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Articles » Gear Reviews » 5 Best Ice Fishing Shelters Reviewed

5 Best Ice Fishing Shelters Reviewed

When it comes to ice fishing gear, the one piece of equipment that you should NOT go cheap on is your ice fishing shelter.

Below are some that we consider some of the best ice fishing shelters made today.

List of Top Ice Fishing Shelters

Granted it’s likely not the most expensive piece ice fishing gear you’ll own, going cheap can ruin your season. Imagine trying to have fun while a mediocre shelter lets in cold wind or face-scarring ice pellets.

best ice fishing shelters
Ice Fishing Shelters have come a long way in terms of portability and ease of setup. Source: Lorie Shaull

Also, make sure you get one with enough space. Feeling like your shelter is a glorified sleeping bag will have you feeling like you’re in a straight-jacket. The lake is big…enjoy your space!

After extensive research, we’ve picked our top ice shanties that you should check out before making your next upgrade.

The right ice shanty will keep you comfortable, but some will do it a little better than others…and their price reflects that.

Let’s check out what separates the best ice fishing shelters from each other.

Best Ice Fishing Shelters Reviewed

Best Low-Cost Single Person Ice Shelter

Eskimo QuickFlip 1

Eskimo QuickFlip 15300 QuickFlip 1 Portable Flip Style Ice Shelter with 50" Sled & Tripod Chair, 1 Person
  • Weighing only 52 pounds, the QuickFlip 1 is...
  • Double-walled hinge provides a sturdier structure...
  • Mesh storage pockets help to keep your gear off...

New ice fishermen gravitate towards the Eskimo ice shelters for their simplicity. It’s extremely lightweight and has a built-in sled which allows you to effortless drag it to your favorite fishing spot. If you have an ATV or snowmobile, you can also hook it up to them for an easier tow.

It’s a light 300 denier which means it’s not going to keep you warm if it’s extremely cold out. At the very least, it’ll put your heater to the test.

If you like to go out by yourself or at least have your own tent when fishing with friends, then this is a good option.

Model Specs

  • 9.3 sq. ft. of fishable area
  • Weighs 57 pounds
  • Height is 60.5″
  • Comes with folding ice chair

Best Low-Cost Multi-Person Ice Shelter

Eskimo Quickfish 2

If you plan to fish with a friend, but not sure you’re ready to invest in something expensive, this is your ice shanty.

It’s made from 300 denier, which means it won’t keep you super warm without a good ice fishing heater. So if you’re in parts of Canada or further towards the north, it might be a little too lightweight for you. There is no sled on this model, but it’s fairly light so you can carry it like a backpack.

It’s barebones so don’t expect too many luxuries inside. If you want something to protect you from the wind and the light cold, look no further.

Model Specs

  • 25 sq. ft. of fishable area
  • Weighs 18 pounds
  • Height is 67″
  • Not insulated

Best Ice Shelter for Sight Fishing

Clam Voyager X Thermal Stealth

Voyager X Thermal Stealth - 2 Man w/Grey Sled & Deluxe Seats
  • Full Tri-Bond Thermal Tech skin that keeps light...
  • Seat system with two deluxe swivel seats that move...

This is a serious sight-fishing ice shelter. It’s made from rugged 900 denier fabric so it will keep you warm. This is great for two people and has the deluxe swivel seats that anglers have come to expect from the higher-end models.

The material they used for insulation is nice because it helps reduce condensation on the inside of the shelter which can be annoying.

It is not a light ice fish hut, so make sure you’re towing this with an ATV or snowmobile.

Model Specs

  • 27 sq. ft. of fishable area
  • Weighs 120 pounds
  • Height is 75″

Best Pop-Up Ice Shelter

Otter Xth Pro Resort Thermal Hub

Otter 201112 Xth Pro Resort Thermal Hub (Thermaltec)
  • All Otter shelters are equipped with our exclusive...
  • This 3-point corner anchoring System provides...
  • All Otter shelters are equipped with our exclusive...

The Otter brand is highly praised in the community and they delivered with this ice shelter. They are known for the secure anchoring system which means you can weather a near store in one of these shelters.

This model is made from 600 denier material so it’ll be more in the middle for warmth.

There are guys who’ve camped out in harsh conditions for days in this ice fishing tent and have had nothing but good things to say. They also enjoy the well thought out drying nets and various holders for their ice rods and other gear.

This a portable fish house that is worth your consideration.

Model Specs

  • 101 sq. ft. of fishable area
  • Weighs 53 pounds
  • Height is 82″
  • Fits up to 8 anglers

Best Ice-Shelter for Ease of Entry

Frabill Bro Flip-Over Shelter

Sale
Frabill 4012662 Bro Flip-Over Shelter-Arctic Camo, One Size, Multi/Brown
  • Made of highest quality material
  • Manufacturer: Frabill Ice
  • Frabill Bro flip-over shelter-arctic Camo

Are you the type of angler who when stepping in and out of their portable ice shanty you tend to kick an ice fishing rod or heater? This is one of the bigger grips people have with front entryways in their shelter.

