TOP 9 Best Ice Fishing Shelters – Complete Guide & FAQs (Updated for 2024)

When you think of ice fishing, what comes to mind?

A red-faced, furry hooded guy hunched over a hole holding a twig with a line disappearing into the chilly depths below, right?!

That might be what ice angling was like in yesteryear, but these days we have the luxury of portable sheds to keep us protected from the bitter elements.

So, if you want to be able to feel your face when you get back home, take a look at our review of the best ice fishing shelters in 2024.

You’ll never want the stuff to melt!

Ice Fishing Shelters At-a-Glance

Before searching for and investing in your new home away from home on the ice, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with some features and factors to look out for.

  • Shelter size – perhaps the most important consideration, the larger the shelter, the more people/heaters/coolers/fish finders/tackle/equipment/beer you can fit in.
  • Insulation – adequate protection is essential in sub-zero temperatures. Is your choice of shelter up to the task?
  • Ventilation – staying warm is all very well and good – but can you breathe?!
  • Weather/waterproofing – an ice fishing shelter needs to stand up to the elements.
  • Portability – how easy is it to get to and from your favorite fishing spot? You’ll probably need a quality ice fishing sled to help you, if there isn’t one already built-in.
  • Extra features – does the shelter come with any other features you would find useful? Seats, for example. Maybe a widescreen TV…?
  • Cost – buy the best you can afford, in relation to how often you’re going to use it, and the type of conditions you’re using it in.

Are you ready for the reviews?

Of course you are!

Let’s dive right in.

TOP 9 Best Ice Fishing Shelters for 2024

Eskimo QuickFish Series Ice Fishing Shelter

You’ll undoubtedly know that when you are out on the ice, the weather can change for the worse in two minutes flat. Luckily this shelter will be up and ready in one!

And that’s not all.

It’s really simple to take down, too! Everything about this shelter shouts easy! It comes with its own cinch carry pack, perfect for lugging on your back or on a sled if you prefer. It even offers a 19% weight saving against similar sized shelters.

Listen, this is important…

All the weight saving in the world is useless if your shelter doesn’t keep you dry. Fortunately, this isn’t an issue. A high-density fabric ensures that not one drop of precipitation or a gust of wind will make it through to the interior.

Speaking of wind. You want your shelter to stay exactly where you set it up. Eskimo have been kind enough to include self-tapping ice screws. They are really rugged and easy to screw into the ice. Once they are in, your shelter isn’t going anywhere.


  • Lightweight and portable.
  • Easy to set up and take down.


  • The height of the shelter can be slightly restrictive if you are a taller person.


Just like my fishing, I like to start strong with my shelters. This is a purpose-built solution that will keep you warm and dry on the ice, and for such a roomy shelter it’s super-light, too.

Clam Nanook XT Thermal Ice Fishing Shelter

Clam Nanook XT Thermal Ice Fishing Shelter

Clam are well known in ice fishing circles for their extensive range of dedicated ice fishing gear, equipment, and apparel.

The Nanook XT is a lightweight shelter that has been designed for use by up to two anglers, and boasts a full thermal skin with 90 grams of insulation per square meter.

Just open this cozy shelter up, and you know you’re going to stay toasty all day long, backed up with a durable 900 Denier fabric for additional protection and longevity.

Two comfort seats are included, and it packs down easily into its own sled for excellent portability.


  • Thermal materials.
  • Compact design.
  • Added headroom.
  • Overhead mesh storage.
  • Lightweight and portable.


  • It might be a little too compact for some.


This is a highly practical ice fishing shelter for when you’re on the go, able to be dismantled, moved, and set up again with ease. And that’s without sacrificing heat, as it might just be one of the warmest ice fishing shelters out there.

Thunderbay Ice Cube Portable Ice Shelter

This shelter does exactly what its name says. It’s a great big cube you can use out on the ice.

What are its features?

I really liked the extra wide skirting on the shelter, it was perfect for keeping gusts and drafts out. One really nice feature is the blackout interior. When the sun is shining on the ice you can end up with eye strain if the interior of your shelter is too bright.

As with many of our other ice shelter options, it comes with handy screw-in pegs to ensure that your protection stays put. In fact, the wind will never be an issue, as the substantial 300 Denier fabric makes the shelter entirely windproof.

Is that all?

No sir. Weight can often be a problem and if you need to travel a significant distance carrying a shelter it can be tiring.

Thunderbay have done their utmost to reduce weight with this product wherever they can. A great example of this is their use of fiberglass poles as support, and you’ll get strength and rigidity without any of the excess weight.


  • For the money it’s a really great shelter with plenty of standing room.
  • Superior windproof qualities.


  • The windows are quite high, so you may struggle to look outside without standing up.


