DPx HEST 2.0 Review

A hard use frame lock with multi-tool capabilities, the DPx HEST is a unique offering from a small company with an interesting pedigree. The HEST is designed by journalist Robert Young Pelton, who is known for traveling to dangerous places and going after the stories few journalists dare to pursue. RYP designed the HEST for those kinds of dangerous excursions and his adventurous spirit is reflected in nearly every aspect of the knife. In fact, DPx stands for “Dangerous Places Extreme” and HEST stands for “Hostile Environment Survival Tool.”

While I can’t say that I took my HEST 2.0 to any dangerous places or particularly hostile environments, but I did EDC the knife for a while. So with that in mind I’ll attempt to uncover some of the nuances of this unique offering from DPx.

General Dimensions and Blade Details

The HEST has an overall length of 7.63″, has a 3.1″ blade, and it weighs 5.1 ounces. 5.1 ounces may seem kind of chunky on paper, but honestly the HEST feels fairly light for it’s size. Or maybe I’ve just been spending too much time playing around with incredibly beefy Zero Tolerance folders… either way I think the HEST is not too big for EDC although it’s definitely billed as a hard use tool and will be overkill for most typical urban and suburban EDC tasks. I also want to mention that the HEST has been manufactured by LionSteel, an Italian knife manufacturer known for their innovative designs and high quality cutlery.

DPx Hest 2.0

The blade is a modified drop point defined by a massive belly forming a needle sharp tip. I like the bold and aggressive lines – it’s a unique shape for sure. Adding further interest to the knife is the 5mm thick blade stock. This is quite impressive for a medium sized folding knife, and reinforces the hard use mantra RYP ascribes to. The knife has been given a high flat grind, so it’s still a decent slicer. Rounding things off is a bottle opener. I typically carry a small bottle opener on my keys, but you can never have too many cap lifters and it’s inclusion makes for a memorable blade shape.

DPx Hest 2.0 Blade

DPx selected D2 tool steel for the HEST, and I like their choice. D2 is often referred to as a “semi-stainless” steel. It’s actually a high carbon tool steel, but it will not rust as easily as say, 1095. What I like about D2 is the great combination of edge retention and toughness it offers. It will still rust however, so I’m glad DPx went with a high quality Diamond Like Carbon (DLC) blade coating – it both looks good and will make maintenance a little easier.

Handle, Ergonomics and Pocket Clip

The HEST features a thick olive drab G10 scale on one side of the handle. On the other side, the HEST has a full titanium slab which doubles as the frame lock. I really like the way the handle has been finished. The G10 has been crisply contoured and the titanium slab has been given a beautiful stonewash. Everything bolts together with a partial backspacer. The handle slabs are nice and thick, and there is a real feeling of quality with the way this handle has been put together.

DPx Hest 2.0 Handle

The DPx HEST benefits from a solid ergonomic plan. First of all, the handle is a good size and it’s shaped in a way to capture your fingers. There is also a nice thumb ramp with excellent jimping that doubles as a set of wire strippers. I’m not sure how well it actually strips wire, but it does a great job of holding your thumb in place. The G10 is roughly textured but the knife feels very comfortable thanks to the well contoured edges.

The knife feels good in reverse grip too, provided you do not have the optional glass breaker in place. The glass breaker actually holds the pocket clip in place, so DPx also includes a flat replacement screw and a little one piece multi-tool that works to replace the glass breaker, remove the pocket clip and adjust the pivot screw. I’d recommend swapping out the glass breaker if you plan on using this knife in reverse grip a lot.

DPx Hest 2.0 Pocket Clip

Speaking of pocket clips, the HEST has a nice deep carry clip. I’m not a huge fan of how the “H.E.S.T.” insignia is emblazoned on the clip, but the hardened stainless steel clip is nicely stonewashed to match the handle slab and does offer great retention in the pocket. As for mounting options, it’s right side tip up carry only. DPx also offers a left-handed version for southpaws like myself.

