ok.. since i've been playing with the Dolica $99 CF tripod for a while, I've noticed that I need to shoot low. they have one version model number ending with 300 that can detach the center column from the ball head and attach it directly on top of the tripod leg. thus enabling me to shot low, without flipping the center column upside down and shoot upside down.
well, that's 1 thing i didn't think i needed, and ended up i do need that.
secondly, the total unit folds up to 23.25" or so, which i can still put into my carry-on luggage by detaching the center column from the legs and put it in. however, as i'm looking for a backpack style bag, the tought of carrying a 23.25" tripod and bumping into things.. well, that's not good.
*edit* actually I checked and there's another way to shorten it to 19". see here.
so, i started looking into benro travel angel. it's pricey, but i'm willing to take aluminium over dolica CF and paying the premium for the same weight, shorter folded 17" or less.
but anyone know, can it be configured to do this? see photo