Whilst not the most advanced shelter out there, it should certainly serve to keep you out of the elements. I really like the bright red color for safety, as you can never be too careful, especially in remote areas.

Otter Outdoors XT Pro X-Over Lodge Ice Shelter

Otter Outdoors XT Pro X-Over Lodge Ice Shelter

Able to comfortably house up to three anglers, the Otter Outdoors Pro X-Over is a great option if you’re looking for a little more room.

Entry and exit is simple thanks to access points in any direction, and it can be easily converted from a side to front entry tent if you so choose.

And with a four-hole capacity, you won’t be short on fishing options in the ice, so don’t forget your spud bar.

The frame is made from super-strong aluminum tubing, and features an EZ-Lock assembly technology to reduce setup and takedown time.

Two removable, flip-up bucket seats are included, and the ultra-wide, roto-molded sled makes transportation sturdy and reliable.

Probably one of the best three-man fishing shelters available, there’s a lot to like with Otter Outdoors.


  • Large footprint.
  • Triple-layer insulated shell.
  • Quick setup.
  • Ultra-glide system.
  • Adjustable seats.


  • Reports that it’s a little tricky to manage with one person alone.
  • Pricey.


Another quality shelter from Otter Outdoors, the Pro X-Over packs in a lot of features to keep most ice anglers more than happy, comfortable, and even “fishing in a T-shirt.” (With a suitable fishing heater, of course!)

Pexmor Pop-Up Ice Fishing Shelter

If you are looking for a budget offering then this pop-up shelter by Pexmor could be ideal. It is easy to set up in a matter of minutes.

It isn’t the largest shelter we have seen, but providing you aren’t particularly tall, or don’t try to cram too many people in, you will have a reasonable amount of room.

There’s a possibility it might get a little dark inside this entirely black shelter, and for that reason the PVC windows allow in some much-needed light.

Looks pretty great, what’s the catch?

No catch. For the money you’ll get a budget offering. It’s pretty light, and I’m not sure how durable it would be in really rough weather, but for light to moderate conditions it should do the job admirably.


  • For those on a budget this shelter would be ideal.
  • It is quick to set up.
  • Super lightweight; it won’t be an issue to transport.


  • The black color isn’t the most visible, it’s not a deal-breaker but I would have liked a brighter color – to be on the safe side.
  • A three-man tent. Maybe. At a push.


Overall a good ice shelter option. I think you’ll need to be close friends if you use this as a three-man shelter, but it should fit two people inside comfortably.

Frabill Hub Ice Fishing Shelter

Now we are wheeling out the big guns. Got a lot of friends, or just want a lot of space? If either are true then this shelter will be right up your street.

Do you know why?

Because you can fit up to six people inside. And the fact that it is made by Frabill means that you will do so comfortably. And while I think it might be a stretch for six people to all fish at once, for three you’re going to have all the space that you could need.

The shelter is easy to put up, and even though it is relatively large (with a fishing area of 25 square feet), it isn’t too heavy.

You’ll be able to run a heater, too, as the shelter has strategically placed air vents to ensure that condensation is kept to a minimum.

If you want to take a look, you can see it below.


  • You’ll be hard pressed to find a bigger shelter.
  • For its size incredibly light.


  • Perhaps a little too big?


I really like this shelter for when I bring a few buddies. The only downside is that it is too big if you aren’t going with a crowd.

This probably means you will need another smaller shelter too. But based on size alone I would say this is the best portable ice house there is.

Eskimo Eskape 2800 Ice Fishing Shelter

Eskimo Eskape 2800 Ice Fishing Shelter

We’re moving into the realms of serious ice fishing houses now, with the Eskimo Eskape 2800.

Packed with practical features, this is one of Eskimo’s leading lights, and the “ultimate big water shelter.”

Ideal for taller anglers, there’s over 6.5 feet of height inside, and 30 square feet of space, which is ideal for anyone tired of hunching over in ice tents, and offers ample room for all your gear.

Lined with an ultra-warm insulated fabric, you’ll stay toasty all day, and the gray interior helps to absorb light while on the ice – so you can always see what you’re doing, even on those bright, blinding snow days.

Designed to accommodate two anglers, there are two sliding, adjustable seats that rotate 360-degrees, and it all packs down into a tough, roto-molded sled for transportation.


  • Loads of useful features.
  • Very warm insulation.
  • Purpose-built side entry.
  • Mesh pockets.
  • YKK zippers.
  • Tough, durable construction.


  • Expensive.


Another super-warm and well constructed ice shelter that has everything you need and more. I particularly like the extra headroom and side entry that makes it easy to get in and out with comfort. Perhaps one for anglers who suffer from backache?

Nordic Legend Aurora Ice Fishing Shelter

Nordic Legend Aurora Double Hub Ice Fishing Shelter

If you’re one of those ice anglers who like to venture out there with nothing short of a squad, then this tent could be an excellent choice for you.

