Automatically inflating life jackets are a must in cold water environments and for folks who might have trouble finding an inflator cord to pull if the situation required. We chose these Onyx A/M 24 life jackets
because these are self-inflating, low profile, and very comfortable to wear for hours at a time. We also liked how we could get different colored vests for each person for easy identification. We tested the vests out and these vests work great and are very fast inflating. The other great thing about these low profile vests is they are comfortable to wear even in warm weather and do not get in the way of paddling or photography activities.
On the negative side, rearming kits are not inexpensive, running around $15-20 each. Also, since the vests automatically inflate, this might not be the best choice for white water conditions. Though, the automatic inflation feature can be disabled if the need arises.