HOW IT ALL BEGAN
The first Volpi pack design started with pen and paper. Sketching out the dimensions and features, Matteo began envisioning how to create the first ultralight backpacks made in Mexico. The inspiration to begin didn’t come from a background in design or production, but with a dream of widening the culture of ultralight backpacking.
In the summer of 2020, with an abundance of time during the pandemic, Matteo spent weeks sketching and integrating the features he knew he wanted his packs to have like adjustable side straps, lightweight and durable fabric and a frameless structure. Connecting with local sewers in the city, the first batch of five packs were finished that September.
“It was surreal to see the first prototypes,” said Matteo. “I knew it wouldn’t stop there, I would keep pushing to make the packs better and better.”
THE "WHY" BEHIND THE BRAND
I met Matteo for the first time on a hike (I know, how fitting). We walked through the pumice-patterned canyons of the Primavera Forest bordering Guadalajara with a group of friends. The forest was still lush and green from the summer rains and spirits were high.
Matteo had everyone laughing along with his jokes and the random English phrases he learned while hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail and later the Colorado Trail. “Don’t piss on my boots and tell me it's rainin',” Matteo chuckled.
His infectious energy bleeds into his passion for his brand. That day Matteo began telling me about the mission of his company: to create high-quality gear in his home state of Jalisco, Mexico.
“When I hiked on the PCT I had to travel to the United States to buy most of my gear because I couldn’t find anything similar here in Mexico,” Matteo told me. “When I returned home I set my mind on creating ultralight backpacks here and changing the culture in Mexico of needing to outsource.”
GROWTH OVER THE YEARS
Volpi Outdoor Gear has reached many milestones in its first three years. Here are a few notable highlights:
Volpi Outdoor Gear began selling the UL 40 packs in the fall of 2020
In the spring of 2021, Volpi launched its social media platforms on Instagram and Facebook and has since been featuring hikers doing incredible treks all over the world.
The brand partnered with Garage Grown Gear in August 2021 and officially became a 100% Mexican-made international brand in 2022.
By the spring of 2022, the FASTPACK30 was launched and quickly became the most popular among backpackers worldwide.
In 2021 Volpi Outdoor Gear website was launched and at the beginning of 2023 the Volpi blog was born with the goal of sharing stories related to Volpi's mission of encouraging people to get outside.
In 2022 Matteo gave a talk at the University ITESO with Senderos de Mexico, a group that promotes hiking as a way to grow community and conserve nature in Mexico. Years later, he is still working with the organization to help create new trail organizing systems.
In 2023, Matteo has been interviewed by Backpacker Magazine and was hosted on the Backpacker Radio podcast, Peanut Butter and Mountains podcast as well as the Juniper Lap podcast.
Volpi Outdoor Gear is more than a gear company, it is a touch point for building community and for investing in people. By amplifying the message of getting into nature and partnering with retailers Volpi continues to broaden its outreach and therefore spread the message of the importance of exploring and being active.
Volpi Outdoor Gear partnered with several retailers such as Garage Grown Gear in the United States, Outdoor Specialty Moose in Japan, and NAVER in Korea.
“I am so grateful for these partnerships,” said Matteo. “It has been amazing to see how much the brand has grown and the numbers of people we can reach by building relationships with resellers.”
Connecting with other smaller gear brands is another way Matteo has learned and shared knowledge about business, marketing, and production with other brand creators. Conversing with brands like Kula Cloth, Cloud Gear, Blue Traverse Gear, and many others has been a great way to not only learn and grow alongside other businesses but also to help unify and create community among fellow outdoor enthusiasts.
Unifying the outdoor community and continuing to highlight the importance of getting outdoors, especially in Mexico, where the culture of hiking is less popular, is one of Matteo’s biggest goals. Recently he has partnered with John Pint, a renowned speleologist and writer to showcase lists of hiking opportunities in various cities across the country.
“Through this effort with John to create the page Hiking in Mexico, we hope to keep showing the world some of the wonderful places to explore in Mexico,” shared Matteo. “By having enough information, like maps and even contacts for local guides we hope more people feel empowered to hike safely.”
ENHANCING AND EXPANDING OUR OFFERINGS
Each season the Volpi packs showcase new developments, from more cushioned chest straps to wider water bottle pockets we hear your feedback and are always aiming to improve our products. We pour love and energy into every pack and we are excited to be expanding our offerings in the coming months.
Keep your eyes out for duffel bags, a smaller FastPack, a larger 50-60 L pack as well as Volpi apparel! Volpi even recently outfitted a two-year-old ring carrier walking down the aisle at his uncle's wedding... Matteo met the groom on the PCT and left such an impact that not only did Matteo get invited to his friend's wedding a year later, but he saw his brand act as a homage to a deep friendship. (That being said, perhaps we need a baby pack next?)
We are thankful you are a part of our Volpi community no matter your age, nationality, or how ultralight you pack and your support has helped our brand grow immensely these past three years. We cannot wait to keep creating gear, relationships, and memories that matter.