Designed to accommodate up to six people, this is a double-hub ice shelter that all the family can enjoy.

Featuring four interior rod/toolholders, bottom storage pockets, and an overhead cargo storage net, the hub offers plenty of space for stashing gear and equipment.

The silver reflective liner helps to retain heat, and is useful for seeing in low light conditions, while the two diamond-shaped doors allow easy entry without losing warmth.

And the stitchless construction also eliminates heat loss, so you and your team will be plenty toasty in this shelter – especially if there are six of you!


  • Spacious design with large fishing area.
  • Reinforced corners.
  • Windows with covers.
  • Striking, easy-to-see design.
  • Excellent storage options.


  • You’ll need a small tribe to help set it up.


Although it’s not suitable for solo ice anglers, ice fishing can be a very sociable sport, and this is an awesome option if you enjoy fishing with company. A LOT of company!

Bass Pro Shops Angler Hub Ice Shelter

Bass Pro Shops Angler Hub Ice Shelter

For a more budget-friendly ice fishing shelter, look no further than this option from Bass Pro Shops.

If you’re happy with the super-warm ice fishing suit you’re wearing, and you only need a windbreaker to keep the bluster at bay, then this is a great option – especially at this price point.

It’s designed for use by up to three anglers, and features a superfast, simple setup just by pulling on a series of tabs.

Made from 600 Denier polyester, the smart black and gray color scheme is highlighted by lime-green flashes, so you can see the shelter at night.

Super lightweight at just 30 lbs, it’s easy to transport, and has an internal anchor system to keep the shelter in place on the ice.

Built-in vents allow for circulation, and there are cold-weather windows with blackout covers, so you can manage the internal lighting.


  • Affordable price.
  • Internal pockets.
  • Durable fiberglass frame.
  • Double zipper doors.
  • Chair included.
  • Large snow skirt.


  • Not the best insulation.
  • No sled included.


A highly affordable fishing shelter that will help keep the windchill down to a minimum, but you might want to look elsewhere if you need extra insulation.

A Quick Guide to Ice Fishing Shelters

If you haven’t used an ice fishing shelter before then it can be quite daunting.

But fear not!

I’m going to go through a few pointers that you may want to consider to help you make the best possible choice.

ice fishing shelter at night stands on a lake

Big Enough or Too Close for Comfort? Consider the Size

What this boils down to is how many people are likely to be using it? This is important for a few reasons. If you pick a shelter that is too large it’s not going to be good.

Want to know why?

First, you’ll have a bigger area to heat. One of the primary functions you’ll want in the best ice fishing tent is that it keeps your warm, why make it harder?

Second, you are going to have to transport it alone. Around 40lbs is my limit, and then I’ll need someone to help. Remember that it’s not only the shelter you’ll be carrying, and you’ll likely be packing other equipment.

It’s a Wrap! Consider the Insulation

Insulation can be important, especially if you are fishing in really cold weather. The tent trapping air isn’t quite enough, especially in bigger shelters. Over time the ‘skin’ of the tent will chill. This in turn will cool the air inside. Insulation prevents this.

With one-man shelters, it isn’t so crucial as they tend to heat quite quickly. For a larger tent, the more insulation you can get the better – otherwise you are going to be cold.

If you are someone who feels the cold, but reluctant to splash out on an insulated ice fishing shelter, why not consider some toasty ice fishing gloves instead? If you check out my guide to the best ice fishing gloves here you can ensure that you’ll never have cold hands ever again.

A Breath of Fresh Air? Consider Ventilation

This is important for a few reasons. First, condensation can be a real nuisance. Your ice fishing shelter can end up wet even on a dry day if it isn’t properly ventilated.

Here is something that is really important…

If you are using a heater in your tent, specifically any that burns fuel, you MUST have ventilation. Carbon monoxide is nasty stuff. It is insidious and fatal.

By ensuring that fresh air can circulate you eliminate the possibility of being poisoned. Don’t take the chance. Either have good ventilation or don’t use a fuel burning heater.

top aerial view of winter ice fishing tent

Staying Dry

The main function of your ice fishing shelter will be to keep you dry. Some shelters are more suited to challenging conditions than others.

When considering material look for shelters that boast a denser body fabric as they are generally the best at keeping out moisture, even during the heaviest deluge.

All Secure?

Ice fishing shouldn’t involve a 100-meter sprint. If it does you’ve done something wrong.

What do I mean?

If it’s a windy day and your shelter becomes detached, you are going to have to chase it down.

Or, you could just prevent this from happening by ensuring that it is pegged down from the get-go. What you really, really, need is a set of strong pegs and reinforced points on the shelter.

