Best Ice Fishing Shelters Reviewed For 2022

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As you come to the end of the winter, it’s a great time to start thinking about next season. As the melt begins, you can get your hands on some bargain ice fishing kit.

If you are reading this article at any other part of the season, remember, it always pays to shop around and do your research first.

You can get all the latest models at introductory prices or get extra special bargains on the superseded models.

By virtue of the way the world is turning, things are going to get more expensive, not less. 

Many of us anglers are on a budget, and keeping an eye on the situation and planning will help you save a lot of money.

Let’s look at ice fishing shelters based on common features we seek – The best single-person ice hut, the best two-person ice hut, best four-person, best pop-up, and the best ice shelter for ease of entry.

We’ll list our selection, then we’ll discuss the features to look for. Let’s hit the ice!

Best Ice Fishing Shelters in 2022

OTTER XT Cottage X-Over Shelter Package 201169
OTTER XT Cottage X-Over Shelter Package 201169
Combine traditional front door entry with a “Quick Switch” to side door configuration; Easily switch to side entry doors while maintaining front door access
Eskimo 36150 Quickfish 6i Insulated Pop-Up Hub-Style Ice Fishing Shelter, 68 Square Feet of Fishable Area, 6 Person Shelter
Eskimo 36150 Quickfish 6i Insulated Pop-Up Hub-Style Ice Fishing Shelter, 68 Square Feet of Fishable Area, 6 Person Shelter
60-SECOND SET-UP: Hub design makes set-up and take-down quick and easy.; SELF-TAPPING ICE ANCHORS: Easier to grip, and won't bend under pressure
Frabill Citadel 3255 Insulated Flip-Over Side Door W/ Boat Seats
Frabill Citadel 3255 Insulated Flip-Over Side Door W/ Boat Seats
98.5"L x 71"W x 75.5"H; Lightweight and durable materials; Boat Seat Style. Patented Modular Seating System

Last update on 2022-03-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

1. Otter XT X-Over Cottage Flip Over

Best Single Person Ice Shelter

I don’t know about you, but fishing by yourself is infinitely colder than fishing with another. While there’s some science to this, I think much of this is psychological.

Whatever the case, fishing alone requires a lot of warmth. Therefore, I’m looking for premium insulation.

OTTER XT Cottage X-Over Shelter Package 201169

When I’m alone, I also like to set up fast and with ease, without having to battle the prevailing winds. For this, I like a flip-over.

My choice for the best single-person ice shelter is the Otter XT X-Over Cottage. 

Yes, there are ice fishing huts available with heavier denier fabrics, but the thrapple layer 600d on the cottage provides excellent protection.

Importantly, insulation, while the most critical consideration, is taken on balance with all other features. And the Otter provides plenty of desirable features.

But first, I’ll talk about the downside. It’s heavy. At 80 pounds this is not the sort of hut you want to be dragging any significant distance. 

It’s also a bit of a mission to get in and out of any vehicle. Because of this, I can’t really recommend it for those with injury or lacking strength.

It requires some man-handling to move about. I like this for driving to your fishing spot using your truck or snowmobile. For this, it’s excellent.

For comfort, the flip-up deluxe padded bench seating system is ideal and will hold 500 pounds of angler. 

There’s room for two, and it handles it pretty well, although my preference is to fish it alone.

However, the fact that it can seat two people is one of its advantages. At 16.8 sq. ft, you can fish 2 without feeling claustrophobic or in each other’s way. 

It’s an ideal parent/child setup.

The EZ lock assembly system is strong, fast, and appears durable. It’s very easy to assemble and not overly challenging in a decent breeze.

It comes with a great selection of accessories, the tow hitch being one of the most important. 

Don’t be tempted to buy the proprietary LED system. It’s way overpriced, and you can get more effective for less elsewhere. It’s things like this that annoy me about top-shelf brands and models.

I like the three-door system as it gives you plenty of setup versatility and ventilation flexibility. Regardless of the wind direction, you can have an entry from the bluster.

Features

  • X-Over Side Entry Doors
  • Quick Switch Frame (Patent Pending)
  • Easily switch to side entry doors while maintaining front door access
  • Sets up like traditional shelters and converts to side access in seconds
  • EZ Lock Assembly
  • Reduced frame assembly time
  • Oversize square tube aluminum frame with Ultra-Glide System
  • 16.8 sq. ft. holds up to two anglers
  • Patented Otter Thermal-Tec Triple Layer Insulated Shell 600-Denier layering system blocks wind
  • Quilted thermal inner shell locks in warmth and reduces condensation
  • Flip-Up Deluxe Padded Bench Seating System
  • 38″ Cushion Length, 14″ Cushion Depth (bottom cushion), and 10.5″ Cushion Height (backrest cushion)
  • Front Entry Door with Dual Coil Zippers
  • 100% RotoMolded Otter XT Sled Features Molded-In Hitch Pockets

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

2. C-560 Thermal Hub Shelter

Best 2 Person Ice Shelter

The best 2 person ice shelter is a 3 or 4 person ice shelter. When there are multiples on the ice, and I mean any more than 1, space is an advantage.

