8 Best Ice Fishing Tents of 2021: Outdoor Empire Reviews
- Best One-Person #1: SHAPPELL FX100 One-Man Flip-Up Shelter
- Best One-Person #2: FRABILL Recruit 1250 Insulated Flip-Over Shelter
- Best Two-Person #1: ESKIMO Sierra Insulated Ice Fishing Flip Shelter
- Best Two-Person #2: CLAM Jason Mitchell Thermal X Fish Trap Ice Shelter
- Best Large #1: NORDIC Legend Wide Bottom Thermal Ice Shelter
- Best Large #2: ESKIMO Fatfish Insulated Pop-up Ice Shelter
- Best Flip-Up for the Money: OTTER Outdoors Pro Lodge X-Over Ice Fishing House
- Best Hub-Style for the Money: ESKIMO Quickfish 2 Hub Ice Fishing Tent
|Category||Best Flip-up||Best Hub-style||Best One-person|
|Product|| || ||
|Capacity||2-3 people||2 people||1 person|
|Set up Size||98"L x 76"W||60" x 60"||59" x 44" x 85"|
|Area||30 square feet||25 square feet||26 square feet|
|Weight||124 lbs||21.5 lbs||44 lbs|
|Material||ThermalTec 1200D triple-layer insulated shell||300 Denier IceTight||600-denier polyester|
|Cost||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
1. Best One-Person Ice Fishing Tent #1: SHAPPELL FX100 One-Man Flip-Up Shelter
This compact, easy-to-use, one-man ice fishing shelter will have you on the water and fishing in no time.
The beauty of this shelter is that it comes with a built-in sled. This means no more struggling to load or unload your shelter. Simply find a spot, deploy the shelter, and start fishing. Once you are done, fold it back down into the sled, and you are on your way.
Plus, the attached sled doubles as a full-width bench seat for increased comfort. This also eliminates the need to transport a separate chair. At only 44 pounds, this shelter will also allow the sled to be loaded with plenty of your other gear and remain manageable by for single angler.
When deployed, the shelter measures 59 inches x 44 inches x 85 inches and provides an impressive 26-square-foot fishing area.
Two zippered doors provide easy entry and exit, while twin strategically placed windows allow in ample light for improved visibility. The single-piece frame and 600-denier polyester wall material ensure superior durability and a long service life.
The lone angler will appreciate how easy this shelter is to transport and set up. It’s perfect for the fisherman who likes to go it alone.
- Lightweight, easy-to-deploy design
- Built-in sled doubles as a full-width bench seat
- Large fishing area
- Two entry points
- Some users have reported difficulty in getting the flaps to stay in place in high winds
- Not insulated
2. Best One-Person Ice Fishing Tent #2: FRABILL Recruit 1250 Insulated Flip-Over Shelter
Fishing alone does not mean you have to struggle to put up your shelter, nor does using a single man ice tent mean being cramped and uncomfortable. The Recruit 1250 provides easy setup and plenty of elbow room without sacrificing quality.
The Recruit 1250 breaks the mold for single-person ice tents. The oversized design (75.5 inches x 52.5 inches x 59 inches) is one of the largest one-man tents on the market with 16.5 feet of fishable interior space.
Even the door is big. This allows the user to fish without feeling cramped and enter or exit with ease. With a total weight of 62 pounds (including the chair), it is also well within what would be considered manageable for a single angler.
Plus, it folds down to a more compact size for transport. A simplified setup allows for easy deployment by the lone user as well.
The patented modular seating system, strategically placed windows, and full insulation provide additional comfort. With 600D construction, fully welded seams, and extra-strong frame materials, you will remain secure, even in high winds.
If you are tired of feeling crowded, even when fishing alone, you should consider adding the Frabill Recruit 1250 to your ice fishing arsenal.
