Very nice, indeed. I had thought that the plate's edges would be a bit uncomfortable through my thin tee shirt. However, this wasn't the case at all. In fact, I hardly noticed the plate at all.
My first time in years wearing a crotch strap! (I have always eschewed them.) However, the crotch strap presented no problem, no discomfort, whatsoever, and worked as advertised during my inverted surface dives, despite my somewhat loose shoulder straps.
The PRAM, now in a lower and closer position, breathed wonderful. However, I cannot honestly say whether it breathed *better* than when it was worn higher when used with my plastic backpack or my Freedom plate, since I had only completed a couple of short, shallow dives using that backpack/plate.
One surprise: I learned a long time ago that, when waiting at the surface in a heads up and fins down attitude, to place my arm through the DH loop while breathing through my snorkel. Did this again when I dove my PRAM during those earlier dives, when my PRAM sat higher (closer to my head). Still worked like a charm. Turns out, however, I'm not able to do this when using my VDH backplate. Since the reg sits lower on my back by a couple of inches, the mouthpiece now remains a bit too high when the loop is resting under my arm, and, so, the reg free-flows a bit. Not a serious problem, since pulling down just a bit on the mouthpiece stops the free-flow, but now a hand is occupied when before it wasn't.
Verdict: I enjoyed diving this package immensely! Can't wait for the next "sea trials" which will include a thin wet suit and a weight belt, and then, eventually, a low-lift BC (once I source one and a longer corrugated inflator hose to go with it).
Today I was finally able to dive my new VDH backplate. Same neighborhood quarry. Swim suit + tee shirt + mask + Jet fins + Riffe snorkel + PRAM + Al 63 + VDH backplate + single-piece harness + crotch strap. No BC. No weight belt (no weights--though I probably would have needed 1-2 lbs if I had drained my tank.)
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