pacbak provider cooler
The PacBak Provider 88-MK cooler; (photo/PacBak)

PacBak Cooler Transforms Into Fish-Cleaning Table, Vacuum-Sealing Station

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

It’s easy to understand the attraction of catching a fish in a beautiful place, and then taking it home for dinner. But filleting that fish? Trying to keep the meat as fresh as possible? Cleaning up the stinky cooler? Those parts are far less popular.

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

The video below sums up the features.

The cooler has also reeled in $22,000 in a Kickstarter campaign that 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-top bags, throw it in the cooler — and when you get home, the real work starts,” PacBak wrote on Kickstarter. “You’ve got to clean the cooler, get out your vacuum sealer, bag everything up, and then clean everything … again. It’s a terrible process. Everyone hates it. We decided to do something about it.”

Fish Cleaning on the Go

Even hobbyist fishermen quickly learn the truth about fishing. Filleting feels a lot less fun than standing in a gorgeous river and reeling in a salmon.

So, to help aid the cleaning process, the Provider 88-MK comes with a tabletop that unscrews from the cooler and folds out 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 lid compartment. It allows for sealing up fillets just minutes after a catch. This not only reduces the work later on but also keeps the fish fresh during the journey home.

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’s divided into three compartments, which allow anglers or campers to separate hot/dry items from cold/wet ones.

Meanwhile, the PacBak Fresh-Lok 18V vacuum sealer has a replaceable and rechargeable battery. The company claims it will offer more than 40 seals per charge, depending on the size of each bag.

sealer pacbak
The 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 heat strips, a removable roll holder, and a few different color options — just for kicks.

PacBak Pricing and (Current Lack of) Availability

While the brand definitely angles the product toward fishermen, it seems like a good fit for many other uses. We could imagine packing birds or other small game in the field during a hunting trip. And of course, the various cooler compartments and tables could be applied to other (not hunting or fishing) tasks, too.

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

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

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Andrew McLemore

An award-winning journalist and photographer, Andrew McLemore brings more than 14 years of experience to his position as Associate News Editor for Lola Digital Media. Andrew is a musician, climber and traveler who currently lives in Cuenca, Ecuador, which he uses as a home base for adventures throughout the Americas. When he's not writing, playing gigs or exploring the outdoors, he's hanging out with his dog Campana.