Sitting near the top of the range of Manfrotto's monopod offering, the XPRO 4-section carbon model can claim to be the lightest in their range and without sacrificing any load-bearing burliness. As such it is squarely aimed at those photographers that want to keep weight to an absolute minimum - and the active travellers among us certainly fit that category.
At only 600g the carbon fibre construction is clearly worth its lack of weight in gold, and as the safe payload tops out at 7kg this model should cover most camera and lens combos. This XPRO model is compatible with a huge range of heads (and therefore likely one you may already own) including both photo and video heads. It extends to an impressive 164cm and has a reassuringly chunky Quick Power flip lock system for extending the legs, which feels positive when it locks off, if very slightly over-engineered.
The high payload is particularly welcome once you consider how useful the monopod is when using heavy telephoto lenses. For wildlife photography - where stability is often needed to counteract the exaggerated movement of a long focal length, but a tripod would restrict the photographer's reactions - the monopod comes into its own. Ditto for a lot of sport photography.
The XPRO Carbon has also been of surprising value on video shoots, making an appreciable difference in stability as compared with handheld shots, but with far less of the hassle that goes with setting up a gimbal every 5 minutes. My Manfrotto fluid head is compatible, and there is even a 'fluid base' accessory available which could open up new video potential including greatly increased stability, without the faff of a full-on tripod.
A monopod is always going to be a compromise, but it's one that will force itself into your kit bag time and again by virtue of being so lightweight, and so versatile. The XPRO Carbon is one of those rare gems that you just take everywhere because there's no reason not to; and in that respect it will always see a lot of use.