The 5 Best Ice Fishing Sleds For Smooth Gear Hauling & Guide

by Julie | Last Updated:   April 11th, 2022
The 5 Best Ice Fishing Sleds For Smooth Gear Hauling & Guide


If you plan to be hitting the ice this winter and catching some fish, then you’re gonna want something that is going to make your ice fishing trips much easier. There can be a lot of gear for you to haul out on the ice, some of it is quite large and cumbersome. So what would make your trek out to your favorite ice fishing hole a lot smoother? An ice fishing sled of course! Having a sled can be a game-changer. Don’t underestimate its’ convenience.

You will see a lot of ice fishermen drag out their own sleds. It’s just nicer when you’re able to put your ice auger, bait buckets, seat, all your tip-ups and jigging poles, and just everything you need into one sled to tow across the ice. It’s better too if you have a four-wheeler or snowmachine where you can tow your ice fishing sled out there too.

Regardless, this is a rather essential piece of your fishing gear that will make your life easier in the long run. In this article, we will go over some of the best ice fishing sleds that we have found, give you our top pick, and give you the information you need on how to pick out the best ice fishing sleds for you.

So, let’s get to it so you can be prepared for this upcoming season of ice fishing!

IN A HURRY? HERE ARE OUR TOP PICKS…

Reviewing The 5 Best Ice Fishing Sleds

Shappell JSX Jet Sled, Extra Large

Ice fishing sleds are simple, they have a singular purpose and they are made to do it well. Shappell knows this and makes their sleds simple, but maximizes durability and reliability.

This is an extra-large sled so that it will fit your whole gear load with no problem and the specially contoured hull will ensure that you can tow it all by hand easily. Many ice fishermen know that there is a lot of gear to carry out when you plan to be out there several hours at a time. So, you want a sled that is large enough to carry all of it for you. And you want it to be durable enough to do so for seasons to come.

This sled features molded runners so that it can glide across snow and ice easily. This also ensures you make a nice runway for it on the way back. This also ensures it doesn’t easily get snagged or bogged down in deep snow. So you can plug along to your ice fishing spot without any issues. The Shappell jet sled comes equipped with a pull rope and it has the ability to have a tow bar mounted to it so that you can tow it behind your snow machine or four-wheeler. You have to purchase a tow bar separately.

The rugged polyethylene construction is strong and able to support heavy loads. Best of all: it floats so you can use it at any time and anywhere there is water. It is a good ice fishing sled and kids sled when they may join you out on the ice and become tired of walking or want to have some fun!

Pros
  • Works great and is able to pull large loads easily
  • Not too heavy and the material is thick and durable so you know it will last
  • Perfect size and length to haul a hub style fishing shack
  • It floats easily
Cons
  • A couple of customers have received item without the tow rope or it was lost during shipping
  • May wear a hole in the bottom

Shappell Kodiak 1 Sled

This Shappell ice fishing sled is built with the same supreme quality as the previous, perhaps more so. This is a heavy-duty sled which means the material has been reinforced and made extra thick for added durability and longevity. Following the same simple design that all ice fishing sleds do, it will accomplish all that you need it to and more.

As far as a terrain sport sled goes, this one is a top contender. Made heavier and stronger this sled also features increased height so that it is even more capable in any condition the winter weather will throw at you. The higher sled walls make it so you can fit more in it and have your gear be protected, and it means if you are pulling anyone in the sled that they will be more secure.

Ice anglers aren’t the only ones who will enjoy this sled, but deer and waterfowl hunters, farmers, and many others. This is a utility sled that can do it all whether it is dragging your ice shanty and other fishing equipment, or loading it fully with decoys, firewood, feed, and more. It is sturdy and capable, and it can float!

The molded runners allow this sled to plow through snow and track well on ice and slush no matter how much gear you have it loaded down with. This is one you should consider before your next ice fishing trip!

Pros
  • Customers love this ice sled because of its incredibly versatile capabilities, you can use it to pull anything and everything over all kinds of terrain
  • Definitely, a thick sled that is made deeper and with higher walls that make it super sturdy and able to pull large loads of gear
  • Construction is great and seems like it will hold up for a lifetime
Cons
  • The tow rope was not included or lost

Shappell Jet Sled 1 – ATC

Yet another Shappell jet sled has made it onto our list, though it should really come as no surprise. They have an outstanding reputation for making durable and long-lasting ice fishing sleds. They create a truly quality-driven product that will carry all of your ice fishing gear without issue.

