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Best Portable Ice Fishing Shelters: Cold Weather Protection for 2022 At Its Finest

Written by: John B
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When you're ice fishing the right clothing is essential, of course, but so is a good shelter.

 In the market but don't know where to start? Don't worry!

Below, you’ll find a complete buying guide as well as reviews of the top ice fishing shelters.

Best Portable Ice Fishing Shelters

Image Product Features Price
Our Pick

Eskimo Outbreak

Eskimo Outbreak

Size: 143” x 135”
Center height: 80”
Weight: 48 lbs.
Interior area: 75 square feet

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Eskimo Quickfish 3 Eskimo Quickfish 3

Size: 70” x 70”
Center height: 80”
Weight: 35 lbs.
Interior area: 34 square feet

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Eskimo FatFish 949 Eskimo FatFish 949

Size: 94” x 94”
Center height: 80”
Weight: 30 lbs.
Interior area: 61 square feet

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Clam 14469 X-400 Clam 14469 X-400

Size: 96” x 96”
Center height: 82”
Weight: 47 lbs.
Interior area: 64 square feet

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Clam 14476 C-560 Clam 14476 C-560

Size: 90” x 90”
Center height: 80”
Weight: 30 lbs.
Interior area: 56 square feet

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Goplus Portable Ice Shelter Goplus Portable Ice Shelter

Size: 90” x 90”
Center height: 80”
Weight: 22.4 lbs.
Interior area: 56 square feet

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Frabill Bro Series Hub Frabill Bro Series Hub

Size: 80” x 80”
Center height: 80”
Weight: 35 lbs.
Interior area: 56 square feet

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For more, check out Cabela's and Sportman's Guide's large selection of ice fishing tents

Related: Best Ice Fishing Bibs

Best Ice Fishing Shelters Reviewed

Eskimo Outbreak - Our Pick!

Eskimo Outbreak 650XD Pop-up Portable Insulated Ice Fishing Shelter, 94 sq ft. Fishable Area, 5-7 Person, Red/Black, 143' x 135'
 

Erected size: 143” x 135”

Center height: 80”

Weight: 48 lbs.

Interior area: 75 square feet

Eskimo’s Outbreak is a family-sized hub shelter that’s as pretty much as good as they come.

Constructed from their proprietary StormShield fabric, Eskimo describes this material as a “three-layer, abrasion-resistant, bonded fabric with 80 grams of high-loft insulation, providing maximum warmth and a robust barrier against light/wind penetration.”

All we know for sure is that it’s darn tough and works well to keep this shelter warm with an appropriate heater. Even when the mercury is falling like your available balance on vacation, you’ll find the inside remains at a cozy temperature.

This is a big shelter, and larger anglers are going to love the ability to stand upright at the center. Fishermen as tall as 6’2” will have no trouble in this regard, and the days of hunkering over and hobbling around will be over. Easily accommodated two to three anglers, this is the model to go for if you regularly fish wit

The Outbreak is quick to set up, and includes thoughtful features like a light gray interior to brighten the shelter, a no-trip door design, and flat panels at the edges to increase the available fishing space.

Seven well-placed windows let you keep an eye on your pop-ups, and you’ll find two gear nets and two storage pockets built-in to the interior.

Pros:

  • Easy to set up
  • Great windows
  • Massively spacious
  • Lots of anchoring points
  • Nice ventilation
  • Very warm
  • No trip door
  • Tall center height

Cons:

  • ???

Eskimo Quickfish 3

Eskimo 69445 Quickfish 3i Insulated Pop-Up Portable Hub-Style Ice Fishing Shelter, 34 Square Feet of Fishable Area, 3 Person Shelter, Red

Amazon 

Erected size: 70” x 70”

Center height: 80”

Weight: 35 lbs.

Interior area: 34 square feet

Eskimo’s Quickfish 3 demonstrates that this company, probably best known for its flip-overs, hasn’t ignored the hub market. Well designed and constructed, there’s a lot to like about this shelter.

Made from 300 denier fabric, it’s tough enough for what you’ll dish out, though not as durable as the Clam Bigfoot. In contrast to that shelter, however, window placement is excellent, allowing clear visibility while seated. That matters a lot if you use your shelter as a base to run multiple tip-ups while you fish.

