There are several USA made items I would dearly want to try to get for myself for my EDC arsenal. There are a lot of interesting companies out there, but one especially has peaked my interest, and that is Prometheus Design Werx. Besides the well-known and loved morale patches that PDW is putting out all the time, they have some amazing looking gear and apparel too. But because of the high tolls and prices for shipping stuff from the US to Europe, so far I have been sticking to the morale patches.
Then I noticed that PDW recently added Equipt.se as one of their official retailers. And it is considerably more inexpensive to ship something to Finland from Sweden. So I finally got a chance to get something more than pictures of the Kraken, and after a hard choice between the PDW Beanie and the EWBC kit, I chose the latter.
Prometheus Design Werx (PDW) is a brand that might not really need any introduction. Then again, it was not too long ago when I did not know anything about them. I think was 2-3 years back when I was scouring the eBay, when I spotted my first PDW patches. Since then their website has gotten almost a weekly visit from me to check in what is new.
In short: PDW is an American company, that manufactures gear and apparel for everyday carry and outdoors adventures. They put a tremendous amount of thought into their products; in the design, the materials, even in the story and feel of the finished product. I think that everything they make is a well thought and designed piece of kit. Their products are not only great for the intended use, but also enjoyable aesthetically to the user.
Their story and principles are hard to fit into a short review like this, so go read all about it in their own website here.
The whole name of the compass is Expedition Watch Band Compass, or EWBC in short. In essence it is a small button compass, that comes with a detachable silicone carrier, if you buy the whole kit.
The compass itself is made of top grade materials that amount to exceptionally high performance for such a small item. Not to get my facts messed up, I will here quote the PDW website directly:
“…rated to a depth of 100M, cushioned in a GID silicone gasket and encapsulated by a precision milled 6061T6 Type III hard anodized billet case.”
Inside the compass is filled with oil, and the oil may naturally have bubbles in it. I actually do have some bubbles in the compass and at first I was a bit alarmed about it, but it seems I am not the first one to notice this! Also, the markings of the compass itself glow in the dark as well as the silicone casing of it.
The case of the compass is just over one inch in diameter and just under half an inch in depth. And it weights 0,56oz which is in proper European measures 15 grams. All this amounts to a small and unnoticeable little gadget, that can sustain a heck of a beating.
You can carry the compass on your wrist watches NATO strap at all times. The casing has a slot in the back that is meant for a 22mm strap.
The silicone carrier is another option. It can be mounted onto any molle loop, or other hardware loops of your choosing. You can buy a set where you get the compass and a carrier, but the carriers are sold separately as well. The carriers come in three different colours: green, high visibility orange and black.
The kit costs around 60 US dollars, if I am not totally mistaken. At the moment the original sets are sold out, and they constantly are. PDW published an “upgraded” version of the compass recently, with a casing made of titanium. Those run a bit more expensive, 114 dollars to be exact.
When I first unboxed the compass the quality was apparent from the package alone. The kit comes in a dark grey plastic container with the PDW logo on it, that can be used to store the compass when not in use. When taking the compass itself out of the box, you see that you have not paid too much for “just a compass”. The EWBC is a class piece of kit, through and through.
So far I have only taken it out a couple of times. My NATO strap is a bit too small for the compass, only 20mm wide. But despite that I have worn it with a few different watches on the strap and I have to say that i really looks cool. Especially with sportier metal cased watches, like my Junkers G38.
In EDC use it is, in my opinion, a bit unnecessary and actually quite bulky. With my narrow strap it tends to click onto my watch every now and then, which is quite annoying.
But with a proper sized strap it might be very useful in the field. Then again, I found it hard to level it when worn on a strap to give a proper reading, but maybe that’s just me. Well, for the purpose of showing off that you are an adventurous soul, it definitely does the trick!
I have had it a few times on the silicone carrier on a couple of small outings, lastly when we were on the Boxing day Excursion, and there it saw some real use.
I am not an expert in land navigation and orienteering, and in hindsight it would have been quite good to have a another compass with us to see how accurate the EWBC is in comparison. But as far as I can tell, it has a very good accuracy. We were not lost with the main directions even once when we were in the deep woods.
I read a review about the EWBC from the Pack Config, where Piotr Ma, who is clearly by far more experienced and professional than me, compared the EWBC to an US military M2 compass. He pointed out that the EWBC gave the same direction with the M2 every time, and that thing is crazy accurate. Check out his review here.
But when out with the compass, the silicone carrier is giving me a bit of a pause every now and then. The first time I had the compass set up on my Kifaru E&E shoulder strap with the carrier, the carrier got the tiniest tear on the outer rim of it already.
So far the tear has not expanded. Even so, I am a bit afraid that it might, and then because the compass is so light and small, it might drop from the carrier and disappear for good in the woods. Otherwise I like the carrier a lot. It makes the use of the compass easy and keeps it accessible at all times when on the move. I just wish it would be a bit more secure!
So all in all, this is an essential survival tool, one which wont let you down even when the shit really hits the fan. There are a lot of button compasses out there, but I think that with this kit you cannot go wrong.
Small and light
GID features makes it easy to operate in dark and dim light
Multiple attachment options
Really tough and durable
A bit bulky when worn on the wrist strap
Not so easy to read when on the wrist strap
The silicone carriers durability is worrying
And finally the “Five points assessment”:
Durability 5/5 for the compass and 3/5 for the carrier
Comfort 5/5 when in the carrier and 3/5 when worn on the strap.
Overall 24/25 in essence.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I purchased this product with my own funds. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
This review was first published in the Noble & Blue. Noble & Blue is a small Finnish outdoor and tactical gear reviewing blog, that also shares stories of learning and adventure. Click here to know more about Noble & Blue