This jet sled is colored in all-terrain camo, who doesn’t like camo? But this is helpful for anyone who has the intention of using it for hunting season because it will be a lot easier to blend it in and hide it than the regular black ice sled. It is just as capable of hauling firewood as it is of hauling deer, decoys, and ice fishing equipment.

The molded runners make it easy to traverse rough terrain and easily plow through snow. It is ideal for any outdoor adventure with the versatility to manage any kind of gear capacity or even kids’ fun.

This is an overall good sled that any ice angler would be happy with, and of course, it is made to float in case of any kind of situation where water is expected or not. Your gear will remain secure and dry, even more so if you decide to get a cover for it as they are not included.

Pros
  • Customers were impressed by the rugged build of this sled as it truly seems capable of traversing all kinds of terrain
  • It is easy to modify the sled however you want to
  • This sled is incredibly sturdy and can haul heavy loads with ease
Cons
  • Issues with shipping: the sled does not come in a box and is usually covered with the shipping labels
  • Does not come with a tow rope included

Flexible Flyer Winter Trek Large Pull Sled

Flexible Flyer has ice sleds that are made for work and pleasure. They’ll tow your workload and they can go bombing down some sledding hills for an awesome kids sled. It offers the best of both worlds which makes for versatility.

This sled is made tough and durable, more so than it looks. The no-break resin reinforced sidewalls and outer lip of this ice sled add to its’ stability and sturdiness. It is family size and can fit multiple people or multiple kids. It also features molded hand grips for such occasions when you are going sledding or towing the kids around.

At five and a half feet long it is able to fit most of your ice fishing gear as well so that you can easily haul it across the ice in cold weather. The molded bottom grooves improve its tracking ability over snow and ice so you can easily pull it by hand.

This is a multi-use ice fishing sled, so you can use it for actual sledding, pulling gear, hauling wood, or deer, and more. It is surprisingly versatile and rugged, which is exactly what you want in a good sled.

Pros
  • Customers say it is thick and durable and the no-break resin is truly unbreakable
  • It is sturdy and great for hauling firewood and other heavy gear
  • Is great over different terrains
  • It’s an awesome and fast sled for downhill sledding with the kids too
Cons
  • Not so great steering when sledding when going downhill, you have no control
  • The short sides don’t allow for you to carry a lot of gear
  • A couple of customers say they received the sled damaged

Pelican – Multi-Purpose Utility Sled

Now, this Pelican is a utility sled that you can use for almost anything and everything. Its tough polyethylene construction is durable and reliable so that it can haul all your ice fishing equipment even in harsh winter conditions.

No matter what fishing style you prefer, whether it’s the use of tip-ups or jigging, you need a sled to get all of your gear to your fishing spot. This one will do just that. The molded tracking rails can easily traverse various terrains including hard water, snow, or sand. It is also built with pre-molded high-density polyethylene runners that help this ice sled to track extremely well and add to its longevity.

If you want to secure some of your equipment when hauling then this sled also features indentations that will hold a bungee cord in place. This way you can strap down some gear that you don’t want to move around too much or accidentally fall out. This is something most ice anglers would like because oftentimes you will have a bucket of live bait included in your sled, so having a way to prevent the bucket from getting too rattled and securing it is a nice feature.

Another neat feature that this ice fishing sled offers is that if you take two of these sleds you can actually put them together, so one acts as a sled cover. This is great because it offers an enclosed and protected way to haul your gear. And if needed you’ll have a second sled there are at the ready!

Pros
  • Tracks great in the snow which makes it really easy to pull even when loaded up with firewood or ice fishing gear
  • Customers love how durable this sled is
  • Stays upright and is very sturdy
  • Made with quality materials and works just as you need it to
Cons
  • Mounted runners might be crooked and off-center
  • A couple of customers have received it already damaged or it breaks immediately after use
  • Plastic isn’t as thick as would be expected

Our Top Choice

The best ice fishing sled that stood out more than the rest on our list would have to be the Pelican multi-use utility sled. This Trek 45 covered all of the bases of what you need and what you should be looking for in an ice fishing sled. You want versatility, and while yes most sleds offer that, this one stood out because it just had a few more desirable features that the others lacked.

Like most ice fishing sleds, this one floats which is just a great feature in general because you never know what conditions you may suddenly face. Besides it also means that you can use this sled for waterfowl hunting so you can haul your decoys.

