Do you know what the definition of ice fishing is? It is precise as you think, it is fishing on a frozen lake. As such, it isn’t difficult to deduce that this hobby is considered as extreme, due to low temperatures and elements fishermen are exposed. If you are interested in this form of fishing, you will need some of the best ice fishing shelters.
Ice fishing shelters can be considered as a mandatory piece of equipment almost all fishermen use. They are designed and made to assist you in fishing so you can brag with more catch than your friends. In reality, they offer a lot of benefits and advantages, something we will discuss later.
The next, also common fact about ice fishing shelters is that there are more of them on the market. This may look confusing for most fishermen simply because they won’t know which model is the best. We tested some of the best-selling and the most popular ice fishing shelters in order to present you with the best ones.
Besides the recommendations, you can see all you will need to know about ice fishing shelter. Let’s just say that by the end of this content, you will become a professional and you will know all you need about this specific piece of equipment.
- 1 What are the benefits of using the best ice fishing shelters?
- 2 How does it work?
- 3 Top 5 Ice Fishing Shelters
- 4 How to choose the best ice fishing shelter?
- 5 Conclusion
- 6 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What are the benefits of using the best ice fishing shelters?
It won’t be very helpful if we just tell you that ice fishing shelters are beneficial and they come with many advantages. That’s why we will list the best and the most important benefits all fishermen can get. Some are obvious, while some will surprise you.
- Protection from the elements
This is an obvious benefit. While fishing on the frozen lake all fishermen will be exposed to low temperatures and wind, among other things. An ice fishing shelter will keep you safe at all times and protect you from the just mentioned elements. Most fishermen never fish without ice fishing shelter, so you can see the generic importance of this equipment.
- You can fish longer
When we are cold or we are exposed to the wind for a long period of time, we become upset and the only thing we want is to go back home and get warm. This is the most common case with ice fishing and some fishermen can’t (or don’t want) stay in the open for more than 30 minutes. With an ice fishing shelter, you can fish for hours.
- You can see the wonderful world beneath you
Believe it or not, this is the biggest benefit of using an ice fishing shelter. They are dark and they will help you see the water world beneath the ice. Some people like using ice fishing shelters just so they can enjoy the view, metaphorically speaking.
- You can have great family time
Do you know that ice fishing is actually healthy for adults and children? You will be exposed to the clean air which literally has countless benefits. The only problem is a low temperature so not many parents will bring their children on ice fishing. With an ice fishing shelter, you can protect your children and help them stay on fresh air for a long period of time.
How does it work?
An ice fishing shelter is basically a small tent with special access on temperature insulation. All of them are compact, easy to store and transport. When you reach your destination, all you have to do is to unfold them.
Some models have poles that need to be inserted. Always consult a user manual before the operation. Attach the ice anchors and connect the shelter. You are all set.
Ice fishing shelters have insulation all around and they have a hole in the bottom part. This hole is obviously used for inserting the rod and line into the hole.
They work on a simple principle by helping you maintain the inner temperature as high as possible. That’s why most models have durable and strong insulation while making sure the heat loss is kept at the minimum.
By keeping away the cold wind and maintaining a temperature, ice fishing shelters allow you to fish longer, on any frozen lake you want and also help you stay healthy after the fishing is done. Once again, they are literally made to keep you warm and protected while on the ice.
Top 5 Ice Fishing Shelters
This right here is one of the best ice fishing shelters available in 2019. It comes in a compact package with 60x60x67 inches in size, which allows you to easily carry and transport it to the desired destination. The shelter is made of super-tough 300 Denier IceTight fabric.
We also liked the extra-long skirts which will protect you from the elements more than any other shelter. In addition, there are mesh fabrics and air vents which allow you to adjust the airflow precisely as you need.
The tested model is based on the latest technology, meaning that it has 59% higher count of the threads. Without any doubt, the shelter can withstand anything literally and can be used for a long period of time.
Setting it up will take just 1 minute and in the package, you get 6 anchors which will make sure the shelter stays in place even during the harshest winds. Folding down is simple as well and you will need the same amount of time.
The tested model is suitable for 2 people, but there is a version with 3-person capacity. They are basically the same when it comes to materials and features, except the size.
- Good quality
- Anchors included
- Setting up time
- 300 Denier IceTight fabric
- Isn’t suitable for people taller than 6 feet
- One color version only
Ice Cube 3 Man Portable Ice Shelter by ThunderBay has been one of the best-selling models on the market through 2018. It is still considered as a desirable ice fishing shelter that offers several advantages.
