Ice fishing is a popular way for anglers in colder climates to extend the time each year that they can enjoy their pastime. But of course, ice fishing comes with some challenges, including the necessity of staying warm and dry.
One of the indispensable ways of remaining comfortable while ice fishing is to have an ice fishing tent for shelter. Read on to learn more about ice fishing tents, and to see our choices for the best ice fishing tents on the market.
Our Top Picks
Overall Best Ice Fishing Tent:
Eskimo Quickfish 3
Runner-Up Ice Fishing Tent:
Thunderbay Ice Cube Fishing Shelter
Best Value Ice Fishing Tent:
Happybuy Ice Fishing Tent
1. Eskimo Quickfish 3
Virtually all that you need to know about the Eskimo Quickfish 3 ice fishing tent is that the company behind it, Eskimo Ice Fishing Gear, has not seen any need over the years to change the product.
The Eskimo Quickfish 3 features a 60-second set-up process, and when it is ready, you’ll have a three-person ice fishing tent with a more than comfortable 34 square feet of fishable area.
Weighing in at just 26 pounds, the Eskimo Quickfish 3 is easy to transport to and from your fishing site, a real benefit as you’re moving your equipment and supplies on and off the ice.
- 80-inch height for ample standing room
- Ice anchors and tie-downs included
- Two mesh storage pockets
- Can be set up by one person
- Insulated fabric means easy heating
- Functional design
- Could use more windows
- Tie-downs may not be adequate for all situations
2. Thunderbay Ice Cube Fishing Shelter
Constructed of a durable 300-denier fabric (a denier is a measurement of fabric density), the Thunderbay Ice Cube Fishing Shelter will keep the cold winter winds from finding you, ensuring your comfort for long hours of ice fishing.
Large enough to accommodate at least two or three anglers, the Thunderbay Ice Cube Fishing Shelter also offers an 80-inch ceiling, room enough for occupants to comfortable to move around when needed.
- Extra-wide skirting keeps draft from infiltrating the tent
- Six self-tapping ice anchors included with the shelter
- Durable fiberglass interior poles for years of service
- Light and air flow are easy to regulate
- Good stability in windy conditions
- Great manufacturer support
- Fabric appears thinner than some other tents
- Snow loads may be a problem
- Seams could be stronger
3. Happybuy Ice Fishing Tent
In its various configurations, the Happybuy Ice Fishing Tent can accommodate two, three, four or even eight anglers. The Happybuy tent sets up in minutes, and its self-tapping ice anchors and durable fixing rope ensure its stability.
- 300-denier oxford fabric, a mix of cotton and polyester
- Extended bottom hem for enhanced warmth and wind protection
- Corner joints reinforced with heavy material
- Easy for anglers who move from place to place on the ice
- Good protection from wind
- Windows and vent offer good ventilation
- Difficult to repack into carrying bag
- Dark color makes tent hard to see at night
- Portability can be a problem
4. Clam C-890 Thermal Hub Ice Shelter
The Clam® C-890 Thermal Hub Ice Shelter provides a comfortable ice fishing experience for a half-dozen anglers, comprising almost 90 square feet of fishable area.
In addition, the C-890’s center height is a more than ample 80 inches, offering plenty of room for standing up during a long day of fishing.
Also, the C-890 is constructed of 600-denier fabric, complemented by a thermal skin, which provide both great heat retention and reduction of interior condensation.
- Six-sided design
- Ice anchors and tie ropes included
- Weighs just 42 pounds for easy transport
- Easy set-up for its size
- Excellent heat retention
- Lots of windows
- Zippers may be a problem
- Difficult to repack into carrying bag
5. Eskimo Sierra Portable Ice Fishing Shelter
The Eskimo Sierra Portable Ice Fishing Shelter, which can accommodate two anglers, combines light weight with a high thread count fabric to become an easily portable, warm and dry ice fishing tent.
On average, the Eskimo Sierra is nearly 20 percent lighter than comparable flip-over shelters. It includes seats that mount over the sled, which are easily removed or flipped out of the way for access to supplies in the sled. ventilation with detachable hook and loop windows.
