Even the hardiest of fishermen can’t stand the bitter cold when ice fishing. For this reason, it’s crucial to have the best portable ice shelter to keep the blistering cold from your back.
You can relax a little and enjoy fishing in a way which can’t be done at all times of the year, so this review takes a look at some of the best ice fishing tents you can get.
What is an Ice Fishing Tent?
An ice fishing tent is an easy to erect shelter. They come in varying types and look much like tents apart from the shapes because these are more suited for adults standing.
These pop-up ice houses are easy to carry and erect and are placed around the hole in the ice where an angler can fish in comfort.
- What is an Ice Fishing Tent?
- Best Ice Fishing Shelters Reviews
- 1. Eskimo FF949I FatFish Insulated Pop-up Portable Ice Shelter, 3-4 Person
- 2. Frabill Aegis 2110 Top Insulated Flip-Over Front Door W/Jump Seats
- 3. Eskimo QuickFish 3 Pop-up Portable Ice Shelter, 3 person (Insulated or Non-Insulated)
- 4. Clam Outdoors 10136 Big Foot XL6000T Garage Ice Fishing Shelter (6-8 person)
- 5. Ice Cube 3 Man Portable Ice Shelter by ThunderBay
- What to Look For When Buying an Ice Fishing Tent
- Final Verdict
The four types available are:
- Hub Style Shelters – these are the closest to a tent design. Lightweight and easy to erect while strong enough to keep the wind at bay.
- Windbreakers – These are another lightweight option and are ideal for a couple of people
- Cabin or Hut Style Shelters – These portable ice fish house types are built on an under sled base. They can be large enough to seat 8 adults comfortably.
- Flip Style shelters – these ice fish huts are the most popular for many fishermen. They are built on plastic sled bases and can comfortably seat up to 4 adults.
Best Ice Fishing Shelters Reviews
1. Eskimo FF949I FatFish Insulated Pop-up Portable Ice Shelter, 3-4 Person
The Eskimo FatFish 949i is seen by many as the market leader in ice fishing shelters. It offers solid construction and is built by one of the most renowned companies out there.
It comes with some of the best Eskimo ice shelter insulation to keep the winds out and the warmth in for those hours of fishing out on the lake.
There is plenty of room inside ice fishing shanty with internal dimensions of 94” X 94” and 80 inches high. This makes it plenty big enough for 3-4 persons. It also has 6-removable windows which keep the natural light flooding inside as well as being used for perfect cross blowing ventilation.
As well as keeping you warm, the inside of this ice tent has mesh pockets for easy stowage of fishing gear, and you are safe in the knowledge, the six self-tapping ice anchors will stop this Eskimo ice fishing shelter moving an inch in the highest of winds.
With guide prices starting a little under the $250 mark, this can be one of the best purchase to enjoy ice fishing.
- Considerable size and mesh storage pockets are accommodating
- Warm, insulated fabric
- Despite its size, this model weighs just 34 pounds
- 61 square ft. fishable area
- Material stiffens on the ice fishing hut while setting up, so can be hard to get back in the bag
- Not as durable against the wind as the smaller Eskimo model
- Doors are on the small side
- Can suffer from condensation
- Can hold 3-4 people
- Weighs only 34 lbs. and comes complete with a carry bag
- Secures using six self-tapping ice anchors
- Eskimo FatFish comes with two doors with durable and smooth operating YKK zippers
- Fully insulated. It provides 35% more warmth than other ice shelters
- Made from robust 300 denier ice tight fabric
2. Frabill Aegis 2110 Top Insulated Flip-Over Front Door W/Jump Seats
The Frabill fish house isn’t the largest, but it can be one of the most comfortable for 2-people. With a patented seating design it can be configured with 5 seating options and three levels of insulation.
The Frabill ice shanty is designed with 2 persons in mind, so with its light construction, it is super easy to carry and transport.
The Frabill ice shelter with its innovative design and heat retaining insulation might be one of the best bargains for around the $400 mark, although it is a bit steeper because of the jump seats and the variety of seating positions you can have.
The downside to this portable ice shanty though, is the height, at only a tad over 61 inches, it is more ideal for sitting than if you wish to stand. There are not many adults who are shorter than this.
The Frabill ice fishing hut comes with four windows, and there are storage pockets scattered around inside and behind the seats. Although it is heavy, it isn’t too bad considering it is a sled type with two chairs.
- Light and compact
- Well placed windows and openings
- Patented modular design
- Foamy and comfortable seats for extended fishing periods
- Built-in fishing rod holder
- Only 19.5 square ft. fishable area
- Heavy for size 60 lbs.
- The fabric isn’t the best at keeping out the cold
- Dimensions: 83″L x 58″W x 61.5″H
- 1 front door
- 2 jump seats
- High levels of insulation – Insulated Roof
- Sturdy thermo – formed base
- 600D or weight – saving 300D tent construction
3. Eskimo QuickFish 3 Pop-up Portable Ice Shelter, 3 person (Insulated or Non-Insulated)
The Eskimo QuickFish 3 can be the ideal fishing shelter for regular fishing because it is one of the lightest on the market.
