The 5 Best Ice Fishing Shelter For Solo Or Big Group Fishing

by Julie | Last Updated:   April 11th, 2022
The 5 Best Ice Fishing Shelter For Solo Or Big Group Fishing


When those harsh northern winds whip down the ice and slice through your heavily layered hunched-over form, it will chill you down to the bone. No matter how well your winter gear is made, the frozen chill will still bite down to the bone. Some days it might bite more than the fish. No one wants to be exposed to the frigid winter temperatures. Especially non-ice fishermen, because the wind on hard water is relentless.

How do you escape the extremely cold conditions, and still be able to fish? By using a nice, cozy, and convenient ice shanty! This kind of pop-up shelter is what many ice anglers rely on to stay warm and protected from the harsh elements. Just being able to get out of the wind alone makes such a huge difference.

There are many ice fishing shelters to choose from all ranging in sizes, shapes, and styles. Yet, each one provides to be an excellent ice shelter that will help to keep you out fishing for longer. Most ice fishing shelters even offer you the accessibility to be fishing inside of it as well. Now, pair this with a little propane heater and you’ll have a warm shelter that keeps you out of the cold wind.

Once the ice thickens you’ll begin to see these brightly colored pop-up shelters all over various bodies of water. They are an essential piece of equipment that adds a little bit of luxury, some convenience, and a whole lot of safety against the harsh elements. We are here to tell you about the best ice fishing shelters we’ve found, and how you can find the one that suits your fishing needs!

IN A HURRY? HERE ARE OUR TOP PICKS…

The 5 Best Ice Fishing Shelters Reviewed

Eskimo Quickfish Series Pop-Up Portable Ice Fishing Shelter

Eskimo shelters are well known in the ice fishing community and for good reason. They are a popular and excellent choice if you are looking to purchase an ice shanty for your next fishing season. They make high-quality pop-up shelters that will keep you warm and dry all day long.

The Eskimo QuickFish boasts 300 Denier Icetight Fabric that has a 59 percent higher thread count. This means there is a much tighter weave which provides maximum windproofing and waterproofing protection that this brand is well known for. It also has a weight savings average of 19 percent that beats out other ice fishing shelters like it. If you want to be protected from the harsh elements and have an easy time carrying this out on hard water with you, then this is the best ice fishing shelter for you.

With a 60 second setup time and self-tapping ice anchors that won’t bend even under pressure and are easier to grip, you can’t go wrong with this one. The convenience of not having to struggle and spend too much time on setting it up is worth it, and having anchors that you can rely on to keep your shelter secure is priceless.

The in-skirt ice anchor grommets also help with setting up. They are there so you can easily put your anchors right into the grommets found on the skirt itself, so you don’t have to struggle and find a separate grommet tab. Everything about this pop-up shelter is designed to be convenient, easy, and provide you with a warm place to sit even in extreme cold and still catch fish.

Pros
  • Sets up in less than a minute and provides a secure shelter for any activity
  • Customers say it is very easy to use and it retains heat inside well
  • Well-made and sturdy, it’s a quality shelter all around
  • Insulated walls are great and they don’t sweat. The shelter is waterproof and any moisture outside beads up and slides right off
  • Customers claim you can fit three 8 inch ice fishing holes inside for jigging
Cons
  • The carry bag isn’t the most practical. While the shelter itself sets up and breaks down easily, fitting it into the bag is a real hassle that can take you up to 15 minutes of struggling to cram it in there
  • Customers complain that the door is extremely small and makes going in and out a hassle
  • A couple of customers have received the product with broken support parts for the poles

KAZINSKI Insulated Ice Fishing Shelter

Kazinski designs ice fishing shelters that will protect people from winter weather so they can enjoy their outdoor activities to the fullest. They do so by using high-quality materials and techniques like the 300D high Polymer density Oxford fabric that also boasts an additional thermal layer. This way it can withstand strong wind, and have enhanced 40 percent heat retention. In this shelter, you won’t get cold that’s for sure!

As one of our top ice fishing shelters, it includes standout features like an anchor rope and in-skirt anchor grommets that ensure this ice fishing tent will stay secure even in windy conditions. The 11mm durable fiberglass with built-in heavy-duty material is also sewn over all the corner joints for additional reinforcement. No matter what this shelter will stay secured to the ice.

Inside it features a PVC removable window panel, and an adjustable air hole so you can adjust your ventilation needs, and be able to see outside to check your tip-ups. There are also storage pockets inside so you can keep some of your fishing gear easily accessible and off the floor.

