Summer weather encourages people to spend time outdoors and fishing is one of the most popular activities during this time of year.
But what can the hardcore fishermen do once the weather turns cold?
Ice fishing, of course!
With a reputation for being a sport that attracts the borderline insane, ice fishing provides the same tranquility and stress-relief you would find casting a line on a beautiful summer day, but presents a colder environment that needs to be properly dealt with.
Along with the appropriate winter attire, the right ice fishing tent can make or break your experience on a frozen lake.
We take a look at multiple models and present you with all the important information you need to make your next ice fishing trip a success.
The Best Pop Up Ice Fishing Shelters for this Year
1. Eskimo FF6120 Fatfish Pop-Up Portable
This model from Eskimo is an ice fishing pop up tent with a wide bottom that is perfect for group trips, with a spacious 80 square feet of room allowing 5 to 7 people plenty of space to fish. 2 large, high quality, YKK-zippered doors give you easy access in and out of the shelter, and the interior is lined with gear and mesh pockets for storage, in addition to being fully blacked out for sight fishing.
Of course, you still have the ability to let light in, as each of the tent’s 10 windows can be opened or fully removed, giving you much needed ventilation and flexibility options. Standing at 78” high, it accommodates tall fishers, and will work well against the elements, with self-tapping anchors and included tie-downs to secure your tent during windy conditions.
Sturdy and durable, the fiberglass poles and metal hubs provide a quick pop-up/collapse time, and the double layer of Eskimo’s IceTight insulated fabric uses a tight weave to reduce wind, water, and condensation while keeping heat in from escaping. An oversized duffle bag allows you to transport this tent easily, making it one of the top choices among ice fishers.
- Best-Selling Ice Fishing Tent for Multiple People
- 6 Different Size Designs to Choose From
- Excellent Build Quality and Performance Against the Elements
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2. Nordic Legend 33cc Power Ice Auger and Portable Two Man Shelter Combo
This 2-in-1 combo from Nordic Legend is a hard to beat all-in-one pack that gives you a great 2-man ice fishing tent and includes an ice auger. The specs on the auger are pretty impressive – a B33 heavy-duty powerhead 2-cycle engine with 8000 rpm using a 47:1 gear ratio to drill out 8” holes, 3.5 feet deep.
Translation: the engine works with the high alloy carbon blades to provide plenty of torque and won’t get bogged down even in thick, late-season ice conditions.
12- and 18-inch extensions are available, and it also comes with a muffler guard, throttle control for safety, and has a long-lasting build for years of use. An easy to setup pop-up made out of 300D fabric which withstands rain and wind well, while the black roof and interior work together to draw and lock in heat. The fishable area is around 21 square feet which is perfect for 2 people with enough extra room to store your gear. A side door for in/out privileges, multiple windows and vents, storage pockets, and included anchors and tie-downs make this an option that is a great deal for anyone that enjoys ice fishing in a solo or 2-person configuration.
- 2-in-1 Combo Pack with 8” Ice Auger
- 21 Square Feet of Fishable Area for Up to 2 People
- Very Good Build Quality and Durable Drill
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3. Clam 114469 X400 Thermal – 4 Side Hub Shelter
The X400 Thermal ice shelter from Clam gives you a four-sided ice hut with some great longevity. Giving you 64 square feet of fishable area and easily accommodating anyone under 82” in height, 4-6 anglers can fit comfortably inside with 2 side doors that make entry and exit simple.
The black roof draws in heat, while the high-quality 900 denier fabric does an excellent job retaining it with Clam’s thermal trap technology. The interior includes some pouches and overhead pockets for storage, and add-on floor capability can be attached with the Velcro stripped X400 hub shelter removable floor (sold separately).
High-quality 11mm flex-tested poles and hubs outfit the unit, with an oversized skirt for snow banking, triple-layer corner pockets, and a large carrying bag for easy repacking.
