If you love adventure and ready to brave the weather elements, ice fishing is the perfect sport for you. As soon as you see the trees shedding the leaves, you can start making the preparations.
Often, the area of focus for one going ice fishing is on selecting the right outfits, arranging the proper gears and the live baits.
However, you should not overlook the importance of an ice fishing shelter (ice shanty.) When you are out there on the ice, you have no idea when the weather conditions could drastically change before you can blink.
In such circumstances, you can quickly get yourself in the ice shelter and continue fishing until the hyperactive gusty cold winds recede.
The ice shelters will keep you warm, and the modern ones have a host of other facilities on offer. You need not fret idly, or take big yawns feeling bored.
Wondering what I am talking about?
Well, some of these ice shelters have multiple facilities which will make you feel very occupied and of course, warm and comfortable.
Getting some interest in the topic? Oh, have you already opened the Amazon store and started searching for the best ice fishing shelters? No brainer, you inevitably came across a plethora of choices.
I insist on resisting the urge a bit, as I have done the hard work for you. I actually tested many ice shelters and finally managed to sort out the best top 7 ice shelters. So, without further ado, let’s jump into it.
While choosing the best ice fishing shelters, I took the practical ice fishing scenario into account prior to testing each one of them listed. For instance, most anglers prefer the mobile ice fishing, as a result; the most important considerations were the size, portability and the material.
Generally, ice fishing is a sport which is best enjoyed when you are with your friends. So, the size of the ice shelter should be able to accommodate more people.
You already know, you may have to wander from one location to the other while ice fishing. Therefore, portability of the ice shelters is also vital to take into consideration.
Lastly, the ice shelter has to be built from a material that can withstand the rough weather. Based upon these considerations, I handpicked the seven ice fishing shelters for you. Just a quick word, if you prefer and find it convenient, you can also build an ice shelter.
But, that is going to consume a lot of time, and you will have to assemble a wide array of materials. Professionals who have the necessary experience makes the ice shelters available at local or online stores, so there ought to be a difference in the quality and finishing of the end product.
Furthermore, even if you are choosing a particular ice shanty from our recommended list which you are going to read about in a short while, you must set your priorities correctly that suits your requirements utterly.
So without further jibber-jabber, I am going to introduce you the top 5 ice fishing shelters of 2018:
Eskimo FF949I FatFish Insulated Ice Shelter
Without the slightest of hesitation, I can say no other ice shelters come close to the Eskimo FF949I FatFish Insulated Ice Shelter (Link to Amazon) concerning quality. It offers the best robustness and protection even in the extreme hostile weather conditions.
The ice shelter is fully insulated. It is made up of a wholly insulated ice sturdy fabric known as 300 Denier and another insulated quilted fabric. You will always find yourself comfortable inside this ice shelter, no matter how bad the weather is outside.
The ice shelter will be the perfect companion for those who are going for ice fishing in a group of three to four people.
- I found out that it can comfortably accommodate three to four persons owing to its large size. Specifically, it features a setup size is 94”X94”, an elbow room of 99”x99” and a height of 80”.
- Despite its height, the ice shelter surprisingly weighs only 34lbs. You also get a carry bag to take the shelter with you when not in use.
- I loved the concept of the dual-doors along with the YZK zippers. They are very easy and convenient to use.
- Undoubtedly, this ice shelter provided the best warmth in comparison to all the other variants.
- Well, I could hardly find any flaws with this exceptional ice shelter. The price of the ice shelter can prove to be expensive for many.
- Since the ice shelter is fully insulated, it is more substantial than the other ice shelters.
The full insulation is the biggest USP of the Eskimo FatFish ice shelter. It provides 35% more warmth than any other ice shelters.
Frabill Bunker 210 Hub Top Insulated Shelter
Frabill (Link to amazon) is yet another trusted name in the arena of ice fishing shelters.
Needless to say, I found out the Frabill Bunker 210 Hub aptly justified the goodwill of the manufacturer. Anglers who crave for that additional space will love this ice shelter.
