Hig and Erin JUST finished an 800-mile walk & pack raft trip around Cook Inlet:
With a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old along! They stayed at our place in April and have blogged their progress as they went.
They had to be off the water in rough weather. They had to go to water to get past various headlands and mud flats. They needed to keep the weight way down because Erin carries Katmai on her back and, as she puts it, that's 24 pounds with no multiple uses. So Hig is packing most of the gear and food for 4 people.
So it's that combo of needing to hike, needed to be on the water, and lightweight that points towards pack rafts.
But you have to accept the pack raft's slower paddling speed, reduced weight/people capacity, and poor directional stability.
Also, while BW is justifiable famous, the OTHER wilderness canoe-trails area in the country is in the Kenai WIldlife Refuge on the Kenai Peninsula (my backyard). You can go out for an overnight, a week or two weeks. If you paddle for 2 hours past the first few lakes, you often see no one else. You can paddle the Swanson River if you like 30-mile, 18-hour-long days (I do). Pretty much anyone who asks nicely can borrow my canoe (Mad RIver 15.5-foot, 53 pounds), paddles, etc. I guess I'm a "canoe-trail angel". There are rental canoes available but they're crap - Coleman tupperware boats with many cupholders but no portage yoke.
The choice of guidebook is easy, because there is only one:
Amazon offers "look inside" on this book and you can see a couple of the overview maps.
but amazon.com has weirdly high prices for it, probably because it is semi-self-published and local bookstores get it direct from the author. River City Books in Soldotna, Alaska (907-260-7722) keeps it in stock, $18.95 and could send it out to you.