- High Quality and Durable Build
- 64 Square Feet for 4-6 Anglers
- 3 Year Warranty Against Manufacturer Defects
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4. Elkton Outdoors Portable 3-8 Person Ice Fishing Tent
This wide bottom pop-up shanty from Elkton comes in two hub sizes: single (holding 3-4 people), and double (6-8 people). With 34 square feet of space in the single (the double having close to 70), you will have no shortage of room, and another 81 inches of height gives you ample space to move around.
With excellent quality anchors, you can strap this baby to the ice easily, and attached tie-downs offer extra support when the wind hits. Ventilation isn’t a problem as 4 ceiling vents work in unison with 2 large, removable windows to keep air moving properly.
The 300D oxford polyester fabric is watertight to eliminate rain from flooding in, and its easy pop-up set up will have your shelter up in under a minute. The interior is outfitted with storage pockets as well as an overhead loft for the essentials, and the black material provides a light out experience for easier spotting of fish. The carrying case has an extra-wide opening so you won’t be fighting with it to store or transport your tent.
- Good Quality Tent That Comes in 2 Sizes
- Blackout Interior for Easier Fish Spotting
- Excellent Airflow with Ceiling and Window Vents
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5. Eskimo Quickfish Portable Ice Fishing Shelter
With solid metal hubs and durable fiberglass poles, the Quickfish shelter can be set-up or broken down in under a minute and comes in multiple sizes, making it an extremely attractive option for solo or group fishing. Drawing from the sun’s warmth using the black roof, the insulated fabric keeps heat in. Opposing adjustable Velcro vents help reduce condensation from forming inside the cabin.
With enough space for 2-6 people, 4 big windows allow a lot of light into the shelter, but shades are attached for those that prefer to fish in blackout conditions. The Quickfish comes with self-tapping anchors for a firm grip in the ice, and double doors are outfitted with high-quality YKK zippers to reduce snags and make entering and exiting the shelter a smooth transition.
Storage pockets line the interior of the tent, and everything can be broken down into a cinch duffle bag and carried on your back for easy transport.
- Excellent Insulation and Materials
- Available in Multiple Size for 2-6 Ice Fishers
- Includes Window Shades for Blackout Conditions
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6. Shappell Two Man Flip Ice Shelter
With 36 square feet of fishable area and standing 60 inches tall, this flip-style tent is lightweight enough to be used as a 1-man shelter, but 2 people can comfortably for some memorable adventures on the ice.
With tear-resistant 600D polyester fabric, you get a full-width carpeted bench to sit on, and the 13” deep sled base gives you a lot of space for transporting/storing your gear. A large zippered door outfits the front of the tent, and a rear door is included on the back for easy all-around access.
Reflectors on the outside of the shelter make it safe for use at night, and ventilation won’t be a worry as there are adequate mesh vents to keep air flowing effectively, making it safe to use with a heater. As one solid piece, it flips open in one smooth motion, and compacts down nicely for safe transport.
- Easy to Setup Flip-Style Shelter for 2 People
- High-Quality Tear-Resistant Fabric
- Good Ventilation Throughout
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7. Eskimo Evo Ice Fishing Series
The Evo ice tent from Eskimo combines the speed and portability of a flip-style shelter with the comfort and space of a pop-up, and is available in solo or 2 person versions. The IceTight fabric is made from 300D fabric to deliver a high insulation rating, and combine with the insulated roof and rear panel to absorb heat while reducing interior condensation.
With 19.5 square feet of fishable area and a 65-inch-tall front end, you get plenty of room for using big hook sets, a swivel seat (the 2-person version adds a second seat), and a large side door to make climbing in and out of the shelter simple.
The black interior combines with the window shades to create a blackout environment so you can see the fish better, and when you want to let light or air in you can remove the Velcro attached windows. 6 self-tapping anchors can be hand-cranked or drilled into the ice using an Eskimo attachment (sold separately), and tie-downs will help keep it secure. The sled makes it easy to pull on ice and double as a gear storage space.