As per the claims, I indeed managed to get 30% more fishable area. The interiors also allow 2-3 persons at a time. Above all, this ice shelter is very well insulated.
- The ice shelter is very light-weight at 30lbs, so you will find it very easy to carry.
- The setup size is 80”L x 80”W x 80”H
- With an insulated roof, you need not be bothered about the weather outside.
- The extra fishable space is a big bonus.
You will find this ice shelter somewhat expensive when you compare the other ones. However, it is acceptable, as you are getting a feature-rich ice shelter.
Of course, the ability to stay warm and have an extended fishable space is seldom available when you look at the other ice shelters. These ought to be the USP of the ice shelter.
Nordic Legend Wide Bottom Ice Shelter
I found Nordic Legend Wide Bottom Ice Shelter (Link to Amazon) to be an excellent choice. More importantly, it is affordable. The manufacturers have hardly made any compromises with the material. I tried them on testing conditions, and it managed to keep warm and comfortable inside.
The material it is made up of has a lot to do with its effectiveness. While inside, I found out, the ice shelter was able to conserve heat and efficiently thwarting the frost build up.
- The Nordic Legend Wide Bottom Ice Shelter offers you the convenience of six ice anchors. This ensures the setup is always safe and sound.
- It has enough room space for accommodating 3-4 peoples. The ice shelter offers a setup size of 65”, an elbow room of 75” and a height of 80”.
- The ice shelter weighs only 29lbs, making it the lightest ice shelter of all.
- It will hardly take one minute to set this ice shelter which is excellent in the case of an emergency.
- Lastly, you get 40 sq feet for fishing.
It features a solo door, which does make the setup process easy, but having a single entry is definitely a drawback. Also, you will find the door is a bit smaller.
The toughness of the Nordic Legend ice shelter is its biggest USP. It is made out of fiberglass poles, die-cast hubs, and extra heavy duty zippers. These components ensure you can use the ice shelters for years.
Clam Bigfoot XL2000 Pop-Up Ice Shelter 9128
The Clam Bigfoot Ice shelter is best described as durability wrapped in simplicity.
If this is your first ever ice fishing experience, you undoubtedly will appreciate this particular ice shelter. While reviewing it, I was rather overwhelmed seeing the robust and tear-resistant 600 Denier fabric.
I am sure; you are not going to get such a good bargain in such a tight budget. The four ice anchors are equally robust, making it the best choice to safeguard you from the aggressive winds.
- The ice shelter is very durable.
- Like all the other top-notch ice shelters, this one also has a good setup size of 90” x 90”, and 80” in height. The fishing area of 56” is also very appreciable.
- The ice shelter can comfortably accommodate 4-5 persons.
- Weighing only 35lbs, the ice shelter is very portable.
- There is abundant space inside the ice shelter, 30% more to be precise. Additionally, it comes with a triple layer corner pocket.
I suppose some anglers are not going to appreciate the position of the windows as they are situated rather high. The awkward height will not allow you to see the tip up when you are sitting inside the shelter.
The durability, cost and the spacious interiors are the biggest USPs.
Eskimo QuickFlip 2 Ice Shelter
Yet another Eskimo product makes it to the top five. The ice shelter is not very big, but its features make it a unanimous choice for anglers. It is an ideal ice shelter for the sake of two people.
The ice shelter is made of the similar material which I mentioned earlier in the other Eskimo ice shelter. So, you can trust the quality and durability blindfolded.
The ice shelter features a solitary door, two storage pockets, and four removable windows, which I could quickly adjust for getting the proper ventilation. And of course, I was able to tow it rather easily with the help of the pull rope that comes along with it.
- The material made out of 300 Denier fabric promises the ice shelter to weather the most severe storms. In fact, it has 59% more thread count that speaks volumes about its durability.
- The ice shelter features six-self tapping ice anchors, makes it immensely easier for gripping.
- It is very affordable and setting it up is equally straightforward.