Deployment and Lockup

The HEST makes use of ambidextrous thumb studs for deployment, which are large and easy to get at. DPx also selected teflon washers for the knife, which personally I’m not a huge fan of. Now, I’ve received some interesting feedback from readers in defense of the teflon washers, and I agree that they do make for a smooth deployment. I prefer phosphor bronze washers because they are more durable, only get smoother with time, and generally like to flick open faster. But I also acknowledge that some people prefer teflon, and they are found in a good number of high end knives (especially Japanese and European folders). So teflon washers must be good for something, right? So I will leave this as an “it is what it is” situation. If you like teflon washers then you will love the HEST 2.0.

DPx Hest 2.0 Frame Lock

Unfortunately, lockup also raises a couple issues with the HEST. One thing I noticed about my particular knife is that the lock sticks a little. It’s mildly annoying, but in my opinion it’s better than blade play (or even worse, total failure of the lock). After posting my video review of the knife I received a couple suggestions to apply graphite to the lock face. This actually eliminated my sticky lock issue, which is great, but I wonder how long this fix will last. So far so good, but I can’t say the initial lockup inspired a ton of confidence. For this reason, I avoid using the bottle opener feature as a wave to rapidly deploy the knife. Given my already shaky experience with the lock I didn’t feel like the knife was really designed for the stress of being repeatedly waved open. I know some (many?) will disagree, and that is fine.

I also noticed that several people have mentioned that their HEST 2.0’s exhibit some blade play. I didn’t experience that with my knife, but having noticed that my lock sticks a little I could see how play might develop. I know some people like to use the bottle opener as a wave feature – guys, I do not recommend waving this knife or being overly rough with deployment. Most framelocks can’t take being flicked open repeatedly and I don’t think repeatedly subjecting your HEST to the force of waving the knife open is a good idea if you want your frame lock to go the distance.

DPx Hest 2.0 Roto-Block

Finally, I wanted to mention the RotoBlock, which is a cool innovation from LionSteel. Basically it acts as a lockbar stabilizer (which prevents over-extension of the lock upon disengagement), but it can also be cinched down to keep the lock from accidentally disengaging. This is a neat little invention and I’m happy to see it on the knife.

DPx HEST 2.0 – Final Thoughts

All in all I like the HEST 2.0. When you consider the high quality materials, interesting design and beautiful finishes it’s almost hard to believe the knife can be had for $175 brand new. There are a lot of little things that set the HEST apart from the pack, and I like the bold lines and aggressive look of this knife. One thing I don’t normally talk about is the packaging. The HEST comes in a beautiful box with a nice manual. The inclusion of the little skull multi-tool is another nice touch. It’s obvious a lot of pride went into the design and implementation of this knife.

However, I have to admit I’m somewhat concerned about my lock. A sticky lock isn’t dangerous, but it is annoying. I was able to stop the lock from sticking by adding some graphite to the lock face, but am not sure how great of a fix this is. I’m also suspicious of blade play developing, as I’ve heard that is possible from a couple reputable sources.

So the HEST is a cool knife, but it’s not perfect. If an extremely consistent frame lock is important to you, I might recommend something like the rock-solid Zero Tolerance 0550 or the wonderfully done Spyderco Sage 2 instead. Or if you are in love with the design, perhaps consider one of the many cool fixed blade versions of the knife. That said, I still think that the HEST has its merits. If you like the design it’s a cool knife and that is worth considering.

I recommend purchasing the HEST at BladeHQ or Amazon. Please consider that purchasing anything through any of the links on this website helps support BladeReviews.com, and keeps the site going. As always, any and all support is greatly appreciated. Thank you very much.

DPx Hest 2.0 on BladeHQ
DPx Gear HEST 2.0 – $175.00
Retail Price: $218.75
You Save: $43.75
from: BladeHQ

Amazon Image
If you enjoyed this review, get email updates (it's free).
Never miss a review again.
This entry was posted in Hard Use Folding Knives, LionSteel, Titanium Frame Lock Knives, Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to DPx HEST 2.0 Review

  1. Roadkill says:

    Interesting design and certainly distinctive looks. Sticky lock? That’s a deal breaker. If I’m going to pay over 100 bucks for a knife, the lock up better be awesome. Last one like that got sold and I will not be doing any business with that company ever again.

