Best Ice Fishing Shelter

The 5 Best Ice Fishing Shelters Reviewed For 2017

While many see ice fishing as nothing but an odd habit, others see it as the only way to fish.

Because ice fishing requires staying for long periods of time in extremely cold weather, having the best ice fishing shelter is a necessity for a successful and enjoyable fishing expedition.

Since there are many varieties to choose from, finding the right fishing shelter might seem a difficult task especially if you are new to ice fishing.

For more of my top gear recommendations, have a look through these popular Outside Pursuits guide links: Ice Fishing Reels, Ice Fishing Augers and Ice Fishing Boots.

Quick Answer: The 5 Best Ice Fishing Shelters For 2017

  1. Eskimo FF949I FatFish Insulated Ice Shelter
  2. Nordic Legend Wide Bottom Ice Shelter
  3. Clam Bigfoot XL2000 Pop-Up Ice Shelter
  4. Eskimo QuickFlip 2 Ice Shelter
  5. Frabill Bunker 210 Hub Top Insulated Shelter

This guide will cover some of our tested and true shelters as well cover their features so you can make the best choice.

Let’s take a look at my favorite Ice Fishing Shelters; we’ll then discuss how to select the right one for you.

Best Ice Fishing Shelters

 Eskimo FatFish Insulated Pop-up Ice ShelterNordic Legend Thermal Ice ShelterClam Bigfoot XL2000 Pop-Up Ice Shelter
editors choice
Capacity:3-5 Anglers, 61 square feet3-4 Anglers, 40 square feet4 - 5 Anglers, 56 square feet
Insulated:YesYesNo
Weight:44 lbs29 lbs35lbs
Features:6 self-tapping ice anchors with fully-Insulated 300 Denier IceTight fabric6 heavy duty ice anchors and insulated fabric wallsMade from 600 Denier fabric and triple layer corner pockets

Ice Fishing Shelter Reviews

#1 Eskimo FF949I FatFish Insulated Ice Shelter

The Eskimo FF949I wide-bottom insulated pop-up portable shanty is probably the best ice fishing shelter on the market. The FatFish is an solid offering from Eskimo that is designed to provide with protection in freezing conditions.

It features a durable construction with a fully insulated IceTight Fabric (300 Denier) and Insulated Quilted Fabric to provide you with the warmth and the comfort you need in extremely cold conditions.

The larger diameter poles and the all metal ball and socket lines enhance its durability, thereby providing you with many years of use. The Eskimo FatFish is easy to set up; it weighs only 34 lbs making it one of the best portable ice fishing shelters available.

Video: Overview of the Eskimo FatFish.

It has plenty of elbow room of 99” x 99” and a setup size of 94” x 94”; it is 80” high and can easily accommodate 3-4 persons. This will give you more usable fishing area.

For easy access into the FatFish, Eskimo included two doors with tough and freeze proof YKK zippers on the either sides of the shelter.

Features of the Eskimo FF949I Insulated Ice Shelter:

  • Capacity of 3-4 people
  • Weighs only 34 lbs and comes with a carry bag for easy transport
  • Comes with six self-tapping ice anchors
  • Two doors with durable and smooth YKK zippers on its opposite sides
  • Fully insulated, providing 35% more warmth than comparable ice shelters
  • Made from 300 Denier Ice Tight fabric that is fully insulated

The included large mesh pocket provides you with additional space to keep your important fishing gear while its six self-tapping ice anchors deliver on their promise of withstanding high winds and securing the shelter.

If you want a high-quality ice shanty at an affordable price, the Eskimo FF949I wide-bottom insulated portable shanty might be your best bet!

#2 Nordic Legend Wide Bottom Ice Shelter

Nordic Legend Wide Bottom Ice Shelter

If you are looking for a excellent quality ice shelter at an affordable price, the wide bottom ice shelter from Nordic Legend might be all you need.

It is made with high-quality materials that not only makes it durable but also furnishes it with the ability to withstand the harshest weather conditions. The superior fabric of the Legend conserves heat while preventing the build up of frost.

One of the reasons why I love the Nordic Legend is because of its portability. It is lightweight and comes with a carry bag for easy transportation.

This wide bottom shelter has a roomy 40 square feet of interior space which makes it a great option for a four-person fishing party.

Features of Nordic Legend Wide Bottom Ice Shelter:

  • 6 ice anchors for a secure setup
  • Capacity of 3-4 people
  • Lightweight: (29 lbs) with a carry bag included
  • 40 sq feet for fishing
  • Easy to setup with a single door

The Legend is very easy to set up and take down; one person can set it up in 60 seconds. It is also equipped with six strong ice anchors to keep the shanty firm and secure in high winds.

In my opinion for the quality and portability you get, the Nordic Legend is the best ice fishing shanty for the money.

#3 Clam Bigfoot XL2000 Pop-Up Ice Shelter

If all you want is nothing but a simple, high-quality ice shelter tent, the Clam Bigfoot XL2000 might be able to fill the gap.

It is made of a tough and tear-resistant 600 Denier fabric; this makes it stronger than most of its competitors. Its heavy-duty poles can stand against the wind and protecting you from the elements.

The Bigfoot is 30% roomier than competitor models, with this increased capacity, you can bring in more fishing equipment and anglers (about 4 – 5 persons) to fish comfortably inside the tent.

Video: Overview of the Clam Bigfoot XL2000.

This portable shelter weighs 35 lbs and also comes with an oversized carry bag that makes it easy to transport, along with being easy to setup and take down. The four ice anchors work perfectly in securing the shelter against strong wind.

