Bulky, so they take up room in your pack, same goes for the exterior, and they are always snagging bush.
If you own an HMG Porter, this system works well.
The Porter Stuff Pocket is a pretty much necessary add on to these packs, and if you have one, stuffing the PFD behind it is a great way to keep things sleek.
However, the plastic gimcracks that hold the pocket to the daisy chains on the pack are fiddly at best, and pretty much eliminate any sort of quick release function.
Solution: use some accessory 'biners (I like the plastic Black Diamonds)to attach the pocket to the daisy chains. You can cut the old plastic ones off if you like.
Now, you can place the PFD under the pocket, and use the pocket to hold the FD in place and out of the way. Depending on the PFD, you can vary the placements of the pocket straps to the daisy chains quickly and easily.
Speaking of PFDs, while the Astral V8 seems to be a standard light weight, it does lack back protection and a bit of buoyancy.
You can pick and chose from many excellent (heavy, bulky) rescue PFDs, but for remote trips, my own philosophy is that if you are getting into situations where a rescue PFD seems like a necessity, you are either willing to carry a lot more weight and bulk than I am, or, maybe consider scaling back the gnar.
Regardless, after much research, I settled on the NRS Ion as a good compromise PFD. Its not a rescue PFD, but it does have good back protection and high buoyancy. Bonus, its not much heavier than the V8, and its not bulky. No zippers to mess with either.
|This can be tidied up by tucking the straps behind, but you get the idea.|
|BD accessory 'biner.|