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Best Ice Fishing Chairs Reviewed: Hard-Water Comfort for 2021

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Long days on the ice demand good equipment, and from the right bibs and boots, to a reliable heater, to a warm, dry shelter, you need gear that won’t let you down.

And if you’ve spent hours watching a flasher, you know that comfort matters - a lot!

That’s why the right chair can make all the difference, letting you stay put longer on the hard water.

If you’re in the market for an ice fishing chair, we’re here to help. Below, you’ll find reviews of some of our favorites, as well as a buying guide to help you make the best choice for your needs.

Quick glace at the best ice fishing chairs:

Related: Best Ice Fishing Bucket

Best Ice Fishing Chairs Reviewed

Eskimo Plaid XL Folding Ice Fishing Chair

Eskimo 34789 Plaid Folding Ice Fishing Chair

Amazon 

Weight: approximately 5 lbs.

Maximum capacity: more than 200 lbs. (XL)

Eskimo is a well-trusted name in ice fishing, and it’s no surprise that they make a good chair for hard-water anglers.

Light enough to tote by hand or over your shoulder in the included carrying bag, this folding chair (in the XL size) is big enough for larger anglers and strong enough to support pretty much anyone.

Be warned: the smaller standard size is a bit less forgiving in the seat area and not as strong overall. I’d opt for the XL for most men and stick with the standard for the ladies and kids.

Eskimo Plaid XL Folding Ice Fishing Chair carrying bag

Eskimo’s folding ice chair comes with a carrying bag.

Made from durable steel and tough, 600 denier plaid fabric, this chair won’t let you down.

As far as comfort is concerned, this is going to be a subjective call. Folding chairs with triangular seats aren’t known for all-day comfort, though adding a backrest helps immensely on this front. Still, you’ll want to stand and stretch every now and then as this style chair just can’t provide the back support and seat comfort that die-hards need.

Does that make it a bad buy?

Not at all.

At just about five pounds, this is a pretty portable, no-nonsense chair that can easily be tossed into your ice sled or slung over your shoulder. And given that it’s built to last, it’s definitely a product I’d consider for ice fishing.

Pros:

  • Durable and strong
  • Light and portable
  • Comes with a carrying bag with a shoulder strap
  • Reasonably comfortable
  • Comes in two sizes

Cons:

  • Probably not the best design for all-day fishing

Wise Outdoors Super Sport Hunting Seat

Wise Outdoors Super Sport Hunting Seat with Insulated Cooler, Brown/Break-Up Camouflage

Amazon 

Weight: approximately 12 lbs.

Maximum capacity: more than 350 lbs.

Wise Outdoors built this chair for hunting, but it’s perfectly at home in more permanent ice shanties. Personally, I wouldn’t want to lug this chair over the ice by hand, though it comes with an adjustable shoulder strap system. But in a sled, I’m sure you’ll find room, especially if you’re keen on comfort.

Essentially an upgraded ice bucket, the Super Sport provided 1 inch of foam padding beneath a 500 denier Cordura nylon seat. That’s a nice touch, and in combination with the folding backrest, comfort is pretty good, especially in the seat.

Depending on how much you weigh, you may not want to really push yourself into that backrest, though. And for all-day fishing, an inflatable donut or extra pad goes a long way.

The seat swivels 360 degrees - another nice touch - allowing you to work multiple holes, adjust a heater or flasher without getting up, and generally just makes life a bit easier on the ice.

super sport 360 degree swivel

The Super Sport features a 360-degree swivel.

The base is a 10-gallon cooler with a removable tray to separate your lunch or beverages from fish, and it works just as it should.

Overall, this is a good product for hard-water anglers who can leave a chair in their ice shelter or who have the space in a sled.

Pros:

  • Durable and strong
  • Comes with a shoulder strap system
  • Good comfort
  • 360-degree swivel seat
  • 10-gallon cooler with removable tray

Cons:

  • Not very portable over longer distances unless you use a sled

Guide Gear 360º Swivel Hunting Blind Chair

Guide Gear 360º Swivel Hunting Blind Chair, 300 lbs Capacity, Folding, Lightweight, Portable, Padded Cushion Hunting Seat, Hunt Gear and Equipment, Black

Amazon 

Weight: 11.19 lbs.