The poles are not up to the mark, and the manufacturers could have put in a little more effort on this.
The durability of an Eskimo product is always its biggest USP. The easy handling and portability are some of the other features that make it indispensable.
Clam 9714 Nanook 2-Person Ice Fishing Shelter with Padded Sheets
I decided to include one more ice shelter from Clam. I found the feature of padded sheets to be exceptional and one of its kind.
It can accommodate two persons and can be regarded as one of the best ice shelters available right now. While handling this ice shelter, I found it to be surprisingly lightweight, and both the front and rear doors are adequately designed for smooth access.
- I loved the padded swivel seats that included backrests.
- Being lightweight, I was able to pull the shelter easily. It made it very convenient for us to find the best place for our fishing.
- The ice shelters come with RPS clips which makes it super easy to tear down.
- The only drawback of this ice shelter is the price. We expected the cost of a 2-person capacity ice shelter to be a bit more affordable.
The comfort of ice fishing sitting on this shelter simply is out of the world. You rarely get the convenience of padded seats with backrest in such accommodations.
Best Choice Ice Fishing Shelter Tent
The ice shelter manufactured by Best Choice offers you some significant advantages at an affordable price. Preliminarily, I loved the high-quality material with which this got made up.
The price of the ice shelter is going to surprise you, considering its all-around features.
The color of the ice shelter mainly attracted us, and moreover, the ice shelter is made up of 100% polyester and 420 Denier fabric. I have already mentioned the effectiveness of the Denier fabric materials before. So, this ice shelter too will keep you warm.
Additionally, it has robust and flexible poles. I managed to set it up and tear down within minutes.
- The ice shelter contains streaks which is an excellent option for holding the tent down.
- The manufacturers have included a carry bag, for the easy transportation.
- The setup size is 58.5”L x 58”W x 70”H.
- The ice shelter can conveniently make room for three persons.
I guess I was fortunate, the day I went for testing this ice shelter it was not severely cold. As later I learned, this ice shelter is not able to withstand extreme cold.
The price, of course, is the biggest USP of this ice shelter. The ease of setup and tearing down can also be considered as one of the best aspects.
How to choose the perfect ice shelter?
Even though I narrowed your focus to only the seven of the best ice shelters, but I feel I should go the extra mile and explain a bit further to you.
Unless you can assess your requirements accurately, even the best ice shelters will not appear useful to you.
The types of ice shelters and their utilities
Firstly, you have to understand the different kinds of ice shelters, and how they can help you.
- Pop-ups: As the name suggests, you will have to pack them in big carry bags along with carrying straps. When it is time to set up the shelter, take it out from the bag and simply pull the center strap, and lo and presto, the wall and ceiling sections will pop up. Quite similar to opening an umbrella eh! Pop-up ice shelters usually have ample spaces, and as you can see, it hardly takes a few minutes to set it up.
- Flip-overs: The flip-overs are for the seasoned campaigners of ice fishing. Usually, these will be a self-contained unit and can include a lot of gears. When it is time to open it, you can extend the frame and pull the hatch over in a seating position. Generally, not more than two persons can sit inside such flip-over ice shelters.
- Eskimo pop-up shelters: The name keeps popping up, and I just can’t prolong it more. Their products are so good that the fishing fraternity has categorized the Eskimo ice shelters in a league of its own. Till date, there are as many as six variants pop-up shelters from where you can choose.
- Cabin and lodge type ice shelters are other variants. Again, these ice shelters perfectly compliment their respective names.
By now, you must have become familiarized with the different types of ice shelters. So, consider making plans in advance.
One of the most important decisions is, deciding how many of you are going for ice fishing. Based on this calculation, the capacity of the ice shelter needs to be determined. Of course, if you intend to go with more than four people, you have to choose the bigger ice shelter and vice versa.
Like every other thing, the budget plays a pivotal role when you are selecting an ice shelter. You might have taken note while we were reviewing the ice shelters, that some of the top-quality ice shelters can be very expensive.
