You might consider the following as an alternative to a tripod: whenever I know that I will be shooting in crowded or tripod-unfriendly places (churches, museums, busy streets,etc) I only carry my Rolleicord, a short cable release and a large sock not quite filled with rice that has -obviously- been sewn up. I use the sock to level the Rolleicord on pews, benches, stones -whatever. And if I want a higher point on which to steady the camera I look for a wall, place the sock on it and press the camera onto the sock (since the image is square it does not matter whether the camera is held vertically or horizontally); once I have focused I shoot with the cable release, still pressing the camera tightly against the wall. You can shoot at practically any speed this way. Both the sock and the Rollei travel easily in a winter coat's pocket.