Staying nice and warm is necessary to enjoy a day out on ice fishing. Apart from your trusty gear, the best ice fishing shelter is a must-have for protection against the harsh elements. After all, battling frostbite and freezing winds isn’t fun at all.
We may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you when you buy through links on our website.
Learn more about our Amazon affiliate program
The Best Ice Fishing Shelters: Product Reviews
A quality ice fishing shelter insulates you from both the ice below and the weather outside and allows you to fish longer and more comfortably.
We’ve tried everything from the most basic ice fishing tents with no floors at all to the most lavish pop-up shelters, and everything in-between. Budget, weather conditions, and your tolerance to cold can really determine exactly which type of fishing shelter is right for you.
Let’s take a closer look at which ice fishing shelters are top-of-the-line and the best in various situations.
NOTICE : We may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you when you buy through links on our website. Learn more
1. Eskimo QuickFish 3i
Whether you’re fishing Flashers under the ice, or drowning worms, you’ll need a great shelter to keep you out of the elements. The first on our list is one that you may have already heard about. The Eskimo QuickFish 3i is a popular and stellar choice if you are seeking for a larger pop-up tent that can house up to 3 people. The setup time on this shelter is minutes!
Weighing only 26 lbs. and measuring 52 x 8.5 x 8.5 inches collapsed, the remarkable ice shanty is very mobile and lightweight for the 34 sq ft of fishing space that it provides. Erected, it is 70 x 70 inches and 80 inches tall, which means it offers headroom that’s above-average.
The best part about the Quickfish 3i is in its name; its setup is really quick. You can get it deployed in just 60 seconds. If you have the tendency to change fishing locations, this is a great choice for you.
Eskimo built the ice shanty with its insulated fabric, 600 Denier, which is especially rugged. Apart from being very durable, it is fully insulated. You should be protected from extreme cold with this pop up shelter and there’s no need to pack a space or tent heater!
2. Happybuy Ice Fishing Shelter 8 Person
The tent that came in a very close second on our list of the best ice fishing shelters is Happybuy Ice Fishing Shelter 8 Person. It has excellent quality and offers great value for a bigger and more serious group of anglers. It is very affordable, but it already is comparable to high-end options in terms of features and dimensions.
It is built with similar high-quality materials as its more expensive competitors. However, if you will be in truly extreme weather conditions, this ice fishing shelter’s craftsmanship may need to be complemented with a space heater. Otherwise, it can work well for a large group in mild temperatures. The ventilation, doors, and windows are all standard quality and execution.
All in all, if you are in a large group and you don’t require a rock-solid fortress to keep out ice and the cold, the Happybuy Ice Fishing Shelter 8 Person is a great budget go-to. What’s great is it has a wide application as you can take it hiking, camping, and other fun outdoor activities.
3. Eskimo Outbreak Pop-up
If you want a high-performing option specifically designed for serious anglers, the Eskimo Outbreak may be the best insulated ice fishing shelter for you. Compared to the previous ice shanty, this is rock-solid with a quick setup time as it’s made from a reputable company, Eskimo. It is a rugged tent that offers more than enough square footage to accommodate 4 to 5 persons. For an even greater floor space, this ice shanty’s bottom is flared outwards.
Although it is designed for a maximum of 5 persons, it is best for 3 or 4 people as the 75 sq. ft. will also be used for gear storage. The insulated 600 Denier HumiDark gray fabric interior blocks light, reduces condensation, and traps heat effectively. The material is fully insulated in this ice shanty. If you are seeking for an option that you can use in battling truly bitter temps, it’s a solid go-to.
Eskimo has included 2 cargo net fishing gear lofts and 2 mesh pockets for stashing apparel and equipment. It also comes with a duffel bag so you can transport it easily to another fishing location.
4. THUNDERBAY 6-8 Person Ice Cube Series
Thunderbay didn’t waste even a single square foot of fishable space with its 6 to 8-person ice fishing shelter. It is designed to fit you and the rest of your fishing crew perfectly without bumping elbows. Crafted from 300 denier “blackout” polyester fabric, it can stand up to moderately strong winds while providing sufficient insulation. For the money, this shelter may be one of the more economical choices.
One of the many features that were promising as we tested it out was the light-blocking or blackout shield. Although it is not very powerful, we were impressed as to the minimal reflections we saw from the surrounding ice and snow. The self-tapping ice anchors were also nice additions, which were all heavy duty. When folded up, the ice fishing shanty that’s rather spacious is portable and light, weighing only 21 lbs. For a shelter that feels like a mansion on ice, it’s quite mobile!