The Quickfish 3 is advertised as a “three man” shelter. That’s probably true, and we think two to three adult anglers will find this shelter spacious enough for their gear. Three would be pushing gear and heater space a bit, but for two, this shelter’s capacious.

The Quickfish 3 is up in less than a minute in calm weather, and even less with some help. It’s secured by four interior grommets placed at the corners, and offers exterior anchoring straps as well--a feature you’ll need in heavy wind. As with all hub shelters, setting this one up in bad weather can be more challenging, and you’ll need to begin by turning one corner into the wind and securing the two adjacent sides to the ice before expanding the hub.

The great news is that once it’s up, it’s surprisingly warm. With a small heater, this un-insulated shelter is short-sleeve ready in just a few minutes. Velcro vents allow you to control heat and humidity, a thoughtful feature.

Pros:

  • Easy to set up
  • Great windows
  • Spacious
  • Lots of anchoring points
  • Nice ventilation
  • Warm for an uninsulated shelter

Cons:

  • Not quite as durable as the Clam 14476 C-560

Eskimo FatFish 949

Eskimo FF949i FatFish Pop-up Portable Hub-Style Ice Shelter, Wide Bottom Design 61 sq ft. Fishable Area, 3-4 Person Insulated
 

Erected size: 94” x 94”

Center height: 80”

Weight: 30 lbs.

Interior area: 61 square feet

Bigger than the Quickfish, but smaller than the Outbreak, the FatFish may be the Goldilocs shelter for plenty of ice anglers.

Made from insulated quilted fabric faced with tough 600 Denier nylon, the FatFish can take a beating while keeping you warm. Now, don’t expect the superior comfort of the Outbreak, but you will notice a huge difference between the FatFish and an uninsulated tent, and with a good heater, low temps won’t stop you fishing.

Flared bottoms keep wind out and create more fishable space, and you’ll find that everything from window placement to interior storage options has been thoughtfully designed.

Offering fully 80 inches of height at the center of the hub, taller anglers will appreciate the ability to stand upright, but keep in mind that at 75 square feet, two fishermen and their gear are about right for this hub shelter.

Like all of Eskimo’s hub shelters, the FatFish goes up quickly and packs down again just as easily.

Pros:

  • Easy to set up
  • Great windows
  • Spacious
  • Lots of anchoring points
  • Nice ventilation
  • Very warm
  • Tall center height

Cons:

  • ???

Clam 14469 X-400

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
 

Erected size: 96” x 96”

Center height: 82”

Weight: 47 lbs.

Interior area: 64 square feet

Clam’s X-400 is a more than worthy rival for Eskimo’s FatFish series, and a quick run-down of its stats shows why.

Made from nearly indestructible 900 denier nylon that’s packed with 90 grams of insulation per square meter, this is a tough, durable, warm shelter. With an appropriate heater, nothing on our list but the Outbreak will be warmer.

Inside, you’ll find plenty of space for two to three large anglers and their gear, and with an 82-inch center height, there’ll be no more hunching and nursing an aching back.

This Clam shelter goes up easily, and the included hardware is real-world tough, so no worries about sudden storms, high winds, or accumulating snow.

The X-400 can also be fitted with an available (aftermarket) floor that attached via Velcro hook and loop closures, making this a very versatile choice for the ice.

Pros:

  • Easy to set up
  • Very, very tough
  • Spacious
  • Lots of anchoring points
  • Nice ventilation
  • Very warm
  • Tall center height

Cons:

  • Probably not quite as warm or as spacious as the Eskimo Outbreak

Clam 14476 C-560

CLAM 14476 C-560 3 to 4 Person 7.5 Foot Lightweight Portable Pop Up Ice Fishing Angler Hub Shelter Tent with Anchors, Tie Ropes, and Carrying Bag

Amazon 

Erected size: 90” x 90”

Center height: 80”

Weight: 30 lbs.

Interior area: 56 square feet

Clam’s 14476 C-560 is one tough ice shelter. Made from heavyweight 300 Denier fabric, it can take the beating of the elements and keep you and your gear warm. Easy to unfold and set up, most anglers should have this shelter up in 60 seconds or less in calm weather. With a partner, the Bigfoot is up in 30 seconds, no sweat.