Tent manufacturers are notorious for overstating their generous space. While the Clam is pretty spacious, I still like the 4 men for a 2 person ice shelter.

CLAM 14477 C-560 4 Person 7.5 Foot Lightweight Portable Pop Up Ice Fishing Angler Thermal Hub Shelter Tent with Anchors, Tie Ropes, and Carrying Bag

There’s 56 square feet to drill holes and set up. Measuring 7.5 feet long, 7.5 feet wide, there’s 6.6-feet of headroom, so even the tallest of anglers can avoid stooping.

Constructed from 600d fabric, the wind remains outside, and there’s little in the way of tent flapping noise.

The oversized snow banking skirt provides extra stability and a great seal at the tent’s base.

Set up time is advertised as 60 seconds, and two people will have little trouble getting close to this time, making it great when the snow or rain starts to pump.

11-millimeter poles add to the feeling of stability, and they’re pretty easy to manage with cold hands.

The oversized snow banking skirt provides extra stability and a great seal at the base of the tent.

While the Clam handles a decent breeze, there are four anchor points with rope and spikes provided to provide extra stability should the wind start to rush.

The black roof adds a level of natural thermal heating, but a heater will work nicely in this space, keeping two people super warm. The heat is retained nicely, allowing you to turn the heating down and conserve fuel.

Access is convenient with entry points on the corner. The zippers are strong and appear durable enough to handle the bashing doorways get, as two hefty anglers stumble in and out.

The blue stands out nicely on the ice, making it a good safety choice.

I admit awarding the best two-man to a four-man might be cheating. But in my experience, there’s no two-man hut every truly comfortable enough for two. 

Yes, you fit, yes you can drill a couple of holes and fish, but it’s ALWAYS tight.

Features

  • 600 total denier fabric reduces condensation
  • 60 grams of insulation per square meter
  • Oversized skirt for ample snow banking
  • Full thermal skin retains heat & burns less propane
  • Flex-tested, extra-large 11mm poles
  • Oversized skirt for ample snow banking
  • Carry bag included
  • Triple-layer corner pockets
  • Anchors and tie ropes included

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

3. Eskimo QuickFish 6I Pop-Up Ice Fishing Shelter

Best Four Person Ice Fishing Shelter

Accommodating four people comfortably with sufficient warmth is easier than you think. What’s more, it’s also cost-effective with the Eskimo QuickFish Series Pop-Up.

It’s interesting to compare the portability of the Eskimo which accommodates up to 6 people, with the weight of the Otter above that fits one comfortably.

Eskimo 36150 Quickfish 6i Insulated Pop-Up Hub-Style Ice Fishing Shelter, 68 Square Feet of Fishable Area, 6 Person Shelter

Fitting into a duffle bag that can be worn comfortably on your back without strain, it’s a far cry from the 80 pounds of the flip-up.

60 seconds seems to be the magic (arbitrary) setup time for tents, and the Eskimo is no exception. 

With 8 hands to make the process faster, you can be in shelter quickly, and set up your fishing stations.

The 600d fabric provides full insulation. With 4 anglers inside, heating can be set to low, ensuring fuel supplies last for extended sessions on the ice.

I like the versatility of the Eskimo 6I as it would be more than possible to set up an overnight or weekend camp for two. 

As the tent is lightweight, you have more capacity to lug the essentials for longer stays.

With such a large surface area you might expect the Eskimo to act a little like a sail in the wind. 

But the Eskimo feels very stable in a stiff breeze, with the supplied self-tapping ice anchors holding the ice securely.

Any flex from heavy wind can be mitigated using the ropes, which will also decrease the noise.

The skirts are generous enough to bank plenty of ice, adding to the stability and keeping the cold air from breaching the space.

Overall, there’s a heavy-duty feel to the construction, with durable YKK zips, and reinforced corner joints.

Ventilation is critical when you’re fishing multiples in a confined space. The removable windows provide you with options for maximizing airflow without compromising on interior warmth.

The Eskimo is a great idea for a fishing family, a regular fishing group, or an angling duo who likes to camp out on the ice. 