5. CLAM Lightweight Portable Ice Fishing Shelter
You may have also heard of Clam ice fishing shelters as they’re trending these days. The Clam 2 to 3 Ice Fishing Shelter is a great option if you want an ergonomically designed shelter that’s available with or without installation. The four-sided hub features 56 sq ft of space and a better than average 80-inch headroom. This is more than enough to fit large-sized fisherman plus their gear.
The 2-door and 4-window design offers excellent ventilation, visibility, and accessibility. Furthermore, it includes 4 tie-downs and anchors which are able to stand up against aggressive winds.
The super durable fabric and flex-tested 11mm tent poles alongside the integrated oversized banking skirt utilized with the shelter’s construction all help you endure harsh winter conditions. You can brave foul conditions and fierce winds with this option. Its superior integrity is why the brand has managed to develop a great reputation in the industry.
6. FERRET 1-2 Person Ice Shelter Tent
We were kind of skeptical about this product, but we all couldn’t be happier to have tried it out. After propping this on the ice, the Ferret 1-2 Person Ice Shelter is no doubt one of the best ice fishing shelters for an individual or couple. The 300D Oxford fabric material construction makes the entire tent completely waterproof. The setup was pretty simple, most especially when using the eight ice anchors. Ferret certainly didn’t spare any expense to ensure this tent holds well. Even right out of the package, it’s apparent that it is crafted using heavy-duty materials.
The carrying bag feels durable as it’s made of ripstop fabric. It is also portable and lightweight, weighing only 18 lbs. It is important to note that although it is a great ice fishing shelter, it is not insulated. We all were surprised that even when the shanty isn’t insulated, it is capable of retaining heat. Even in a single digit temperature, it was more than enough for us to stay nice and toasty. Of course, we had to use a small heater. Note: Ferret also offers another option for a 2 person flip over ice shelter that’s fully insulated.
7. Nordic Legend Hex-Hub
This stylish and heavy-duty 6–8-person thermal ice shelter is a product of Nordic Legend. Known as the Hex-Hub, it’s undeniably one of the best ice fishing shelters from its unique features. First off, the ice tent comes with 9 ice anchors so it’s kept in place even in frigid conditions and they’re further reinforced with premium-grade tie-downs. Regardless of how strong the winds are, you can rely on it to remain on ice.
For an ice shelter, this one provides a huge fishable area of 100 square feet with a headroom of 78 inches. If you can get your hands on this sought-after shanty, we suggest you grab it while you have the chance. Its dependability comes from its solid material construction that consists of heavy-duty fiberglass poles, removable TPU windows and die cast hubs. The tent will give you years of service. Other features we love are the diamond-shaped, oversized doors with durable zippers and the full thermal tech that keeps light out and retains heat.
8. LEONEBEBE 3-4 Persons Ice Fishing Shelter
Ice fishing shelters reviews almost always include a product of Leonebebe. This 3-4 Persons Ice Fishing Shelter is last on our list, but it’s also worth taking into consideration if you prioritize comfort when ice fishing. We particularly love the 600D wear-resistant Oxford fabric that’s upgraded with 5 layers of cotton for insulation. Combined with solid glass steel piping that’s 10mm in diameter, you’re promised both comfort and durability.
The fishable area the tent provides is 52 square feet, which is decent in accommodating up to 4 persons plus fishing equipment like your ice fishing poles. This winter shelter is strong, snow-prof, and frost-resistant. The material it’s made of is efficient and effective in blocking out wind. It’s definitely a must-have if you want a wind-proof option that will make a big difference in your ice fishing experience. When locked in place, the tent can withstand strong 20 to 30 mph winds. The package comes with a storage bag, ropes, and nails, which means all you need is a heater and you’re good to go.
Buying Guide on the Best Ice Fishing Shelters
There are a lot of factors that need to be considered when choosing the right portable ice shanty for you. This is because you have unique needs and preferences, and not all ice fishing shelters come with the same features. To ensure that you get the best bang for every buck, keep an eye out on each of these crucial factors that make an excellent ice fishing shelter.
Ice Tent Fishable Area
Having enough space inside the ice fishing shanty plays an important role in the decision-making process. Will you be bringing some of your friends and family members with you? It will be a lot more fun and, of course, easier, if everyone will be able to fit inside the shanty.
From our product reviews, you know that ice shelters vary in size and capacity. Similar to a beach or camping tent, fishing shanties or shelters can be just for a single user, two to four, or even 10 persons. So, when making a choice, consider the number of people that will use the tent simultaneously. If you will be alone or you will only have a buddy with you, you may still find it practical to get a larger shelter. If you want more ice holes for jigging, remember that the larger the floor space, the larger the fishable area of the tent. Just don’t forget your cordless drill and ice auger!
