Rivendell Mountain Works Elf Pouch
- Dimensions & Weight: 6.5” x 3.5” x 2.5" -- 52 cu. in. -- 3 oz.
- Materials: Cordura & sturdy YKK zipper
- Color: Random Riv-pick -- every one of them is a different color combo, some are solid and some are two- or three-tone. They're all really good.
If Rivendell Mountain Works didn’t exist (since 1970-1 or so), Rivendell Bicycle Works probably wouldn’t, either. The parallels are all over the place, but you have to have been a climber-outdoorsy person back then AND a bicycle rider now, to have the parallels jump out at you and see the influence plain as day.
It was their approach to equipment and design and use that made such a strong impression on me. While mainstreamers like The North Face, Sierra Designs, Trailwise, Jansport, Kelty, and Alpine Designs were trying hard to appeal to the most potential customers (with the compromises and gee-gaws, and marketing budgets that allowed them to force their way in), Rivendell Mountain Works made simpler gear that on the surface seemed almost too simple or just plain weird-for-the-times, but worked better.
It didn’t do it all for you, and it required something of you. The requirement might have been a little creativity to make the best use of tie-on points that allowed you to carry skis, sleeping bags, or cast-iron frying pans if that was your thing, where other packs had zippered pockets sized for a backcountry first aid kit and not much more. The mainstream tents impressed young couples with their size and headroom, but they’d collect wet snow like a flat tarp and flap like mad before flattening out or tearing at the seams in a truly life-threatening wind. Rivendell’s “Bombshelter” tent live up to the promise: It doesn’t flap in the wind. It hums.”
Here is a photo of it “humming” in an 80 mph wind that blew down all of the 13 other high-end tents during a ten-hour windstorm on Mt. Shasta in 1977:
Rivendell Mountain Works was started by a guy named Larry Horton, who is now a doctor of Chinese medicine in New Mexico (has been since RMW closed or he sold it in 1979 or so). Since then it was bought by Don Wittenberg, a good lawyer who knew the shame in seeing it go away, so wanted to save it. The day-to-day manager has been Eric Hardee, mountaineer, ski patroller, and full-time sewer. Not all of the original RMW products are still in circulation, but most of the packs are, and the new here, the Elf Pouch, has been my (Grant) and my friends’ and several RIV employee’s favorite bike tool pocket for years now. It fits in any pack, but it usually goes into a BananaSack. It has a beltloop, and has often been a small camera bag. It’s a good size.
Eric sewed these for us. They’re cordura nylon for lightness, strength, and abrasion resistance, and if you can’t find a perfect use for them on and off the bicycle, you’re not trying.