Ice fishing is a great outdoor activity that can add to the thrill of the chilly winter days. If you are looking forward to an amazing ice fishing experience then you need to get a cozy shelter as it can get extremely cold out there!
The best ice fishing shelter is one that provides insulation and keeps you warm in extreme weather conditions such as snow, rain, and wind. Moreover, you should be able to move the tent from once place to another without any hassle as you may not be able take your vehicle to a frozen lake.
Selecting the best ice fishing shelter may seem a bit overwhelming given the plethora of options available online. To make your job easy, we have reviewed the best portable ice shelters so that getting the right one for your needs becomes a breeze.
So, let’s get started with the best shelters.
Quick Overview – Best Ice Fishing Shelter
- Best All Around Ice Fishing Shelter: Eskimo Quickfish Portable Ice Fishing Shelter
- Best Value: THUNDERBAY Ice Cube 3 Man Portable Ice Shelter
- Best Big Ice Fishing Tent: Eskimo FF9416i Fatfish Pop-Up Insulated Shelter 7-9 Person
- Best Waterproof Ice Fishing Tent: Tangkula Pop-up Ice Shelter 2-Person
Quick Comparison – Best Ice Fishing Shelters
Getting the right ice fishing shelter can seem to be a tricky job as there are so many of them available online. However, you need to not worry as we have done the research for you and we have elaborated some key features that you should go through before investing in an ice fishing shelter.
Ice fishing tents are made up of rugged material that can withstand extreme temperatures. Moreover, they also provide insulation so that you keep warm in the chilling weather. Some tents provide relatively more insulation but they may weigh more.
You can invest in these tents if the ice fishing location is close to your home as you wouldn’t have to move around much. Otherwise, go for a material that does not weigh a lot, has proper insulation, and lasts long.
Another important feature to look out for in the ice shelter material is its breathability as it reduces the condensation within the shelter. Along with this the tent should be waterproof. Although an ice fishing shelter is usually waterproof, there are some materials that fade away with use and become permeable to water.
You can also look for additional features in the material such as thermal insulation that helps to keep the shelter warm by absorbing light from the sun.
You should choose a tent depending upon how many people will use it at a time and how much space would be used by your fishing gear. The shelters would vary from a small two-person tent to a larger one that can house seven to nine people at a time.
If you go out fishing alone then you should invest in a two-person tent as it would have sufficient space for your fishing gear. Your ice fishing rod, reel, lines, lures, tip-ups and even an ice fishing flasher can be comfortably stored in any case, but also consider what else you will take on a typical trip.
Windows and Vents
Windows and vents help you to maintain airflow within the tent. Your ice fishing shelter must have at least two windows so that you can get a clear picture of your surroundings.
Moreover, you should be able to view the weather changes clearly in order to estimate an impending storm and prepare accordingly. Windows also allow light so that you can see clearly within the shelter while vents are instrumental in providing an outlet to gas emanated from propane heaters.
The Best Ice Fishing Shelters Review – Our Top Picks
The Best All Around Ice Fishing Shelter
Eskimo Quickfish Portable Ice Fishing Shelter
- 60 Second Set-Up
- YKK Zippers
- Removable Windows
- All-Metal Hubs & Solid Poles
- Heavy-duty material
- Duffle bag for shelter and accessories
- Rather Expensive
- The manufacturers should include more than two tie downs to help keep the tent in place.
Did you know that the QuickFish ice shelters are already assembled and pop out when you open the package? All you need to do is to pull out each side and roof hub, and your shelter is ready! The manufacturers use premium YKK zippers for the doors to ensure that you stay safe. These great quality zippers won’t break or snag when the temperatures drops below the freezing point.
Moreover, there vinyl windows are quite flexible and help you get a clear view of what is happening outside. You can open the windows or remove them in case you need more for venting. These QuickFish pop-up portable ice shelters employ durable metal hubs and strong fiberglass poles so that you can use them for years.
Though this product is slightly expensive, it is sustainable for a couple of years and is a wise choice for any ice fishing enthusiast. Taking the tent down is also a breeze as the hub design ensures that you can easily do it in a minute. Moreover, this pop-up fits into a duffle bag or backpack so that you can easily carry it outdoors.
Easily place your ice anchors through the grommets located directly in the skirt material ensure that you can put your ice anchors easily and this removes the hassle of finding and holding a separate grommet tab. This tent has a good capacity and is suitable for housing up to six individuals at a time.
Looking for a place to keep your fishing gear? The mesh storage pockets ensure that you have all your gear handy out of the bottom of the sled. The extra skirt material ensures that prevents drafts and keeps the elements out.
So, if you are in search for a durable and heavy-duty ice fishing shelter then Eskimo Quickfish Portable Ice Fishing Shelter is the best choice.
Features and Specs
- Shipping Weight: 65 pounds
- Mesh storage pockets
- Extra-long skirt material
- True 6-person capacity
The Best Value Ice Fishing Shelter
THUNDERBAY Ice Cube 3 Man Portable Ice Shelter
- Super easy set up
- Extra wide skirting to keep drafts out
- Adjustable and replaceable windows
- 8 ice anchors (4 for each corner grommet and 4 for the guy lines off each hub)
- Blacks out really well for sight fishing
- Velcro windows for more ventilation
- Some products delivered to customers are defective, however, the manufacturer replaces them timely when reported
Are you looking for a cheap ice fishing shelter that lasts for a couple of years so that you don’t have to invest in another one for a long time? Go for THUNDERBAY Ice Cube 3 Man Portable Ice Shelter that is made up of heavy-duty material that will last season after season.
