I have a hate-hate relationship with tripods.
I hate using them
I hate the fact that I hate using them
I hate the fact that whenever I make the effort to carry one, I don't use it
I hate the fact that when I don't carry one, I sometimes need one!
I HATE tripods. I LOVE the AS on my 7D
But I do happen to have several of these nasty things. I would actually recommend buying a used tripod. A pro line model is very difficult to brake (I've tried
and failed) and can be an absolte bargain.
My favourite, least hated, tripod, is my Gitzo monster-something. Made up name. I think its bigger than me, its nearly heavier than me, and possibly older than me too. It is man enough to take on the 300/2.8 and win. I respect it for that. And I keep trying to use it.
This thing cost me about £60 used, and its probably like a £300 tripod back in the dark ages when they made it. Find a used store. Then get 2-3 different size tripods for you $300.
I even took my tiny weeny little table top one away for the weekend, and carried it everywhere I went. Didn't use it once!