The Best Ice Fishing Shelter of 2021: Top 5 Tested & Reviewed

Kenneth ReavesEdited by: Kenneth Reaves
Michael DarmontReviewed by: Michael Darmont

Last Update:

The Rundown

Best Overall: Eskimo QuickFish Ice Shelter (click to view)
“The QuickFish series comes in various sizes and insulation levels. It features an easy-to-carry bag and a 60-second setup time, checking all the boxes as a portable ice shelter for nearly any situation.”

Best Premium Option: Frabill HQ Series Ice Shelter (click to view)
“The Frabill HQ has a streamlined design that makes it easy to carry around the ice so you can stay on top of fish. An ideal choice for anglers to set up base camps and fish around or inside the shelter.”

Best Budget Option: Thunderbay Ice Cube Instant Shelter (click to view)
“The Ice Cube has a highly durable outer shell that should last quite a few seasons. An ideal option for anglers looking for a shelter they can rely on for one or two people on a budget.”

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To be comfortable when ice fishing, you’ll need shelter. With all the portable shelter options on the market, there’s no need to put a full shack or cabin up and be stuck to one spot. 

An ideal portable ice shelter is easy to transport, quick to set up, and lightweight. They also have strategically placed windows to let out moisture, and many have some sort of insulation to hold in the warmth from a portable heater. You also need plenty of space to fish, for anyone fishing with you, and all the gear and accessories you need with you. 

With all the options available, it can be hard to pinpoint which shelter is the best choice for you. So we’ve put this list together to make it easy to identify the shelter that best suits your needs so that you can make an informed buying decision before your next ice fishing trip.

Sources researched
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Sources researched
Customer reviews
11,522
Customer reviews
Hours spent testing
13
Hours spent testing
Products tested
5
Products tested

What Is The Best Portable Ice Fishing Shelter?

Top 5 Ice Fishing Tents

Best Overall

Eskimo Quickfish 69151 2 Pop-up Portable Ice Shelter, 2 Person , Red

Eskimo QuickFish Ice Shelter

60-second set-up

Comes fully assembled and ready to fish

Best Premium

Frabill HQ 200 Hub 2-3 Man Shelter, Multicolor, One Size, 641100

Frabill HQ Series Ice Shelter

Lightweight at 23 pounds

Perfect for a mobile base camp

Best Budget

THUNDERBAY Ice Cube Two Man Instant Shelter

Thunderbay Ice Cube

Pull handles on all shelter sides

Blackout coating to keep light out

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Warmest Shelter

CLAM 14469 X-400 Portable 4 to 6 Person 8 Foot Pop Up Ice Fishing Angler Thermal Hub Shelter Tent with Anchors, Tie Ropes, and Carrying Bag

Clam X400 Thermal Hub

90 grams insulation per meter on the shell

900 denier fabric shell

Best For Large Groups

Popsport 2 3 4 8 Person Ice Fishing Shelter Tent 300d Oxford Fabric Portable Ice Shelter Strong Waterproof Ice Fish Shelter for Outdoor Fishing (Orange)

Popsport Ice Fishing Tent

Huge space folds into a carryable duffel

Double-layer windows to allow light but not air in

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Best Ice Fishing Shelters Reviewed

  1. Best Overall: Eskimo QuickFish Ice Shelter
  2. Best Premium: Frabill HQ Series Ice Shelter
  3. Best Budget: Thunderbay Ice Cube Instant Shelter
  4. Warmest Ice Shelter: Clam X400 Thermal Hub
  5. Best For Large Groups: Popsport 8 Person Ice Tent

Eskimo QuickFish Ice Shelter

Best Overall Ice Fishing Shelter: The originator of the pop-up ice shelter.

Eskimo Quickfish 69151 2 Pop-up Portable Ice Shelter, 2 Person , Red
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KEY FEATURES

  • 60-second set-up
  • Multiple models with/without insulation and different sizes
  • Comes fully assembled and ready to fish

Eskimo is one of the premier ice fishing shelter brands and the originator of the pop-up ice shelter. The QuickFish series comes in various sizes and insulation levels, meaning there’s typically a model to fit any fisherman’s needs. With an easy-to-carry bag and a 60-second setup time, the Quickfish checks all the boxes as a portable ice shelter for nearly any situation.

