Ice fishing shelters – Buying Guide, Reviews, and Comparison
If you don’t have the time for any extensive research on the subject but still want a quick suggestion for a good ice fishing shelter for your next trip, then you’ve come to the right place. After considering the feedback from both expert and amateur anglers alike we’ve concluded that the Eskimo 69151 is the product that will likely meet most needs. A highly convenient two-person tent, it’s ideal for beginners and people who don’t want the hassle of carrying and setting up a large shanty. The small size and high thread count material mean it will be easy to keep warm while the good ventilation makes a mobile heating unit safe to use within its confines. If you tend to ice fish in a large group and want to share a common space, then the Eskimo 24105 might be a better option.
Our top choices
With so many products out there to choose from, finding the right one for you is sure to take you a while. We’ve looked through the best ice fishing shelter reviews and from what’s available for sale made a selection of some top scoring products for you to consider. We selected them to cover a wide range of demands and you can find them below.
It seems that most people favor convenience over maximum capacity when it comes to ice shelters, as this two-person Eskimo model is one of the best selling products of its kind on retail sites. “Small” in this case doesn’t necessarily mean “confined” or “claustrophobic” since the Eskimo offers plenty of room for two people with a 60 x 60 inches base and 76 x76 inches around its middle.
At slightly upwards of 20 lb, it will be easy enough to carry to the fishing spot by only one person, neatly tucked in its own oversized zipper bag. Putting it up won’t pose much of a problem either, as users duly noted, and chances are it will stay in place with six self-tapping ice anchors.
We believe the commercial success it enjoyed speaks volumes about its quality but will also mention that it’s made out of extra-dense wind and water-resistant fabric with a denier coefficient of 300.
To cut down on weight and packed size, no special insulation material was used, but the small amount of air it holds should be easy enough to heat and keep warm, while the four air vents — one on each side — make the use of portable propane heaters acceptably safe.Buy from Amazon.com for ($139.99)
Designed and manufactured by Eskimo, which is arguably the pioneer of portable ice fishing shelters, the 4-5 person Quickfish 5i model has all the features and functionality we came to expect from this American brand.
Its shape is intended to maximize elbow room and cut down on un-usable interior space in order to keep it practical without adding extra volume. This will make it warmer than other tents that provide a similar level of comfort, since less air is always easier to heat up, either from the occupants’ bodies or a portable heating unit.
The insulation material used will add a lot to this effect, with the manufacturer claiming that it offers 35% better heat retention over common fabric and customers corroborating this by reporting that “it heats very well”.
A number of vents, removable window panels and two main openings situated opposite from one another will provide enough ventilation to accommodate a heating unit while also making it easier for you to move gear in and out of the shanty.
At 45 lb in weight, a moderately strong person could carry it for a while without breaking his back and the installation shouldn’t last more than a few minutes once you get the hang of it.Buy from Amazon.com for ($349.98)
Clam Outdoors 10136 XL6000T
We didn’t mention the car just to make a comparison either, as you could practically fit one in there given that one of the walls is fully unzippable to allow for easier access.
Of course, the Big Foot also features the full number of access panels, removable windows and vent shafts you would expect from a double, 6 person tent intended for ice fishing.
Expectedly, so much interior space won’t be particularly easy to keep warm, that’s why this model features a full thermal skin for added insulation, although you might want to invest in a portable heater for extra-cold nights, as the ventilation allows it.
The water repellant material used has a 600 denier rating, which will make it suitable for most torrential rains, let alone the snow that is to be expected when ice fishing.
Given its size, you shouldn’t expect it to be a cakewalk to set up, but the super duty poles it uses are sure to keep it in place.Buy from Amazon.com for ($569.99)
There are a lot of things to weigh in when determining what particular model would make the best ice fishing shelter for your needs since a lot of their most attractive features come as the result of trade-offs. As with everything else, good overall quality plays in as a factor, most easily ascertained by considering the manufacturer’s reputation and the reception a particular model received. But outside of that, a responsible buyer should guide his or her purchase by the specific conditions that are most likely to be encountered.
How does size play into it?
A fishing shelter works best when it’s just large enough to accommodate the occupants and their gear. That’s because smaller spaces are easier to keep warm, even with a relatively large opening to allow the angler to do his fishing. Also, narrower confides allow for smoother air circulation, which means there won’t be as much draft.
Without a dedicated heat source, fairly sizeable tents that allow for up to eight people will only prove heat-efficient when there are enough occupants to warm up all that additional space
The best portable ice fishing shelters are designed to allow for a lot of elbow room for as little an increase in actual volume as possible. This usually gives them a hexagonal shape, with the midsection wider than the roof and base, since humans tend to concentrate their movements around waist level.
Needless to say, size also affects portability and convenience. Most 2-person units are easy to carry and should prove no problem to install in less than 5 minutes, while a larger shanty might require some planning in getting it from the car to the fishing spot.
Resistance to the elements
Ice fishing shelters are expected to offer adequate protection from environmental factors, such as wind or snow. High-density fabric for the body and flexible steel poles as an armature are employed to hold up against the wind, while water repellant coating is added to prevent melted snow from going through the fabric and potentially freezing it stiff.
Since they aren’t expected to go up against monsoons, a water denying factor of 300 will often be enough for most ice fishing shanties, with somewhat higher than that being recommended for larger units, that might offer large enough surfaces for pools to form on their roofs.
An extra layer of thermal insulation is sometimes added to shanties that are also intended to serve as sleeping areas. This is a great feature to have in larger units, but it comes at a significant expense to portability in items that are intended for two people or less.