- Large fishing area for a single-man tent
- Easy setup
- Large door for easy entry and exit
- The fully adjustable modular seat system
- The seat is heavy but not as durable as the shelter
3. Best Two-Person Ice Fishing Tent #1: ESKIMO Sierra Insulated Ice Fishing Flip Shelter
Flip-up ice shelters use a time-tested design that continues to serve anglers well. Eskimo combines the convenience of this easy-to-transport design and combines it with the latest features for one of the best single-man shelters on the market.
Eskimo has taken the popular flip-up shelter and made it even better. By using high-quality materials and the most up-to-date design, they have made a shelter that is secure, durable, and comfortable. The frame is reinforced by a square aluminum tube, double-walled hinges, and a simple locking device.
Heat-trapping IQ fabric provides a durable insulating skin for increased comfort on even the coldest days.
All openings are secured with YKK zippers for flawless performance, no matter the temperature. Plus, each window includes corners that are also secured with Velcro, allowing the user to adjust ventilation as needed.
Finally, each shelter includes an ultra-comfortable Versa seat that can be flipped up when not in use or to allow access to the tub storage.
Whether you are fishing alone or with your favorite fishing partner, the Eskimo Sierra Insulated Ice Fishing Flip Shelter will protect you and allow you to spend more time on the ice.
- Provides 22.5 square feet of fishing area
- Easy to set up and takedown
- Can be transported in the included tub
- Extremely stable in the wind
- Heavy at 82 pounds
- Very small windows that do not provide much light or visibility
4. Best Two-Person Ice Fishing Tent #2: CLAM Jason Mitchell Thermal X Fish Trap Ice Shelter
Clam is the largest manufacturer of ice fishing shelters, and the Jason Mitchell Thermal X Fish Trap Ice Shelter is their most advanced design to date. Built with the latest technology and features, it is designed to make your time on the ice more comfortable, no matter the conditions.
The design uses new patent-pending technology called Rapid Pole Slide Extreme, which allows deployment in only minutes. The poles have been upgraded to a heavier 1-1/4-inch design for more strength and wind resistance.
The outer material has also been upgraded to have 900-denier construction with full thermal insulation. Not only does this provide increased durability and warmth, it also reduces condensation and light penetration. Finally, a lighter color has been chosen for the interior to increase visibility.
Since you will be spending long hours in your ice shelter, Clam has also gone overboard in terms of creature comforts. Dual swivel seats are standard. Each seat can be moved in multiple directions or removed completely.
A center console, complete with beverage holders and accessory storage, is included. Additional storage is available beneath the seats as well. Finally, an eight-bulb Clam light stick is included, and there is a handle battery bracket that will accommodate a wide range of power supplies.
If you are serious about ice fishing and want only the best gear, you can’t go wrong with this shelter by Clam.
- Easy, quick setup
- Improved design provides the most comfortable, durable shelter to date
- Includes many accessories you would normally purchase separately
- Made by the leader in ice fishing shelters
- Fish-trap style is not as roomy as other designs
- Costly, this shelter is not a bargain model
5. Best Large Ice Fishing Tent #1: NORDIC Legend Wide Bottom Thermal Ice Shelter
There are two reasons ice anglers forego larger shelters and cram into smaller units even when room is essential — cost and ease of use. Nordic has successfully addressed both issues with their Legend Wide Bottom Thermal Ice Shelter.
This is one of the most affordable and easy-to-use large ice shelters on the market. With a cost approximately half of what many single-man ice tents cost, you may be hesitant to make this your choice, but rest assured you won’t be sacrificing quality or features when you select the Legend.
With a design based on many popular popup hunting blinds, setup is a breeze. One person can have this shelter unpacked and ready to use in minutes. Once deployed, you will enjoy a spacious interior for you and your companions.
With an inside dimensions of 90 inches by 90 inches hub to hub, and a maximum height of 80 inches, you will have plenty of room for three to four anglers and gear.
Despite the economic cost Nordic has spared no expense when it comes to durability. Heavy-duty 300-denier oxford fabric skin provides excellent protection from the elements. Each corner is reinforced with a second layer of fabric, and all seams are double-stitched as well.
Fiberglass poles and aluminum hubs are both long lasting and lightweight. Each window is constructed of heavy-duty clear vinyl, and hook and loop attachments allow for adjustment when ventilation is needed.