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Ice Shelter Features

The shelter comes fully assembled in a carrying bag, either a back bag or a duffel. Once removed from the bag, the shelter only takes around 60 seconds to pop up and anchor down. It’s got zippers designed for cold weather, extra high thread count fabrics to combat the wind, and removable and replaceable windows to let you customize how tightly secured the shelter is.

Models range from a two-person tent to a six-person tent and come in both insulated and uninsulated variants. All hubs and poles are solid metal for extra strength and durability, and the ice skirt has grommets to place anchors through, so there isn’t any guesswork involved.

Frabill HQ Series Ice Shelter

Best Premium Ice Fishing Shelter: The perfect hub for groups and a warm shelter for individual anglers.

Frabill HQ 200 Hub 2-3 Man Shelter, Multicolor, One Size, 641100
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KEY FEATURES

  • Lightweight at 23 pounds
  • 300 denier polyester fabrics
  • Perfect for a mobile base camp

The Frabill HQ line is an excellent choice for anglers to set up base camps and fish around or inside the shelter. The streamlined design makes it easy to carry around the ice so you can stay on top of fish. Overall it’s a great choice that gives groups of anglers a spot to warm up, or single and duo anglers a comfortable place to fish from.

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Ice Shelter Features

Plenty of ventilation on the shelter makes it great for warmer conditions and high humidities. The entire setup is lightweight, easy to carry, and quick to set up. It works best as a hub for a group of anglers or a shelter for one or two. 

The polyester walls are watertight and will stand up to the snow and wind you’ll find yourself in. It also holds warm air well without the need for extra insulation on the walls or roof.

Thunderbay Ice Cube Two Man Instant Shelter

Best Budget Ice Fishing Shelter: Long-lasting, heavy-duty ice shelter that comes in at a reasonable price.

THUNDERBAY Ice Cube Two Man Instant Shelter
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KEY FEATURES

  • Pull handles on all shelter sides
  • Blackout coating to keep light out
  • Easy to replace connection points

What the Ice Cube might lack in size, it makes up for in comfort and durability. The highly durable outer shell should last quite a few seasons and keep you well protected for a long time. This is an excellent option for anglers looking for a shelter they can rely on for one or two people on a budget.

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Ice Shelter Features

The Ice Cube is made from durable 300 denier fabrics, with a blackout coating to keep light out if you don’t want it in. It has pull handles on each side to make it easy to pull out and get set up. The shelter’s windows are easily adjusted so that you can get the right amount of ventilation as well.

The Ice Cube is the perfect size for a solo angler that wants an extra room to move around or store gear, but it can comfortably fit two anglers inside. A heavy-duty skirt makes it easy to anchor, and a little bit of snow piled up keeps the wind from sneaking in through the bottom.

Clam X400 Thermal Hub Ice Shelter

Warmest Ice Fishing Shelter: One of the warmest shelters available with ample room for four or more anglers.

CLAM 14469 X-400 Portable 4 to 6 Person 8 Foot Pop Up Ice Fishing Angler Thermal Hub Shelter Tent with Anchors, Tie Ropes, and Carrying Bag
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KEY FEATURES

  • 90 grams insulation per meter on the shell
  • 900 denier fabric shell
  • 8 feet length, 8 feet width, 6.8 feet height

The Clam ice shelters were made by ice fishermen for ice anglers. The ice fishing shelters are incredibly simple to set up and one of the best-insulated ones you can find. It’s the perfect ice shelter for small groups of anglers and can function as a warming hub for larger groups as well.

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Ice Shelter Features

Full Thermal technology and 90 grams of insulation per meter make the Clam series one of the warmest ice fishing shelters you can find. Its suitcase design makes setup and takes down really simple. The shell also has an incredibly high thread count, making it excellent in windy conditions and adding an insulating thickness to the shell itself.

The X400 fits four anglers fairly comfortably, but the design comes in sizes both larger and smaller. Weighing in at 47 pounds, you’re better off dragging this one onto the ice with a sled instead of carrying it yourself. However, the warmth and roomy interior is an excellent tradeoff for the extra weight.

Popsport 8 Person Ice Fishing Tent

Best Ice Fishing Shelter For Large Groups: Huge roomy tents for large groups of anglers to fish in without bumping elbows.

