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A bean bag is a good substitute for a tripod
The shape and size of bean bags vary greatly based on the size and weight of the lens. Some people like light bean bags and hence use plastic beads as the filling. Others who like heavy ones, use uncooked rice to stuff their bean bags. I use a cotton bag with a zipper. This allows me to carry an empty bag to the field, fill it up with uncooked rice, take pictures, empty it at the end of the trip and bring an empty bag back with me. This saves a lot of space in my camera kit.

A bean bag is a good substitute for a tripod
The photograph of this 11-month old tiger cub in fading light was possible only because of the bean bag. The shutter speed was as low at 1/10th of a second even at an ISO of 640. The slow 80-400mm VR Nikkor lens, which has been used in this case, is not capable of handling such poor light conditions. The bean bag was placed on the front door of the vehicle after rolling down the glass.