    Great review. The fixed blades look interesting for this too.

    • Dan says:

      Thanks RK! Yeah man for some people a sticky lock is completely unacceptable, and I totally understand (and I also tend to agree – it greatly diminished my enjoyment of the knife). DPx is refining this design, maybe they will release a HEST 2.5 or something eventually and get it totally sorted out. I understand that carbidizing is supposed to help with sticky titanium locks (and improve lock integrity all around). Maybe they just need to carbidize these at the factory.

      And I totally agree – the fixed blades look really cool, I might have to pick up one or two for a future review.

  2. Lew says:

    I don’t own any knives with a titanium lock (yet) but from what I understand from handling my friends Striders, Emersons etc is that a sticky lock is more or less a given due to the difference in lubricity between steel and titanium. This can be overcome with coatings but graphite (usually just a pencil) can also overcome this. Like so many mechanical things (firearms, cars, even boots) maybe all that it takes for this lock to un-f!!k itself is just time and a bit of TLC?

    The teflon bushings, now thats a different question. I believe you’re quite right in saying they have nothing to do on a knife of this price but remember that not all washers/bushings are created equal. The phosphor-bronze washers on my Spydie Tenacious were as thin as tin foil and needed a run on sandpaper to get rid of the crude stamping “beard”*, the bushings on my Grip were not only proper gauge but also polished quite nicely. I believe a teflon solution done well is better than a poorly executed pho-bro (I’m coining that now), much like a good heat-treated AUS-8 will be better than a piece of 154CM done in a less-than-proper fashion.

    *That very knife, I consider him the red-headed stepchild of my collection, also required a good clean and a couple of drops of BreakFree SMX before working properly. Lucky for him he still looks bad-ass (and the resale value is less than once-used toilet paper anyway).

    • Dan says:

      Hey Lew,

      As for as the sticky lock up being due to differences in friction between the two materials, well, perhaps – but I’ve also handled a number of titanium frame locks at this point without any such issues. The graphite helped a lot, but I noticed the lock bar now slides up and down slightly – that troubles me from the perspective of the potential for blade play to develop.

      I agree, well done teflon washers can be better than poorly done phosphor bronze washers, but with the overall fit of finish and build quality being so high, I’d assume that LionSteel knows how to properly finish off a washer. And I gotta say my Tenacious was pretty damn smooth, even if the washers were thin.

      But I hear ya man, perhaps I went a little hard on this one… I’m sure some might agree. But hey if the lock is sticking and the washers are teflon – I’m gonna talk about it. After all, there is no hidden agenda here. Thanks for stopping by man. Always appreciated.

      • Pyaoliang says:

        Hey Dan! Great review as always. Your thoughts on the teflon washers got me thinking a little bit. On the Lionsteel SR-1, the actually use teflon washers too. Considering it’s their high end model for their company, and that Rick Hinderer uses teflon, I’m wondering if they are really trying to skimp out on quality, of if there is something better about them. The Spyderco Lum Tanto sprint uses teflon washers too. Emerson uses the nylatron washers. These knives I listed are some of the smoothest folders I’ve every deployed outside of CRK and ball bearing folders. Supposedly time will tell whether or not those teflon washers will last the test of time, but being that I’ve only had them for less than a year, I don’t know if I’ll ever know. :) Keep those reviews coming!

        • Dan says:

          Hey Pat! Your comment on my thoughts on teflon washers got me thinking a bit too! ;)

          You know, you might be right, and you certainly list some nice knives that make use of these washers. I always felt like pho bro was better for long term durability, and teflon was smoother… but maybe we have a case of 6 in one hand, half dozen in the other! I’ll try and do some more research, maybe contact some makers and get their thoughts. I certainly can’t say I know it all. Either way teflon washers haven’t stopped me from buying a particular knife (I own a few nice knives with teflon washers). So maybe the jury is still out on this one… thanks for the thought provoking comment man! :)

        • Dan says:

          Oh and to follow up, I also really like the speed of deployment phosphor bronze offers. I find most teflon washers are very smooth, but the deployment is slow and purposeful. Maybe it requires more break in or pivot adjustment, but a well tuned knife with phosphor bronze washers just flys out of the gate. I really like that aspect of that type of washer.