Popsport 2 3 4 8 Person Ice Fishing Shelter Tent 300d Oxford Fabric Portable Ice Shelter Strong Waterproof Ice Fish Shelter for Outdoor Fishing (Orange)
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KEY FEATURES

  • Waterproof and frost resistant to minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Huge space folds into a carryable duffel
  • Double-layer windows to allow light but not air in

When you have a large group, you need a big shelter. Thanks to Popsport, you can shelter up to 8 anglers and give them room to fish inside with a tent that folds up into a carryable duffel bag. This tent is the best choice for anglers who want a ton of fishing and living space or need to house larger groups on their trip.

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Ice Shelter Features

The shelter shell is made from oxford 300d fabric with a silk floss middle layer that helps resist cold, wind, rain, and snow. Easy setup means it takes around a minute to be ready to fish on smaller models, and pull handles on the exterior make it easier to space out evenly. 

The main attraction of the shelter is its huge size. At around 12 feet in length and 6 feet wide, you can get plenty of anglers inside and give them room to fish. The windows are double-layered, so you can use them as ventilation or seal the air inside while still letting in light.

How To Choose The Best Ice Fishing Shelter

Flip-Over vs. Hub

Flip-over shelters are typically one or two-person ice fishing shelters designed to pop over and flip up in a single motion. They’re usually incredibly lightweight and easy to set up and takedown. They’re an ideal choice for anglers who plan on moving around constantly in search of fish because of how quickly they can be set up and taken down.

Hub shelters are tent-style ice fishing shelters that can accommodate between 2 and 8 anglers, at the cost that they also take longer to set up and takedown. They tend to be more sturdy, but they can blow in the wind if not tied down properly. They offer much more space than flip-over shelters, but that space comes at the cost of taking longer to heat up.

Room

The space inside the shelter is essential. You need enough to allow you and anyone else you’re fishing with the ability to fish at least two holes. You also need to be able to take all your gear inside with you. Try to go for a shelter that claims to hold one more person than you plan to fish with for extra space without making it take forever to warm up. 

Protection from the Elements

The entire point of an ice shelter is to protect you from the elements. Wind, snow, and light rain can all chill you or ruin a trip. A shelter should be watertight and cut through the wind to keep you from freezing inside. Insulation or not, the internal temperature of the shelter will be warmer thanks to trapping the air inside.

Portability

The easier it is to carry, the easier it is to move around. A portable shelter lets you set up wherever you want easily and change spots easily as well. You also wish the shelter to be simple to take down and set up since this saves valuable fishing time and limits exposure to the elements. 

Durability

Durable materials are essential for something that’s meant to protect you. The main things you should be checking for are a strong outer layer with high thread count, heavy-duty zippers that won’t stick in the cold, and a sturdy base you can stack snow on to keep the wind out.

Questions & Answers

What is the warmest ice fishing shelter?

The warmest shelter overall we could find was the Clam X400. The superb double-layered insulation can give you a warm and toasty area to fish from and will keep the wind off of you with a bit of snow banking. 

If you want a pure tent, the Popsport does an outstanding job insulating with oxford fabric and an internal silk floss layer. With a heater, it should do an excellent job of keeping you warm even in colder conditions. 
Remember to research how to be safe ice fishing before you go out for beginners.

What’s the biggest ice fishing shelter?

The biggest tent we found was the Popsport. Portable ice fishing shelters typically range in sizes from a solo angler up to 8 anglers. When looking at sizes, aim for having a shelter one or two anglers larger than you plan on fishing if you want an extra room or want to bring a lot of equipment like ice augers and fishing gear.

Are ice fishing shelters insulated?

Not all shelters have extra insulation. The shelter itself will trap air and keep the wind off of you, and that makes a huge difference in the cold. You can get ice fishing shelters with additional insulation in the walls, though, and they hold a lot more heat inside. For example, the QuickFish line has an insulated and not insulated version for most of their models. For colder conditions, insulated shelters are the better option for ice fishing.

How long does an ice fishing shelter last?

You should expect an ice fishing shelter to last you at least a couple of years. However, accidents, critters in your storage, and heavy use can all shorten the lifespan of an ice shelter. All of the ones we included in our list should last you for years and keep you warm through plenty of seasons of ice fishing.