A number of media have reported that some of your favourite outdoor brands are owned by Vista Outdoor, one of America’s largest ammunition makers.
The brands include CamelBak, Camp Chef, Giro, Cébé, Bushnell, Raskullz, Bollé and Jimmy Styks.
While many of those companies don’t make gear for climbing, CamelBak’s hydration products are the go-to for a number of climbers. They make great packs, water bottles and coffee mugs that are durable.
The Utah-based corporation Vista Outdoor is a $3bn company and is a corporate supporter of the National Rifle Association.
One of their brands is Savage Arms, one of the country’s leading producers of semi-automatic rifles.
Outsideonline.com recently published an article called “Should Our Morals Determine Our Gear Purchases?” in which they asked three ethicists for their opinions.
They point out that the brand connection was pointed out by Brett Rivers, owner of the San Francisco Running Company, who tweeted on Feb. 15 (the day after 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida): “Running community needs to realize that Camelbak’s parent company Vista Outdoor is one of the largest assault weapons manufacturers in the USA.”
Running community needs to realize that Camelbak's parent company Vista Outdoor is one of the largest assault weapons manufacturers in the USA. Runners, vote with your wallets. Athletes/pubs just be knowledgeable of brands you take ad $$ from #NotOnMyBak https://t.co/xLtWRM8c4C
— Brett Rivers (@BrettRiv) February 15, 2018
Rivers went on to tell Outside, “I have nothing against owning guns. Some of my best experiences have been on hunting trips.”
But, that guns aren’t the only issue, it’s about not knowing where your money really goes when you purchase something as basic as a helmet or hydration pack. “Consumers should be aware,” Rivers said.
The etchicists in the article talk about how consumers should approach the moral and ethical maze of having a favourite brand that happens to be “part of a larger corporation that owns other brands that don’t align with their personal beliefs.” Read the full article here.
Bell, Giro and Blackburn were bought for $400-millon by Vista Outdoor in February 2016.
The CEO at the time was Mark DeYoung (who was also CEO of Savage Arms) and he said, “This acquisition is consistent with our strategic growth objective of becoming a world-leading outdoor sports and recreation products company.”
According to Mother Jones, he earned $13.2-million in 2015. The current Vista Outdoor CEO is Christopher T. Metz.
CamelBak was purchased in 2015.
“The acquisition of CamelBak greatly advances Vista Outdoor’s strategy to grow and strengthen our leading position in the outdoor recreation industry,” said DeYoung.
“CamelBak fortifies our presence in the mainstream individual outdoor recreation market, creating an opportunity to increase the scale, reach and growth of several current offerings through an expanded global sourcing capability and a broadened retail distribution network.
“With limited overlap between our key customers, this acquisition creates significant cross-selling opportunities, increased channel presence and access into expanded domestic and international markets. As a market leader and preferred partner, Vista Outdoor can leverage the technical expertise of CamelBak to deliver innovative solutions and quality product offerings that will create value for our shareholders and customers.”
Whether or not you care that the money you spend on some outdoor products goes to Vista Outdoor and eventually the National Rifle Association is up to you. But it’s worth knowing.