Other great features include extra heavy-duty zippers, fiberglass poles, durable cast aluminum hubs, and rugged and durable 300 denier fabric. The tent has dark interior walls ensure that the light stays out so that you can easily see through the hole. At this price point, really a no-brainer, if you are looking for a relatively cheap ice fishing shelter.
Features and Specs
- Shipping Weight: 26.2 pounds
- 90″ x 90″ hub to hub
- 80″ ceiling height
- six self-tapping ice anchors
- Carry bag for shelter and accessories
The Best Big Ice Fishing Shelter
Eskimo FF9416i FATFISH POP-UP INSULATED SHELTER 7-9 Person
- 10 large removable windows for more viewing configurations
- 9 self-tapping ice anchors that are easier to grip and will not bend under pressure
- Two doors featuring quality YKK zippers, on opposite sides of the shelter allow for easy access
- IQ Insulated Fabric for 35% more warmth
- Anchoring points may rip off after repeated usage ripped off from the corner
The Eskimo FF9416i FATFISH POP-UP INSULATED SHELTER is great if you have a big family or if you go out with a group of friends for ice fishing. It serves as your large luxury accommodation as you brave the chilly winter days to pursue your favorite outdoor activity. Setting up this shelter is a breeze ad so is taking it down.
Though it is heavy to lift but the weight is justified because of its large size. Moreover, you can carry it easily as it comes in a duffle bag that you can carry on your back.
The best part about the Eskimo FF9416i FATFISH POP-UP INSULATED SHELTER is that it provides up to 60% more area for ice fishing when compared to many other shelters available in the market. This increases your chances of getting a good catch.
To get an easy access to the large fishing area this shelter is designed with two doors on opposite sides. The heavy-duty material is sewn over corner joints for reinforcement. The window panels are large and removable window panels for more viewing configurations. Adjust your shelter’s ventilation with detachable hook & loop windows. The IQ Insulated Fabric provides 35 percent more warmth than your average fishing shelter.
This model also features a reflective trim along with self-tapping ice anchors that are easier to grip and will not bend under pressure. Mesh storage pockets ensure that all your essential fishing gear is handy.
Features and Specs
- Item Weight: 68.2 pounds
- Shipping Weight: 70.7 pounds
- Set-up size of 94″ x 167″ x 80″
- Has an elbow room of 99″ x 172″
- 11mm extra-large fiberglass poles
- 7-9 person capacity
The Best Waterproof Ice Fishing Tent
Tangkula Pop-up Ice Shelter 2-Person
- Lightweight yet sturdy
- Flexible poles for easy assembly and disassembly
- Detachable covered window
- Perfectly accommodate 2-3 people
- The pockets may wear out with constant use
The Tangkula Pop-up Ice Shelter is easier to carry as it does not weigh much. It has an Integrated solid glass rod with 300D oxford fabric. With only 22lbs weight this tent is sturdy and can withstand harsh weather conditions.
If you are looking for a waterproof ice shelter then this is the best one in the market and you can also take it outside during heavy rains and snow. The oxford fabric provides 22°F frost resistance so you can enjoy your outdoor activities thoroughly. There are total four covered windows and all of them are detachable.
The Tangkula Pop-up Ice Shelter is easy to assemble with strong and flexible poles. Moreover, taking the tent down is a breeze with these poles. Tired of pop-ups that take hours to install? Go for The Tangkula Pop-up Ice Shelter as it ensures easy installation that perfectly saves your time and efficiency.
This pop-up is the most suitable for outdoor fishing because of its portable and lightweight characteristics. It contains steaks to hold the tent down and a traveler bag to easily transport the tent to long distances without getting tired.
The Tangkula Pop-up Ice Shelter can easily fit 2-3 people and has windows that allow light but keep the air out so it is a good gift for couples or families.
Features and Specs
- Item Weight: 22 lbs.
- 4 total covered windows
- Waterproof and minus 22°F frost resistance
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
I am planning to invest in an ice shelter. How long do you think it would last?
Most ice fishing shelters last for a couple of years. However, before you buy one, look for customer reviews and product descriptions to ensure that the material is durable.
How do I maintain my ice shelter?
Make sure that you clean the shelter routinely. If there are any stains then you can remove them with warm water but avoid washing them in a machine.
I am planning to invest in a chair for my ice shelter. Is it a good idea?
You can go for a lightweight and portable chair to sit comfortably while looking out for your favorite fish. However, before getting one make sure that your tent has sufficient space to house you and your gear.
For instance, two person tents are generally limited in space and putting a chair inside them will make the space crammed. But bigger shelters may have sufficient space to fit in a chair. You can also look out for tents that come with a portable seat for more comfort.
For more indepth info about ice shelters, check out the excellent iceshanty forum.
What are the features that I should look for in a window of the ice shelter?
The positioning of the windows is an important consideration. Ensure that windows are at the right height so that you can see outside clearly. Also, they should be adjustable so that you can get proper ventilation.
Most importantly, always stay safe!
Always make sure to set up on ice that is sufficiently strong. Be sure to have ice fishing boots that offer sufficient traction or go get some cleats.
And don’t forget to stay warm! Take warm socks, thermal underwear, gloves, a hat and jacket or bib with you. Whatever you don’t need, you can simply store in your nice shelter.
Happy Ice Fishing!
A plethora of ice fishing shelters are available both online and in brick and mortar stores. This makes it confusing to select the right one that matches our requirements.
So, we have listed the best ice shelters in this guide so that you can compare different shelters and also understand the important features to look out for before investing in one for your next ice fishing trip to red lake.