PacBak Cooler converts to fish cleaning table, vacuum station

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If your least favorite part of fishing is cleaning up when you get home, then this new cooler from PacBak is worth a look.

It’s easy to understand the appeal of catching a fish in a beautiful place, then take him home for dinner. But filleting that fish? Trying to keep the meat as fresh as possible? Clean the stinky cooler? These parts are much less popular.

To finally conquer these age-old puzzles of fishing, the Alaskan anglers behind PacBak designed the Provider 88-MK. This “mobile kitchen cooler” won the Best Show Award at the ICAST 2022 conference last week.

The video below summarizes the features.

The cooler also reeled off $22,000 in a Kickstarter Campaign which ended on July 25. As with most innovations, this one started with a clear goal to meet a specific need.

“You catch a fish, fillet it, put it in zip lock bags, throw it in the cooler – and when you get home the real work begins,” PacBak wrote on Kickstarter. “You have to clean out the cooler, get out your vacuum sealer, bag it all up, and then clean it all out…again. It’s a terrible process. Everyone hates him. We decided to do something about it.

Fish cleaning on the go

Even amateur anglers quickly learn the truth about fishing. Filleting is much less fun than standing in a beautiful river and hauling in a salmon.

So, to make the cleaning process easier, the Provider 88-MK comes with a tabletop that unscrews from the cooler and folds up into a workstation. It also includes a plastic cutting board.

But the real kicker is the 18-volt battery-powered vacuum sealer, or Freshlok-18V, stored in a compartment in the lid. It allows to seal the nets only a few minutes after a catch. This not only reduces subsequent work, but also keeps the fish fresh during the return trip.

The cooler itself is also quite large. Measuring 33.2″ x 19″ x 22.8″, it offers up to 88 quarts of storage space. It is divided into three compartments, allowing anglers or campers to separate hot/dry items from cold/wet items.

Meanwhile, the PacBak Fresh-Lok 18V Vacuum Sealer features a replaceable and rechargeable battery. The company says it will offer over 40 seals per load, depending on the size of each bag.

PacBak Fresh-Lok 18V Vacuum Sealer; (photo/PacBak)

If that’s not enough, PacBak also offers extra batteries for extra-large fishing expeditions. The sealer can vacuum seal any shelf bag up to 11.5 inches wide and has a built-in bag cutter. It also comes with replaceable heating strips, a removable roll holder, and a few different color options, just for fun.

PacBak pricing and (current lack of) availability

Although the brand definitely orients the product towards anglers, it seems to be suitable for many other uses. One could imagine packing birds or other small game in the field on a hunting trip. And of course the various cooling compartments and tables could also be applied to other tasks (not hunting or fishing).

On Kickstarter, the Fresh-Lok 18V sold for a $200 pledge, while the Provider 88-MK cooler sold for a $650 pledge. Or, you can buy the cooler and sealer together, which branded notes come with a hefty price tag of $899.

The Kickstarter is currently closed. Unfortunately, the items are not yet available for sale on the PacBak website. But with such buzz at the ICAST show and a successful Kickstarter, we hope to see some products available in the near future.

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