Truck EDC: 2017 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E

Truck EDC: 2017 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E

There are many Truck and EDC reviews on the web. This one is a bit different in that our philosophy of use is centered on how we actually live (in a densely populated urban area known as McLean, VA located just a few minutes outside Washington, DC) as opposed to how we think we live (in the country, driving an F-350 Diesel ranching cattle and eating only the meat we kill while hunting every week). This isn’t a “prepper” video per se, but we do strongly believe in being responsible citizens and in the Sheepdog concept. This means we are prepared for contingencies and basic emergencies. It means we have sufficient gear on board to not be a liability. We are not, however, First Responders and we don’t live in Iraq, so you aren’t going to see us kit the truck out like the Bat Mobile or like we are going to put down an insurrection or like some weirdo vigilante after a natural disaster. Instead, this Truck EDC review is centered a few key tenants, driven by the reality that we live in a densely populated metropolitan area that has a high cost of living (small garage spaces):

  1. Efficiency - saves weight, saves energy
  2. Simplicity – good under stress, improves reliability
  3. Interoperability – saves weight, saves energy, good under stress, creates redundancy, all of which lead to increased survivability

First, let’s establish some context. This is my personal 2017 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E AWD. It has one inch to spare each side of the truck when parked in my garage and represents the maximum vehicle dimensions my garage bay can accommodate. I’ve owned this truck for about eighteen months at this point and I have 16,500 miles on it. I have a full long term ownership test review on the truck that I will post here if you are interested in just the truck itself. We use this truck for all kinds of work functions: field-testing on trails, water and the range, road trips for shows and events like the SOARescue National Tactical Medic Competition in Charlotte, NC and for occasionally moving inventory. Our company, Qore Performance®, is headquartered in Sterling, VA which means roads and parking are tight and expensive. Everything you are about to see in this video is optimized for that reality.

Center Console

The cab of the all-new Ridgeline is my favorite part. I think it was Redline Reviews that remarked how the interior of the Ridgeline is more Acura than it is Honda. I agree. The interior was a significant consideration in the purchase decision. We’ll delve more into the Ridgeline Cab in our full truck review here. For now, let’s get to the EDC items stored in the cab.

Center Console: The center console is where I keep most of my EDC gear.

Eyes - I keep a pair of ANSI rated SPY OPTIC Quark 2 sunglasses handy. I wear these everyday. Awesome. Impact rated eye protection is an absolute must. God issued us one pair of eyes and ears. Protect them accordingly. I also keep a backup pair of Oakley’s handy, just in case I leave my SPY OPTIC at home or in case I have a passenger who forgets eyes.

Apple Ear Buds – because who wants to have a phone conversation on Bluetooth? That sucks. Mind your manners and carry some backup ear buds when you forget your AirPods at home or if the battery runs out. Check your state and local laws to make sure you are allowed to use these while operating a motor vehicle.

Surefire A2 Aviator - Stored with the tailcap in the locked out position to prevent accidental discharge and battery drain. I specifically chose the Aviator because it has a red map light function. Huge. If I ever find myself stuck somewhere and needing to read a paper map (more on this later), you need the ability to preserve your night vision. If you’ve been trained to shoot, move and communicate in low light conditions, you know what I’m talking about. While this red light functionality is primarily for land nav and map reading, the A2 Aviator is also particularly useful for any other application where a bright tactical light might be required. Great tool.

Hand lotion – Cold temps drop and wind dry out your hands. Dry hands crack and cracks can bleed. Bleeding hands aren’t useful. Incredibly high upside for such a low cost item in terms of dollars, weight and space.

Microfiber Cloth and Lens Cleaner - most cars today have some form of infotainment system that usually means a touchscreen. Touchscreens function and look much better when clean. Clean gear is working gear and that means it will be there for you when you need it. Keep your stuff clean.

Business cards – not having business cards on you when you need them is simply unprofessional. Make sure you have cards.

Screen Cleaner – clean stuff works better, keep your stuff clean. Also great for iPhones, iPads and eyepro.

Sunscreen and Bug Spray – self-explanatory. My bug spray also has sunscreen in it (thanks to my wife, I never would have found this stuff on my own). Two is one and one is none. I know, I need to find sun screen with bug spray in it…I’m working on it, but if you have any recommendations, please leave them in the comments below!

Blaze Defense Systems Mk 4 Fire Suppression Device – Vehicles can catch on fire. Yes, it is rare. However, remember that cars are machines that move at high velocity using a series of controlled explosions created by a large supply of combustible fuel with incredible energy density. I prefer Blaze Defense Systems Mk9 Fire Suppression Devices because they are small and highly effective. Buy one or two and keep these in your vehicle. Full disclosure: I did not pay much attention to fire suppression until recently. Yeah, I kept a fire extinguisher in the trunk of my patrol car, just like everybody else, but I never gave it much thought because I had a radio and the guys who destroyed our evidence handled fires. Hey, it wouldn’t be a good review if we didn’t inject a little cop/firefighter humor right? Anyway, I was driving by Tysons Corner Mall right here in Northern Virginia earlier this year when I saw a late model vehicle catch fire. It literally erupted in flames. I drove by after ignition, so I have no idea what caused the fire, but it was a good wake up call. I’ve kept Blaze Defense in my EDC ever since. For the record: I know fire was rolling because a billion people were standing on the side of the road on their phones, but the red trucks had not yet arrived. Who knows what could have been saved if those people had on-board fire suppression.

