Actions/NLA with non-armatures

I’m trying to wrap my head around the action- and NLA-editors. It has been deeply confusing. I did some tutorials, but couldn’t quite replicate the results, until I noticed that they had not included any extra objects into their rigs, just pure armatures. It never even occurred to me that it might be a problem.

It appears that there’s no concept of an “action” across hierarchies other than armatures, which would mean that rigs with extra objects cannot use the action system. Would that be a fair statement?

It also appears that armatures combine all bone animation into a single NLA track, while the rest of the rig parts have their own separate tracks, which turns the editor into a large mess very quickly. Is there some method to combine animation data of a non-armature hierarchy into a single NLA strip? Should I just forget about these fancy systems when not working with pure armatures?

Oh right, there’s a rigging section on this forum too. Would have been more appropriate to post there. In any case, this doesn’t seem to be possible or at least is very well hidden.