Maximum capacity: 300 lbs.

Another chair designed for avid hunters that will work just as well for ice anglers, Guide Gear’s hunting blind chair gets high marks for comfort.

Expect lots of padding in the seat - 2 ¼” of foam - and that really starts to make a difference over the course of a long day. The backrest is solid, too, and it doesn’t struggle to stay put when you lean back into it.

Opinions will vary, but heavier or more sensitive anglers may find added cushions are necessary after a few hours in this chair.

As is common with hunting chairs, expect a 360-degree swivel joining between the seat and the legs, allowing easy access to coolers, heaters, or flashers while you fish. That’s a nice touch, and it’s something you’ll quickly come to appreciate on the ice.

Guide Gear 360º Swivel Hunting Blind Chair folded up

Obviously, this hunting blind chair folds, but it doesn’t end up very compact, nor is the carrying strap super comfortable. Personally, I wouldn’t want to carry that chair very far, and it’s much better off in a sled than on your shoulder.

But overall, I’d rate it as more comfortable than the Super Sport, though it lacks the cooler that adds a lot of value.

Pros:

  • Durable and strong
  • Comes with a shoulder strap system
  • Good comfort
  • 360-degree swivel seat

Cons:

  • Not very portable over longer distances unless you use a sled

Frabill Sit-N-Fish

Frabill Sit-N-Fish | Insulated Bait Bucket with Convenient Padded Cushioned Lid for Comfortable Seating Option

Amazon 

Weight: 3 lbs.

Maximum capacity: 250+ lbs.

I doubt there’s an ice angler reading this who isn’t familiar with Frabill’s Sit-N-Fish.

Essentially just a standard - and very useful - bucket, it comes with a padded seat built into the lid. It’s also a taller bucket than usual, creating a seat height that’s more comfortably located for most people.

As it arrives from Frabill, you’ll find a thick styrofoam insert to insulate the interior of the bucket. That reduces its capacity to 6 quarts, and of course, you can remove it if you prefer more storage and don’t need the protection from the cold.

frabill sit n fish ice fishing chair removable foam

The insulating foam is removable.

Now obviously, the Sit-N-Fish isn’t the most comfortable option on our list, but what it lacks there, it makes up for in general utility. Buckets are essential ice fishing gear, and for carrying flashers, bait, drinks, lunch, pop-ups, and whatever else you might need, the Sit-N-Fish offers a lot of utility for the price.

Pros:

  • Durable and strong
  • Removable foam insulation
  • OK comfort
  • Light weight
  • Lots of utility

Cons:

  • One of the least comfortable options on our list for all-day fishing

Amazon Basics Portable Camping Chair

Amazon Basics Padded Folding Outdoor Camping Chair with Bag - 34 x 20 x 36 Inches, Black

Amazon 

Weight: 8.6 lbs.

Maximum capacity: 225 lbs.

The Amazon Basics portable campaign chair is a good option for hard-water anglers who prioritize comfort.

Made from steel and polyester fabric, this folding chair is tough enough to take what winter dishes out, and its comfort-forward design is great for long days over a hole.

Expect a padded seat and backrest as well as two armrests. For most anglers, this chair is pretty comfy for an all-day sit on the ice.

I’d recommend the XL for the extra room, given that you’ll be dressed in bibs and a coat.

You’ll find an integrated drink holder, a small insulated drink pouch, and a storage pouch to one side. These are thoughtful details, and you’ll find uses for all of them, no doubt.

The Amazon Basics chair comes with a carrying bag, allowing you to tote it over your shoulder to and from the ice, but it’ll slide into a sled just as easily.

amazon basics ice fishing chair with carrying bag

The Amazon Basics chair comes with a carrying bag.

Of course, there’s no swiveling or included cooler built into this chair, but it is the most comfortable option on our list, and well worth what you pay for it.

Pros:

  • Durable and strong
  • Great comfort
  • Padded seat and back
  • Light weight
  • Drink holder, storage pouch, and insulated drink pouch
  • Comes with a carrying bag

Cons:

  • ???

