I'm lucky enough to have several stores carrying higher end tripods nearby, though the model selection is limited. I guess I'll go and play "legos" with them and set a whole bunch up to see which ones are the least annoying! I would expand my tripod "budget" for carbon fiber because I like things being light.
I miss having a tripod. I did some casual commercial photography for a barn I'm associated with and I had to do it without a tripod in 28 degree weather. I had to take a shot, readjust the settings, take another one and hope they aligned well and the DoF was flattering. I often ended up with very shallow pictures. To me, they were awful, though the business raved about them. I do much better with a tripod than without. You can actually see some of those pictures in the 17-40mm lens thread I just posted in.
If you have the budget why not look into the Gitzo or Really Right Stuff carbon fiber tripods? I also shoot with a 7D and the 17-40mm lens for 3 years and though it may not be as spectacular as other lenses in its class, it isn't a slouch either. The 17-40mm is also a good performer for shooting landscapes from f/8 to f/16 when fitted into a FF body, like 5D3.