DPx H.E.S.T. Original Review

Multi-functionality in tools is at the top of the list among survivalists. We were recently able to review a tool that epitomizes that philosophy: the DPx Gear H.E.S.T. knife. H.E.S.T is an acronym for Hostile Environment Survival Tool. The H.E.S.T. knife was developed by Robert Young Pelton, an author, journalist, documentary filmmaker, and an all-around adventurer. Most of his work consists of war zone or conflict reporting with Political or Military figures. He has built a reputation of reporting in areas that would strike fear in even the bravest of journalist. Because of his experience in high-risk environments, he authored a political and survival manual called The Worlds Most Dangerous Places. These travels led Pelton to develop an multi-purpose survival tool that would become the H.E.S.T Original.
My first impression of the knife was it's small, lightweight (4.9ounces), but with a rugged build. Pelton's reasoning behind the length of the knife came by way of local laws in different countries he traveled. He needed a knife that wouldn't get him thrown behind bars if revealed. I know this to be true from my own world travels. Some countries' law enforcement officials frown upon large robust blades. He also wanted to eliminate the aggravation of carrying multiple items to fill different tasks.
Shown in sheath attached to
MOLLE webbing

The knife is manufactured by Ontario Knife Company. Ontario has been a contract supplier to the U.S. Military for many years and are known to produce high quality knives. The H.E.S.T. Original has an overall length of 7.63 inches with a blade length of 3.13 inches. The knife is constructed of 1095 high carbon and tempered spring steel with a 57-58Rc hardness. 1095 is a steel that can easily be sharpened or touched up in the field. With a 3/16" width, this knife is ready for hard use. To aid in corrosion resistance as well as light-discipline in tactical environments, the blade has a black textured powder coating. The coating reminds me of "non-skid" applied to the Helo landing pads on ships. Needless to say- its extremely tough.

The knife is housed in a DeSantis Kydex Sheath that is MOLLE compatible. The sheath can also be rigged for standard "on the belt" carry. It's easily affixed or removed by its "pull the dot" straps. Tension can also be applied or released by a screw on the sheath. This will ensure a snug fit as well as eliminating any rattling (common with many kydex sheaths on the market).

The H.E.S.T. Original surprised me with its ergonomics. Many knives in this size range compromise handle length. This wasn't the case with H.E.S.T. Original. I felt as if my hand molded around the handle. There is jimping(ridges) on the spine of the knife to help when direct pressure cutting. My trigger finger fell into place on the finger groove at the front hilt.

The handles are made of green canvas micarta and feature rounded edges for comfort. They are held in place by a brilliant offset of brass hardware. Another feature I enjoy is the DPx Gear "laughing skull" logo etched into the micarta.
Hollowed storage compartment
Another key feature is the integrated storage compartments by way of hollowed sections in the micarta scales. To keep me from having to carry a screwdriver to access much needed survival supplies, I attached a stainless steel washer to the lanyard to be used to unscrew the brass hardware. I was able to store a button compass, ferro rod, and two pieces of waterproof tinder inside the compartment.
No bottle key?
No problem

Moving on to functionality. The H.E.S.T. Original has a bottle opener notch in the spine of the blade. I tested the notch out and it worked albeit differently than your standard bottle opener. It more or less peels the tops off rather than "popping" them off. I didn't see this as a problem because at the end of the day it works and works well.

There is also a wire breaker or wire stripper at the base of the cutting edge. At the rear of the handle is a pry bar. I believe we all at one time or another broke the tip off of a blade misusing it as a pry bar. Very innovative to say the least. On initial impression I believed the pry bar would become a hindrance when using the knife. Much to my surprise the pry bar gives a positive control when using the H.E.S.T. Original.
When the handles are removed the H.E.S.T. becomes a true skeleton knife. This enables it to be used as a neck knife, spear, or cut some weight by wrapping a paracord handle (as shown above).

I've used the H.E.S.T. in the field and daily duties, and it excelled in all situations. For example, I used the H.E.S.T. in the field on an overnight excursion. It was the only blade I carried, and I was able to prepare feather sticks and kindling for firecraft. On the menu that night was a few bluegill that the H.E.S.T cleaned with precision. It has all the versatility one could want without being gimmicky. Because of size and weight it would make an excellent EDC (Every Day Carry) tool- able to tackle a wide variety of tasks. It will definitely be the knife I pack when heading out of the country. I'm very impressed by its design, functionality, fit, and finish.

Do yourself a favor and browse the DPx Gear website and check out some of their other knife/gear offerings as well as some interesting articles. The H.E.S.T. Original retails for $123.75 and can be found at the DPx Gear Store.


  1. Nice review. The HEFT has just shot to the top of my interest list.

    1. Thanks, appreciate it. Yeah the HEFT is pretty sweet looking knife.

  2. What size ferro rod were you able to store in the compartment?