Being able to move the ice shelter from one location to another is also an important factor to consider. It is possible for a shanty to be quite bulky even when it’s already stuffed in its carry case. Most of the good quality ice shelters come complete with carry packs with straps, so they can be carried on your back. But, you will soon realize this isn’t the most efficient method of transporting a fishing shelter onto the ice. You may want to toss it instead in your ice fishing sled.
Most ice anglers use sleds as they’re efficient and convenient in transporting gear. In such case, a strap is unnecessary. Still, you would want the ice shelter to be lightweight and portable. If you won’t be using a sled, then it is absolutely necessary that you ensure your carry bag for the ice shelter isn’t susceptible to ripping.
The main reason why you would want an ice fishing shelter is to have sufficient protection from freezing temperatures and to stay warm and comfortable. So, you need to ensure that your choice in a pop up ice shanty can address this need. Different ice fishing shanties have different ways of going about the insulation. There are those that have been added with thermal coating, while some are constructed out of insulated quilted fabric or have several layers of fabric on the tent walls.
Heat retention is critical in frigid weather, hence why your fishing shanty must be built with it in mind. High quality ice shelters which haven’t been given insulation for multipurpose use are still created in a way that they’re able to retain heat. A thick denier fabric is completely water-tight and windproof. An ice shelter that can block the wind will make a huge difference to your experience on ice, as mentioned earlier. Combining heat retention or insulation from a shelter for ice fishing with a buddy heater can ensure you stay warm as you fish. You’ll be able to stay out longer – even the entire day – with an insulated shelter and space heater.
Brand or Manufacturer
Any time that you are dealing with a product that is designed to be utilized under extreme weather conditions, the brand or manufacturer needs to be scrutinized. This is because you want to ensure that you get a quality product that will perform when needed. This is also why we created a comprehensive guide on the best ice fishing shelters. We want you to select the portable fish house or ice fishing shelter that can hold up to subzero temperatures. We have done our very best to test the quality of each shanty and made absolutely certain that each product is from a reliable brand with decades of outstanding service under its belt.
The components that make up the best ice fishing shelters are as follows:
- Multiple openings – your ice shelter should have several doors and windows. The windows should be clear and they should be able to open, if necessary. Windows can have removable or attached covers so your tent’s interior can remain dark. As for the door, it must have heavy-duty, sizable zippers. It should also be easy to open and close with gloved hands.
- Ice anchors – the ice anchors screw the shelter into the ice in order for it to remain in place securely. Ice anchors are necessary. If there are no ice anchors, check if loops are outside the tent for attaching tie-down ropes.
- Skirt – there is no floor inside an ice fishing shelter. It has, however, a skirt that’s attached outside for keeping out the drafts. The skirt has to be wide enough and made of a durable material.
- Storage – the storage hammocks or pockets will be very useful when you need to keep and organize your gear within the shanty.
- Hub poles – the hub poles made of aluminum or fiberglass are superior. If you choose a tent with fiberglass poles, you should know that they can be difficult to repair when they break. As for aluminum, the poles will just bend or dent and they can easily be straightened.
Ease of Setup and Assembly Time
According to every single manufacturer of pop up ice fishing shelters, their products will only take a minute each to erect. Yes, from the smallest one-person hut to the palatial edifice which can house a number of ice anglers, all of them take only 60 seconds or a minute to set up and take down for storage.
This can be hard to believe and it can seem as an arbitrary figure. A way for you to tell whether or not the claims of the manufacturers are true would be to try the ice shelters yourself. So you don’t have to, we made sure the products on our list of the best portable ice shelters all have quick setup times. They are all easy to assemble as well. But, you should also know that most quality ice fishing shelters are easy to assemble. This is because it is what’s necessary as assembling a tent in harsh weather is a lot harder.
Out of the best ice fishing shelters on our list, the Eskimo ice fishing shelter stood out not only due to its overwhelming popularity, but also for its consistent quality. The company Eskimo created the QuickFish 3i to be the ultimate shelter from cold. It has a higher thread count (59 percent) than the competition, which means it’s completely water and wind-proof. As it has insulation, it is capable of retaining heat. If you want to jig inside while waiting for all your tip-ups outside, you’ll be able to look out any of the many windows of the tent and check if they’ve flagged up.
Although it’s not the largest portable shelter for ice fishing, it’s capable of fitting up to 3 people comfortably. In our opinion, the perks and quality of the tent make it worth every cent.