An avid adventure seeker and entrepreneur is connecting his Mexican heritage with a passion for the outdoors.
Finding a love for long-distance hiking
Trekking through hot deserts, encountering mountains packed in snow, and meeting amazing people, Matteo spent over a month backpacking along the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), a trail
that stretches from Mexico to Canada. He was 19 years old.
Matteo’s love of the outdoors dates to his childhood when his dad would take him and his
siblings to swing in the trees or play in hot springs, but he had next to no hiking or camping experience before embarking on the PCT.
To prepare for his journey, he researched light backpacking gear that would sustain the
distance and allow him to hike repetitive miles, an arduous task with heavy equipment. He
bought all his gear internationally, accruing more expenses from taxes.
The trip was a dream. Challenging, yet blissfully rewarding.
“I am the most connected to the outdoors when I am long-distance hiking,” said Matteo. “It is the
time I am the most with myself, alone, pushing myself to do hard things.”
Honoring his Mexican Roots
But as thrilled as Matteo was about his long-distance hike, he was bothered about the lack of
gear access in his home in Guadalajara, Mexico. He would have loved to support a gear retailer
in Mexico, where he is from, but he found no high-quality options.
When he returned, he set his mind on making backpacks in Mexico. He created his first backpack in June 2020 and by September he founded Volpi Outdoor Gear with the
encouragement of his girlfriend Regina. She helped him foster his entrepreneurship when he
started his business out of his home.
Matteo is excited to have started a business in which he and his fellow Mexicans can take pride.
He has expanded his business to include a team of sewers and he values using quality
materials and paying high wages to his employees. Matteo is passionate about backpacking,
but he is even more passionate about making positive social change. He sees the way poverty,
low wages, and lack of good public schools lead to drug use and violence in Mexico.
Pouring great care into his products and the well-being of his team is Matteo’s way of making a difference. He hopes it will inspire more Mexican enterprises to act with love.
“In Mexico hiking is in our blood. There are stories about the Aztecs in Tenochtitlan running
miles to the city to bring the king fresh fish. There are long trails in Mexico, but there isn’t a
hiking culture here.”
Violence in Mexico deters a lot of people from hiking. When spending time outdoors becomes less safe, fewer companies want to invest in outdoor gear, trail maintenance, or outdoor education. These issues are deeply rooted. Matteo is not one to stand back and do nothing.
“Change must begin somewhere. I am doing this small thing based on my beliefs in caring about people. It is like my peaceful revolution.”
So, who is Matteo?
Do you know that person who lights up a room with a huge smile, unlimited energy, and just
plain good vibes? That is Matteo. His kindheartedness shines through his mission with Volpi
Outdoor Gear and in the way he greets his friends with big hugs and how he asks people how
they are doing because he genuinely cares and wants to know.
He finds ways to connect with people in ways that they feel seen and appreciated. He also
connects with Volpi Outdoor Gear lovers through his reels and memes, a trustworthy sign that
he doesn’t take himself too seriously. He brings enthusiasm and a fun-loving attitude to
everything he does.
Aside from hiking and outdoor adventures, Matteo spreads his infectious energy on the court
and the field playing volleyball and soccer. His creativity shines when playing guitar and piano,
and when cooking elaborate meals (mostly Italian pasta dishes as influenced by his Italian father).
Much of Matteo’s success and gratitude is contributed to his parents who have always
supported his dreams. Matteo has grown up spending quality time exploring with his parents
because they are both photographers. Their incredible photography is featured on this website,
and needless to say, they are big Volpi Outdoor Gear fans.
At 24, Matteo will graduate this year with a degree in Geography, a skill that is already feeding into his passions for map making and GIS.
Plans for the future
Matteo envisions creating a hiking community through Volpi to create a new trail in Mexico in
the coming years. He is also expanding the gear Volpi offers to include duffel bags, purses, fanny packs, and alpine backpacks with frames to offer gear for different kinds of travelers andtrips.
This year Matteo is planning backpacking trips in Colorado and along sections of another infamous long-distance trail in the United States, the Continental Divide.
“I like to push myself. I like to hike a lot of miles. I like to feel tired, happy, and sad. I just like to
feel. When I hike is when I feel the most deeply.”