CamelBak plans to close Petaluma headquarters; 43 jobs affected

Best-known for its hydration backpacks, CamelBak has grown over 25 years in Sonoma County to be a global brand.|

CamelBak Products plans to bid Petaluma farewell this summer after 25 years of calling it home.

The parent company of this pioneer in backpack hydration for hikers, cyclists, law enforcement and the military plans to close CamelBak’s headquarters at 2000 S. McDowell Blvd. The company intends to consolidate management of that brand and several others by July 31, according to a company announcement and a layoff notice sent to the state.

Among the layoffs are CamelBak President Greg Williamson and 42 other employees who currently work there, but some are being offered jobs in Southern California, said the notice filed Thursday.

Utah-based Vista Outdoor (NYSE: VSTO) also is closing four other offices across the country as part of a restructuring plan that will spin off CamelBak and 32 other recreation products brands into a new public company, Revelyst, later this year.

The leader of Revelyst said the business underlying the brands is “stable” but “headwinds exist” for future growth and meeting financial targets.

“The decisions to close offices and reduce headcount aren’t taken lightly, and though they are intended to position us for the future, we understand that they are difficult in the immediate,” said CEO Eric Nyman in the announcement Friday.

The transformation plan, called “Gear Up,” includes simplifying the business model and increasing efficiency and profitability that’s expected to save $125 million a year over the next few years.

CamelBak has trekked 1,700 miles and passed through several owners over its history. It started in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1989. The Bowes family bought it in 1995 for $4 million and moved the company to Petaluma in 1999. Bear Stearns purchased CamelBak in 2003 for $210 million. The hydration company expanded to its current Petaluma location in nearly 30,000 square feet of office space in 2008.

Connecticut-based publicly traded investment group Compass Diversified Holdings purchased it for $257.5 million in 2011. Vista Outdoor made its $412.5 million offer to buy the company in 2015, when CamelBak employed over 300, and finally closed the deal in 2021.

Revelyst also is closing Vista Outdoor brands offices in Overland Park, Kansas; Eagle, Colorado; and Madison, Mississippi. Management of brands now will be by one of three “platforms”: Adventure Sports based in Irvine; Outdoor Performance in Bozeman, Montana; and Precision Sports and Technology in San Diego.

CamelBak will be part of the Adventure Sports group, which also includes Fox Racing and QuietKat Electric Bikes.

Niels von Doepp, Trevor Buck, Steven Leonard and Brian Foster of Cushman & Wakefield are marketing the CamelBak space for property owner Basin Street Properties.

“While the closing was not expected, shrinking office footprints continue to take place as companies continue to look for ways to cut costs,” Buck said. “We are seeing some growth and expansion in the market, but we are not immune to continued consolidation ….”

Jeff Quackenbush covers wine, construction and real estate. Reach him at or 707-521-4256.

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