This is down to it not having insulation. There are though options to have an insulated variant if required, this will increase weight and cost.
There is plenty of height for adults to stand and it can accommodate 3 people in the 34 feet of fishable area.
Although there is enough space inside the Eskimo tent, the doors are on the short side, so there is no choice but to stoop as you enter. Using the same 6 self-tapping ice anchors as the rest of the models in the family, you know it won’t move, even in the strongest of winds.
This Eskimo Ice Shanty is built from the highly durable material, but when you look at the none-insulated version, it is more for a casual fishing expedition rather than for serious ice anglers.
This being said, with starting prices under $150.00, the Eskimo icehouse makes good sense if you want to keep the wind off your back.
As for heat, this ice fishing shack is more than large enough to cope with a heater for extended fishing trips.
- Easy to set up, even in the wind
- Windows don’t fog up, even when using a heater
- Good Ventilation
- Robust fabric for long-term use
- The door is a little low, may need to duck to climb inside
- Can be difficult to get flat enough to store in the carrying bag
- Not as warm as insulated shelters
- 60 Second set-up
- YKK Zippers
- Removable Windows
- All Metal Hubs & Poles
- 34 square ft. fishing area
- Weight 26lb
- Waterproof material with 4 windows and 2 ventilation holes
- Dimensions are 70” x 70” x 80”
4. Clam Outdoors 10136 Big Foot XL6000T Garage Ice Fishing Shelter (6-8 person)
This is one large Clam Ice house, and is large enough to hold up to 8 persons. With a full group inside, it doesn’t take long for the inside to get warm, and with the extensive insulation, none of this heat is easily lost.
The Clam Ice Shanty is home to 112 square feet of fishing area, and the zippered end panel can be opened up, and if used as a garage, the Clam Ice Shelter is large enough to fit 2 ATV’s inside.
The construction portable fish house is highly durable and is thick enough to keep light out where you can take a cot and use it for extended periods out on the ice where you need to sleep. It is on the heavier side, but for a 6-8 person shelter which easily stows away after use, it isn’t that bad.
Prices for Clam Ice shacks are a little over $500, but when you look at what you get for your money compared to alternatives, it can be a worthy investment for those larger fishing parties, or you wish to safely store your ATV’s within viewing distance as well as your ice auger.
There is an oversized skirt, and for the Clam Fish house, this is welcome knowing it won’t blow over when correctly loaded with snow.
- The Clam Ice Shelter is a large size and accommodates several people comfortably
- Velcro lets you keep the doors open
- All areas are durable, so it will last many ice fishing seasons
- Super durable 600 denier fabric
- On the heavier side
- The storage bag is bulky
- Unable to take the windows off completely
- 112-sq. Ft. fishable area
- 96″ x 168″ x 82” Clam tent set-up size
- Fully insulated 600D roof and sides
- Opening zippered end panel
- Triple layer corner pockets
- Oversized skirt for snow banking
- Clam Ice fishing shelter Weighs 65 lbs.
5. Ice Cube 3 Man Portable Ice Shelter by ThunderBay
Like any product made my ThunderBay the Ice Cube fishing hut is robustly constructed. It is more than capable of blocking out the heaviest of winds and even comes with a blackout coating which keeps ambient light out unless you want to let it in via the four windows.
The versatility of this Ice Cube fishing shack goes way beyond fishing and is often used as a tent replacement.
With the six anchors and the large skirt, you can keep those chilly winds at bay, and the tent is rigid enough to withstand the harshest of winds.
Prices for this ice shelter start in the mid-$150 range and is an excellent investment for those fishing trips you make with a couple of friends or family.
It has a large enough fishing area for up to 3 persons, but once you have gear and chairs inside, it might be better suited to 2 persons.
The good thing with this portable ice house is the height which is more than enough for taller adults to stand, and the doors are a decent height to allow entrance without stooping too much.
- Heavy duty
- Replaceable fiberglass poles
- Heavy duty zippers
- Blackout Lining
- An extra door would be handy
- Durable 300 denier fabric for blocking wind
- Blackout coating keeps the light out
- Hook and loop fastened windows, easily adjustable and replaceable
- 90″ x 90″ hub to hub, 80″ ceiling height,
- Extra wide skirting to keep drafts out when loaded with snow
- Secured by six self-tapping ice anchors
- Weight 24.9 lbs.
What to Look For When Buying an Ice Fishing Tent
When you hit the ice, you need to have a good shelter around you. Choosing the best pop-up fish houses can make or break a great days fishing.
The question is how to pick the best one which will have space for ice fishing seats, and space to hold all your gear and bait without being over cramped.
Here are a few fishing tips on what to look for in your ice hut and how to choose the best one which meets your needs.
