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Meet Matt Volpert of Kern River Outfitters in Kern County

Today we’d like to introduce you to Matt Volpert.

Matt, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My dad started Outdoor Adventures in the late 70’s, which was a whitewater rafting company with locations all over the west. In 1980 he began operations on the Kern River in Southern California. By 1990 Skip was born which brought the family tally to 5 – Bob (my Dad), Mary (my Mom), Will (eldest), myself and Skip. Each year we would complete our school year in California, then drive up to Idaho where my Mom and Dad managed that side of the business. We lived in the guide house, which meant there were river guides hanging around all the time. It was a lot of fun. And crowded. It was a great way to grow up being exposed to so many different people whom loved adventure and worked hard.

In the early 2000’s we changed our California company’s name to Kern River Outfitters. After college, I tried my hand at the tech scene (I was a poor fit for an office job) and then golf course management (was getting closer to the outdoors, but still not genuine enough). Finally, in late 2012 I conceded that no industry was as much fun as whitewater and I stepped into Kern River Outfitters.

Today, my parents are still involved as well as my two brothers, who own and manage outfits in Idaho and Oregon.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Our biggest hurdle today is drought. As a business that depends on a decent winter snowpack, it can be frustrating to rely on something that is completely out of your control. Last year was a welcome relief and our ’16-’17 winter is beginning to show promise.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Kern River Outfitters is a whitewater rafting company that operates on the Kern River in Southern California. We offer guided river trips that vary in length and difficulty. Everything from 2 hours to two days, from Class III to Class V+. We take great pride in focusing on providing a high-value, high-quality adventure vacation.

What were you like growing up?
Growing up I was active in sports and clubs. I was never particularly exceptional at athletics, but my high school wasn’t that big so I could walk onto most teams and get playing time. From the moment I legally could (18) I was commercially guiding full river seasons and did so all the way through college and for a number of years post university.

Prior to turning 18, I ran gear boats on our multi-day trips on the Middle Fork of the Salmon and Main Salmon rivers. In college, I found an outdoor club that had staff and a house that was eerily similar to my time growing up in a guide house in Idaho. I was the director of that program for a year or two before graduating.


  • One day rafting trip is $160 / person (Mon – Fri) and $189 / person (Sat and Sun)
  • Two-day rafting trip is $350 Sun – Thur. Fri is $380 and Saturday starts are $415 / person.
  • Half day rafting trips are $119 / person (Mon – Fri) and $129 / person (Sat and Sun)

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Kern River Outfitters

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