Like it’s competitors, the 14476 C-560 features four exterior ice anchors and tie downs, with one centered on each exterior wall. Inside, you’ll find four more anchors, guaranteeing that this shelter will stay put in bad weather.

This shelter’s capacity is middle of the pack, and we find it spacious enough for two to three adult anglers and their gear. Access is provided by two doors fitted on opposing corners. As a nice touch, when open, the door flaps attach via velcro to the exterior walls, allowing great access and immediate ventilation.

Our only complaint with this otherwise excellent shelter is that the windows are placed a bit high, making visibility poor. If you regularly use your shelter as a base camp to watch tip-ups, you’ll find this oversight annoying.

Pros:

  • Very tough and durable
  • Easy to set up
  • Great doors
  • Lots of anchors--can really take bad weather
  • Spacious

Cons:

  • High windows make checking tip-ups tough

Frabill Bro Series Hub

Frabill Bro Series Hub | Durable Ice Fishing Shelter | Artic Camo | Capacity: 3 Anglers

Amazon 

Erected size: 80” x 80”

Center height: 80”

Weight: 35 lbs.

Interior area: 56 square feet

Frabill’s no stranger to the ice fishing world, and their Bro Series Hub shows that they know a thing or two about hub shelters. The first thing you’ll notice is its unusual shape. Rather than the usual cube, this tent has additional angles that provide more elbow room and space to work. Two to three adult anglers should find plenty of room for everything they need.

The Bro Series Hub offers you an insulated top made from 600 denier material (top to bottom), and a strong skirt section constricted from even more durable 900 denier fabric. There’s no question about whether this hub shelter can take a beating, and this insulation makes this a warmer option for really cold weather.

Four interior grommets anchor each corner to the ice, and it offers external straps on each wall, as well. To control moisture, two vents are placed high on opposite sides. The windows are also removable if even more ventilation is needed.

Two doors are placed on opposite corners and can be secured in their open position with Velcro tabs. The Bro Series Hub is easy to put up and take down, too.

Pros:

  • Great design provides more working space
  • Insulated and very warm
  • Easy to set up
  • Great doors
  • Spacious
  • Lots of anchors
  • Strong and durable

Cons:

  • High windows make checking tip-ups tough

Goplus Portable Ice Shelter

Goplus Portable Ice Shelter Pop-up Ice Fishing Tent Shanty 3-4 Person with Bag and Ice Anchors Red

Amazon 

Erected size: 90” x 90”

Center height: 80”

Weight: 22.4 lbs.

Interior area: 56 square feet

GoPlus offers a hub shelter that’s competitive with more well-known brands like Frabill and Eskimo. Constructed from 300 denier fabric, its features and quality are comparable to the big names in the business.

Like most portables, this “three man” ice shanty really has space for two anglers and their gear. Grommets at each interior corner allow you to secure it to the ice, and four exterior anchoring straps provide enhanced protection against the wind. Up in less than a minute with the assistance of a partner, this is the lightest of the shelters we reviewed. If weight is a concern, this model demands a second look.

Two wall-mounted vents help you control temperature and moisture, and four removable windows offer even more ventilation options. Its doors are, as usual, placed on opposite corners, allowing easy access.

Like many alternatives, however, we find the windows to be too high to provide at-a-glance visibility, an important consideration if you run tip-ups.

Pros:

  • Easy to set up
  • Spacious
  • Lots of anchoring points
  • Nice ventilation
  • Light

Cons:

  • Windows are too high for good visibility

Our Criteria for Buying the Best Portable Ice Shelter

Protection from the Elements

Ice fishing is hot when the weather’s cold. But when you’re out on the ice, exposed to the wind, you should expect problems with your gear.

It’s crucial to always be dressed for the weather, no matter how good your shelter is. That’s simple common sense, and it can save your life. But your gear needs protection, too. When exposed to the full force of the elements, your line will become stiffer, water it absorbs or carries will freeze, and icing will become a problem. Especially with lighter line, the wind is a major concern, as wet, freezing line will stick to anything the wind blows it into.

