I have not had any previous problems with apparel from Columbia, but when I am out paddling on a cold creek at night, in 20 degree weather, I want to be equipped with the absolute best gear I can obtain. I view apparel as another form of gear - it is essential to safe, successful paddling in demanding conditions.
This vest performs very well. It is light, roomy, comfortable, and dries quickly. I have used it in moderately cold conditions (air temp 40-50F) and it worked well. The zipper does not have a layer of fabric behind the zipper, but this is not a problem in the moderate temps described above.
The standup collar works nicely and the MTR material is very comfortable next to the skin. I have "sweated it through" when paddling upstream, and it retained substantial warmth when wet and dried quickly.
The torso and pocket zippers are quality plastic. Plastic feels much better than metal when cold. The two hand pocket zippers close with a downward pull-proper design for an outdoor garment.
This vest does everything Columbia advertises it to do. I highly recommended it.