  3. DrMattyG says:

    Great review! I’ve been considering one of these for quite some time. I loved the fix blade HEST back when RAT sold it.

    • Dan says:

      Thanks man! The fixed blade version is very nice. I’m not sure if I am completely sold on the folder, but it does have a lot going for it!

  4. Drew says:

    Dan,

    Good review as always. This is definitely your review and you had some fine points, one of the ones I felt you left out is that the bottle opener doubles as a “Wave” design speed deployment feature. The G10 is nice and the window breaker is really an attractive feature for me in my profession. Like so many others, having the stonewashed titanium on the clip side makes sense so it doesn’t rip up uniform pants and having a deep clip just keeps it in the pocket until needed. I don’t have a need to conceal or hide my clip, so the deepness has no affect here; however I do agree with you on the HEST name. I would have preferred a black matte clip to blend in with uniform pants and not be so shiny. As far as the clicky lock goes.. for some reason that doesn’t bother me, just tells me that it was secure as I push the lock over and some ZT’s also click a bit. With the ease of the “Wave” the lack of tactical deployment ability in size and weight of this knife… I don’t have much gripe about the washers. Although, I have to say with that ease comes the possibility that I draw it in an exigent circumstance before I may go to another tool/ weapon in lethal situations. Very interesting points going back and forth about them though and I’ve enjoyed each perspective and angle. I’m a big fan of ESEE and they make the blades for some of DPxGear’s knives. I’m dying to get my hands on a Lionspy or RS-1 now after this knife. DPxGear makes world class knives.

    • Dan says:

      Hey Drew!

      Thanks so much for the great comment man! You make some excellent points, and it’s VERY interesting to get someone’s perspective who actually uses this knife as intended on the job (not a desk jockey like myself). I didn’t mention the wave because I felt like the wave was only furthering the sticky lock situation for it. Maybe it’s my knife, but I just didn’t feel confident waving this one. I’ll have to pen that into the review however because you are absolutely right – it can be used as a wave.

      I can definitely see how some of the stuff I wasn’t thrilled about could be non-issues for some. I try not to let my own biases creep in too much, but there were a couple things that I wasn’t particularly happy with about this knife so it kind of forced my hand. I still think it’s a nice knife and if the issues I encountered aren’t a big deal for you then I’d say it tips the scales towards a great knife! And I would love to get my hands on some more LionSteel blades, I have heard a lot of good things about them. Thanks again for stopping by and taking the time to leave such a nice comment. Take care.

      Dan

  5. Daniel.Mares says:

    Good review. Just wanted to add my two cents. I’ve had this knife for about six weeks now. It is one of my EDC knives as I usually carry 2 or 3. The stickiness in the lock is actually not a detriment to this knife as it sticks in the locked position. This just gives me personally more confidence that this is a solid locking system. Add the Roto Block & you essentially have a fixed knife that just happens to fold. Not the other way around.
    As for the wave opening I use it regularly. Hey this is a tough knife. I’m gonna work it hard. It has a lifetime guarantee & DPx stands behind their product. As for the price point, this knife is a “steal”. Take a look at the LionSpy from Spyderco. It is made by Lionsteel and comes in at twice the price.

    • Dan says:

      Hey Daniel, Thanks so much for the great feedback. It looks like my opinion on this one differed from a lot of people – I can totally respect that and actually find it pretty interesting! I’m glad to hear the wave works well for you, and I can see your point where some stickyness in the lock could be reassuring. For $175 I agree that the price is right. Carry it in good health man, and thanks for reading!

  6. Faioga says:

    You did not mention or comment on the 1/4 inch hex drive feature in the knife handle – a feature that I hope works well in this knife. Because 1/4 inch drive screwdriver bits and socket wrench fittings are readily and cheaply available at hardware stores, this feature should be an advantage of this knife. Did you try using this feature?
    I was a Peace Corps in isolated villages, and I know that a set of screwdriver bits can be very useful for many small repair tasks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>