Carrying not an issue
I am guessing that you haven’t looked enoungh at canoes to understand how they carry with a yoke. Something like a pack canoe, say the Placid Boat Works smaller solo canoes, are low enough profile to paddle with a double blade like a kayak and are quite easy for even small people to heft and carry.
You also don’t need to carry a kayak - you slide it up and down off the roof and move it between car and launch with a kayak cart, wheels that sit under one end.
Now - all that said, if your target paddling area is the Adirondack lakes you’ll find that there are a lot of routes with some portaging (carrying). In that area the canoe still rules for longer trips because canoes work better for portaging than kayaks.
There is a Paddle Fest, run by Mountain Man out of Old Forge in the Adirondacks, running the weekend after this coming. Friday pm, all day Sat and Sun of demos and people to talk to about boats. I’d strongly suggest that you try to get to that. get into some boats and see what all of this is about first hand. Since it’s early season, the rates for a place to stay in the area aren’t bad.
Carrying not an issue
MANY people on here paddle, live
near or will paddle the Adirondacks.I would ask that as a seperate question.
PS: A tandem boat will test the strength of your relationship.
SOB or SOT?
Each has it’s own virtues and shortcomings. Think on this: what temps do you kayak in? how cold is the water? how fast do you want to go? how well do you kayak and how well will you want to kayak? etc, etc.
I paddle a RTM Disco SOT (rotomolded. It’s quite fast for a poly SOT but narrower than most at, 26" wide. Makes for moderate or less primary stability, but very good secondary. Loves sloppy or confused seas and tracks very well. It’s a good fishing yak too. I suggest you read as much as you can before buying anything and try to test paddle as many as you can…it’s the only way to really tell what you will like. And think about what boat will provide you with as much of your demands as possible, though no boat is great at everything (always a compromise).
SOT’s are great for easy boating; inexpensive,tough, laid back, easy to re-enter in deep water, fun, etc. SOB’s (I’m assuming you mean sit inside) give better protection vs the cold air and water, more expensive, more difficult to re-enter, fun but not as care free, you may need a skirt or spray shield, etc.
For fishing, SOT’s are really nice
and as far as the cold weather, I am in roughly the same area as you (cold winters) and I paddle my SOT almost exclusively in the winter.
It’s counterintuitive, but I paddle alone a lot and the added stability of the SOT, plus the faster and easier self-rescue are major points for me to consider when doing winter paddling. I’d really hate to flip in my SINK and try to self-rescue quickly.
Yes, the ride is a little bit colder, but with the proper gear, I barely even notice it. Sometimes I’m even sitting in a small bit of water and with my wetsuit and splash pants, it doesn’t bother me a bit.
And if you’re doing up to Class II, SOT’s are really fun going through small rapids in the summer and getting splashed and cooled off. I like all 3 of my kayaks, but I probably use my SOT the most.