Ice fishing is a popular past time in the northern states and around the world. Millions of people head to the frozen lakes each season, drill holes, drop bait and hope for the walleye of a lifetime. One of the biggest challenges with ice fishing is dealing with the cold weather winter elements.
The freezing temps and wind chill can take a toll on the most die hard fishermen. That’s why you need not only the right fishing equipment but also cold weather gear like ice fishing shelters to keep you warm. They go by many names, including ice shanty, ice fishing hut, or ice fishing tent, but no matter what you call them, they’re essential for staying warm and catching fish.
Check out our list of the best ice fishing shelters and tents. If you are looking for some relief from the winter conditions and wind chill while hunting for big walleye on the lake, these shanties are for you. Don’t get stuck in the cold and miss the big catch because your hands are frozen while ice fishing!
Best Ice Fishing Shelters
- Eskimo Outbreak Series
- Popsport Ice Fishing Shelter
- Tangkula 4-Person Pop-Up
- Eskimo Quickfish 2 Pop-Up Portable Shelter
- Ice Cube 3 Man Portable Shelter
- Happybuy Ice Fishing Shelter
- CLAM Portable Pop-Up Ice Fishing Shelter Tent
- Goplus 2-Person Ice Shelter
- Tangkula 2-Person Pop-Up Ice Shelter
- ibigbean Ice Fishing Shelter
- Eskimo FatFish Portable Shanty
Eskimo Outbreak Series
The Eskimo 450 Pop-Up Hub-Style Ice Fishing Shelter is made to protect you from the harshest of tundras while you keep reeling them in. You won’t even notice the bitter chill of winter while ice fishing in this shelter.
It’s the small features that stand out the most with this ice shanty. It even has a trip-proof door that zips all the way to the ice so you don’t trip with all your gear.
300 denier Ice Tight fabric keeps out the elements while the all-metal ball-and-socket design keeps it sturdy. You’ll love the Eskimo 450!
Popsport Ice Fishing Tent
The Popsport is a lightweight, ribbed shelter made of ultra-tough 300D Oxford fabric, which yields water, frost, and wind protection down to -22 degrees Fahrenheit.
It can comfortably shelter up to 8 people in its 142″ X 72” X 83” dimensions and comes with windows designed to keep the wind out while letting light into the shelter.
Support poles made of D 9.5 solid glass fiber hold the shelter up. It is easily stored and transported in a holding bag with a shoulder strap. Wind and waterproof with protection against extreme cold make this shelter one of the best on the market.
Tangkula 4-Person Pop-Up
If you are looking for a sturdy, lightweight ice shelter that is quick to assemble or break down, the Tangkula 4-Person Pop-Up is calling your name. At only 22.5 lbs and fully weather-resistant, you can expect years of service from this multi-person pop-up. The Oxford fabric ensures the shelter is wind and waterproof, plus frost-resistant to minus 30.
The windows have detachable covers and are windproof even when open for light. 4 people can comfortably fit in this Tangkula. Fiberglass rods ensure the structure remains sturdy in any weather. It comes with a bag designed to ensure comfortable transport.
Eskimo Quickfish 2 Pop-Up Portable Shelter
With a quick, 60-second setup and hub design, the Eskimo Quickfish 2 Pop-Up can handle the weather and the demands of winter ice fishing. The dimensions are 5 x 5 x 5.6, allowing a lot of space as the 300 Denier IceTight fabric with almost 60 percent higher thread count ensures drafts, the wind, and weather stay outside.
Highly portable and significantly lighter than its competition, This Eskimo fits snugly in a carry case you can transport on your back. It also boasts self-tapping anchors and in-skirt anchor grommets for easier anchoring into the ice and attaching the anchors to the shelter.
Ice Cube 3 Man Portable Shelter
Made of exceptionally tough and durable 300 denier fabric, the Ice Cube 3-Man Portable Ice Shelter takes on the wind and weather with ease. Dimensions are 90 x 90 inches with an 80-inch ceiling height. Hook and loop fastened windows make adjustments easy and replacements a breeze.
The Ice Cube 3-Man Portable Ice Shelter has extra-wide skirting to fight off drafts. It also comes with self-tapping anchors. Transporting is easy, even on long distances, as it is very lightweight, collapses into a manageable size, and has a carry bag for the shelter and all its accessories.
Happybuy Ice Fishing Shelter
The Happybuy Ice Fishing Shelter is made for two people and their equipment. Its dimensions are 4.8 feet x 4.8 feet x 5.5. The shelter is made of 300D Oxford fabric, which means it will last for years, can fight off any weather, and is resistant to cold and wind. You stay warm virtually in any weather.