There’s 68 square feet to fish, 80 inches of headroom, and the whole shebang weighs in at an easy 54 pounds. What’s not to like!

Features

  • 60-second set-up
  • 600 denier fully-insulated
  • Portability back
  • Self-tapping ice anchors
  • In-skirt ice anchor grommets
  • Mesh storage pockets
  • Removable window panels
  • Reinforced corner joints
  • Extra-long skirt material
  • YKK zippers
  • Weight 54 pounds
  • Height 80”
  • Fishing area 68 Sq Feet
  • Accommodates 6
  • Insulated

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

4. Eskimo QuickFish 3I Pop-Up Ice shelter

Best Pop-up Ice Shelter

I like the Eskimo QuickFish 3I because it covers everything I want at a very accessible price point.

Firstly, the 600d fabric provides excellent insulation keeping the cold out and the warm in. 

Eskimo 69445 Quickfish 3i Insulated Pop-Up Portable Hub-Style Ice Fishing Shelter, 34 Square Feet of Fishable Area, 3 Person Shelter, Red

Generous skirts allow for easy snow banking, making sure there’s no draught at all except for the draught you configure using the removable windows.

The ventilation options are good, which is necessary when you’re fishing the 3I to its capacity of three anglers. Having removable windows also allows for easy replacement.

While I like the 3I for 3, I’d use it for two people, or as an overnighter for one. With 43 square feet of space, 2 can stretch out and fish conveniently, where one could bring a cot and stay out for a while.

At 34 pounds this is no load to carry, and the convenient and durable duffle bag fits comfortably on your back, allowing more space on your sled for those who like to bring the kitchen sink.

80 inches of headroom is a great feature, and a feature in all but one of the tents in this Eskimo series. 

Even a 5-foot 8-inch short guy like me really appreciates the headroom and room to lift a longer rod without collision.

Small tents can feel very claustrophobic, but adding a little headroom can alter the feel significantly

If you’re fishing with more people, you’ll feel less like you’re on top of each other, and more like you’ve got space

All metal hubs and solid fiberglass poles deliver strength as well as durability while keeping the weight down.

Reinforced cornering and classic YKK zippers add to the durability credentials, ensuing your tent investment will see you through multiple years on the ice.

This is a model I’d consider for a family of two, a husband and wife duo, or a family of three, who appreciate space, traveling light, superior warmth, easy setup on the ice, all at an accessible price point. 

It’s also great for the solo angler spending several nights camped on the ice.

Features

  • 60-second set-up
  • 600 denier fully-insulated
  • Portability back
  • Self-tapping ice anchors
  • In-skirt ice anchor grommets
  • Mesh storage pockets
  • Removable window panels
  • Reinforced corner joints
  • Extra-long skirt material
  • YKK zippers
  • Weight 34 pounds
  • Height 80”
  • Fishing area 43 Sq Feet
  • Accommodates 3
  • Insulated

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

5. Frabill Citadel 3255 Ice Fishing Shelter

Best Ice Shelter for Ease of Entry

There are a number of flip-ups that could take this position. The frabill is a great-looking hut with lots of features, and apart from its excessive weight, it’s simply awesome.

A door on either side, such as the Frabill, simply makes sense. It makes me question why such a configuration wasn’t standard when flip-ups were first made.

Frabill Citadel 3255 Insulated Flip-Over Side Door W/ Boat Seats
  • 98.5"L x 71"W x 75.5"H
  • Lightweight and durable materials
  • Boat Seat Style. Patented Modular Seating System
  • Full Insulation

Last update on 2022-03-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Citadel seats two, side by side, and you fish forward. One door on the side would mean you are always climbing over each other to get outside.

A door at the front means you’re stepping over your fishing holes, and lose the front space as a set-up location.

Having a door on either side eliminates all of these problems. It also gives you the versatility to manage wind ingress, as you can orientate your tent to have one door facing downwind.

There are other flip-ups, such as the Otter on this list, that have three doors. 

Arguably, the third door offers another level of versatility, but the drawback is that a door is a moving part with zips and seams that can fail over time. Is three necessary?

While three might be a luxury, 2 doors should be considered standard in flip-up tents. 

Of all the tents styles and sizes available, there’s no easier entry and exit than the opposing doors on the Frabill Citadel.

Without going onto all of the Citadel features and (this section is purely about the best entry door), you can rest assured that the Citadel is deluxe, sporting excellent stability, insulation, and functionality.

It is comfortable and spacious enough for two to fish easily. You’re going to need two people anyway…at 100 pounds, this guy is a backbreaker.