The thicker and the easier to screw in the better. Look for wide handles and self-tapping style ice screws to seal the deal.

two men on a winter fishing drill hole with electric ice auger


How do you pick an ice shelter?

It’s a good question! There’s a lot to think about before you invest in a quality ice fishing shelter, that’s for sure!

You need to consider things like size (how many people can fish comfortably inside), materials and insulation, exterior protection, cost, and more.

To help you out, take a look at our full buyer’s guide above, which will arm you with all the information you need when it comes to choosing the right ice shelter for you.

What is the best ice fishing shelter?

Bearing in mind all that I have said above, when I look at an ice fishing shelter, the main thing I want is that it keeps me warm and dry.

Without those two qualities I am just hauling weight that I don’t need. I look at insulation and material. Once I’ve found a few I then look at secondary considerations like weight and extra features.


For the money and bearing these things in mind I really like the Eskimo Quick Flip shelter. It’s small enough to be easy to transport, I can fit a lot of extra gear in there and set-up is super-fast meaning I can spend more time fishing and less time ‘camping’. For me it is certainly the best flip over ice fishing shelter.

But, there’s a but…

I don’t always fish alone. If I have company, I find that I want a shelter offering room and warmth. In these instances, I prefer to bring out the Frabill Citadel ice fishing shelter. For the money, and the weight it really is the best insulated ice fishing shelter.

Are ice fishing tents waterproof?

You would like to think so. The problem tends to come during more challenging conditions. Snow has a tendency to melt.

While shelters are designed to protect against rain from above, some fare poorly if water is allowed to stand – particularly on seams.

The best way to guard against this is to pick a shelter that has a shape that allows snow and melted water to run off easily.

How do you insulate an ice fishing tent?

Look, I’m going to be honest with you. For the hassle it will cause you might be better just going for an insulated shelter to start with.

By adding layers to a tent, you are increasing the weight and maybe even reducing the waterproofing capabilities.

If you want your shelter to be warmer you could always consider an ice fishing heater.

How do you set up an ice fishing shelter?

Quickly and carefully!

No, joking aside there are a few golden rules that you should consider. Here’s my number one tip…

Don’t ask me how I learned the hard way…

In particular for pop-up ice fishing shelters… Ensure that you put your pegs in and the tent is secured before you allow it to pop-up.

This is especially true in strong winds. Once the shelter is up it occupies a massive surface area, which is easily taken by the wind. By securing it before you set it up, you can make sure that it doesn’t disappear into the distance.

In my product review I mentioned Eskimo Ice shelters. I really love shelters that are easy to set up, and the Eskimo is one of the best pop-up ice fishing shelters around. You can see how easy it is in this video.

What are ice fishing houses called?

There are actually many names for ice fishing houses, and the moniker you use will likely depend on where in the world you come from!

Names include ice shanty, ice shack, ice shelter, fish coop, ice hut, ice tent, and even “dark house.”

But they essentially all mean the same thing – a portable cabin/shed that protects keen ice anglers against the chills of a winter’s day (or night) on exposed frozen waters.

What is the warmest ice fishing tent?

That’s a difficult question to answer, as we would need to test every single shelter in order to know for sure!

Look for ice fishing shelters that have the best insulation – thick walls lined with materials that are designed for improved heat retention. Walls that look not too dissimilar to a quilt are a dead giveaway.

In this particular review, I would suggest the Eskimo Eskape 2800, the Clam Nanook XT, and the Nordic Legend Aurora all have a good chance at being the warmest ice fishing tent out there.

Do I need an ice fishing shelter?

That depends – do you regularly like to venture out onto a frozen lake or river and sit for hours on end with a fishing rod and line lowered into a hole cut into the ice?

If the answer is yes, then there’s a good chance you will seriously benefit from an ice fishing shelter!

Joking aside, ice fishing can be pretty dangerous if you’re not well protected and prepared, and a good shelter is going to help keep you safe from exposure.

Remember, even sitting out there for a few minutes in sub-zero temperatures can be lethal at worst, and extremely uncomfortable at best.

If you love ice fishing at the hole (rather than relying on tip-ups and hiding in a warm house), then an ice shelter is a highly recommended investment.

And anything that keeps us fishing for longer is fine by me!


By choosing the best ice fishing shelter you can ensure you have a fantastic day.

You’ll be warm, dry and feel like you have your own personal corner of the lake. As long as you choose wisely.

Hopefully, my guide has given you some food for thought. I try my best to give you the best information and ideas.

If you like them and want some more, why not subscribe to my newsletter? I give lots of helpful tips, whether that is choosing the best fishing flashers or getting to grips with ice augers.

Bob Hoffmann

The author of this post is Bob Hoffmann. Bob has spend most of his childhood fishing with his father and now share all his knowledge with other anglers. Feel free to leave a comment below.

Recent Content