Finally, the wide base is secured by six included ice anchors for stability during harsh conditions.
If you are looking for an affordable, well-made ice shelter large enough for you and your friends, the Legend is the answer.
- Easy to set up and takedown
- Includes compact bag for transportation
- Heavy-duty fabric and reinforced corners for durability
- An economical choice for larger ice shelter
- Windows are small and offer very limited visibility
- Fiberglass poles are more likely to break than those made of metal
6. Best Large Ice Fishing Tent #2: ESKIMO Fatfish Insulated Pop-up Ice Shelter
The Fatfish is considered by many to be the premier ice shelter on the market. It offers a solid, easy to use design by one of the leaders in ice fishing shelters.
When it comes to solid construction in an ice shelter that is easy to move and set up, the Fatfish can’t be beat. The IQ fabric is extremely durable and provides excellent insulation, making it up to 35% warmer than competitors’ similar designs.
The hub design, fashioned after that used for popular hunting blinds, is very easy to deploy. Thick fiberglass poles and all-metal ball-bearing sockets ensure each hub locks securely in place. A single person can have it out and ready to go in minutes.
The unit is secured by six self-tapping ice anchors for increased wind resistance.
Once inside the shelter, users will find it very spacious and comfortable. With a large 94-inch-by-94-inch hub-to-hub interior and 80-inch height, there is plenty of elbow room. Two large doors provide snag-free entry and exit, and six removable windows allow you to control ventilation.
An oversized zippered storage bag makes transportation to and from fishing easy even without a sled.
- Wide base for increased stability
- Two doors allow for easy entry and exit, especially when used by multiple anglers
- Heavy-duty IQ fabric provides excellent insulation
- Weighs only 34 pounds, perfect for transportation by the solo angler
- Lack of ventilation can result in condensation
- The material can stiffen when wet, making repacking difficult
7. Best Flip-Up Ice Fishing Tent for the Money: OTTER Outdoors Pro Lodge X-Over Ice Fishing House
Otter took an award-winning design and made it even better. This icehouse can only be described as one of the best.
When it comes to listing why you should buy the X-Over, it is hard to know where to start. Users will find that this shelter starts with a quality Otter sled and ends with something even better. The sled is solid, which should come as no surprise considering Otter is a leader in sled design.
It is easy to pull, holds up to abuse, and provides plenty of space. The square frame is far superior to the round designs used in many other shelters. Not only does it provide a stronger frame, it also deploys easier.
The skin is very heavy duty and provides exceptional insulation on even the coldest days. Many users report it can be too warm, especially when multiple people are inside and are forced to remove their coats.
There are very few days when an auxiliary heater will be needed. Finally, there are the doors. Otter was the first to introduce the side entry design, and it has become a favorite feature among users. No more tripping over everyone or your gear when going outside.
I am sure that this design will eventually be copied, but for now, it is hard to beat the Pro Lodge X-Over by Otter.
- Equipped with one of the best sleds available
- The large, square frame provides the maximum fishing area
- Super-thick canvas for more durability and insulation
- Side doors are a game-changer and make entry and exit very easy
- At 124 pounds, this shelter is very heavy
- Cost — this not a cheap shelter
8. Best Hub-Style Ice Fishing Tent for the Money: ESKIMO Quickfish 2 Hub Ice Fishing Tent
This is simply an outstanding ice fishing shelter. Eskimo has taken the hub design, which is very popular but often plagued by problems, and made it into one of the most comfortable tents on the market.
This shelter includes all the benefits of the hub design without any of the downsides. Styled after the popular pop-up hunting blinds, this shelter can be up in 60 seconds. All you need to do is pull out each side, pop the roof up, and place down the six ice anchors. You’ll be fishing in no time.
With 25 square feet of fishing area, there is plenty of room for you and your favorite companions. Weighing only 21.5 pounds and including a cinch backpack, it can be transported with ease even if you do not have a sled.
