Here is another thought to follow the latest string of thinkings: tripod versus monopod. Now as you probably already know, tripods and monopods have different uses. For example, for time-lapse images, a monopod is not a solution simply due to its inability to support itself and eliminate shake. Similarly, a monopod is more mobile in comparison to a tripod, which can get clumsy if not compacted before moving. From the last few hiking trips, the tripod had been great with stability and sometimes I can just leave the lens on the tripod and rest. Simultaneously, however, the tripod becomes a seven-pound burden a few miles into a trip.
There exists an overlap between the two support solutions for my purposes. They both are fully capable of supporting heavy equipment for extended period of time, and minimizing shake when photographing wildlife. My experiences during last months' hikes was enough encouragement for me to turn to using the monopod, which has thus far never experienced the great outdoors, just the lesser outdoors of stadiums, fields, and concrete surfaces.
Unfortunately, this limits my use of the support choice to wildlife instead of landscapes, at least not long exposure compositions. Nevertheless, I am interested in seeing how this choice can affect my next hike.
UPDATE: And I soon realized that the monopod has a really tall minimum height that is not going to suffice for my hiking needs. The monopod is going to have to wait for the next proper venue.