For fishing on the ice, it is crucial to keep warm. Many ice huts can prevent wind, but if they are too large for your needs, it can quickly get colder inside. This being said, if it is a two-person, you still have lots of gear to consider.
Many offers mesh pockets were to hold reels when not in use, but these can still eat up space inside your ice tent.
Like tents, it is better to purchase an ice shanty larger than the number of people it will hold. Fishing equipment can quickly mount, and when you have sat for a while, it is good to stand and stretch your legs.
Setting Up and Stowing Away
Most modern ice huts are made to be quickly erected. More often, you only have to tug on a few handles, and the ice hut pops up already erect in front of your eyes. This is ideal if you are using ice fishing fish finders and need to quickly decide where to pitch your hut.
If erecting your ice shelter is easy, then stowing it away is a little more difficult. Depending on weather conditions, you ice tent can get wet or covered in ice, so a snug fitting carry bag won’t be sufficient. The bag needs to be larger and allow room.
Some of the larger models can weigh quite a bit when dry. Add around 50lbs to all the other gear you are carrying, and it can quickly mount up.
This is where flip-style huts are great because they come on a sled which can be dragged rather than carried. Unfortunately, these tend to be on the smaller size rather than big enough to cater for more than two persons.
Some shelters come in around 20-30 lbs. And can be ideal for carrying short distances, these again make compromises and tend to be smaller.
If you have a couple of rods each, it can leave you short on room to stand and move around freely.
Durability, weight, insulation, and cost are all elements of the fabric used in the construction of pop up ice shelters.
Depending on the amount of angling you do on the ice, and how harsh the weather will dictate the type of material you will need.
For lighter fishing, you can get away with lighter denier fabric because this is ideal for breaking the wind more than fending off rain or snow. At this point, you need heavier gauge material and often up to 600 denier. The higher the number, the better the quality and the better the weather fighting ability.
With this higher-grade material comes extra weight, and ultimately cost. However, when you have an insulated ice hut, you can keep it quite cozy with the aid of a small heater.
Breaking the Wind
Anchorage for an ice hut is crucial. Once a wind picks up over a lake, it can blow quite severely, and if your ice huts structure or anchor points are not enough, then you can face some severe problems.
The ice tent-poles need to be highly durable, yet flexible enough to withstand these high winds. Once erected, you ice shanty should have a tight fabric to prevent material flapping.
A large skirt which can be secured with ice or snow can be a great way of stopping the wind lapping up the side of your ice shanty and blowing a gale inside.
Seating and Flooring
Some of the more expensive ice huts come with built-in floors. The flip style which comes on a sled has fixed seats already installed. This can make it easier, however, when you need to stand to get to your jigs and lures, you might find it hard to move if your fishing box is behind you.
Ventilation and Insulation
Although you are sat in the middle of a lake in your ice hut, you might find you are too warm. This can be easy to accomplish if your ice tent is insulated and you have a heater.
Good ice shacks have ventilation holes as well as opening windows. Excess heat, or depending on the type of heater, fumes can escape.
There are some ice tents which have no insulation, and these can form condensation on the inside if you use a heater.
This might be okay while you are fishing, but as soon as you go to pack away your ice hut, you could have fabric which is soaked on both sides.
Doors and Windows
Many ice shelters come with two doors, this makes it easier when there is more than one person, there is no need to scrabble over gear to get outside. Door size can also be crucial if the person fishing is on the taller side.
As for windows, these can either be fixed, can be opened or removed altogether. The material used here shouldn’t fog up when a heater is being used. You should also check if you can cover up the windows, or they will be permanently clear.
It is easy to say an ice tent holds 3 persons, but add in all of the fishing equipment, and the auger used to drill the hole, then this space can quickly vanish.
Some models come with built-in pockets or overhead areas for holding smaller items, but when the things are large, there is no available space.
The larger sizes have more than enough space and are often used to house ATV’s or sleds which have been used to carry equipment.
most crucial factor is, how much you want to protect your equipment from the harsh weather, and the number of people who accompany you on a regular basis.
There are many types of portable ice fishing shelters. They come in all shapes and sizes and fit almost everyone’s needs. Even the companies who produce the ones reviewed here make multiple models to cater for differing requirements.
No matter what style you choose, and we hope the above reviews can help you decide. You need to be at your most comfortable. If your ice hut is a hassle to use from the get-go, you will soon refrain from using it, and it will be good money wasted.
We have covered as many varying types, from the very small to the family sized, and these cover the full extent of individual’s budgets.
Ice fishing can be great fun, and the one thing all of the above ice shelters aim to do, is to bring an element of comfort. Some do it better than others, and some cater for the more serious fishermen among us.
In the end, a good ice shelter should protect you and your gear from the wet, the cold while making it easier for you to do some ice fishing.
Just be sure to purchase on large enough, because when the family sees the smile on your face, it won’t be long before they want to tag along on your next ice fishing expedition.