Meet Matt Volpert. He manages the GoRafting.com website, inbound inquiries, and in general, is the first point of contact for all things GoRafting.com. He has ~20,000 river miles and has spent seasons guiding in Idaho, California, Washington, and Oregon. He most recently owned Kern River Outfitters, a whitewater rafting company in Southern California. He sold it in 2023 and now operates Pacuare Outdoor Center, which runs multi-day trips on the Pacuare River in Costa Rica.
Five Questions for Matt
This five question interview was recorded in October 2023.
When was your first rafting trip? I’ve been telling people for years it was when I was six months old when my parents took me down the Wild and Scenic Rogue River but my Mom recently corrected me and told me it was when I was three months old. I don’t think the three-month difference matters very much though.
So rafting has always been a thing in your family? My dad ran and owned a rafting company called Outdoor Adventures, which for a long time was a pretty big outfit, and so yeah, every summer the family would load up in the Suburban and drive to Idaho, where we lived in the guidehouse and my Mom and Dad would launch Main Salmon and Middle Fork trips.
And that means you’ve been a guide for a while? We have a commercial Middle Fork launch on June 21, and my birthday is June 20, so the day after I turned 18 (the legal age to guide in Idaho) I was on the oars. I had been working on the river prior to that though for a few years, maybe since I was 14 or 15. Swamping, maybe gear boat, anything without a guest in the boat.
What’s your favorite river? I get asked this a lot and the answer always changes. Sometimes I say a fall Grand Canyon trip. Or a Middle Fork. The Lower Kern at high water is really fun. Pacuare river after a rain, final answer.
What’s the best piece of river equipment that you won’t find on any pack list? Wow, that’s a tricky question. This will make some people groan but on a Grand Canyon trip I packed a cheap battery-operated shower. Deep on the trip, on a layover day, I pulled it out and we heated water with the chickie pails and did a GC spa day. We kept the hot water going for hours it seemed and everyone shampooed and cleaned up. Then it broke and that was that.