- Aluminum square tubing for rigidity
- Pull rope included for easy portability
- Removable window panels to adjust ventilation
- Roomy enough to stand up
- Quick-release buttons for easy set-up
- Lots of room in sled
- Shallow sled may be difficult to pull through deep snow
6. Frabill HQ 200
Frabill, a well-known manufacturer of quality ice fishing shelters, once again hit that mark with the Frabill HQ 200, which can accommodate two or three anglers with a fishable area of 34 square feet.
Surprisingly, all of that room comes in an easily transportable package weighing just 23 pounds.
- Constructed of 300-denier polyester fabric
- 87 inches (more than 7 feet) of headroom
- Stands up well to frequent use
- Oversized carrying bag makes shelter easy to pack for transport
- Excellent heat retention
- Zipper strength could be improved
- Support rods may lack durability
7. CLAM X Portable Thermal Hub Shelter
The Clam X-400, X-500 and X-600 ice fishing shelters (the various models can accommodate four, five or six people, is an unparalleled choice for handling extreme weather.
The Clam X uses thermal trapping technology for heat retention, and its flex-tested frame poles give it great stability in windy and inclement weather. The X-400 and X-500 have more than 60 square feet of fishable area, with the X-600 at 94 square feet.
- 90 grams of insulation per square meter
- Oversized carry bag for easy packing up
- Ice anchor straps
- 360-degree view from inside (X-500)
- Easy to set up and take down (X-400)
- Plenty of room to stand up (X-600)
- Anchors and tie-downs may be a problem for some users (X-400)
8. Goplus Pop-up Ice Fishing Tent
The Goplus Pop-up Ice Fishing Tent, a comfortable option for a two-person fishing shelter, makes this list of great ice fishing tent options on the strength of its low cost.
The Goplus, manufactured with 300-denier oxford fabric, a mix of cotton and polyester, helps ensure a warm experience on the ice, and the tent’s light weight and consequent portability also are welcome features in an ice fishing tent.
- Transparent PVC covering for windows to let light in, keep cold out
- Frost resistance to -30 degrees Fahrenheit
- Mesh storage pocket
- Performs as well as some higher-end ice fishing tents
- Carrying case can be worn like a backpack for comfort
- Large windows
- Durability may be an issue
- May not retain warmth well enough for some users
Things to Consider When Choosing the Best Ice Fishing Tent
While it is important, price isn’t the only criterion to determine which ice fishing tent you should buy. You’ll also want to carefully consider the size and type of tent you’ll need, along with factors such as the warmth it will provide, and how you’ll get it to your fishing site.
Read on here for some more specific discussion of the things you’ll want to think about when investigating the purchase of an ice fishing tent.
Depending on size, the materials out of which it is made, how compactly it can be stored, and other factors, an ice fishing can weigh from a couple of dozen pounds to 60 pounds or more.
While you may be able to carry some of the lighter tents to your fishing site, heavier tents will be more easily transported on a sled or in an all-terrain vehicle.
Size and Weight
Ice fishing tents come in configurations that can accommodate anywhere from a single angler to five or six people eager to get hooks under the ice. As a rule of thumb, you should figure 30 square feet of space for every two people in an ice fishing tent.
As already noted, ice fishing tents can weigh anywhere from around 20 pounds to more than 50 pounds, so if you’re fishing with a group of people, you might want to consider housing yourselves in more than one tent to make it easier to get to and from your fishing site.
As a practical matter, most ice fishing tents are constructed with synthetic materials and are most often comprised of some combination of nylon and polyester.
There’s a good reason for that, in that both materials are relatively inexpensive, and each complements the other in terms of how they protect you from the elements. Nylon is very wear-resistant, and polyester sheds water, an obvious advantage in snowy conditions.
In addition, nylon and polyester are relatively quick-drying, and they also are more resistant to ripping and other problems, like mildew, than tents made of other materials.
Type of Tent
There are two types of tents used for ice fishing, the pop-up and the flip-over. Pop-up ice fishing tents are easily transportable, including some that can be carried by hand and others that are easily transportable by ATV or other vehicle.
Once at the ice fishing site, you’ll simply extend the pop-up tent’s internal supports, which will force the tent into a dome shape that sits on the ice.