This is a great ice fishing hut because of these features and many more. This insulated shelter will keep you warm, out of the wind, and secure. There are also reflective strips on the outside so that it is easily visible even in low light. This is a safety measure in case someone needs to find you, or if you get turned around if you’re someone that is fishing before dawn or after dusk. You’ll always be able to spot your shelter easily.

Pros
  • The shelter holds up even in negative temperatures and up to 30mph winds. Keeps you warm and comfortable
  • Customers say the setup is very easy you can have it popped up in a couple of minutes and break down just as quickly
  • The shelter can fit even 4 people on small stools or 3 people in larger folding chairs
  • The carry bag is great for hauling it out on the ice, makes it easy and convenient
  • Customers all say it is made from high-quality materials that really hold up in the conditions
Cons
  • There might be issues with the zippers getting stuck or breaking
  • Customers say it can be difficult to get the shelter to fit inside of the carry bag
  • Carry bag isn’t great quality and may rip

Nordic Legend Portable Ice Fishing Shelter

If you’re looking for a large, portable ice fishing shelter, then this one is worth your time to stop and look. This Nordic Legend can come in a range of sizes, none of which are small. They can fit 4 to 9 people inside. So, if you’ll be taking the family or going out with some friends, this is a great option to keep everyone together and out of the frigid conditions.

This ice-fishing shanty boasts some great quality of life features that will keep you comfortable and warm. Not only does it offer a huge amount of fishing space (as far as ice shanties go) so everyone can be jigging while sitting inside, but it also offers durable and reliable materials. This ice tent will stay secure even in high winds thanks to the 12 heavy-duty ice anchors that will keep it in place and are further reinforced by heavy-duty tie-downs. No matter what it won’t get blown away.

There are 2 air vents inside that help you manage ventilation, and the 6 frigostabile PVC windows will give you quality visibility for looking outside to check on your tip-ups. And the full Thermal Tech skin works to keep the shelter warm by keeping the light out and retaining heat. What more could you ask from a portable fish house?

Well, the inside conveniences are always a plus so a few more things to add would be the fact that this shanty sports 2 large diamond-shaped doors that you can easily enter and exit from. There is extra storage for your fishing equipment like the 4 piece fishing rod pockets that you can keep your jigging rods in even if you go outside. When it comes to interior fishing space you can’t beat the Nordic Legend.

Pros
  • Customers love how roomy it is and how well built this shelter is. It offers true quality
  • The 2 large doors are great because you don’t have to struggle to get in or out
  • The shelter retains heat very well
  • It is very sturdy and does well in windy conditions as well as frigid temperatures. A perfect ice fishing shelter for ice anglers
  • The setup and takedown are extremely easy
Cons
  • A couple of customers have received it with holes in the fabric or damage where the anchors go through and secure
  • After a few uses, you may start noticing one of the walls will begin to let in more pinholes of light like the fabric is wearing

THUNDERBAY Pop-Up Portable Ice Fishing Shelter

Many ice anglers will find that having a large amount of fishable space inside their portable shelter is the best thing for them. Especially those who prefer to be jigging while ice fishing rather than using tip-ups. It is a lot nicer when you can sit inside a well-protected shelter, out of the wind, staying warm, and still catching fish. This is one of the best hub shelters to do just that!

Designed with reliable and durable 300D polyester Blackout fabric, this ice shelter blocks natural light and retains as much heat as possible. This material is also excellent at blocking wind which is why just about all of the ice fishing shelters on this list are made from it. To further protect you from the wind, your ice shelter is secured by 12 heavy-duty ice anchors and reinforced tie-downs. The extra-strength fiberglass poles also add to the overall strength and durability of the structure itself.

Also features 6 hook and loop vinyl windows for you to be able to see outside and check for a sprung flag on your tip-ups, as well as 2 ceiling air vents that maximize ventilation. The two doors are large and made with durable heavy-duty zippers so you can climb in and out with ease.

All ice shelters need to have some kind of portability to them and this one has the same features as all the others listed above. It comes with a large bag you can carry on your back. However, it is far more common for ice anglers to haul their shanties in an ice fishing sled as well since that is just more convenient.

Pros
  • Entrance zippers are reliable and don’t get stuck
  • The anchors make it extra sturdy and able to withstand strong winds of 25mph
  • Customers are surprised by how well it retains heat even though the material is not insulated. Even in single-digit temperature, if you have just a small heater, it is more than enough to keep you nice and toasty
  • It is huge and offers enough space for 5 to 6 people to fit inside
  • Customers all claim that is a well-made product constructed with quality materials
Cons
  • Durability isn’t great, a few customers have had to patch the fabric several times over a short period of using it
  • A customer claimed that the material stretches and breaks easily

THUNDERBAY Wide House for Ice Fishing Series

A 3 to 4 person ice fishing shelter like this Thunderbay ice cube is oftentimes just the right size for most ice fishermen. It may not be the largest ice fishing shanty but it still boasts an impressive amount of fishable area. More than 36 square feet to be exact!