Frabill took note of that and made what they call the SideStep. Basically, the doors are on the sides of the shelter. Pretty-cool!

This shelter is meant for two people and is insulated up at 600 denier. Anglers love the boat seats and say they are comfortable for a full day of fishing.

Model Specs

  • 20 sq. ft. of fishable area
  • Weighs 148 pounds
  • Height is 64″
  • Fits up to 2 anglers

How to Choose the Best Ice Fishing Shelters for You

Types

The two common types of ice fishing shelters are the pop-up and the flip-over. Pop-ups are usually carried to your spot by hand or vehicle and setup. This set up is like how dome tents are built when camping. The internal supports are extended and push the materials out to form a sort of rounded cube shape.

The flip-over tents generally come attached to a sled that allows the fisherman to pull the gear to the right spot. Then by pulling the bars up and over, the shelter takes shape and is finished off with some internal support bars.

If you need something more portable by foot, it’s probably best to go with a flip-over style.

Sizes

Size comes down to personal preference.

The main factors to consider:

  • Are you fishing alone or with a group? If so, how many people need to fit into the shelter?
  • Are you a tall person requiring a tall ice shack?
  • Are you a bigger individual requiring a bigger seat or tent in general?

Materials

It’s important to choose the level of insulation for your needs. If you generally go out in the extreme cold then look for something around 1200 denier. 900 denier is a good choice if you have a pretty solid ice fishing heater.

If it doesn’t get too cold where you fish, then you can choose a lower number. Most times it best to get something a little warmer than you need and then open some vents depending on the conditions to cool it down.

It’s no fun to be stuck too cold out on the lake, but it’s easy to cool down when necessary.

Make sure you pick a structure with good quality metal support rods. They come in various shapes such as round or square. They will be keeping the fabric taught so make sure they aren’t flimsy.

Ease of Assembly

This is overlooked when buying an ice shelter. Most of them need a little engineering to decipher the manual, keep track of the many parts, and finally build it.

If you’re handy with tools and are organized, the most complicated ice shelter should take you around two to three hours to build. This includes putting any weather stripping on, moldings, and screwing down the fabric to the structure.

Weight and Portability

Make sure you’re aware of the weight of the ice fishing hut you’re getting. The worst thing to do is buy a shelter, build it, then realize you can’t get it to your favorite destination.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you need to walk the shelter across the lake yourself or with an ATV?
  • Are you setting it up alone or with help?
  • Can you handle carrying or dragging the total weight?

Also, remember that the weight of the shelter adds weight on the ice. Any extra weight can increase the chances of ice cracking or breaking.

A nice to have is a travel cover that keeps your gear dust or snow-free. Not a rule, but a nice to have feature.

Setup Time

Some ice shelters are simple and fast to set up. Popular one and two-person shelters allow you to pull down the support bars and it sets up itself.

Most of the setup time is in the build, but once that’s done, you can put up and tear down your shelter in minutes so you can get fishing.

Windows and Doors

Different fishing conditions will demand how much light gets in your shelter. Thus you should have at least a few windows, at least one on each wall that you can let in natural light.

A good shelter will have insider covers that will allow you to block all or some of the light depending on what you need.

When it comes to doors, make sure your shelter has a large enough door for you to get in and out. It’s nice to have an extra door in case one gets jammed for whatever reason, you have a secondary escape hatch.

Plus if you’re using any gas augers inside (which isn’t recommended), all the vents open is a huge help.

Seating

Seating is important if you’re going to be fishing for any decent duration. Some shelters come seating-free which means you’ll need to bring your own. That’s not a big deal if you have a special chair that you already own or like.

Some shelters come with nice padded seats that are attached to the ice fishing sled. They even have multi-axis sliders so you can line up on your hole without needing to move your tent.

Accessories

Depending on how fancy of an ice fishing shelter you’ve bought they’ll likely come with some extra perks.

These could be:

  • Lightbars
  • Battery holders
  • Bait buckets
  • Pouches to hold tackle boxes and knickknacks
  • Drink holders and more
  • Places to store your ice chisel

Budget

The budget will dictate the quality of materials used and how big your shelter will be. Budget is a personal factor, but there are plenty of competent shelters starting in the $250 dollar range and go up from there.

FAQ

Q: What is the best pop up ice fishing shelter?

A: We like the Otter Xth Pro Resort Thermal Hub and think it fits most people’s needs in a high-quality pop-up design.

Q: What is the best flip over ice shelter?

A: This will be decided whether you like the traditional front door entry, which in that case you should go with the Clam Voyager X Thermal Stealth. If you want a newer design and one that might prevent heaters from being knocked over, then try the Frabill Bro Flip-Over Shelter.

Who makes the best ice fishing shelter?

A: This is a tough question since there are many factors that go into deciding. We recommend always going with a reputable brand that invests in quality materials. High on that list would be Otter, Frabill, and Clam.

Q: What is the best ice fishing sled?

A: We like the Frabill Bro Flip-Over Shelter with the SideStep technology. The others are really great as well.


The Anglers Behind This Article:

Jon Stenstrom
Founder

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