Review: EDC Guide Cloth

The Prometheus Design Werx range of leg wear, with its 4-way stretch Guide Cloth, that takes out both the utility and every day categories in one hit.

As soon as we hit mid to late Spring I switch over to wearing shorts. This lasts right through to the leaves falling off the trees in Autumn, or as far as I can push it! The only thing that breaks this streak is a serious drop in temperature (it is the U.K. after all) or the need to be smart weddings, graduations etc.

When it comes to clothes I keep it relatively minimal. I have two pairs of regular everyday shorts and a couple of pairs of “outdoorsy” shorts (quick drying and ripstop material). Between those my bases are covered for most of what I do. However I do find that my everyday shorts wear out and look scruffy quicker since Mini Config became part of our lives.

The EDC Shorts by Prometheus Design Werx (PDW) arrived at a great time for me. They’re the right balance of casual with subtle pockets (i.e. no bulky cargos) with a clean front panel.

Guide Cloth:
What potentially didn’t arrive in time is this review! I’m sure you’re thinking, “So Mr Pack Config, why are you reviewing shorts when we’re coming into winter??!”. We’ll other than the fact that I’m still regularly wearing shorts, PDW have released a trouser (pants) version of the EDC range, also in guide cloth as these short are.

While I can’t personally speak for the additional knee protection or leg fit, they are essentially the same from the knee upwards (where most of the key features lie), so many of my thoughts are applicable across both items. Regardless, I hope I can help you make an informed decision, whether you opt for calf protection or not.

Spot cleaning:
I’m sure that most mothers and fathers will identify with me on this, but having a 3-year-old son means my clothing is often on the frontline of childhood. Sticky faces, spilt juice (or beer when they decide to climb on you), or fingers ladened with mud, blood or snotty tears are the every day assaults my clothing faces.

With that in mind, items worn every day need to either hide the dirt, or be easily “spot cleaned”. Spot cleaning is something I’ve invented (or more likely discovered) as a parent. It starts with a finger nail scratch. If this doesn’t work it escalates to a spit and rub, then baby wipes, baby wipes plus water, water plus a tiny amount of washing liquid with a rubbing ball and finally defeat – AKA a washing machine.

These shorts have been “spot cleaned” with varying levels success at each level. The bigger picture result is that they still look great after any of these stages and that’s something I look for in new items of clothing.

The DWR treatment is going strong after three full machine washes which is great. I wondered if having water repellent shorts was a little extreme for ‘everyday’ wear. Stuff dries eventually, right?

However, it’s actually been a welcome extra for those inevitable we-have-a-small-child-who-will-almost-daily-splash-some-kind-of-liquid-on-you spillages. Plus, living in the U.K., shorts weather doesn’t always mean hot and sunny. Being one of those stiff-upper-Brits who will wear shorts in the rain because it’s Summer, I’ve had several opportunities to admire this feature in wet conditions too.

There are two triangular carabiner/lanyard attachment points, or ‘delta wings’ hanging down from the front most belt loops. Being positioned over two welt pockets (more on those later) they would be suited to those would like a hanging key change or something on the end of a clipped lanyard.

I don’t really go for that sort of thing, so they don’t pose as massively helpful to me. But having had and used D-rings like these on other items of outdoor clothing, I can justify them for the odd occasions I’d use them.

My slight gripe with these shorts, is that these clip points are the only thing that limited the shorts from passing as semi smart (as a self employed designer I’m often pushing that line!). This feature just takes them just that smidge into the domain of utility. But the reality is that my day to day life doesn’t require ‘smart’, so I find myself fully accepting of them.

These shorts boast a total of 11 pockets, which makes their overall streamline design an even greater achievement. The first thing I noticed about these is the super soft brushed polyester lining. I guess it might give a bit of grip to keep things inside, but it’s really just a nice touch. Frequenting sandy play parks as we do, I find sand sticks to this liner ever so slightly more than other materials, but all of the pockets can be easily turned completely out and de-sanded without much effort.

The front welt pockets are just right for fitting a smart phone into. While I usually carry mine in the standard hip/side pocket location, I’ll often slip it into these welts for convenient retrieval later. I’ll do the same temporary storing of things like keys, bits of paper and even larger things like a Leatherman when I’m working on something, but in general I keep them empty (or ready for an impromptu item).

