As this winter confirms the rising attraction of ice fishing, so sales of gear are also on the increase. And there is arguably no more important item in the hard water angler’s armoury than the shelter.
Having recognised the growing value of ice fishing to their businesses, the tackle industry is providing a bigger choice of shelters than ever before. But which brands and products are the icemen putting their faith in to keep them warm and comfortable in the harshest of conditions?
Heavy.com, a global platform with regular outdoors content and millions of visitors per month, recently published its own findings on portable shelters (or shanties) to help consumers make their choices.
Top pick of the site’s reviewers is the Otter Xth Pro Lodge Thermal Hub (pictured), praised for its two doors, four pull-down windows, spacious footprint, cargo storage nets to keep gear off the ground and two propane hose ports. In second place, the Eskimo Quickfish 3 Pop-Up shelter was found to be impressively compact, lightweight with fast, easy staking, and is one of five Eskimo products among the 13 shanties listed.
The full list with abbreviated comments:
1. Otter Xth Pro Lodge Thermal Hub
• Three-point corner anchoring system reduces wind lift.
• Complaints about door zipper quality.
2. Eskimo Quickfish 3 Pop-Up Ice Fishing Shelter
•Packs down small for its 34 square feet footprint.
• Uninsulated fabric and small windows.
3. THUNDERBAY Ice Cube Two Man Instant Shelter
• Spacious, with high ceiling height. Wide skirting keeps out drafts.
• Not insulated and entrance a little tight.
4. Outsunny 2 Person Pop Up Ice Fishing Tent
• Very portable at just 15lb and can be assembled in seconds.
• Possibly a little tight for two people. Tiny windows.
5. Eskimo Outbreak 450I Insulated Pop-Up Ice Shelter
• 75 square feet of fishable space. Mesh pockets keep gear off the ground.
• Fairly expensive. Heavy at 50lb.
6. Eskimo FatFish 949i 3-4 Person Pop Up Shelter
• Three layer fabric. Flared bottom gives more space.
• Some complaints about Velcro windows and getting the shelter back in its bag.
7. CLAM 3-4 Person Lightweight Pop Up Ice Fishing Tent
• Lots of headroom for 3/4 people. Oversized snow banking skirt.
• Fairly expensive. No colour selection.
8. Eskimo Fatfish 5-7 Person Insulated Pop-Up Portable Ice Shelter
• Ten windows and 2 door system.
• Expensive option. A little heavy.
9. Tangkula 8-Person Pop-Up Ice Shelter
• Very good price for its size. Two doors.
• Not as durable as some other options. Complaints about zippers.
10. THUNDERBAY 8 Person Insulated Ice Fishing Tent
• Highly affordable for larger groups. Includes 12 ice anchors.
• Two hub system more susceptible to damage.