Streamaroo asked for a review of its hands free video products, and that I didn't have a clue about these smartphone video accessories.

You point out the large camera case around my waist, cradling my hand held video camera. Evidence of the fact that I already capture video on my hikes!

Then I share my frustration with using it:

  • I have to throw down my hiking poles, unzip my camera case, fiddle with settings, squint through the viewfinder in bright sunlight ... all before I can start taking video of the waterfall, the glacier, the hawk, or whatever caught my attention.

Which brings us to the disclosures

This Streamaroo smartphone tripod review, written by a complete newbie to hat mounted smartphones, was motivated by a desire to quickly and easily capture video of trail time.

These products were tested during a 14 mile hike on a rocky, muddy spring trail with two short bushwhacks off trail to see waterfalls.

If you read about my experiences in this Streamaroo smartphone tripod review and decide to purchase one of their products using this link (no longer active) Hiking For Her will receive a small percentage of your purchase price.

Does this mean that I will slant this review, just to convince you to buy one of these camera hat mounts?

Ha! No chance at all.

This review is intended to put a clever solution to outdoor photography in your hands, and nothing more.

Heads up:

Another Streamaroo review is available here, testing their GoPro or other action camera hat mount.

One more disclosure

Some of the images included in this review are provided by Streamaroo, and are marked as such.

Other images, taken by Hiking For Her, are noted.

All comments, opinions, and musings about recording "capture what you see" POV videos using Streamaroo hat mounts belong to Hiking For Her.

Now let's get to it.

Streamaroo smartphone tripod:

In this Streamaroo smartphone tripod review, you'll read about the results of a side by side comparison:

  • the Streamaroo VideoMount baseball hat (on the left, holding my phone),
  • and my own favorite hiking hat with a clip on removable camera mount.
Green hiking hat and green smartphone case with phone mount attached to both

The camera mount works the same way for either hat, keeping the phone securely locked down.

More details on that in a moment.

Streamaroo smartphone tripod review: specifications

Of course you're wondering if these gadgets will fit your phone.

The camera mounts accommodate smartphones of these dimensions:

  •  2.16″- 3.34″ (5.5-8.5 cm) wide

The mount itself:

  • Weight: 2.4 ounces
  • Dimensions: 3 x 1 x 0.75 inches

Now go get a ruler. I'll wait right here :)

The Streamaroo learning curve

The hat mount does exactly that: firmly mounts your camera to the top of your head, on the brim of your hiking hat.

Sounds a bit dicey, I know.

  • You've paid a lot of money for the phone, and don't want it crashing down into the mud or rocks.

No worries! The sturdy metal tripod quickly clips onto, or is screwed securely into, your ball cap style hiking hat.

It is designed to hold your phone tightly in place, yet allow you to adjust the camera angle.

The weight of the clip + phone is distributed across the hat brim, so you will feel it but not be unduly burdened by it.

Full disclosure: The first few minutes will feel a little awkward, but you'll quickly adjust to having something attached to your hat.

  • Kind of like a unicorn horn.

I wouldn't recommend that you whip your head from side to side, though. You're a gentle unicorn.

Attachment & assembly process
is straightforward

If you use the Streamaroo VideoMount Hat for your smartphone, you will work with the installed camera mount to get yourself up and running.

Use the photo of the red hat below as a reference for this process.

  • The black circle, the connection point for the phone mount, is attached to an integrated mounting grommet with an easy to grasp plastic and metal screw (below the brim).
  • The adapter to the phone mount sticks out on the right hand side of the photo.
  • The phone mount (attached with a thumbscrew) has vertical expandable posts and a horizontal metal bar with a protruding rubber grip. Once it's seated correctly, twist the adapter until you feel a tight connection.

Now your hat is ready to receive your phone.

Red hiking hat with camera mount attached

You're going to utilize the "shelf" attached to those vertical bars, just like the smartphone above.

  • Pull up on the rubber grip to expand the shelf's vertical dimension.
  • Place your phone on the rubber coated metal shelf.
  • Pull the non-slip rubber security band (not easy to see in this photo, but it's attached to the edge of the shelf) over the rubber grip.

That's it! Your phone is mounted and will not slide around.

Super fast to assemble, and the parts are sturdy and large enough to handle even with cold hiker's hands.

If the mounting directions I've provided in this Streamaroo smartphone tripod review don't make sense to you, revisit the process using the clear, helpful instructions (stepwise words + photos) included with the mount.

Using your own hiking hat
is easy, too

The process has even fewer steps if you are mounting a smartphone onto your own (grommet-less) ball cap:

  • Slide the clip onto the edge of the hat brim, then pull it onto the brim.

This pulling motion will require a bit of effort, as it should. You don't want a loosey goosey connection, right?