The included tow rope is a plus and it’s expected, but actually being able to pull this sled with ease by hand is a great draw. This sled, in particular, can hold up to 130 pounds of equipment, firewood, or deer, so having it confirmed that, no matter what, this sled will track well over any terrain and still be easy to pull without a motorized vehicle is great to know. Customers have raved about how much gear they can tow in it and still have it be so much easier than what they had to do before.

It is one of the best sleds because you can have fun with it too and take your kids sledding in it as well as use it for work. It is made deeper and taller with highly durable polyethylene material and molded runners on the bottom so you can feel safe even having your younger kids in it with you.

The actual ice sled size is great and will fit just about everything that you will need to reach your fishing spot. If you happen to get or have two of these sleds you can actually put them together as well so you have one sled with a cover that will protect all of your gear. This is a neat thing because not only is it an additional enclosed space, but it also means if you need two sleds then you can just take them apart.

The last thing that makes this one the best ice fishing sled is the added security option. There are integrated indentations that allow you to anchor bungee cords so you can secure your gear. If you are searching for a new sled then this one may just be the one for you! It’s at the top of our list for sure!

How to Choose The Best Ice Fishing Sled For You: Buying Guide

When in the market for a new sled, it’s important to have a good idea of the things you want it to be able to accomplish and the standard of quality you want. We are here to tell you the kinds of factors that we considered for each and every ice fishing sled on our list. That way you’ll know what to look for so you can choose the best sled for yourself.

Durability

This is perhaps the most important thing that your ice fishing sled should have. After all, you will be taking it out in harsh conditions and terrain. You will also be hauling all kinds of gear whether it is for ice fishing, hunting, hauling firewood, or using it for fun and going sledding. This means your sled will be susceptible to a lot of wear and tear, so ensuring it is made from durable, rugged, and strong material is the key to ensuring its longevity and durability.

All the sleds on our list are made from polyethylene which is a highly durable material. Every sled is made a little different though, some are made heavy-duty and with extra thickness, or reinforcement in the rails and the sidewalls. This way they can handle whatever you use them for.

It is important to read the specifications so that you can see the kind of material the sled is made of and how well it’d be able to handle the tasks you want it for. Reading the reviews as well will give you a good idea of how well it can do those tasks and remain in good condition.

Capacity/Size

Ice fishing sleds come in all shapes and sizes, so finding the right sized sled is important to fit all of your equipment. Most ice fishing sleds are actually large enough to sit at least one adult if not two, or a few children. That’s pretty big and that is exactly what you need for ice fishing. Ice anglers have larger gear that they need to haul out to their fishing spots, so having the right ice fishing sled size is important.

Not only will you be hauling out your tip-ups, jigging rods, bait buckets, and seats, you’ll be needing to drag out your ice auger and pop up shelter (if you’re using one). Ice augers can be pretty large and long. Especially if it is an electric ice auger. So, you’ll be wanting a sled that will be able to fit it in amongst your other supplies. If you are worried about size then you can look specifically for a terrain sport sled that is extra large in size.

There is an extra-large Shappell jet ice fishing sled on our list above for just such reasons. If you need more carrying capacity, then going a step bigger may be for you. Again, always read the specifications so that you know the size and how much gear you should be able to fit in it for your next fishing trip.

Weight

Weight is another factor to consider because you don’t want to struggle to take your sled out or when you’re putting it in the truck. Fortunately, most ice fishing sleds are made relatively light so you shouldn’t have much of an issue. You don’t want to have too much additional weight when you’re actually pulling it when it’s loaded down.

Also, the design helps to distribute weight appropriately, especially when loaded so that it won’t be heavier in the front or back. Making sure it is all even will allow for it to be much easier when pulling the tow rope by hand, and will ensure that its weight is evenly distributed on the surface of the snow and ice as well.

Floatation

Many, if not all, ice fishing sleds float. This is an important feature to take note of because you never know what could happen when you’re out on the ice. Besides, there are many waterfowl hunters who would also find great use in sleds like these. If it floats then you know you can put on a pair of waders and tow the sled behind you full of decoys, guns, and other gear without everything getting soaking wet. It is much easier than weighing down your person, and it’ll be much safer too in case you fall.

So, why would floatation be important when you’re ice fishing? Well, sometimes there is a layer of water on the surface of the ice that could easily soak into all of your gear, and freeze everything up. Then that would make it difficult to handle. Having a sled makes this so much easier because it will travel fine over the water and ice and keep the interior dry.