The main material is 300 denier fabric, which is the same as the first shelter has on our list. The size is 90x90x80 inches when unfolded which makes it ideal for 3 people. Obviously, a single or two fishermen will have even more room inside.
One, the interesting advantage is the blackened interior and the windows which are added in order to help you choose the amount of light you want inside. This enhances visibility and makes fishing slightly better.
Windows come with a hook and loop system, allowing you to open or close them within a second. You can easily replace them when needed.
In the package, you get a shelter and 6 anchors which will make sure you have a safe ice fishing shelter at all times. All 6 are self-tapping anchors made of strong metal.
- Self-tapping anchors
- Blackout coating
- One door only
- User manual
Elkton Outdoors Portable is actually considered as an ice fishing tent rather than a shelter. It is much bigger in size than ordinary models and comes with capacity for 3-4 people. The same model is available in double size variation which is suitable for up to 8 people at the same time.
The biggest advantages, besides the size, are the air vents which are special and allow you to adjust the air flow precisely as you like. The next best thing is the waterproof capability. The tent will make sure you stay dry at all times.
Some of you may believe that big tents like this one is time-consuming when it comes to folding and unfolding process. In reality, all you need is 30 seconds and you can do it all by yourself. In the package, you get all you will need, such as anchors, rope and etc.
The dimensions are 70x70x80 inches. The ice shelter comes with additional storage pockets for your items.
- Great size
- Completely waterproof
- 30-second set up
- Storage pockets
- Customer support
There is no need to tell you this ice fishing shelter is one of a kind. It is completely black, as you can see and it is focused towards professionals and those who want to spend as much time as possible while ice fishing.
The main material in this case scenario is 300D oxford fabric. It is very common on tents and ice fishing shelters and it is reserved for high-end products. The fabric makes the entire product lightweight so the total weight is only 22 pounds.
Despite the fact the tent is lightweight, it can still provide decent size suitable for 2-3 people. The tested model is rated for temperatures up to 22 degrees Fahrenheit and can be used for heavy-duty operations.
Yes, it is completely black, but you can still manage the amount of light that penetrates the interior using 4 windows. Other features such as folding and unfolding are simple and can be completed within minutes.
- Appealing design
- 4 windows
- Black version available only
- Weak poles
Goplus Portable Ice Shelter Pop-up is another model on our list that comes made and advertised as a tent rather than a shelter. It is made of the same material as the aforementioned model and it is rated for temperatures of 30 degrees Fahrenheit.
The thing we liked the most is the ability to make this tent ventilated or hermetic according to your desire. The secret lies in the windows which come made of two materials. By adding another layer you can make them completely hermetic.
The tent itself is well-made and comes with a high level of attention to details. We all agree it looks modern and appealing, in this color combination.
The size is suitable for 3 people, although 2 will have a much better level of comfort inside a tent. We tested it in various situations and we can agree that the space inside is more optimized for 2 people. Of course, 3 people can fit, if needed.
You don’t have to worry about setting up the tent. It is extremely easy and you can do it within seconds. The same applies for unfolding it and preparing it for transport. Keep in mind that you get all you are going to need in the package.
- Color available
- Hermit or ventilated capability
- Temperature rating
- Easy to use and durable
- Low height
- Annoying instructions
How to choose the best ice fishing shelter?
If you are still looking for the best ice fishing shelter, you will need our help. Basically, you need to know what to look for and which parameters must be included. These are the main factors and we will cover all of them below.
There are 4 different types of ice fishing shelters. Each one is completely different and now you can see those differences.
- Hub type- They are common and they are basically made to look like ordinary tents.
- Cabin type- These are much bigger, with capacity for up to 8 people. They have adjustable poles.
- Flip-style- They are simply the most popular. The capacity is between 2 and 4 people and they have a plastic sled base.
- Windbreakers- They are the most affordable, but they protect you from wind only.
Obviously, the main factor to consider is the capability. Some models are made for up to 8 people, while others are made for 2 people only. Take this factor into consideration before you start looking for an ice fishing shelter!
In most cases you will find that units made of 300-denier fabrics are the best choice. They are the most affordable and they offer great performances. But, if you want the best possible fabric, you should pay close attention to 600-denier fabric models. They are heavier but far more durable.