Onto the side pockets. I personally prefer the jean style horizontal opening pocket to this chino/smart trouser style diagonal cut, so I had my hesitations. However I haven’t had the usual issues of my EDC items slipping out, so maybe the brushed liner does work in my favour!

The bottom edge of each pocket has what PDW call a Pocket Clip Dock™, which are one of those unique pieces of design that set this EDC range apart.

As a designer I carry a mediumly pricey multi-pen everyday, as I’m constantly flipping between mechanical pencil and different colours of ink. I’ve had numerous occasions where the clip has caught on my coat or something else and popped out of my pocket. One time the clip snapped clean off and I ended up needing a replacement.

These clip docks prevent this from happening and also save walls, cars and other surfaces that might suffer from someone brushing past with metal clips sticking out of their pocket.

They can also house a smaller torch or maybe a USB or E&E tools if you really wanted. They basically act as a little sleeping bag for your gear!

The back pockets are angular and follow the shape of the shorts, making them really low profile. I tend to not have the button done up on these as they sit closed pretty well, especially with my tiny Recycled FireFighter wallet in there, but it’s good to have that extra security option.

The buttons here and above the fly (which is of course a robust “US Defense Contractor” zipper) are slotted over what looks like gutted paracord, meaning the button would snap before it worked loose. I’ve had to stitch a button back on a pair of shorts before, so this is not at all over kill.

Below these back pockets are two additional ‘welt’ style pockets that can fit most smart phones and most magazines. Personally I’m not a firearms owner, nor do I think walking around with spare mags hanging out of your pockets is particularly “everyday carry”, however I know my US brothers and sisters would benefit from these pockets on “range days”.

I don’t sit, or even move, carefully enough to keep my phone in a pocket so low down, but it is nice to have options when it comes to pockets. Particularly when I want to store that dirty baby wipe somewhere other than with my hankie!

Finally, there is a hidden pocket stitched into the rear waistband. This can be pulled out while the shorts are on you which is handy, but I have found this slightly frustrating. When I get dressed, this pocket can sometimes not stay tucked in and I can find myself walking around with it sticking out.

I’ve got used to making sure it’s tucked in now, but it could potentially use a small paracord loop on the bottom with a button to attach it to or something like that.

I actually thought I’d never use this pocket, but I did use it while on holiday to store my sons access wristband for a place we were visiting. It had fallen off him while we were playing in the sea and so I tucked it in there to keep it safe.

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I’ve worn these shorts pretty much all Summer. Unless they’ve been seriously dirty, or in the wash, they’ve been around my waist. They’re designed with every day wear in mind, so they’re not for hiking through thorny undergrowth. That said they’ve held up well to their fair share of wear and tear, as well as family walks, the beach and some of the most testing children’s climbing apparatus we could find (thanks to the diamond gusseted crotch… Apologies for the next photo but it felt necessary)!

Here’s the clincher: they are the most comfortable shorts I’ve ever owned. I read people raving about the comfort of these so much that I found myself possibly the most sceptical I have ever felt. Until I put them on. I can’t wait to pick up some of their Guide Cloth EDC Pants, because I need this level of comfort all year round.

PDW offer what I call in-between waist sizes which has been heavenly. I am well and truly a 33″ waist. 32″ always feels too tight after a whole day and 34″ is ever so slightly too baggy. Having never owned a 33″ waisted item I couldn’t be sure, but now I’ve discovered what that feels like, I’m not sure I could go back. Thank you PDW!

Due to the 4-way stretch material, these have been a great balance between fitted and yet comfortable all day long. Coupled with a fabric that is warm when it needs to be but breathable in the heat, these shorts are an all round winner.

So if you’re one of those blessed people living in a consistently warm climate or you want to be prepare for next year, pick up a pair of these shorts. If you’re like me and can’t wait until the Spring, pick up their EDC Pants instead. You will not be disappointed, and you’ll find out what all the fuss is about!

The product(s) being tested and reviewed here were exchanged for the service of producing this review.

Editor: For the reason I've intentionally not stated this product as having been received for free please read my Review Process comments on our About page. All of our contributors write without the pressure to review favourably, regardless of how they've been obtained. Most often we like to write about products or brands we already love but I always make every effort to make sure our reviews are honest.