In the instance that the ice breaks and your sled falls through, you’ll be reassured that it floats and you should have time to get it and all of your gear out. Or, if you fall through the ice, then you may be able to use this sled to help hall you up since it will have buoyancy that you can use as leverage.

Fishing Frequency

This may go hand and hand with durability, but this is still a factor to be considered separately. Are you going to go out ice fishing a lot, or only a couple of times a season, and in the meantime you’ll use the sled for other utility purposes. If you’ll only be using it a few times on the ice and would like to use it as a kids sled and utility then the kind of sled or design will matter.

In this case, you may benefit more from purchasing a sled like the Flexible Flyer Winter Trek that we have on the list above. They’re not only great kids sleds but can also function as a work sled too. If you’re someone who doesn’t go ice fishing as much or is slowing down for the years to come, then this might be a better sled, especially when spending more time with kids and family.

If you’re someone that intends to be out on the ice frequently then getting a sturdier, deeper sled is better. Any of the Shappell sleds or the Pelican sleds are phenomenal for that. They are extremely sturdy and made with high sidewalls so you can stack them full of all of your equipment.

So, consider how much you intend to use the sled for ice fishing trips and other kinds of utility work, and make your decision based on that.

Final Thoughts: What Makes A Sled Great for Ice Fishing?

Ice anglers have a lot of gear usually too much to carry out by hand, and the ice isn’t always thick enough to drive your truck out to your fishing spot to drop everything off. Besides, the spot you intend to fish may be a fair trek out so multiple trips may be out of the question.

So, how do you make it easier to lug all your gear out there without having to make multiple trips?

By using an ice fishing sled!

They are designed for this kind of work. They track well over ice and snow, they evenly distribute the weight of all your gear so you won’t struggle to pull it by hand. They also can be modified and added to for your convenience. You can get a sled cover to protect your stuff or tow bars that will let you pull it by a four-wheeler or snow machine.

Overall, having an ice sled will make your fishing trip much easier.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I pull an ice fishing sled?

You can pull an ice fishing sled in various ways. No matter how you choose will be the easiest way, you can do it. You can purchase a tow bar that you can use to tow it via a motorized vehicle. This means you can have an attachment to haul the sled easier by using a snow machine or a four-wheeler.

Though, what you will see many ice anglers do too is to just pull it the good old-fashioned way. By hand! Ice sleds are made to be easy for you to tow yourself by hand, so you don’t have to worry. You can pull it whichever way you want.

Do ice fishing sleds float?

Yes, most if not all ice fishing sleds will float. This is because they are usually made from plastic or polyethylene which is a buoyant material. These sleds are not only used for ice fishing so it’s important that they are made to handle all types of environments and terrain. Make sure to read the product descriptions, specifications, and reviews because they will all let you know if the sled you are looking at will float.

Why do you need an ice fishing sled?

So, not everyone will need it, that’s true. There are ice fishermen who prefer the minimalist way of doing things which means going out and finding an already open ice fishing hole and just having their bait bucket, jigging pole, and seat. Those folks usually know a thing or two about the area they are fishing so they know they can get away with doing this because they’ll be catching fish and be done in a short period of time.

However, you’ll find far more ice anglers like to stay out on the ice for several hours at a time, and to do so means they need the proper equipment to not only fish but stay warm. There is a lot of gear you will need to haul out there and some of it is too large to even carry by hand. This is why there are ice fishing sleds. By using one you’re making it a lot easier on yourself so you aren’t struggling to get what you need to your spot.

An ice sled will carry all of your equipment and be easy for you to pull by hand. They are made large enough to fit just about everything you’ll need to carry so you can just toss it all in the sled and trek out to your spot far more efficiently.

What makes a sled great for ice fishing?

Their ability to travel well over a variety of surfaces, but especially snow, ice, and slush. This is why they have molded runners on the bottom to help them to do so. They also feature reinforced and tall sidewalls so you can stack gear inside. They are made deep to fit everything and have flat bottoms so you can easily distribute the weight of your gear.

You can pull them by hand or by motor vehicle if you have a tow bar and hitch for a snow machine or four-wheeler. They may also include anchor points for bungee cords that will allow you to further secure your gear inside of the sled. You can get a sled cover as well if there are things you want to keep dry and out of the elements as much as possible on the walkout there or while fishing for several hours.

They are made from rugged and durable polyethylene material so they can last you for many seasons to come, and will hold up through the harsh conditions and utility work you need them for.

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.