Streamaroo clip on phone mount for attaching a smartphone to a ball cap

See the black rubber security band (flipped toward the Streamaroo logo)? It's what holds your phone tightly to the mount, as described above.

Picture yourself pulling it upwards, attaching it to the rubber grip - the black nub sticking up from the horizontal silver metal bar above it.

Now you've created a snug little resting place for your phone.

Here's what the completed process looks like:

Streamaroo smartphone mount holding a phone on a hiking hat
  • Streamaroo mount is attached to hat via a metal clip;
  • Smartphone is attached to mount via security band around the grip.

These secure connections eliminate wobbling, with no chance of losing your technology under low impact conditions on a hiking trail.

Tip: Make sure your hat is adjusted to fit snugly on your head before you attach your camera and put on your hat.

Why Streamaroo for hiking?

There are several ways Streamaroo can add enjoyment to your hike.

Let's take a look.

Capture your trail time with ease

A Streamaroo camera mount easily converts your smartphone to make hands free photography a fun part of your outdoor life.

Use this clever device to:

  • capture great memories of beautiful stretches of trail
  • follow a trail buddy navigating a treacherous mud hole (always the chance s/he could provide some entertaining video, right?)
  • record the "antics" of banana slugs on mossy rocks (my Pacific NW hiking example of riveting trail fun)
Banana slug on moss

your existing technology

These well designed hat mounts eliminate the need for a separate video camera.

  • Use the technology you are already comfortable with to make "clip and go" videos.
  • Reduce your pack weight on a backpacking trip.

Share your adventures

Streamaroo hat mounts can provide entertaining videos for your social media accounts (see mud puddle example above).

  • Or for the folks back home who don't like to hike, but do like to share life with you.

I encounter many hikers who wish their spouses, offspring and friends would hike with them.

Maybe a few Streamaroo videos would tempt them onto the trail! (or not, depending on what's recorded - maybe leave out the slug close ups)

And I really wish I had known about Streamaroo when I rafted the Canning River in Alaska.

  • With a paddle in your hands, there's no opportunity to use a hand held video camera.
  • And you don't want to risk having a camera slip out of your wet hands when the river decides to throw some water your way.

A Streamaroo hat mount would have solved both of those problems, and provided me with some great video of being on a wild Alaskan river.

  • Including the grizzly bears standing on the river bank.

Streamaroo provides
learning opportunities

I never thought of myself as a photographer until I discovered how fun and easy it is to take videos on my hikes.

  • As mentioned, I use a hand held video camera, not my phone's camera.

But in writing this Streamaroo smartphone tripod review, I learned a few new tricks.

  • This affordable, lightweight, well designed, easy to attach device opened up a whole new way to play around with taking POV videos.

Who knows? You might have a photography gene just waiting to be expressed, too!

And if you have any up and coming hikers in the family, what a great gift this would make.

  • A low cost way to test whether or not they're interested in taking videos.
  • Easy for any hiker over the age of 5 or so to set up (I'm estimating, but if a kid can use a smartphone to take a video, they can use one of these tripods).

Even more hiking specific opportunities

I envision myself using this camera mounting equipment to:

  • make quick notes on trail conditions and route finding,
  • share backcountry reconnaissance with other hikers (a picture being worth so much more to a hiker than a written description),
  • compare my videos with Google Earth images to build up a "mental map" of my favorite hiking regions.

I plan to compare the phone videos with my hand held video camera footage, too.

  • Each device captures unique aspects of a hike, but putting them together could be really useful for planning future explorations.
  • It might also be fun to compare the differences in visuals between my video camera, smartphone, and GoPro type camera (perhaps in a future review).

Drawbacks to Streamaroo hat tripods

Every piece of hiking gear has down sides.

This Streamaroo smartphone tripod review strives to be fair and balanced.

Here's what I had to get used to with the Streamaroo hat mounts.

With my own hat

I am very particular about the hat I wear on a hike.

So I was a little concerned about whether the clip would dent, scratch, or tear my hat brim.

It was with some trepidation that I pulled the metal tripod clip onto my hat brim, but am happy to report that after taking it off and reattaching it multiple times there was very little sign of wear and tear.

The weight of the device did cause me to hold my head differently.

  • Because I wear my hair in a ponytail or in a bun on the top of my head when I hike, my hat fits in a carefully adjusted way.
  • The presence of the hat mount definitely altered the fit, as the weight of the camera pulled the hat forward.

There was also a mental adjustment (the "unicorn horn" effect mentioned above).

To adjust to this new hiking style, I learned to "load" the hat so it felt better, as you can see in the "slightly askew" phone placement below.

Bottom line: Play around with your hat + phone combo at home until it feels right for you, then tackle a trail.

Green smartphone attached to a hiking hat for making POV videos

Did it feel secure?

There is no way the camera was going to fly off my hat during my low impact hiking: on a trail, at a steady pace, minus any huge elevation drops forcing me to look up and down with every step.