Features of the Clam Bigfoot XL2000 Ice Shelter:

  • Highly durable 600 Denier fabric
  • Setup size is 90” x 90” with 80” center height and 56 square feet fishable area
  • The shelter has a capacity of 4-5 anglers
  • It is portable and weighs 35lbs; carry bag included for easy transport
  • 30 % more interior space with Triple layer corner pocket

The Clam Bigfoot XL2000 is highly durable and portable. It is probably the best ice shanty you will find within its price range.

#4 Eskimo QuickFlip 2 Ice Shelter

The Eskimo QuickFlip 2 is a high end ice fishing shelter from Eskimo. It features 300 Denier Ice Tight Fabric which has a 59% higher thread count than its competitors.

This superior quality material ensures the shelter’s durability while keeping you warmer so you can enjoy fishing in comfort. It is a two-person capacity shelter with a fixed table and comfortable seating arrangements..

The durable aluminum poles keep the shelter rigid and strong while keeping the weight down. It weighs 87 lbs and is easy to set up or take down.

Video: Overview of the Eskimo QuickFlip 2.

It has a one door, two storage pockets, and four removable windows that can be adjusted for ventilation. It is towable and comes with a pull rope for easy transport.

Features of the Eskimo QuickFlip 2:

  • It provides 21.7 square feet of fishable area
  • The setup size is 83“ x 60”
  • 300 denier ice tight fabric
  • Capacity of 2 anglers
  • Easy to set up and pack up

The Eskimo QuickFlip 2 ice shanty delivers on its promise of durability and comfortable ice fishing experience. For two anglers, this is an ideal solution.

#5 Frabill Bunker 210 Hub Top Insulated 2-3 Man Shelter

Frabill, a name that is well known for making quality fishing shelters, the Bunker 210 lives up the expectations. It is made from tough, tear resistant fabric that is not only lightweight but also insulated to keep you warm for a day of ice fishing.

Compared to most traditional ice fishing shelters, the Frabill Bunker 201 gives you 30% more fishable space. It is a 2-3 person shelter with a setup size of 80” length x 80” width and 80” height.

Although the Frabill Bunker 201 roof is light in weight, the insulation you will get from it cannot be underestimated. The shelter is easy to set up and also available at a bargain price.

Features of the Frabill Bunker 210:

  • Insulated Roof
  • Lightweight, (weighs 30 lbs)
  • 2-3 person capacity
  • The dimension is 80″ Length x 80″ Width x 80″ Height
  • Offers 30% more fishable area

Frabill Bunker 210 is a solid option for an insulated ice fishing shanty and at a budget price.

How to Choose the Best Ice Fishing Shelter for You

After being bitten by the ice fishing bug, one of your most important purchases is an ice fishing shelter. Lets cover some important considerations for a shelter.

best pop up ice fishing shelter

Types

There are four types of ice shelters for you to consider:

  • Hub-style shelters
  • Cabin or hut style ice shelters
  • Flip-style shelters
  • Windbreakers

The flip style shanties are the most popular among ice fishermen. They are erected on a strong plastic sled base and normally have a capacity of two to four people. The windbreaker type are inexpensive, light in weight, and easy to transport.

The cabin-style shanties are built on plastic sled base and have adjustable poles just like the flip style shelters. They can contain up to 8 anglers and are not meant to be taken down after every use.

The hub-style shanties are customized to meet the needs of the ice fishermen. They have external poles as their frames and looks just like a camping tent.

Sizes and Capacity

Does size matters when it comes to selecting the best ice fishing shelter? Of course it does! Before you decide on your ideal shelter size, consider how many people will be accompanying you plus how much gear you have.

A shelter of 4 to 5 person capacity might be your best choice if your not sure and will provide enough space for your equipment.

Materials

The materials used in manufacturing a shanty are a trade off of weight, durability, insulation and of course cost. A shanty made of high-quality, thicker material will not only ensure the shanty’s durability but also provide more protection from harsh weather.

Most shanties are made of a polyester or nylon fabric whose durability and thickness are measured in Denier. For instance, a shelter of 600 denier fabric is thicker, more durable and seals out the cold wind better than a shelter made out of a 300 denier fabric.

However, it will be heavier and more expensive.

Thermal insulation is also an important element of most modern shelters that will retain heat better from heaters and transfers warmth from sunlight into the shelter while sealing out the cold.

While thermal materials may be your best friend during the harsh weather they may not be necessary, especially in warmer weather conditions and will add more weight to the shelter.

best ice fishing shanty

Weight and Portability

When it comes to shopping for a ice fishing shelter, weight is an important factor to consider most especially if you are packing it in. The heavier your shack, the more it will be difficult for you pack it and carry it out. You are also more you’re likely to need a towing vehicle to move it around on the ice.

Seating

Seating is of course an important factor to consider since you’ll be spending most of your time sitting while ice fishing. Flip-style shacks usually have one or two padded in-built seats. For other styles, you may need to purchase separate seats.

Budget

You don’t necessarily need to spend a fortune to get a high quality shanty. With modern manufacturing, the price of shelters have come down considerably while providing more protection for the elements.

Even with a budget of under $300 you can still get a shelter for 4 fishermen while providing warmth and comfort. Spending a little more will get you insulation and built in seats.

Either way, you don’t need to spend a lot of money you get a quality shelter.

I hope this guide has helped you in finding the best ice fishing shelter that suits your needs. If you want to leave me a comment or wish to recommend an ice fishing shelter that is not included in this guide, please use my contact form to get in touch. If you are looking for guide to learn how to ice fish, see our beginners guide here.

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About Richard

I work part time as an IT security consultant. Luckily I can work from anywhere so I go back and forth between Colorado and Florida. I get my fix of skiing, hiking and camping in Colorado in the Dillion area, and when I am in Florida you can usually find me on the water either paddleboarding or kayaking. My recent passion is scuba diving, I got certified a few years ago and "get wet" as frequently as I can.