Flip-over tents, on the other hand, are contained within sleds that can either be pulled manually to the fishing site or towed behind a vehicle. Once at the fishing site, a set of bars is pulled up and over from the sled, and some internal bars are added to the structure.
Once the flip-over tent is open, the sled in which it was carried can be used as storage space, a handy feature for long-term fishing.
Thickness and Insulation
In considering the purchase of an ice fishing tent, you’ll have the opportunity to choose between insulated and non-insulated options. One of the first things you’ll notice is that insulated ice fishing shelters are more expensive, due to the cost of insulating materials.
Beyond the cost differential between insulated and non-insulated ice fishing tents, any prospective purchaser also should understand that insulating materials add weight, which in turn can create issues with regard to transporting the tent to an ice fishing site.
In terms of thickness, the synthetic materials used in ice fishing tents are measured in deniers, a unity of measurement for density. Most ice fishing tents are comprised of materials measured at 300 deniers to 600 deniers.
A 300-denier ice fishing shelter may be perfectly acceptable for anglers who are well-seasoned on the ice, but if you’re new to the enterprise, you ‘ll want to have a 600-denier shelter shielding you from the elements.
Frequently Asked Questions About Ice Fishing Tents
Particularly if you’re new to ice fishing, or if it’s been a while since you’ve spent time angling over frozen water, you’ll almost certainly have questions about the shelter you’ll use during your adventure.
Read on for exploration of some of the questions you may have about ice fishing tents, both before and after you decide which one is the best choice for you.
Do ice fishing tents have floors?
Ice fishing tents do not have floors, in part because anglers often fish from inside their tents, and a floor would cover exactly the spot where they would auger through the ice to get at the fish.
There are, however, any number of options for installing floors in ice fishing tents. Most manufacturers provide ice fishing shelter floors as an option. These manufactured floors will routinely attach to the shelter with hook-and-loop-style fasteners.
Other options for installing a floor with your ice fishing tent include do-it-yourself options like taking interlocking foam or vinyl tiles onto the ice with you and arranging them in a way that provides both insulation and access to the ice.
Interlocking foam or vinyl tiles are available online, and may be in stock at your local big-box or home-supply store.
Can heaters be used in ice fishing tents?
It is possible to heat ice fishing tents, with both propane-powered and electric-powered heaters being options for staying warm atop the frozen waters.
Some propane heaters attach directly to the bottled propane fueling them, while others can be fueled from a propane bottle placed outside the ice fishing shelter. There are also propane-powered camp stoves that can do double duty as heaters in ice fishing shelters.
There are, however, some potential dangers in using propane-powered heating devices in ice fishing shelters. Propane produces toxic and potentially fatal carbon monoxide, so you’ll need a carbon monoxide detector, and also ensure the tent is well-ventilated.
Electric heaters are an option for anglers who ice fishing shelters are set up within extension-cord range of an electrical outlet, but as with propane heaters, some care must be taken in their use, because they can easily overheat and cause a fire.
How can I ensure my ice fishing tent is waterproof?
While some manufacturers may claim their ice fishing tents are waterproof, the experiences of many ice anglers contradict assertions that the structures will unfailingly keep water from infiltrating.
It’s true that the majority of ice fishing tents are made with water-resistant materials, but the seams in most, if not all, tents will develop leaks as a result of repeated setting up and usage stretching the tent’s seams.
That’s why it’s a good idea to keep a close watch on your ice fishing tent, and to take action at the first signs of leakage. The first step is to set up your tent and clean the seams with a dry brush, or with warm soapy water if the seams are particularly dirty.
Next, apply rubbing alcohol to the seams, to prepare them for an application of seam sealer. Seam sealers are readily available online or at camping supply stores.
Apply the seam sealer on both the inside and outside of your tent, and leave the tent set up for 24 hours to allow the sealer to dry completely.
Wrapping up the Best Ice Fishing Tents for 2023
We hope that this post has provided you with all of the information you need to make an informed decision on which of the ice fishing tents reviewed here will best meet your needs. For more information on ice fishing gear, check out Life in Minnesota.