You say you paddle with snobs - any chance you can test out their boats? I very much believe that you need to spend time in a boat to understand whether it will work for you. People here can suggest what works for them, and even what works for many, but you really are the only one that can decide what works for you. Even if it requires money renting boats from shops, traveling to demo days, etc., it is worth doing. But if you can at least sit in friend's boats to get a feel for where to start, that could save you some hassles.
That all said, in general, the British style boats (like from Valley, P&H, etc.) are designed with rough water touring in mind. These are likely the boats I would gravitate toward.
But even what some call the "American style" (think Necky Looksha series - long waterline, slightly higher back deck, rudder) could work fine for what you are doing (and generally have more carrying capacity).
PFD's (Life Jackets)
Cartop Kayak Carriers
Kayak & Canoe Covers
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