- Hybrid Flip-Style Portability with Pop-Up Tent Space
- High Insulation IceTight Fabric
- Available in 1 or 2 Person Models
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8. Clam 9710 Kenai Pro 1-Person Ice Fishing Shelter
Crafted with rugged 450 denier fabric, this 1-person ice fishing tent is a great option for the run and gun type of fisherman. The tow rope makes it easy to drag these 45 pounders along the ice and the deep sled affords you ample room to transport all your tackle and gear.
11 square feet of fishable area is more than enough space for a solo angler, with 64 inches in height to help avoid smacking your head and line on the tent ceiling. Inside the cabin, you will find a collapsible seat that supports up to 250 lbs. to comfortably accommodate your posterior, 3 windows to bath you in light, as well as double vents to efficiently circulate air, which is much needed if you are using a portable heater.
The large front door is wide enough for the burliest of people, and a corner console comes in hand for storing tackle extra gear, and drinks. The Kenai’s “flip and go” pole system for mobile fishing is a great option if you enjoy solo fishing and want a good quality, fast setup/breakdown ice shelter.
- Rugged and Durable Fabric and Construction for Solo Anglers
- Flip Style Sets Up and Collapses Quickly
- 11 Square Feet of Interior Room for Fishing
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9. Otter 201111 Xth Pro Lodge Thermal Hub
At 64 square feet of interior space for up to 4 ice anglers, the Pro Lodge Thermal Hub is a high-quality ice shelter for a reasonable price. Pulling the tent out of its carrying bag, you can have it up in under 30 seconds by merely popping out the hubs and poles, making it ideal when you need quick shelter.
Otter’s ice lock anchor system gives you 3 points to secure the tent with the included anchors and tie-downs, providing greater security and reducing lift that occurs during windy conditions. Entering through the large door, each side panel has a window that can let in light or be closed up with Velcro flaps to darken the tent for spotting.
The durable build comes with 11mm poles, reinforced corners, and a quilted 600D Thermal Tec shell for light blocking and wind reduction. This triple-layer fabric is excellent for insulating and also keeps condensation from forming on the inside of the tent. The interior also boasts 2 overheard mesh cargo storage pockets, as well as 2 propane hose ports for keeping your tent and food warm.
At 42 lbs., its lightweight enough for most fishermen to transport using the carrying bag, and Otter’s attention to quality and detail make it a tent you can use for many years.
- High Quality Materials and Insulation
- 4 Person Ice Hut that Sets Up in Under 1 Minute
- Includes 2 Ports for Bringing Propane into Tent
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10. Frabill 640630 Shelter Predator Sidestep
The Predator Sidestep from Frabill is one of the best ice fishing tents money can buy, with a high-quality design and construction for seasoned ice fishers. A 2-person ice shanty with 28 square feet of fishable area, it comes with 2 foldable clip-on seats that are removable and pack nicely into the tub.
A full-size side door eliminates the frustrating problem of stepping over lines and avoiding holes, and the adjustable poles give you up to 75 inches of height for comfortable movement inside. Designed as a cube to allow for use of large hook sets, it differs from most flip-style huts which normally have an angled front and can limit the height.
Outfitting the side panels are windows that can be un-Velcro’d for venting, or fully replaced if needed, and the interior includes some storage pockets for gear, as well as corner covers to protect the tent’s fabric from ripping.
Covered in high-quality insulated fabric that all but eliminates condensation, you will have no problem staying warm in this tent with a gas or electric heater.
The included sled is plenty deep to house your gear and makes transporting everything a breeze.
- High-Quality and Long-Lasting 2 Person Ice Fishing Tent
- Cube-Designed with Adjustable Poles for 75 Inches of Height
- Includes 2 Foldable and Removable Seats
Buyers Guide- How to Choose an Ice Fishing Tent?
Confused as to which ice fishing tent will best suit your needs? We outline the vital information you need to know in our buyer’s guide.