One of the main features that this one includes is the pop-up design that allows you to have it set up within a minute or less. The take-down is just as quick and easy as well. Always make sure to test it out first at home, though so you don’t have any mishaps out on the ice!

The extremely durable and popular choice of fabric is 300 denier polyester which is efficient at blocking the wind. That’s the biggest thing when you’re out on the ice: the wind always blows and the extreme cold can cut right through all your layers. So, having a shelter that is completely windproof can make a huge difference.

No matter what this ice fishing shelter will stay secure with its 6 heavy-duty ice anchors and reinforced tie-down straps. Once locked in place it can withstand strong winds of 20-30mph. The frame is built durable and tough to withstand these conditions with its solid fiberglass poles and die-cast hubs. It was made to be dependable and last you for several seasons.

Pros
  • Customers say the size is quite perfect for most and love how easy it is to set it up
  • It is exceptionally windproof and can easily keep you warm with a little propane heater
  • It is a great budget ice hut that works excellently and is built sturdy
  • Customers like how you can control the outside light thanks to the removable windows
Cons
  • Advertisement for size may be exaggerated and inaccurate, meaning it may be smaller than you expect
  • A couple of customers received the product damaged

Our Top Choice

The best ice shanty on this list that stood out the most would have to be the Eskimo Quickfish. Eskimo is just an incredibly well-known and high-quality brand that provides some of the best ice fishing gear you can get. Now, it’s not just because of its overwhelming popularity, all the other ice fishing shelters on our list are phenomenal, people love them for a reason which is why they are in our top five. But Eskimo has delivered quality time and again, along with features that appeal to the serious ice fisherman.

It is a classic hub shelter that you can pop up in as little as a minute and when you’re ready to go it breaks down just as simply and easily. It is made of the same 300 Denier polyester fabric as the other ice fishing tents on the list above, however, the Eskimo offers a 59 percent higher thread count. This means the fabric has a tighter weave than most, and that makes it completely wind and watertight to the max! Even without insulated quilted fabric, it retains heat just as well as an ice shelter with insulation does.

There is also appropriate ventilation as you can easily adjust it thanks to the 4 detachable hook and loop windows. They are also great so if you’re inside jigging and have tip-ups outside, you can look out the windows to check if any of them have flagged up.

The Eskimo Quickfish may not be the largest of the portable ice fishing shelters on our list, but it can still comfortably fit 2 to 3 people. The quality and perks of its various quality of life features make it the best ice fishing shelter on the list.

How To Choose The Best Ice Fishing Shelter: Buying Guide

How did we put together the list above and find the best ice fishing shelters possible? We’ll tell you! Just like with anything that you are considering purchasing, you need to do research. Each and every pop-up ice fishing shanty is different, and each one has a few different features than others.

Depending on the kind of fishing you prefer, how many people you are typically ice fishing with, and the conditions all factor into what kind of ice shelter may be the best for you.

So, let’s get to it!

Space

Having enough room in your ice fishing shelter plays a pretty big role in making your decision. You may be bringing your family or friends out with you and it is just easier and more fun when everyone can fit in the shanty together. All ice shelters come in varying sizes because they keep this in mind. Just like a camping tent, you can find a wide variety of fishing shanties that are for a single person, two-person, and even ranging from 4 to 9 people.

The amount of floor space can vary as well but is usually a decently large fishable area that fits multiple ice-holes for you to jig. So, depending on who normally goes ice fishing with you, you should choose the size and space of your ice fishing shelter accordingly.

Portability

Being able to transport your ice shelter is another important factor. They can be a little bulky even when stuffed into their carry sacks. Most of the included carry packs for your ice shelter will have straps so you can carry them on your back if need be. However, you’ll soon realize that this is not the most efficient way to transport your fishing shelter out onto the ice. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon that the carry bags are made of a cheaper quality and can be susceptible to ripping.

To avoid all of these issues and from weighing yourself down with actually carrying the ice fishing shanty, you can simply use an ice sled. This is what most ice fishermen do, and is the most efficient way to haul it out on the ice. You should have an ice fishing sled regardless because it is the best way to carry all of your fishing equipment.

Insulation

The whole point of having an ice shelter is so you can stay protected and warm from the freezing winter conditions. So, it goes without saying that you should have an ice shelter that provides you with such protection. Each ice fishing shanty has a different way of going about insulation. Some have a thermal coating or fabric on the walls or insulated quilted fabric.

