Table of Contents
- 1 Best Ice Fishing Shelters: Our Top Picks
- 1.1 Eskimo Quickfish Pop-Up Portable Ice Shelter
- 1.2 Nordic Legend Wide Bottom Thermal Ice Shelter
- 1.3 Elkton Outdoors Insulated Portable Insulated Ice Fishing Tent
- 1.4 Eskimo 69151 Quickfish 2 Pop-up Portable Ice Shelter
- 1.5 TANGKULA Pop-up Ice Shelter with Detachable Ventilation Windows
- 1.6 Goplus Portable Ice Shelter Pop-up Ice Fishing Tent Shanty
- 1.7 Ice Cube 3 Man Portable Ice Shelter by ThunderBay
- 2 How to Choose an Ice Fishing Shelter
For many anglers, ice fishing is a way of life. It is one of the best activities to participate in during the winter months. Considering the long hours you will be spending in low temperatures, investing in the best ice fishing shelters is crucial to ensuring a successful fishing expedition. Fully insulated shelters are the norm these days.
Anglers are pushing the limits and demanding to stay warm and comfortable with so many varieties on the market, identifying the right shelter for your needs can seem like a challenging task. So how do you go about choosing the best ice fishing shelter? This post answers the above question and offers top recommendations to ease your search.
Best Ice Fishing Shelters: Our Top Picks
Read on to learn more about the best products on the market and how to choose the right shelter for you:
Eskimo is one of the most trusted brands when it comes to outdoor equipment. Their Quickfish 69145 is a portable pop-up ice shelter designed for six people. It boasts a hub design that reduces the setup and take-down period to 60 seconds. The ice anchor grommets are built into the skirt, thus giving you more convenience than those on a separate tab.
The shelter is made using 300 denier ice tight fabric with a higher thread count than other models. This means a tighter weave, better durability, and excellent waterproof/windproof performance. It folds down to a compact size for easy transportation in a cinch carrying back. The removable window panels offer customizable ventilation thanks to their adjustable hook and loop design. The shelter only uses YKK zippers to secure the doors. Also notable are high-quality fiberglass poles and solid metal poles. These ensure years of dependable support.
- Flexible vinyl windows provide ample ventilation and clear views outside
- Lasting dependability with metal and fiberglass frame
- Only takes 60 seconds to set up
- Can accommodate up to six people
- Doesn’t stand up to extremely strong breezes well
If good quality at an affordable cost is your main priority, the Nordic Legend Wide Bottom Shelter is worth considering. As the name suggests, it is designed with a wide bottom and offers ample space for 3-4 anglers. It is built with up to 40 square feet, which is perfect for fishing on the ice comfortably. The interior of this shelter is made with insulated fabric to keep you warm during the winter months and cool in the summer.
Solid construction is not overlooked what with high-quality fiberglass poles and cast aluminum hubs. The heavy duty stitching is a nice bonus and the six ice anchors provide perfect stability for a long time. It takes less than a minute to set up and take down the shelter. Travelling is made easier and more enjoyable with a cinch carry bag.
- Built to last a long time
- Spacious interior for 3-4 people
- Insulated fabric provides good warmth
- Easy to transport with cinch carry bag
- Easy to set up and take down
- Not the ideal option for taller users
The Elkton Outdoors Insulated Portable Ice Fishing Tent offers a great feature combination at an affordable price. Highlights include construction with three layers of quilted insulation as well as tarpaulin seal. These keep you warm and dry during the night. It sets up and disassembles in less than a minute, provided you follow the instructions.
The carry bag makes packing and transportation easier. It has an extra wide opening and a drawstring at the top. The adjustable straps can be customized according to your height for optimal carrying comfort. The tent itself has dimensions of 70" wide by 70" long by 80" high. That is more than enough room for three anglers along with their gear. It is provided with sturdy ice anchors that provide lasting support. There are two large windows with removable covers that provide improved airflow and a clear view outside.
- Designed with three layers of quilted insulation
- Features a watertight seal to keep you dry
- Quick and easy to set up or disassemble
- Solid frame and roomy interior
- Hard to set up if alone
The Eskimo Quickfish 3 Pop-up is a portable ice shelter that easily accommodates three people along with their gear. It is built to last with durable metal hubs and super quality fiberglass poles. These offer solid support and ensure years of dependable use. Like other Eskimo shelters, it has a hub design that sets up and disassembles in less than 60 seconds. It has built using 300D fabric, which has 59% higher thread count than standard fabrics. This means a tighter weaver not to mention better waterproof and windproof performance.
There are two removable windows with a loop and hook design that allows for customizable ventilation. The anchor grommets are built into the skirt rather than on a separate tab, giving you more convenience during installation. This tent is offered with a cinch carry bag for easy storage and transportation.
