</span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (tschmid @ Dec 15 2002, 01:23 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>I originally bought the G1349, but removed the center column after I found that I didn't need it and that it is much more stable without it.</td></tr></table><span id='postcolor'>
Let me add one thing: The center colum of the 1349 has a hook on its other end. You can hang your bag/backpack on it (I have modified my PhotoTrekker such that I can open it while it hangs on the hook). This adds more weight and stability to the tripod and keeps your bag away from the mud.
After I removed the center column, I missed the hook. Fortunately, the hook was removable and could be screwed upside down into the mounting hole of the head. Since I never use the single central mounting thread for my heads (I always let them custom mount with at least three excentric screws), this thread was still unoccupied. Additionally, I had to modify my PhotoTrekker mounting, because there was not enough space between the legs that high. It's perfect now and I can highly recommend it.
You should be able to get a sole hook as a spare part from Gitzo. For the PhotoTrekker, you'll need a ring with three cords attached. One goes round the carrying handle the other two go through the small loops at the front bottom corners. Balance the whole construction with all your usual equipment except the camera in the backpack. If the backpack happens to start rocking in the wind, you can usually block it with one of your legs and it will be more stable in the wind than without the additional load.