Would I recommend that you use this hat mount for your smartphone for medium or higher impact activity?

Not the clip on style. But keep reading...

What about wet hiking conditions?

This is a common problem for outdoor photographers: keeping expensive electronics from getting wet while capturing video.

There's also the safe, dry transportation issue to overcome.

As you can see from the photos in this Streamaroo smartphone tripod review, there is no protection from the elements in this set up.

So I would not use my Streamaroo camera mounts during a rain hike.

  • I would definitely carry them along with me in the rain, tucked into the handy little golden yellow pouches inside a dedicated re-sealable plastic bag within my backpack main compartment.
  • If the weather conditions improve, I know that I have the technology I need to shoot videos.
  • Their metal, rubber and plastic components won't be bothered by a little dampness.

Drawbacks with the Streamaroo hat

I've gotta be honest: The hat which Streamaroo provided was huge on my head.

Even with my hair piled on my head, I had a tough time seating it securely.

The Velcro closure at the back was as tight as it could be, but I still felt somewhat insecure about having my camera on top of the hat.

This will not be a problem for those of you with a lot more hair, a lot more cranium, or both. The amount of Velcro you have to work with is more than generous.

In Hiking For Her's opinion:

  • The clip on version would be the way to go with kids.

A more pressing concern: because I couldn't get the hat feeling 100% secure on my head, I really felt the forward tipping weight of my phone (an iPhone 5).

  • This created a sense of unease within me.

So my personal preference on a routine hike?

  • Use my own trusty hiking hat plus the clip on camera.

A special note for hot weather hikers

The Streamaroo hat is constructed with heavy duty high quality materials.

However, it lacks venting, so if you're hiking in hot, sunny conditions you will sweat in this hat.

  • My advice: Use your regular hot weather hat for most of your hike, and switch into this one while taking medium activity level videos off trail. You can whip out the hat from the top of your backpack with the tripod and phone already in place!
  • On an easy trail, use the clip on phone mount for your entire sweat-fest.

Tips for hikers using this
smartphone tripod

A few lessons from physics apply here.

The lighter your phone, the lighter the load on your head, and the more frequently you will want to use your Streamaroo tripod.

  • The secure mount and well designed clip-in system holds everything safely despite gravity's best attempts to swipe your phone.
  • But you will feel the weight, so borrow a lighter phone if yours is heavy.

Another gravity tip:

The two different smartphone mounts in this Streamaroo smartphone tripod review are suitable for different levels of interaction with gravity.

I would trust the smartphone mount clipped to my own hat for straightforward trail work, or sitting/standing quietly in place (low level stuff).

The VideoMount hat is more suitable for moderate level activities on a hiking trail, such as scrambling off trail.

  • I switched into it when I wanted to find those hidden waterfalls I mentioned.
  • I would definitely use it if I have to run away from Big Foot, casting backwards glances to see if he's gaining on me. (Hey, now there's a way to fund my hiking trips!)

Just a few more tips to get the best Streamaroo experience during your hike:

You need to mount Streamaroo on a ball cap with a sturdy brim.

  • Flimsy visors or floppy sun hats won't be able to support the tripod + phone weight for a comfortable experience.

If you use a protective case on your phone, remove it before using the tripod.

  • This eliminate some weight.
  • It also makes your phone more vulnerable to low hanging wet branches and other trail hazards, so use your best trail judgement about when to shoot videos.

Practice attaching the tripod, and the phone to the tripod, several times at home before you're on the trail.

  • It's not hard to do, it just takes a bit of manual dexterity that will become second nature if you practice.
  • Cold or wet fingers will make the task a little harder, so it helps if you already know the exact sequence of steps.

To find the right angle for your photos:

  • Take really short videos (5 seconds or so), review them, and then make adjustments to the hat mount angle.
  • Be sure your phone is fully charged before tackling the trail. You don't want to run out of juice right after you hit the sweet spot!

Mount your phone with the screen facing your hat, not facing forward.

  • You want the higher resolution camera to capture the action.

Streamaroo smartphone tripod review: conclusions

There are no down sides to bringing Streamaroo along on your next hike!

This company provides a durable, convenient way to shoot videos using your existing technology.

Their smartphone mounts have a small footprint inside your pack, and are very lightweight and weather resistant.

I already have several hiking applications I can't wait to try with my smartphone mounts.

  • I will update this review with more details after I spend more trail time using them.

Streamaroo smartphone tripod review questions?

As much as I tried to be clear, fair and balanced in this Streamaroo smartphone tripod review, I might have left out a detail which is important to you.

  • Use this CONTACT link to send your questions, and expect an answer within a few days (unless I'm out testing those applications).

No questions?


Select the smartphone option that makes sense for your style of hiking, and go Streamaroo-ing!

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Streamaroo Smartphone Tripod Review