I've been using the Astral Green Jacket rescue PFD for two seasons now. I use it for everyday paddling as well as teaching River Rescue courses.
The thing I love most about it is the way it fits. It's comfortable and it doesn't get in the way of my range of motion. It's also been very durable, which is really important to me.
|When teaching rescue, I am constantly swimming out into the river and pulling myself up onto rocks. The jacket gets a lot of abrasion from the rocks, and mine is still going strong after two full seasons. The front pocket is slightly worn, but that's it. I know rescue vests are more expensive then others, but this one makes up for it in the long run.
|Fit: Easy to put on and really comfortable. Doesn't impede paddling movement at all.
|I love the tether pockets, but the zippers tend to open sometimes. I have to keep checking to be sure they stay zipped.
Durability: I'm pretty hard on my gear, and this jacket gets a thumbs up.
Pockets for the tether keep the tether out of the way. Available on both sides too. I use the other one to hold a couple of biners.
|When using the throw rope that fits behind the front pocket, it was too bulky and got in the way of paddling and rolling. It's a great idea, but it didn't work for me. Plenty of people use them and don't have the same problem, so maybe it's me.
Large front pocket for stuff
I will never buy a different PFD until Astral comes out with one even better.
I hate it when my jacket messes with my range of motion. The Astral is comfortable, bouyant, and durable, and it has useful features.