Features

  • 98.5″L x 71″W x 75.5″H
  • Lightweight and durable materials
  • Boat Seat Style. Patented Modular Seating System
  • Full Insulation
  • Optimized fishable space
  • 2 times side entry doors
  • Under-seat rod storage

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

Hub vs Flip-Over Style

Hubs are lighter, larger, easier to transport, and cost less. Hubs vary in price, but there are a huge number of affordable hubs.

Flip Overs are often heavy – sometimes just too heavy. 

They are, however, packed with great features, including built-in comfy seats, storage, and they are very easy to set up.

Size/Person Capacity

I’m skeptical of every ice fishing tent ever made and the manufacturer’s accommodation claims. 

Unless you’re getting one for yourself, I’d check out the dimensions of each tent you were considering very carefully.

I have a system. If the manufacturer says it’s good for two people, It’ll be great for one and ok for two.

If you’re buying a tent for four, get a tent that says it accommodates six. You get my drift.

Consider the Insulation

Uninsulated tents are fine for very mild conditions. The main reason we want a hut is to keep the cold and the wind out. 

I would always recommend that you should buy an insulated hut. While heavier, you’ll be warmer, and condensation can be better managed.

Ease of Assembly/ Setup Time

According to just about every manufacturer, all tents take 60 seconds to erect. From the smallest 1 man hut to a palatial edifice that would house scores of anglers…they all take 60 seconds.

This seems to be an arbitrary figure. The only way to tell if the manufacturer’s claims are true is to eyeball it or try it.

In reality, most ice fishing huts are very easy to set up – you’re unlikely to face such poor design that setup is complicated.

Weight and Portability

If you’re walking long distances over the ice and tough terrain, flip-ups might be out of the question. 

These guys can weigh 80 to 100 pounds and more. Even the best sleds won’t take the load off such a burden. Many flip-ups are vehicle-only arrangements.

Hubs, on the other hand, can be very easy to transport. They’re lighter and often supplied in bags with convenient backpack-style straps or shoulder straps.

If you’re on foot for long distances with just you and your sled, a lightweight hub is the better option

Windows and Doors

The more doors the better, and the more windows the better. Entry and exit versatility and ventilation management can make a big difference to comfort and function.

The more anglers you’re packing in a tent, the better it is to have multiples of both entries and ventilation options.

Condensation needs to be managed, and more windows give you options. 

Entries/Exits should be set for the best flow of traffic relative to fishing and set-up space inside, and also the prevailing winds.

Seating

Flip-ups are well known for the built-in deluxe seating. This is also a reason for the added weight.

For hubs, you need to supply your own seating. Fold-up stools are great, but whatever suits your comfort levels will be the best. 

Remember, large seats will take up a lot of space, and space is premium.

Accessories

Most manufacturers will provide options and accessories for their huts. Unless necessary, try to buy accessories elsewhere. 

Manufacturers tend to make their money on accessories such as storage containers and LED lights. Often you will find these items cheaper elsewhere.

Some genuine accessories will be required to fit other proprietary components, such as extra seats in flip-ups.

Budget

There are plenty of huts to cover every budget. The bottom line is to spend what you can afford. If all you can afford doesn’t cover your key needs, then save a little longer.

Non-insulated huts start in the low hundreds. Insulated hubs break through the 300 dollars mark. 

Multi angler flip-ups will breach the $1000 very quickly, and even continue up. Particularly if you accessorize from the manufacturer’s list.

Frequently Asked Questions

When Should you Buy an Ice Fishing Shelter?

You’ll find bargain ice fishing shelters all year round. Look for end-of-season run-outs and end-of-model run-outs for great prices.

Believe me, the moment the mercury gets super low, you’ll care less about prices if you want to keep fishing.

Buying shelters after you’ve just had a freezing ice fishing experience is the same as grocery shopping when you’re hungry. You’ll spend more than you need.

Plan based on what you need, research, then purchase.

Do Ice Fishing Tents Have Floors?

Yes, some ice fishing tents have floors as an option; others provide after-market floors. You need to check compatibility.

Many people use rubber matting and foam matting in a DIY attempt to keep out the cold. Good boots are generally best.

Are Ice Fishing Tents Warm?

This is a little subjective, but by and large, yes. Any fabric above 600d offers good insulation. Add a heater, and you can make things very warm.

Keeping the wind away is a big deal, as it’s the wind that packs on the hurt on a cold day. Generally speaking, if you’re out of the wind, you’re guaranteed to be at least slightly warmer.
A lot depends on how you dress too. The bottom line is that good tents will keep you warm on some of the coldest days, so long as you’re appropriately dressed.

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