There are two doors with a double-head zipper allowing for easy entrance and exit, no matter the weather. An air vent ensures fresh air can get in, and a reinforced, two-layer window that is detachable keeps the weather out but lets in ice. One window layer is Oxford, the other transparent PVC, ensuring a snug, weatherproof fit.
CLAM Portable Pop-Up Ice Fishing Shelter Tent
When it comes to ice fishing with friends, there’s only one tent you need to consider. The CLAM Portable Pop-Up Ice Fishing Shelter Tent is the ultimate spot for ice fishing in a group, but you can solo fish it too if you just like the roominess.
The CLAM Portable Pop-Up Ice Fishing Shelter Tent sits up to 5 or 6 people very comfortably. It’s 11.5 feet in diameter and 7.5 at center height, so you don’t have to worry about bumping shoulders.
Not to mention it’s made with durable 600 total denier fabric to last through a lifetime of ice fishing, no matter how harsh the conditions.
Goplus 2-Person Ice Shelter
The Goplus 2-Person Ice Shelter is frost resistant to 30 degrees Fahrenheit and is covered with 300D Oxford fabric, ensuring it is both wind and weatherproof. Two people can comfortably fit in this shelter and two layers of windows, one Oxford, one PVC, ensure you can have maximum light while keeping the elements outside and the warmth inside.
Transporting the Goplus 2-Person Ice Shelter is easy as well. It folds down quickly and compactly and easily fits inside a carry bag. The carry bag can be hauled comfortably on someone’s back, or it can fit snugly with other ice fishing equipment on a pulled sled.
Tangkula 2-Person Pop-Up Ice Shelter
This ice shelter fits two to three people and is frost-resistant to minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit. It weighs only 22 pounds, so carrying it in and out is not an issue. Water and windproof because of the 300D Oxford fabric, you will remain warm and protected in virtually any type of weather.
The windows on the Tangkula 2-Person Pop-Up Ice Shelter are ventilated and detachable, allowing light in and keeping the weather out.
This shelter comes with a carry bag that fits all you will need to set up on the ice, including enough stakes to hold the shelter down in the worst of weather conditions.
ibigbean Ice Fishing Shelter
The ibigbean ice fishing shelter for four people will hold the weather at bay down to sub-zero temperatures. Covered in Oxford fabric, it is wind and weather-resistant, and the design of the shelter pushes wind gusts away, ensuring it stays upright in virtually any weather.
Its four windows are ventilated and detachable, and it only weighs 22 pounds. The shelter comes with stakes, and the frame poles are fiberglass.
Three people can fit easily into the shelter, while four can fit with very little adjustment. This is the shelter you want if a few of you are ice fishing and need a temporary place to hang out.
Eskimo FatFish Portable Ice Fishing Shanty
This ice shanty provides 61 square feet for its occupants, more than enough for two people and enough to handle three or four.
It is made of 300D IceTight fabric, ensuring weather and wind cannot penetrate the shell. It also has a stronger hub design with an all-metal ball-and-socket setup as well as larger fiberglass poles.
The entire package fits into a duffle bag that is easily carried or will fit snugly on a sled. The Eskimo FF949 FatFish Pop-Up has mesh pockets for easy access and storage of ice fishing equipment and snacks. This ice shanty is perfect for an extended ice fishing trip, including fishing all day.
Tips for Buying
To some, ice fishing is a strange habit. For others, it’s the only way to catch fish. For the intrepid adventurer who loves ice fishing, it’s important to come to the water prepared.
Successful and experienced fishermen know that ice fishing involves a lot of patience and time spent in the freezing cold. It can take hours or days to yield results. That’s why having a great shelter is so important. You need an ice shelter that can shield you from the freezing cold and protect you from the possible winds.
The issue is this: there are many types of shantys out there on the market. There are large and small ones. Some have more insulation than others, some have different shapes – like with any product, there are a lot of options for an ice fishing shelter and you have to be familiar with these features to make the right choice.
So what makes one model better than another? How can you truly find the best insulated ice shelter for your trip? Whether you are a beginner or an old pro, do you know how to spot a dependable ice tent?
Here are a few tips on what to look for and questions to consider in your search.
What to Look for in a Shelter
Ice fishing is popular in colder climates around the world. In general, an ice shelter is similar to a typical camping tent, but with extra features and insulation to withstand the biting cold.
How to choose the best ice fishing shelter depends on the nature of your trips.
- Do you have others with you? – You may want more space.
- How cold is the area you’ll be fishing in? – Perhaps you’re looking for extra insulation.
- Is your spot permanent for the season or will you need to pack it up daily?
All of these things should factor into your choice.
In general, though, there are a few key characteristics to consider when choosing the best ice fishing shelter. Here are a few major factors.
