This is a re post of a review I did several years ago on the RAT/ESEE Blade Forum during a pass around. While this knife is not everyones cup of tea, either because of the design or politics I found it to be quite useful during my review and in a trade finally acquired one.
Hostile Environment Survival Tool
This knife (H.E.S.T.) was designed by journalist Robert Young Pelton as a multifunction survival knife/tool and originally manufactured by Rowen and marketed through ESEE Knives. This knife has been discontinued by ESEE but will be manufactured by TOPS Knives for RYP's DPx Gear.
As soon as I got the HEST I was impressed how well it "locks" into my hand with the pry hook coming up against my pinky finger giving a very secure grip, the thumb ramp feels natural and compliments how well it feel's in the hand. It's a great looking knife and after all the use it has seen so far was non the worse for wear. The Kydex sheath holds the knife securely and looks great. Taking the handle slabs off the hollow is large enough to carry some survival gear which is a great feature, I found a mini firesteel I had and it fit's easily with room to spare.
The first thing I did was to ditch my RC-3 and Izula and carry the HEST with me as my only knife. As soon as I got it, it went in my front jeans pocket as I headed off to knee therapy before heading to work. It was small enough to disappear without much of a print which is important in "polite society", and didn't seem to bother me as I went though therapy on a cross trainer,leg press and treadmill and other exercises for the next hour.
Heading for work and changing into my work pants it fit all but the pry hook allowing me to retrieve it easily to cut cardboard and some plastic straps. I couldn't help my self when I saw an 8 ply cardboard shipping container about 3 inches thick and stabbing it through and the tip would come out the other side with both a forward and reverse grip, the grip when doing this seemed very secure as your hand feels "locked to the knife, it would also easily cut and stab through several layers of clothing from the rag bin at the plant. No photos were taken of this part due to no cameras allowed in the plant.
The next day at the farm I switched to belt wear as it's how I usually carry and found it just a little harder to re sheath the knife without looking but that was mainly due to muscle memory, I got used to it pretty quick and by the end I could readily get it re sheathed without looking. The handle location on my belt was not that much different than my RC-3 so it was easy to reach back and unsheathe it and I found the hook made it east to locate my hand on it.
The HEST lent itself very well to the daily farm chores cutting bale strings which isn't much of a challenge but that's normal farm life.
I also tried it cutting some rope both nylon and natural fiber, it took a little more effort to cut through the rope than my RC-3 but that was probably due to a thicker blade and edge geometry.
It would lend itself very well in and emergency, on occasion you can have livestock that is haltered go down and pull the rope tight making it nearly impossible to get them free other than cutting.
While getting to some hay bales one night in the rain I had to remove a fence insulator from a T post to roll them out to the other side, between the rain and cold fingers I couldn't get a grip on it, reaching back and pulling the Hest I found the pry hook to lend itself quite usefully in getting it off.
Now it's become a truly useful tool, this got me to thinking what else this pryhook might help accomplish
I used it to remove a master link from a chain on the baler, not really prying but using the hook to unclip it and clip it back on.
I also used it open a can of sno seal.
I find the pry hook to be an extremely useful feature as the knife can be used for prying and scraping without any possibility of damaging the edge, especially what I might use a knife for on the farm
On occasion a branch will grow out into the pasture fence and will have to be removed and the HEST didn't let me down here either, it easily batoned off a small tree and split it any way I wanted.
I did try the wire breaker on some old electric fence wire and it worked as I expected.I didn't get to use the bottle opener and that seemed to be the least useful feature on the knife for what I would use it for but it didn't bother me being there.
In the short time I've got to use the HEST I've gotten to really like it,I've found it to be useful as both a knife and a tool and feels and handles as solid as a rock and is most definitely going to be on my short list., I really liked this knife and found it to be quite useful as an EDC.
Lord Robert Baden Powell founder of the Boy Scouts was asked once “What are
you preparing for?” and he replied “Be prepared for anything!”... In my opinion the HEST would be an excellent EDC blade to achieve this end.
I just want to say thanks to KSF for making this pass-around possible, And to RYP and RAT for such a great design.