In 2008 Jon Dykes discovered the packraft. In 2014 he found a way to perfect it, at least for fishing and hunting.
Jon released the packraft table this past week. The table is a portable addition to your packraft that allows the fishing enthusiast to manage rods and gear and even filet the catch on board, and the hunting enthusiast to secure a gun.
Working in Alaska in outdoor media and production, Jon would often be out in the bush chasing animals with a crew. Then they’d encounter a water obstacle and, since they were on foot, they wouldn’t have a way to continue. When Jon began researching collapsible boats he discovered the packraft, the inflatable yet durable and lightweight rafts that can be carried in a backpack and then used to run whitewater.
He loved it immediately. As an avid hunter and fisherman who loves to cook wild game, Jon started using the boat for fishing. While most people were excited to take their packraft through whitewater, Jon liked it for a more peaceful experience.
“I tried to use it to get to the ultimate new fishing hole,” he said.
He loved that he didn’t have to store a monstrous kayak at home or try to haul one to his favorite haunts that required a hike.
While the portable boat allowed Jon to easily access fishing on alpine lakes, it didn’t make the fishing itself easy. He couldn’t troll for fish and manage rods. He’d find himself with rods stuffed between his legs.
“It was very unorganized,” he said.
When a foot injury forced him to slow down, he began to tinker with designs in his head to make fishing a little easier from his packraft. The result is the packraft table. It’s a place where spiny fish won’t endanger your inflatable boat, you can organize your gear, and you can even filet your catch. When you get off the water you can fire up the grill and eat your fish for dinner, then fold up the table, let the air out of your raft and put it all in your backpack.
The table mounts on the packraft with bike-helmet style straps. It’s a design that will work for hunting from the packraft, too. You are able to secure a gun, and move quickly from padding to shooting. But for now Jon is focused on marketing it for fishing. The table, along with the screws, weighs between two and three pounds.
“That’s obviously something I’m always working on,” Jon said.
He’s also always thinking of the next big thing to outfit his packraft. He’s already invented an anchor that allows him to park his packraft.