Well, I am far from an expert on video devices, but I went through this a few months ago... I was looking for something to make training videos for my job as well as use on personal trips.
After many hours of research, I settled on the Canon Vixia HF M40.
Easy to use; basically point and shoot on basic settings and still get great quality.
More modes and options than I need. I consider this a pro since I have a lot of room to grow into this camera.
16 GB internal memory with 2 SD slots.
Great battery life
Low resolution stills (but that's why I have a DSLR)
I've been a still photographer for over 30 years and never had much desire to own a video camera, but now that I see what fun I've been missing I've had it out every weekend. The video quality is unreal.
As far as why I chose a Canon, I've used Canon SLR's and DSLR's and have always appreciated their quality and feature-set of their products and figured that would apply to their video line as well. I do notice that the prices have gone up considerably since I purchased mine. They had a lot of specials running around the holidays and mine was around $449. Now the M40 is $559, the M41 is $699, and the M400 is $579
The main difference between them is the M41 has 32GB internal and an EVF, and the M400 has no internal memory. All three of the M4X series have the same CMOS sensor that they use in their prosumer/entry level pro camcorders such as the HF G10.
They do have a new line available, the M5X series, but they took out some features that I wanted so I skipped over them. I also picked up the Canon directional mic, the wireless mic set, a couple of 32GB SDXC cards and a Wasabi battery pack and now I can shoot all day without interruption.
As far as tripods go, I still use my Manfrotto's. I don't mind the weight because they're rock solid steady even in the wind. You might look into some of the carbon fiber models offered by Gitzo, They are pricey, but worth it if weight counts. There are a lot of consumer tripods that would probably do you well also. Velbon and Slik are 2 names that come to mind.
I have found that mounting my video camera on my monopod works really well. It acts as a counterweight-type steadycam when walking around, and also allows me to extend up and around to get good angles for training.
Anywho...just my 2c worth...hope it helps,