Your new ice fishing shelter must keep you away from the low temperature at all cost. All manufacturers rate their models according to their capability to do precisely that. Some are rated for 10 degrees Fahrenheit, while others are rated for 30 degrees Fahrenheit.
Keep into consideration where you will use that shelter and which the lowest temperature is. Then make the right choice. There is no need to purchase an ice fishing shelter with 30 degrees Fahrenheit temperature insulation if the place where you will use it gets 10 degrees Fahrenheit only.
Some ice fishing shelters come with a chair. This is rare in the world of this equipment but it still exists. On the other hand, we have models that simply offer you space to place a chair. In the lack of a better word, this is an essential feature and you should consider it.
Ice fishing requires a lot of time, so you will want to stay as comfortable as possible. Don’t forget that we refer to small, portable chairs.
Most models do come with anchors included in the package. Yet, some of the manufacturers decide not to include them. When purchasing a new ice fishing shelter, keep in mind that you must have anchors or you won’t be able to set up the shelter. That’s why you need to have them in the package or you will have to purchase them additionally.
Luckily new models are very easy to set up. You will need 30 or 60 seconds on average and the entire process can be performed by just one person. Nevertheless, some models are more complicated than others. Take this into consideration as well.
Pay close attention to the user manual as well. It must be easy to understand and it must cover all the main aspects of the shelter in question.
An ice fishing shelter must stay as lightweight as possible, despite the countless features it provides. Ideal weight is around 20 pounds. If you get an average model, with average size this weight is expected. Bigger models are obviously heavier, while smaller are lightweight.
Weight also depends on the material, anchors and the poles included in the package. In general, models between 20 and 30 pounds are considered as practical and lightweight.
You will need windows on your new ice fishing shelter. There are a few alternatives here. The first one is adjustable windows which can be closed or layered with another piece of fabric to get completely dark interior. Others simply have no windows.
We always prefer models that come with a great window-compatibility and allow you to ‘’close’’ them in order to get the dark interior. Of course, be free to choose any option you find appropriate.
A zipper may be a small part of an ice fishing shelter, but it has a huge role. You must have a shelter that comes with a zipper that can withstand years of use. Only then you will make sure the shelter is fully operational for a long period of time. YKK zippers are the best choice.
An ice fishing shelter is far from an ordinary piece of equipment. It is considered as special, designed for extreme situations, so you will need a decent warranty. Some manufacturers offer 2 years warranty, while others offer just 1. The mater can’t be generalized. All we can say is that a longer warranty is always a better choice.
In the end, we must tell you which model is the best and why. For us, the Eskimo Quickfish Ice Fishing Series is one of the best ice fishing shelters available right now and it will stay in the near future. The rate is 5/5 stars, due to increase thread count by 59%, overall quality, and the mesh storage pockets.
The ice fishing shelter in question performed excellent on our tests and it met all our requirements perfectly. We can add that it is the most desirable and the most appealing model of them all. Of course, you will find that all by yourself, once you get it.
If you are interested in ice fishing shelters that come with different features, size or they are available in the color you like, the other 4 models are worthy of consideration as well. It is an honor being able to reach our list.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Is ice fishing shelter easy to set up and use?
Yes, it is. Most models can be set up within 1 minute. Some can be ready within 30 seconds or so. Make sure to read the user manual before starting to unfold your new ice fishing shelter.
- How long it will last?
Due to the fact it is made from heavy-duty materials, an ice fishing shelter will last for years.
- Is there any maintenance?
All you have to do is to clean it regularly. Use warm water to clean any stains and you are done. Don’t wash them in a washing machine. Most models are simply too big and all have sensitive elements.
- Can I use a heater?
Yes, you can. Just make sure to open your windows occasionally. Keep in mind that ice fishing shelters come without heaters so you will need to obtain one additionally.
- Which material is the best?
In average, most models are made of 300-denier fabric which is an excellent choice. If you want something special and an ice fishing shelter for the harshest environments, you will need to purchase a 600-denier model.
- Do ice fishing shelters have a door?
Yes. All of them have either 1 or 2 doors, depending on the size.
- How many anchors do I need?
You will need between 4 and 6 anchors to set up the ice fishing shelter.
- Are plastic anchors available?
No, and they must not be used. You must use steel self-tapping anchors for this piece of equipment.
- How I can transport an ice fishing shelter?
Same as a backpack, using straps.
- Which color do I need to choose?
Any color you want.