Size and/or Capacity
Whatever portable fish house you choose will need to big large enough to fit you and your equipment,s o pay attention to square feet. If you plan on fishing in groups or with family and friends, you will want an even larger sized ice fishing shack. Most of them are built to sufficiently house two to three people and their equipment. This is a popular size, and great for individuals too. However, if you plan on traveling with more people or more equipment, you may want something even larger.
If you are going alone and you don’t have too much equipment, a single person portable ice shack will be perfect. They are cheaper but still well insulated and can easily fit most individuals and your necessities. Most shelter capacities range from single to up to 6 people.
It’s not only about width either. You want to be able to comfortably move around and stand up inside when necessary. Be sure to take height into account in your shopping.
Believe it or not, an insulated ice fishing shelter is not the end all, be all name of these tents. There are different “styles” or shapes, and each one has its own benefits and drawbacks. The following are the most common and most useful shapes to find the best ice fishing shelter for you.
- Flip Style: Flip style shelters are some of the more common, and more popular, huts on the market. For the average ice fishing flip over shelter, the capacity is usually around two to four people, including equipment. They have a sturdy plastic sled base for easy transportation and portability.
- Cabin Style: In shape, these are similar to the flip style. However, they are not as easy to take down. Their capacities are usually the same. The advantage of the cabin style is that they are designed to stay up longer, even while you aren’t fishing. They are known for their durability.
- Windbreaker Style: Windbreaker style is exactly as it says on the tin. They are usually made from a lightweight shanty designs, so they are incredibly easy to carry. They do a great job at protecting from the wind. However, they are a bit thinner and less insulated, so they don’t protect from the elements as well as other styles do. Still, they are usually cheaper and very easy to carry around.
- Hub Style: When we said that many portable ice fishing houses look like the average tent, this is the style we had in mind. Hub style shelters are very sturdy, with metal poles for anchoring like camping tents. They’re usually very well designed and popular, and fit more people. They sell smaller sizes, as well.
Something else to think about is the materials that make up the shelter. It needs to be strong, well insulated and able to withstand steady wind chill. Depending on when you prefer to do your fishing, you may need something even more durable.
The main thing to look for in product descriptions in the Denier number. This value gives you an idea of how durable and thick the fabric that makes up the portable ice fishing shelter. A higher number means more durability; a 500 Denier tent will provide more shelter than a 300 Denier shelter.
Heavier, denser materials will provide more warmth, but they will also cost more and weigh more. This is all important in your decision making process. Will you be moving around often? How much weight can you withstand, if necessary? If you prefer colder, perhaps harsher, fishing areas, a heavier tent might be your best option.
Some people buy a pop up ice fishing shelter simply to escape the wind, and don’t want any extra insulation. Some rely on the huts for warmth, and desire extra insulation. Think about where you plan on fishing, how windy or chilly it may be, and take that into account. Decide how much insulation – if any – you want your tent to have. A portable heater can also help warm your tent.
If you move around a lot, you’ll want something easier to carry. If you are a more stationary fisherman, a heavy but sturdy tent might be better for you. Be sure to check the weight of the product before you purchase. Some styles are easier to transport than others.
Ice Shelter FAQs
Q: What other factors should I keep in mind when making a decision?
- Does the shelter have seating? Some shelters have built in seating or flooring. If you plan on being out for extended periods of time, you’ll want to know about the seats.
- What is the square footage? While this is related to size, it’s still important to note. Some people choose to do their fishing inside their huts, so you’ll want to know how much space you have.
Q: How many people can a shelter fit?
It depends on the style. Most come in individual sizes, 2 and 4 man ice shelters are popular and can range up to 6-7 people in larger ones.
Q: Why have an ice fishing shelter?
Ice fishing can be rewarding, but it is also terribly difficult or taxing to some. A shelter provides a break from bitter wind or cold, and can help you stay out on your trip for longer periods of time. It’s also a safe place to store your equipment.
These huts are a key component of any successful ice fishing trip. Their strength, durability, and insulation are the most important factors for keeping you warm and guarded against the elements. Do your research before you buy, and prepare yourself for a chilly but exciting trip!
No one likes being cold, and while it’s somewhat unavoidable when you’re ice fishing, you don’t have to freeze! Invest in an ice fishing shelter to cut down on wind chill and better enjoy your day of ice fishing.
I actually have some fans on a Facebook page related to ice fishing. I’ll share your ice fishing shelters post with them and see what they have to say. I’m sure they’ll love it though.
Awesome stuff about ice fishing tents. Please keep writing more things like this. I really like the fact you went so in depth on this and really explored the topic as much as you did. I read a lot of blogs but usually, it’s pretty shallow content. Thanks for upping the game here! Tight lines!