I used to have a Velbon 630, it's about 1.4 kg "sans head", but it is quite large. I used to have Acratech Ultimate Ballhead but switched to the RRS BH 40 because they have "lever type" quick release. The issue with the Acratech was that I use to mix up the "pan" knob and the "QR" knob so I was releasing my lens by mistake. Never dropped it, fortunately. I still like he Acratech and think about replacing the QR by an RRS-solution.
Admittedly, the Velbon 630 is large, even if lightweight. Tripods with four leg sections are smaller to pack but less stable.
I bought a Gitzo GT2541LS with a RRS Bh-55 head recently, I'm not absolutely sure it's an improvement over the Velbon.
The Nikon D300 and the 16-85 VR lens is not exactly what I would call heavy, should not be a problem on any decent tripod, but use MLU if you want sharp pictures. VR and tripod don't always go hand in hand, your mileage may vary.
I'm looking to buy a new light weight, compact tripod and head to carry on long hikes and backpacking trips. It would need to support a Nikon D300 and Nikon 16-85VR lens(1.3kg/2.9lb). My budget is about $900 max. So far, I've come up with a Gitzo GT-1541T/Markins Q3Traveler combo, but it is based on reviews that are not recent so I'm hoping to obtain some current suggestions. Thank you very much for any thoughts.