- Spacious interior for three people
- Features mesh storage pockets for small gear
- Six self-tapping ice anchors are easier to grip
- Strong poles allow for better sheltering
- The door is a little tight for a 3-person shelter
The Tangkula 2-Person Popup Portable Ice Shelter is a unique fishing tent that stands out from the crowd. It is designed for two people and is available in a giant 8-person version for families. It is surprisingly lightweight yet durable thanks to a clever material combination. The shelter is made using 300 denier Oxford fabric that keeps it from being unwieldy. While a good choice for ice fishing, this is not the best material for use in extremely cold winds because it’s not designed for constant buffering.
The fact that the Tangkula 2-Person Shelter is built to have frost resistance of -22 degrees Fahrenheit is a nice bonus. Also included are windows with detachable coverings for adjusting airflow. This tent doesn’t provide as much insulation as pricier models, but it is a decent option for use in moderate winter weather. It has solid stakes that hold it down in the ice.
- Only weighs 22 pounds
- Weather-resistant 300D oxford fabric stands the test of time
- Good -22 degrees Fahrenheit frost resistance
- Strong flexible poles allow for easy installation and tear down
- Can easily fit 2-3 people
- Air vents don’t have covers
The GoPlus Portable Ice Shelter is a 3-person ice fishing tent that boasts high-quality construction with 300 denier Oxford fabric. It is designed to keep the cold outside and allow you to fish in the harshest weather comfortably. The Oxford fabric is waterproof and has a great frost resistance down to -30 degrees Fahrenheit.
This shanty is offered with a carry bag for convenient storage and transportation. There are two layers in Oxford and transparent PVC. They come handy when you need to hermetic and all you have both layers. You can install the transparent PVC layer if you want to keep the air out and let more light into the tent. Simply detach the windows if the goal is to improve airflow. The frame consists of 9.5mm fiber poles.
- High quality build with oxford fabric
- Waterproof and -30 degrees Fahrenheit frost resistance
- Two layers of windows for airtight sealing or ventilation
- Fits well in high-quality carry bag
- A little difficult to fold down
ThunderBay is an established brand with a reputation for well constructed outdoor gear. The Ice Cube 3-Man Shelter is woven from 300 denier fabric that is extremely durable and effectively blocks out the wind. It has a special blackout coating for keeping light out unless you want to let it in.
The hook and loop windows can be adjusted to fit specific ventilation needs and replaced easily. With 90"x90"x80" dimensions, the interior of the shelter is roomy and accommodates 2-3 people comfortably. The skirting is extra wide and keeps drafts out. You get six self-tapping anchors for better stability and a travel bag for compact storage.
- 2 man version is available
- Roomy interior for three anglers and gear
- Special blackout coating blocks light completely
- Extra wide skirting keeps drafts out
- Heavy-duty fiberglass poles
- Not for families
How to Choose an Ice Fishing Shelter
Types of ice shelters
You will come across three types of ice shelters during your search i.e. hub-style, flip-style and cabin-style shelters. Hub-style shelters offer more fishing space than the other two with least expenditure. Their internal framework pops up easily to lock into the tent-like structure. Setting up requires the help of other anglers. However, the main downside is that hub-style shelters cannot withstand strong winds.
Flip-style ice shelters are designed for quick installation and tear-down, hence a perfect option for mobile anglers. They come with a locked-down sled and built-in padded seats. While bulky and pricy, these shelters have the strongest wind resistance.
Cabin-style shelters have a built-in floor that boosts the effectiveness of the heaters inside while shielding you from the coldness of the ice. The floor has predetermined holes for drilling holes into the ice, hence a warmer experience. They are light and their framework is similar to that of a tent. A huge disadvantage is that moving them on ice is difficult.
Canvas, nylon and poly cotton are the most popular materials used to make fishing shelters. And while has its own highs and lows, it's important that consider their durability, resistance to elements, thickness, and breathability. Thicker materials provide more protection from weather elements while thin ones cause a drop in internal temperature. Consider a shanty made from dark-colored material as this attracts the warmth of the sun and directly transfers it to the interior of your tent. It also makes it easier to sight fish.
Depending on how many people and gear you need the tent to accommodate, the ideal size will vary. A one-man tent is the best option if the majority of your ice fishing is done alone. Consider a two-person shelter if you have a lot of equipment and gear. The tent should have adequate headroom and allow you to sit down without the noggin rubbing off the roof. The amount of room in front of you while seated should be spacious enough to allow free movement of fishing rods.
Windows and vents
Portable ice shelters should have at least one window built into the wall, but two or three are more efficient. These offer a clear view of the surroundings from inside and allow natural light into the tent. Some models have roll-up covers or flaps for closing the windows completely when you need to block out the light. If you plan on using a propane heater inside the shelter, a vent is crucial because it will allow fumes to escape. Otherwise, you will have to keep the windows or door partially opened to offset the fumes.
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