HANERDUN 3 in 1 Cooler Backpack, Foldable Fishing Chair

HANERDUN 3 in 1 Cooler Backpack, Foldable Fishing Chair, Portable Backpack Chair with Fabric Cooler Bag, Soft Sided Cooler Chair for Outdoor Hiking Events Beach Fishing Camping

Amazon 

Weight: 3.3 lbs

Maximum capacity: 330 lbs.

HANERDUN’s cooler backpack folds out into a stool without a backrest, and right off the bat, I need to say that it’s not the most comfortable design for hours on the ice.

But it does have some advantages that make it a noteworthy addition to our list.

Offering tons of lightly insulated storage, there’s room for lunch, drinks, and tackle to spare, and there are even some external storage options to help you carry anything from a phone to extra lures and line.

hanerdun foldable fishing chair storage

Internal storage is generous.

That insulated storage can probably keep your drinks and lunch from becoming frozen if the temp in your shelter is anywhere near freezing, and even out on the ice, it should be good for a few hours before liquids really start to solidify.

As a backpack, it gets the job done, and when you consider that it doesn’t weigh very much at all, it’s a great option for anglers who walk to the ice or who don’t have a sled.

hanerdun foldable fishing chair carrying options

The carrying options are pretty good.

Really, the only place this design will let you down is comfort. Without a backrest or padding, long days on the ice are going to be a lot less comfortable.

But if portability is important to you, this is a product that deserves a second look.

Pros:

  • Durable and strong
  • Very light weight
  • Large insulated internal storage
  • Some external storage
  • Effective carrying straps turn this chair into a backpack

Cons:

  • Not very comfortable for long days on the ice

Ice Fishing Chair Buying Guide: What to Look for in a Good Chair

Portability

Unless you’re fishing in a more or less permanent ice shanty, you’ll be taking your chair to your ice holes and then back again at the end of the day.

If you do that by foot, without the benefit of a sled, weight and portability are critical, perhaps even more important than overall comfort.

Look for designs that fold small and carry easily, and of course, look for a weight that you can handle with ease. I prefer carrying options that keep my hands free, as they’ll be full of other things like rods and a bucket (with my fish finder and other gear inside).

Durability

You need a tough chair out on the ice, and you don’t want it to fail in the middle of a hot streak.

It’s also important to consider maximum capacity, as some fishing chairs can’t handle larger anglers.

Comfort

This is a priority for almost every angler, even those who need to place greater emphasis on portability.

Built-in cushions, solid backrests, and even armrests make you a lot more comfortable out on the hard water, encouraging you to fish longer. And there’s simply no question that some designs score higher marks on this front.

One way to boost comfort is an inflatable seat cushion. Since they take up almost no room and weigh next to nothing, they’re no hassle to transport, but they can make a world of difference over a long day.

Klymit V Seat, Lightweight Inflatable Travel Cushion, Best for Camping, Bleachers, or Glassing Pad , Gray

Amazon 

An inflatable seat cushion can work wonders.

Optional extras

Some chairs come with extras like swivels, which really are a useful feature when you need to twist and turn to reach your heater, flasher, or cooler.

But they add weight - no question - and decrease portability.

Whether that’s a good trade-off for you depends on how you get to and from your holes and whether you have a shanty up most of the winter.

If portability isn’t an issue, swivels are worth a hard look.

And of course, something like Frabill’s Sit-N-Fish is proven on the ice, doubling as a seat and gear bucket. 

How important internal or external storage is to you is again a question of how you get to and from your fishing spot, and for anglers running a snow machine with a sled in tow, heavier options that include storage may not be a bad choice.

Final Thoughts

A good ice fishing chair is arguably as important as any other equipment you take out onto the ice (except for safety gear). And a chair that lets you sit longer also lets you fish more, increasing your enjoyment of the sport you love.

We can’t tell you what the right option is for you - only you know what you need. But we hope that this article has helped you narrow down your choices.

As always, we’d love to hear from you. What’s your favorite ice fishing chair?

Please leave a comment below.

About The Author
Pete D
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Pete grew up fishing on the Great Lakes. When he’s not out on the water, you can find him reading his favorite books, and spending time with his family.
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