Thank you for your input so far, I do own a Kona Operator which is my park bike/bike for really gnarly stuff.
But I really understand the issue with feeling beat up after a day on rowdy trails aboard a hardtail. I always thought it happens because of smaller wheels and a shorter frame, and therefore, because of a more compact riding position that is a bit the opposite of a more relaxed body language, longer frames with modern reach feel more relaxed and makes for a better ride, I think. Could be wrong though.
I got a gravel bike that doubles as my commuter if I should ever start to really bike pack. The hardtail or full-suspension bike would really only be used for singletrack surfing and the annual trip to the Alps and Finale Ligure, and the local areas, which range from proper mtb trails to old and forgotten forest service roads. Kind of like in England.