What are missing is the flimsy material, cold drafts, and questionable stability most hub shelters suffer from. The IQ fabric is not only extremely warm, it is also very durable. With two layers of fabric on either side of the insulation, it will be sure to last a lifetime.
The extra-long skirt, which can be pegged directly to the ice, reduces gaps so less cold air blows across your feet. Double stitching, YKK zippers, and reinforced corners further ensure many seasons of dependable use.
All-metal hubs and solid-fiberglass poles provide better locking ability for increased stability, no matter the conditions.
Although this shelter costs a bit more than others, it is well worth the extra money. If you spend your days on the ice, this will let you do it with ease and comfort.
- Very easy to transport and set up
- Top-of-the-line materials
- Made by one of the leaders in the ice shelter industry
- IQ insulation and longer skirt for best heat retention available
- Windows are very small and limit visibility
- Condensation is a problem
- Heavier than other similar models
Why You Should Buy an Ice Fishing Tent: Benefits of a High-Quality Ice Fishing Tent
The reason for an ice shelter is simple: protection from the elements. It is hard to enjoy yourself if you are cold and battered by wind or snow. The ice shelter helps keep nature at bay. It allows you to extend your time on the ice. A high-quality ice fishing tent will do this even better.
Heavier walls with better insulation will provide a warmer interior, and stronger construction will help keep your shelter from being blown over or destroyed by the wind. A quality shelter may even be easier to transport and set up. Plus, it will last longer and in the long run, saving you money.
Buying Advice: How to Choose an Ice Fishing Tent
If you have never shopped for an ice shelter, prepare to be overwhelmed. There are multiple styles, sizes, and brands to choose from. All are going to claim to meet your needs, and none will say “don’t buy me” on the label. You must determine what you are looking for and compare models before deciding.
Do not think that price alone is an indicator of quality. Many lower-end shelters will serve you well, and some high-priced models you’ll leave at home after your first outing. Let us help you by reviewing some of the features you should consider when shopping.
Yes, there is more than one type of ice fishing shelter. There are four. Let’s get started by looking at each a little more in-depth.
This is the most common style. It consists of a tent with and folding metal or fiberglass frame attached to a plastic sled. When not in use, the shelter is stored in the sled. To use it, you tow the sled into place, unfold the tent, lock it in place, and flip it down over yourself.
The sled, which remains attached, is used for storage or even functions as a seat. These shelters are very solid and provide excellent protection against the wind. They are also very mobile, which makes them the primary choice for anglers who like to move around a lot.
Unfortunately, they can be very heavy and only provide room for one to three anglers. Plus, they can be among the most expensive of the four types.
These resemble a small square tent and are assembled in the same manner. The main advantage of the cabin shelter is that it includes a floor. The floor, which has an opening through which you can drill holes, provides a barrier between you, the ice, and the outside elements.
With the addition of a small heater, they can be amazingly comfortable. Of course, there are also downsides. They are not easy or quick to assemble, meaning they are not well suited for frequent moves. They also do not include a sled.
While they may be light enough to carry on your back, and many come with a case to do so, you will probably need a sled for other gear.
This version resembles the pop-up hunting blinds that have become immensely popular in recent years. They consist of an outer shell constructed from heavy-duty or even insulated fabric.
This fabric is mounted to an internal frame that folds into a compact package when not used but quickly assembles into a tent-like structure. Because the structure is usually taller and lighter than a flip-up, it is usually anchored to the ice for increased stability.
Advantages include enough room for multiple anglers, quick setup, light weight, and lower cost. However, the weight and extra room can also be a disadvantage. In high winds, these shelters are less stable and can be blown over or damaged.
These are not necessarily shelters but do provide limited protection. Instead of a full enclosure, the wind break resembles a large sunshade you may see at the beach. When in place, it covers the angler on three sides when in a seated position.
Construction is like the flip-up in that there is a rigid internal frame covered by the fabric. Advantages include low cost, ease of use, and a high degree of mobility. Disadvantages include limited protection from the elements, small size, and lack of stability in high winds.