Heat retention is important in freezing temperatures which is why all are built with this in mind. Even ice shelters that don’t have insulation are still made in such a way that they retain heat. The thick denier polyester fabric is made to be totally windproof and water-tight. As we’ve stated before, blocking the wind makes all the difference.

Combining an insulated or heat retaining ice shelter with a small propane or buddy heater will be all you need to stay warm. This way you can stay out catching fish all day long!

Be sure to also check out our guide on how to insulate a tent for winter camping!

Key Insights & Takeaways

When it comes to choosing the right ice fishing shelter, you need to research properly. This is essentially your most important piece of gear and something that will keep you safe from dangerous winter conditions. You always want to be prepared when dealing with any kind of winter conditions because hypothermia is a dangerous thing that can begin to set in without your knowledge. Having a shelter that can keep you out of negative temperature wind gusts, and damp conditions is a huge plus.

Besides, an ice shanty will just make it far more comfortable for you to be out there all day long. It is something that should be able to last you several seasons of heavy ice fishing and use so making sure your find one that is made with quality durability and reliability is vital.

Always test it out first before actually bringing it out on the hard water so you can make sure everything functions as it should. That and so you can get some practice with setting it up and breaking it down. Even though all the ice fishing shelters on our list are pop-ups that can be set up in a matter of seconds or a few minutes, you still want to make sure you got it down so you aren’t struggling when you should be fishing.

Don’t be stuck inside this winter, get out and do some ice fishing!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best ice hut?

The Eskimo Quickfish on our reviewed list above is our top pick. When it comes to top-tier ice fishing shelters, Eskimo knows how to provide. They are a brand that specializes in ice fishing gear and deliver shanties that will last, and easily withstand the elements. This is an ice hut that is great for 2 to 3 people, but if you want something significantly larger then the Nordic Legend would be an excellent choice.

The Nordic has a capacity ranging from 4 to 9 people. It has a large square footage of fishing space so you can fit your whole family or a group of friends in comfortably. You’ll be able to fit several fishing holes inside as well. Depending on the usual company that may or may not join you on your ice fishing excursions, should determine what kind and size of ice shelter you need.

What do you call an ice fishing house?

There are many names for the kind of shelters that ice anglers use. You’ll often find anglers calling them shanties or an ice fishing shanty. They can be simply known as ice fishing shelters, ice huts, or hub shelters. They are simply an ice fishing version of a camping tent.

They’re designed for winter conditions and have features inside that allow you to have ice holes drilled inside so you can fish in your shelter, special storage pockets for your fishing gear, and adjustable windows that let you see outside to check your tip-ups or shut the light out keep the heat in.

Why are ice fishing shelters black on the inside?

It’s all about heat retention! Black is notoriously known for retaining and absorbing heat which is why the walls inside are usually black. If you let in too much light or have lighter walls the heat won’t hold inside as well, and bright colors reflect the sun’s rays rather than absorb them. This way you’ll be comfy and cozy while reeling in fish!

When to go with a non-insulated ice fishing shelter?

It depends on the weather and your own personal preference if you want an insulated ice fishing shelter. If you’re someone that will be ice fishing in the fairer weather of winter, like those sunny, above freezing kind of days, then you’ll be just fine without an insulated shelter. Also, if you don’t want to spend extra on the insulated shanties, and save a little money then that is just fine.

As discussed in the article above, the shanties that didn’t have insulated walls still retained heat just as well as the ones that were insulated. It’s all about the material and the quality of construction. No matter what, an ice shelter is designed to keep you protected from the elements, so they will always do just that.

Also, since most people will be using some sort of heater in their shelter as well, then the insulation isn’t as big of an issue.

What is the ideal shelter depending on the number of people?

If you are usually fishing by yourself or with one or two other people, then a two-three person shelter is great. It will be roomy when you are by yourself so you can keep more of your gear inside with you, and it will still be comfortable when having a little extra company.

For those that like to be fishing with friends or it is a family activity, then a larger ice fishing shelter will be much better. You can find shelters that can fit as many as 6 to 9 people, and that might be just what you need. Even if you have 4 or 5 others joining you then a larger ice fishing shelter like that will be perfect.

You’ll all have room to sit on your stools and jig while inside, and it won’t feel cramped at all. It is nice sometimes having company while you’re out on the ice!

I was fishing before I could walk and it's been a family tradition for centuries. Fishing is my life, or at least as long as I can remember. In the Lake Champlain International Fathers Day Fishing Derby, not only have I won first place twice but also third place! Also, in addition to majoring in Wilderness Recreation Leadership, I also happen to be a licensed camping, hiking, and hunting guide for NY.