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Matador | The story behind the name

July 13 2017

Just like every good name, Matador comes with a bit of background.
Throw back to 2014, the development of the pocket blanket was underway.  There was nothing like it out there, a technical ground cover for people that like to travel light and stay spontaneous.  The idea came about while Chris was at a park in San Francisco.  It was a warm afternoon, the grass still damp from the morning fog that had recently burned off in the sun.  There were people sitting on rocks and on their jackets.  A woman navigating the sidewalk was struggling to see where she was going while hugging a huge armful of blanket.  We have all been there, sitting on our jackets, wishing we had brought a blanket despite the volumetric inconvenience. With all the technical materials out there for camping, backpacking, and skiing- why were people still sitting on their coats?  It's an all too common problem, overlooked by everybody, waiting for an elegant solution. 
The first pocket blanket prototypes were a bit larger than today’s version, about the size of a book. Chris, Matador’s founder, had sewn the original pocket blanket and tucked it into the storage compartment of his motorcycle. The next weekend, he was back at the park sitting on top of his new coated rip stop nylon blanket.  When finished reading a bit, he shook off the blanket and folded it up neatly to put it back on the bike. As a product designer at an action camera company, Chris thought the pocket blanket was just too good a product solution to overlook, and went about perfecting the design. The material was refined, using special looms and several coatings for waterproofing and puncture resistance. The Easy Pack Pattern and storage bag were both added for ease of use based on several prototypes.
Only one challenge remained, what to call this pocket friendly seating surface?  Many names came and went, until a friend made a cheeky joke about how Chris showed up at every gathering and pulled a red blanket from his pocket. “It’s like you’re a Matador, carrying that blanket in your pocket and pulling it out in the field,” he quipped. The name stuck, like all good names do. The Matador Pocket Blanket was outrageously popular, selling out instantly after a tidal wave of press. It was apparent from that moment that there was a need for thoughtfully designed ultralight, packable gear. The line expanded, starting with the Droplet and moving into packable bags. Today, Matador is still a design centric company centered around making the best packable gear we can. The name was carried over from the pocket blanket and from it a brand has grown. As travelers ourselves, we could not ask to be part of a more passionate community of adventurers.
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1 comment

  • Sunny Lee: November 23, 2021

    I purchased my first Matador product in August 2017 via Amazon after searching for something to take to the beach while I was stationed in Hawaii… For years, I ignored the brand name until I met wife and needed something a little bit bigger. When I went to go search for the brand again, I realized what Matador had really grown in to. Now 2 x Freerain 24’s, 1 x Transit 30, soap and toiletry bag later, I find myself engaged in this scavenger hunt to get some discounts on some more bags that I want…

    While I couldn’t access the site (probably too much traffic) via my computer, I tried to use my phone, but even the code I found, didn’t work.

    Here I am still looking through old blog posts hoping one or two codes were left, but instead I was gifted by all of these blogs that I failed to read until now. Kudos to Matador for getting me to the site and spending more time and learning to appreciate more than just the products that are sold. Matador = 1, Sunny = 0. Good game.

    What a great origin story, and so glad Chris decided to follow this path.

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