The larger the shelter, the more people you can invite to come along, or the more gear you can store inside when going solo. If you like to have a company or enjoy extra elbow room, larger is better. However, remember that bigger usually means more weight, higher cost, and sometimes less warmth.
Chances are you do not want to spend the day on your feet or kneeling on the ice. This means a comfortable seat is a priority. Flip-up shelters generally include one or more seats. Some may even swivel or include backrests.
Most other styles will not include seats, so you will need to purchase them separately.
The type of material used to construct the skin, or outer covering, is especially important. Most ice tents use a nylon or polyester fabric, although some use similar proprietary materials. The thicker the material, the more protection and durability it will provide.
The thickness is measured in deniers, and 600-denier fabric is thicker than one that is 300 deniers.
If you will be fishing in especially cold conditions, having an insulated shelter is a plus. Without insulation, you will need to add a portable heater to maintain comfort. There are a lot of different insulations used. You need to look for one that not only retains the heat but transfers the sun’s warmth as well.
Although insulation can be a game-changer on cold days, it does increase both the price and weight of the shelter.
There are always a few perks that can make the trip even more enjoyable, and they could sway your choice when comparing different models. Such options include lighting, storage compartments, size or placement of doors, and whether or not the windows can be opened when needed.
Choosing a well-established manufacturer is a good way to start your search. While it is impossible to review all the makers of ice fishing tents, here are some of the more popular ones.
Based in Plano, Illinois, this is one of the oldest manufacturers of fishing equipment in America. From bait management systems to landing nets to, of course, ice shelters, Frabill is a leader in the field.
Their line of ice shelters range from single-man designs to larger ones that can shelter over four people. They also offer both hub and flip-up styles. Although known for producing high-quality products, Frabill ice shelters are reasonably priced and perfect for the average ice angler.
With headquarters in Cumberland, Wisconsin, this company is based in the heart of some of the harshest ice fishing environments in the nation. Since 1960 Eskimo has been providing the equipment necessary to challenge that environment, and they have become incredibly good at doing so.
Their ice shelters include both flip-up and hub styles in a wide range of sizes. They are well known for their proprietary fabrics and insulation options, which are said to be 35% warmer than their competitors.
While their products tend to cost slightly more than some competitors, they are still far from the most expensive. Their main target audience is anglers who spend a great deal of time on the ice in even harsh conditions.
This is another company based in the heart of ice fishing county, Rogers, Minnesota. They are, without a doubt, the premier name in ice fishing gear, especially shelters. They were the first company to introduce the flip-up style shelter.
Their engineers were the first to use Thermal Trap insulation in shelters and apparel. The Stealth Series was the first shelter to feature Tri-Bond Technology for a completely dark interior, a favorite among those spearing and sight fishing.
Each year their products are among the most groundbreaking and sought after on the market. Although Clam does offer a few economical models, many of their products cost three to four times those of their competitors. Their target audience is the most devoted, hardcore ice anglers.
How Do I Pack Fishing Items in an Ice Shelter?
How you pack your gear and shelter depends on which style you choose and the specific gear you are packing. Flip-up shelters include a built-in sled, so you already have somewhere to put the gear.
Some flip-ups allow the smaller, lighter gear to be placed in the sled, with the folded shelter over top of it, and larger gear on top of the shelter. Hub- and cabin-style shelters are smaller and more compact, which allows them to be transported in a cinch bag.
This bag does not provide room for additional gear, so it would need to be carried or transported in a separate sled.
How Do I Set Up an Ice Shelter?
This depends on which style shelter you are using, as each is set up differently. Flip-ups are towed into place via the attached sled, and then the shelter is unfolded, locked into place, and flipped over the angler.
Cabin-style shelters are carried into place, or towed on a separate sled, and assembled in the same manner as a tent. Hub-style shelters are also carried or towed to the location, but assembly is much easier and quicker.
The side walls are each pulled straight out until they lock in place, followed by the roof. Both cabin and hub styles may also require the installation of ice anchors, which are attached to the bottom of each wall, to provide more stability in windy conditions.