If you find the rates to be exorbitant but still favor going out on the white laden arena, you can always choose from another ice shelter variant which suits your budget.
I keep on reiterating, the choice of ice shelters can play an important role in your fishing experience. Choosing an ice shelter without doing your homework may not yield the desired results.
Remember, the ice shelters have evolved a lot in the last few years. The advent of the lightweight pop-up ice shelters offers you flexibility which was previously unavailable.
Style of the ice shelters
You must have noticed, in our reviews of the best ice fishing shelters, I have emphasized on the portability. The ability to move your ice shelters increases the chances of catching more fishes.
Therefore, you should understand which style of the shelters suits your fishing the best.
1. Hub Style Ice Shelters
These ice shelters offer you the best fishing space at the most convenient prices. You will find it super-easy to set up this ice shelter.
However, when the winds seem relentless, you will need the help of another person to set the ice shelter along with you. If you prefer a seating arrangement, you will be in for a disappointment.
It is better to consider another variant of ice shelter that has the provision of seating.
2. Flip-Style ice shelters
I briefly covered the topic of flip-style ice shelters before. These ice shelters are ideal for those who seek mobility.
By far, they are the easiest to setup and tear down. The most significant advantage of flip-style ice shelters, they have a sled where you can put the necessary fishing gears. Of course, you will get the convenience of seating.
The expensive variants of the flip-style ice shelters will have padded seats. Comfort comes for a price; thus these shelters are going to cost a fortune.
These are also heavy in comparison to the other ice shelters which make it mandatory to carry an ATV or snowmobile for their easy transportation.
3. Cabin Style ice shelters
You may have the guts to brave the chill, but when you actually encounter such weather conditions, you feel the shivers.
Worry not, as the cabin style ice shelters will keep you warm. Generally, these ice shelters come with a floor.
The manufacturers of such ice shelters will give you the provision of drilling holes on specific locations from the floor of the ice shelter itself.
It has one disadvantage though. You will not be able to move the shelter. Additionally, these ice shelters do not have any seating arrangements.
The material used for the construction of the ice shelter will determine how warm you stay inside it. Usually, Denier fabric is used for making these ice shelters as they are considered the best.
You must have already noticed, our reviews of ice shelters mainly include the ice shelters made out of the Denier fabric.
At the present day, the introduction of thermal materials has made the ice shelters more comfortable. The thermal fabrics are designated to transfer your body heat into the ambient temperature of the ice shelter. But, here is a catch.
If you insist on the thermal-based fabrics, be prepared for a heavy ice shelter. If the weather predictions confirm the day you are going out fishing will not have sub-zero temperatures, you are better off with the regular ice shelters.
Weight and Portability
Earlier, fishing shelters were sedentary. Owing to their heaviness, they were immovable.
But times have changed now, and we have already explained to you the significance of portability of the ice shelter. Now, it is up to you, if you do not mind carrying a heavy shack.
Needless to say, the heavier your shack, you will find it increasingly difficult to move around. If you have the convenience of adding a towing vehicle for your ice fishing expeditions, you can choose the more substantial alternatives. Otherwise, the lighter versions of the ice shelter are much easier to manage.
I guess, no one would prefer standing and fishing for prolonged hours.
As I have already mentioned above the various type of ice shelters, the flip-style shelters come with the seating arrangements.
If you are ready to shell out some extra cash and go for the expensive flip-style ice shelters, you can also get the padded seating arrangements.
Do not fret, if your budget does not permit you to invest on such ice shelters. You can always purchase seats separately from the ice fishing stores located nearby the fishing locations.
Ice fishing can give you unbound fun, provided you are well prepared.
Ice shelters are one such important aspect. I recommend you start the preparations well ahead, as it involves including several things like the dress, the gears, choosing the best fishing jigs and rods and the live baits.
If you have followed my review closely, one thing is for sure; the unfavorable weather conditions can never play a spoilsport to ruin your ice fishing experience as you will be safe inside the ice shelter and continue fishing.