The Best Ice Fishing Shelters

Stay warm in the harshest conditions, we break down this year's top ice fishing shelters

Our Editors independently research, test, and rate what we feel are the best products. We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases.

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.

Best Ice Fishing Shelters

 Eskimo FatFish Insulated Ice ShelterNordic Legend Ice ShelterTHUNDERBAY Ice Cube Fishing Tent
editors choice
Size:3-5 Anglers, 61 sq feet4 Anglers, 55 sq feet3 - 4 Anglers, 56 sq feet
Weight:34 Pounds32 Pounds26 Pounds
Features:6 self-tapping ice anchors w/ fully-Insulated 300 Denier walls8 heavy duty ice anchors & insulated walls6 self-tapping ice anchors w/ 300 Denier fabric walls

For more of my ice fishing 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 Best Ice Fishing Shelters

  1. Eskimo FF949I FatFish Insulated Ice Shelter
  2. Nordic Legend Wide Bottom Ice Shelter
  3. THUNDERBAY Ice Cube Portable Ice Shelter
  4. Eskimo Sierra Ice Fishing Flip Shelter
  5. Frabill Citadel 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 top rated Ice Fishing Shelters; we’ll then discuss how to select the right one for you.

Ice Fishing Shelter Reviews

Eskimo FF949I Insulated Ice Shelter at a Glance:

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

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.

Eskimo FatFish 949 & 949i Overview

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.

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!

Nordic Legend Portable Ice Shelter at a Glance:

  • 8 ice anchors for a secure setup
  • Capacity of 4 people (other sizes available)
  • Lightweight: (32 lbs) with a carry bag included
  • 55 sq feet for fishing
  • Easy to setup with two doors

If you’re looking for an 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 300D thermal 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 55 square feet of interior space which makes it a great option for a 4-person fishing party.

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 nine strong ice anchors to keep the shanty firm and secure in high winds.

THUNDERBAY Ice Cube Portable Ice Shelter at a Glance:

  • Highly durable 300 Denier fabric
  • Setup size is 90” x 90” with 80” center height and 56 square feet fishable area
  • The shelter has a capacity of 3-4 anglers
  • It is portable and weighs 20lbs; carry bag included for easy transport
  • 30% more interior space with overhead storage hammock

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

It is made of a tough and tear-resistant 300 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 THUNDERBAY is 30% roomier than competitor models, with this increased capacity, you can bring in more fishing equipment and anglers (about 3 – 4 people) to fish comfortably inside the tent.

This portable shelter weighs 26 lbs and also comes with an oversized carry backpack that makes it easy to transport, along with being easy to setup and take down. The six ice anchors work perfectly in securing the shelter against strong wind.

The THUNDERBAY Ice Cube is highly durable and portable. It is probably the best ice shanty you will find within its price range.

Eskimo Sierra Ice Fishing Flip Shelter at a Glance:

  • It provides 22.5 square feet of fishable area
  • The setup size is 60″ x 31.5″
  • 300 denier ice tight fabric
  • Capacity of 2 anglers
  • Easy to set up and pack up

The Eskimo QuickFlip 2 is a high end ice fishing shelter from Eskimo. It’s fully insulated and features 300 Denier IQ 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 82 lbs, so it’s heavier than many shelters but that is due to the insulation and is easy to set up or take down.

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.

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

Frabill Citadel 3255 at a Glance:

  • Fully Insulated
  • Lightweight, (weighs 98 lbs)
  • 2-3 person capacity
  • Setup size is 98″ Length x 71″ Width x 75″ Height
  • Modular Seating System

Frabill, a name that is well known for making quality fishing shelters, the Citadel 3255 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 Citadel 3255 gives you 30% more fishable space than comparable shelter.

It is a 2-3 person shelter with a setup size of 98”L x 71”W x 75”H when its folded up into its carry case it measures 58”L x 33”W x 16 ”H.

Although the Frabill Citadel is about avg in weight at 98 pounds, it’s fully insulated to keep you warm when the wind is howling!

The shelter is easy to set up although the instructions could be better. Once you do it a few times you will quickly get the hang of it.

Frabill Citadel 3255 is a solid option for an insulated ice fishing shanty and at a reasonable 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


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.


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 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.


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.

How We Researched

To come up with the top ice fishing shelter we researched a variety of sources for reviews such as REI, Dicks Sporting Goods and Bass Pro Shops along with our own personal experience.

We also consulted online magazines for product research and reviews to get as much unbiased information as we could. To help weed out fake reviews we used to make sure we only looked at genuine reviews.

With so much quality gear available, we had to narrow it down based on what we felt were the best options for the price.

To help narrow down the selection our authors used their personal experience along with recommendations from charter captains and tour guides.

After extensive research, we came up with our list to help you choose the right one for you.



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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Richard Remick

Richard is the founder and the chief editor of Outside Pursuits. Passionate about the great outdoors, Richard spends much of his time in Colorado enjoying skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, cycling, hiking, and camping. When at home in Florida, he is most often found in the water. He loves water sports such as paddle boarding, kayaking, snorkeling, and scuba diving. He is a certified scuba diver. Because of his wealth of knowledge and experience, Richard has been invited to contribute articles to many outdoor-focused websites, such as Florida Rambler, and has been profiled on travel websites such as JohnnyJet.
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