There are 2 main styles of tent for ice fishing, and both are very quick to set up: pop-up tents or flip-style. Pop-up tents are housed in an oversized carry bag that can be worn like a backpack for transporting to your site.
Using a system of fiberglass poles and metal hubs, they extend out to “pop-up” in a matter of seconds, and are then secured to the ice using self-tapping anchors and tie-downs. On the other hand, flip-style tents come with a sled/tub that you can store your gear in, while the tent lays on top of it, and you haul the entire shelter with a tow rope to your spot and just flip it up in one shot.
Securing it to the ice is also done with self-tapping anchors and tie-downs. These anchors can be hand-cranked but a lot of anglers will use a special portable drill attachment to make this process easier.
A large number of ice shelters are designed for 1-2 people, but there are manufacturers that offer multiple size options, with 3-4 and 6-8 being the most common group sizes. You will want to take into account the square footage and fishable area size as well if you are one who likes to drill multiple holes.
Height restrictions are also important to note, with anywhere from 60-80 inches of room being the standard. PRO-TIP: The higher the tent, the larger the hook sets you can use when fishing.
Ice tents need to be durable to withstand wintery conditions. A tent that uses insulated fabric is imperative to keep you warm in minus temperatures (some even have black roofs to draw in heat), and it should also be fully weatherproofed and able to withstand wind and rain.
Insulated tents are also very good at keeping condensation from forming, and vents can help maintain circulation and breathable air as most gas heaters give off carbon monoxide. Both pop-up tents and flip-style will use a series of fiberglass or aluminum poles to create a supportive frame that will be lightweight and durable enough for multiple setups and tear downs.
Manufacturers will include various features in their tent designs to make your fishing experience more comfortable. A lot of tents include large doors and/or specific door placement, to help you enter and exit the tent easier (i.e. not tripping over lines and holes), heavy-duty double-sided zippers for smooth operation, individual seats or a bench, and a mixture of storage pouches for gear. With ventilation being vitally important, most tents will either have adjustable vents, or adjustable windows that can be opened to move the air around. A cool feature you will also find is window flaps, which provide blackout conditions so you can spot fish easier.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an ice fishing tent?
An ice-fishing tent is a portable outdoor shelter that is designed to house 1 or multiple people while they fish in wintery conditions. Some are in a pod design that connect together and others have an extension-like design to house fisherman in action.
Why are Ice Fishing Tents so Expensive?
The subzero conditions that are ideal for ice fishing are not for the faint of heart. These tents different from standard 2-3 season camping tents in that they use high quality, heavy-duty, weatherproof and insulated fabrics to withstand harsh elements, making them more of a survival tent than a camping tent.
They also need to be portable enough that you can easily transport them to your site, so the pop-up or flip-style convenience designs demand a premium price tag over tents that are assembled from scratch.
Are Ice Fishing Tents Waterproof?
They better be! From rain, to snow or freezing rain, these tents employ a durable water-repellant coating so that moisture beads up and rolls off, ensuring you and your tent stay dry.
How do you Pitch an Ice Fishing Tent?
Setting up ice fishing tents is very easy and most models can be up in under a minute. Pop-up tents use fiberglass poles and metal hubs that are pushed outward until the tent “pops” into its structure, while flip-style tents unfold up from a lying position in one smooth motion. Securing these tents to the ice will be the most labor-intensive part of setup, with self-tapping ice anchors and tie-downs providing additional structural support.
How do you heat an Ice Fishing Tent?
While you should always dress warmly with proper thermal underwear, clothes, and winter gear, good old-fashioned blankets are a great way to stay warm inside your ice shanty. If you really like luxury, bringing along a small tent heater will keep you nice and toasty for hours on end.
Ice fishing tents will be your best line of defense against the harsh winter elements. Top-level protection is paramount while out in the Earth’s wildest elements. With the knowledge we have outlined in this article, you can now make an informed decision as to which tent works best for you.