With regards to skin-on-frame boats, I have a TRAK (16′, 1st gen). I can confirm that it is very much a “real” sea-kayak in terms of performance, handling, and set-up. I have paddled it in wind, waves, and with other paddlers in hard-shells. It will keep up on a day paddle, overnight, or weekend paddle (maintaining a 3 NM/H pace without heroic effort).
I cannot confirm it will be suitable for anything beyond a week. According to TRAK and their professional paddlers it can handle a multi-week trip. I have no reason to not believe them. I’m just saying I can’t confirm it personally.
I will echo Quirine’s comment about her Feathercraft that mine did not get as much use as I originally imagined, when it was sitting in my closet. It got way more use when it was fully assembled and sitting on the roof of my car, where it reminded me daily that I could be out paddling.
— Extended Discussion —
SoF boats do not have bulkheads, so packing and unpacking them is a huge PITA (and that is even with the convenience of the rear deck “zipper” access on the TRAK). Packed properly, you are no less safe with dry bags and a sea sock to ensure you are not flooded in a capsize. It’s just additional work loading and unloading your boat at launch and landing.
16′ (IMHO) gets tight for longer than 5 days. It’s not the gear you have to worry over. Clothes and camping gear remain fairly constant whether it’s overnight, a weekend, or longer. It’s volume requirements for fuel, food, and to a greater extent, water, that expands the longer and further you go out. You pretty much have to stick to backpacking style, freeze-dried everything, on trips where your companions are eating food with the water still in it. If that’s fun for you, no problem. I personally appreciate good food on Day 5 and beyond if at all possible.
For anyone considering buying a TRAK, I bought mine direct from TRAK at an end-of-season sale, that netted me the “nice” golf-bag kit, sea sock (a MUST have), and discount. Even with that, I experienced a bit of buyer’s remorse when I saw people posting their TRAK boats on Craigslist for about 3/4 of what I paid.
In summary, I like paddling my TRAK. It performs every bit as well as you’ve heard. Load it like any other real sea kayak and it behaves wonderfully. Unloaded, it is lighter than a Kevlar boat and easy to car top. The rub is just about everything else that isn’t those 2 things.
Finally, do not in any way let me persuade you for or against getting a TRAK. I post this simply to make it clear that I think this particular SoF is a “real” kayak, albeit with its own specific limitations.