Bamboo Cutlery – good for you. Good for the environment. Besides, plastic utensils are weak and they suck for actually cutting and eating food. Thank you Nutnfancy for that inspiration to add cutlery to the Truck EDC. I too use my Bamboo Cutlery all the time. There are few better ways to eat a Chipotle Burrito Bowl than with a solid Bamboo Spoon and Fork. Plus, I’m half Chinese, so Bamboo is pretty much the only way to go.

EasyPass – time is money. Nuff Said.

Oakley hard case and backups – two is one and one is none. Not having eyes when you need them really sucks, so keep a backup pair. These are some of my favorite eyewear I’ve ever owned, awesome eyes. Highly recommend.

Bestek 300W Power Inverter – road trip gold. Awesome for work road trips when your passengers can be on laptops getting work done. This particular model is able to power two MacBook Pros simultaneously. Great for trucks without organic AC power. Also useful if you need to recharge external batteries when your USB ports are occupied by the Apple armada with the twin USB ports and twin AC 110 outlets.

Tom’s of Maine Natural Deodorant – because BO is rude. Nobody likes smelly people. Also, great episode of How I Built This.

Pen and Notebook – also self-explanatory. Particularly useful on road trips for your right seater when you need to write down something like a confirmation number or a phone number.

Coast Headlamp – no truck EDC setup is complete without a headlamp. Try changing a tire, rendering aid or refueling in the dark with a handheld flashlight. I once had to do this on a road in Tibet, at night with about two feet of clearance to a 2000 foot drop. Headlamp stepped up huge. Also, much cheaper than night vision and has a red map light. Winner, winner chicken dinner.

Honda Ridgeline Quick Reference Guide

Howard Leight Foamies – like eyes, God only issued us one pair. They are critical to good situational awareness. Treat them accordingly.

5.11 Card Wallet – because Kastanza wallets are for guys like George Kastanza. Do you want to be like George? I didn’t think so. Backup Metro Card - preloaded to get home from the farthest distance at the highest fare possible. Costco Card – low frequency, high upside. My wife shops at Whole Foods. I like Costco. I think most dudes can relate to this. Also, great gas prices. Business Cards – see previous.

First Aid Kit – you have to have one of these. If you don’t, you are wrong. I assembled this one myself with the help of SOARescue and SOAR Rescue LE. Lots of backup illumination. Also, Toothbrush kit…because bad breath isn’t cool either. Click here for the full review of my Truck EDC First Aid Kit.

Glove Box

Napkins – because spilling crap in your truck is not cool. Clean that mess up.

Towels – a more powerful version of #1. Not disposable.

“License, registration and proof of insurance, please” – you better be ready if you ever hear those words. The owners manual, window sticker, touch up paint, also live here.

Driver Door

Terry Cloth Towel – general purpose. I use this all the time.

No Fear Motocross Gloves – Two types of functional protection: work and weapon manipulation. These gloves are the epitome of multipurpose kit. I use an old pair of motocross gloves made by No Fear. A Millennial would call this “vintage” I believe. I’ve probably had them for 20 years now but they are AWESOME. I wish they still made these. Incredibly durable, perfect fit and phenomenal dexterity. Excellent natural articulation. I picked these gloves for a reason because they also make great shooting gloves and yes, I’ve shot thousands of rounds with them. True, the blue color isn’t tactical, but I don’t care. They work great and serve more than one function.

Mountain Hardware Insulating Gloves – cold hands are useless hands.

Watch Cap – I have been caught in snow on the side of a mountain multiple times. One occasion was on the side of a very steep mountain cliff on my way to Mt. Everest in Tibet. Others were on ski trips with a flat tire or when we had to put chains on. Doing so with a watch cap on is great. Doing so without a watch cap sucks.

Back Seat

PT Go Bag – everything I need to get a workout in. Nike Track Spikes, Pood Weight Belt, Beyond Pull Over for runs/hikes in cold or rain, RPM Jump Rope (thank you Ernest and Aimee).

Truck Gun – the KelTec Sub 2000 chambered in 9mm for G17 magazines. I have a slightly different philosophy on the Truck Gun than most people, which I cover in greater detail and depth in the KelTech Sub 2000 Truck Gun review here. My KelTec Sub 2000 is carried in a super-low vis Timbuk2 messenger bag. Funny story behind this bag, but thank you Andrew and the crew from SOARescue! In short, I think the obsession with 5.56/AR-style SBRs is a bit over the top for me. I like this KelTec because I view the Truck Gun as a defensive tool to get you out of a tough spot like civil unrest in a natural disaster, where you could use a little more capability than a standard EDC pistol. Plus, I carry a Gen IV G19 everyday, so this gives my wife and I total inter-operability with our EDC/CCW guns. I think this trumps (no pun intended) every other reason to carry a full blow rifle or AR-style pistol.  Check your state and local laws to make sure you are allowed to carry a firearm in your vehicle. Always obey federal, state and local firearm laws.

In-Bed Trunk

Get Home Bag – independent review coming soon.

IcePlate® Emergency Water Storage

Truck Maintenance Bag

  • Large and Small Candles
  • Road Flares
  • Tie Down Straps
  • Snow Scraper
  • Tire Pressure Gauge
  • Fix-A-Flat
  • Bungee Cords
  • Umbrella – stays in the In-Bed Trunk during summer and moves to the cab during winter.
  • Cargo Blankets – super handy. Can keep you warm in a pinch, but also protects truck and cargo during transport.

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