There are many different types of boats out there for different purposes. There is the recreational kayak/canoe market for occasional recreational use, then there is a another class of canoes/kayaks for the hard core expedition type people. A good example of expedition type canoes can be found here ( http://www.krugercanoes.com/Products.html
). Every year there is a 340 mile race down the Missouri river called the MR340 ( http://rivermiles.com/mr340/
). And down here in Florida there is another one called the EC challenge (http://www.watertribe.org
). If you go to those web sites you can see what types of boats are typically used and what is popular in the expedition world (if that's your thing). I have been following the Watertribe for a long time now, and think they are a great bunch of people.
I have read about on this forum of several people who have done the Mississippi in Hobie Oasis boats. There is another guy and his wife on this forum who did the Murray river in Australia (about 1400 miles) in their Oasis.
As a former expedition canoe guy myself (now I'm a sailing kayak expedition type guy lol), running the Mississippi ( I spent most of my life in that area) is on my bucket list. The only boat my wife and I would choose for such a trip would be the Hobie Tandem Island. One thing about the Mirage boats that you will discover is these types of boats will extend your comfortable range exponentially. Both of us can pedal 10 hrs, then get up the next day and do it again. You use a different much stronger muscle group pedaling, and any of these boats paddle similar to any other kayak or canoe, so you can alternate between two different muscle groups, which is huge when on multiday excursions.
BTW, longer boats are always faster, because of the physics of how water and propulsion works, regardless of the boat type.
When in very shallow or rocky water you simply pull the mirage drives and paddle just like any other kayak or canoe. When the water gets deep enough to pedal, you put the mirage drives back in and pedal, at much greater speed, and 1/3 the effort (in our opinion). When wind is available all of our boats are equipped with sails so when the conditions are right we sail when we can. The sails on these boats are extremely simple to operate, and no sailing experience is necessary (most people learn how to sail these things in a few minutes, "really simple, and no previous sailing experience is necessary"). If not using the sails you just stow them on the side of the boat (that's what we do). If you search " Tandem Island" on Youtube you can see thousands of videos of people with their Tandem Islands using them for just about anything you can imagine. They are truly the SUV of the industry and todays most popular multi use family boat, if this is what you are looking for. My opinion is the Hobie Oasis is a very good choice also, we owned one for many years and used the heck out of it. The Hobie Revolution is like a Ferrari sports car (we have had a couple Revo's), very fast and nimble, and also a great boat. I'm not knocking any of Hobies models, they are all good, but all have different purposes for different people, I have heard that the PA is the ultimate fishing machine for lake fishing, bar none, for those people that fish (I only underwater spear fish myself, "up close and personal with the fish LOL"), so others will need to clue you in on the PA's capabilities, as well as some of the other Hobie models like the Outback, Outfitter, Sport, etc, etc. Basically anything Hobie is the best you can get anywhere on the market, you will have to experience and realize this yourself once you join the 'Hobie way of life'. You have no idea what your getting yourself into here, until you take the plunge like the rest of us did. ( LOL)
Hope this helps