The whole reason you erect an ice shelter is to provide protection for yourself and your gear, and if your shelter can’t do this well--blocking the wind, providing some measure of insulation--it’s not worth bringing with you to the hard water.

To make our short list, these ice shelters needed to stop the wind, provide enough insulation to cut down on icing, and let us work with our hands without gloves. When the mercury really starts to bottom-out, though, a good heater can be a godsend, and the shelters we review provide the ventilation you’ll need for that.

Durability

Winter is hard on your equipment. That’s just as true for your shelter as it is for your reel or car.

We prefer shelters that are made from heavier-weight materials, have strong seams, and can stand up to snow and wind. This often involves a compromise with weight and cost, because the better the shelter is, the heavier and more expensive it tends to be. Exactly where that line falls for you is your choice, but we lean toward durability.

Portability

Durability and protection are our most important criteria when selecting an ice shelter, and the better models tend to weigh more. While that affects their portability, we’ve selected shelters that should be acceptably light and package for reasonably fit anglers.

Any shelter that’s truly easy to repack gets bonus points from us, too, as we’d prefer not to need to be origami masters at the end of the day!

Set up and Take Down

Setting up and taking down an ice shelter shouldn’t be a chore, and if it takes more than a few minutes, it’s poorly designed. To make the cut with us, shelters need to be up and down in five minutes or less.

Room

More isn’t always better. A shelter that’s designed for six and fished by two will be colder than it should be. You want to select the size that’s right for you and your angling adventures, but you don’t want tons of extra space on the ice.

That said, you need enough elbow room to work with your tackle, and enough height to stand comfortably and work your rod while jigging, setting the hook, and fighting your fish onto the ice. You’ll also need room for gear and a heater, so don’t forget to figure in those extras when making your choice.

Flip-Over vs Hub

The choice of styles is mostly a matter of preference, although there are strengths and weaknesses to each.

Flip-overs

Flip-over shelters are essentially large, plastic sheds equipped with a telescoping frame. You drag the sled to your hole, and by pulling the frame up and over, you create a windproof shelter with built-in seating. That’s right--most flip-overs come with swivel chairs already attached! This makes them easy and fast to set up, even in wind or when alone.

The price for this convenience is weight and size: they tend to be pretty small and they’re much, much heavier than the alternatives. Especially when there’s a lot of snow on the ground, pulling that heavy sled can be a pain. Flip-overs are also difficult to transport--they won’t fit in your car!--and lift in and out of the back of a truck.

For that reason, hub shelters are increasingly popular, and only one flip-over made our short list.

how to erect a flip-over shelter

Hubs

Hubs provide a pop-up shelter much like a modern tent, though without a bottom. Made rigid by an internal folding frame, they’re erected by carefully expanding that skeleton. Lightweight, sturdy, and easy to transport, they come in a range of sizes.

This portability makes them popular, but they have two drawbacks. First, they can be very hard to set up alone if it’s windy. And second, they don’t come with seating, so unless you plan to stand all day, you’ll need to bring some extra gear along. That may cut into the weight advantage they offer, so consider the options carefully.

demonstration of erecting a pop-up

Our Pick - The Eskimo Outbreak!

These are all great shelters, and depending on what you need and how you transport your gear to the ice, any of these will be a sound investment for this year’s ice fishing season.

That said, the Eskimo Outbreak is very hard to beat. Offering plenty of space for several large anglers and all their gear, this thoroughly insulated shelter will keep you toasty warm even in the foulest weather.

It’s tough and durable, too, and with thoughtful design features like a no-trip entrance and plenty of interior storage, you’ll quickly come to appreciate Eskimo’s real-world research.

The Outbreak goes up quickly, too, even in the wind, and provides plenty of windows to keep an eye on your popups or provide just the right amount of ventilation.

While this may not be the right shelter for every hard-water angler, it’s one every serious ice fisherman should consider.

We hope you’ve learned something from this article, and as always, we’d love to hear from you.

Please leave a comment below.

About The Author
John B
If it has fins, John has probably tried to catch it from a kayak. A native of Louisiana, he now lives in Sarajevo, where he's adjusting to life in the mountains. From the rivers of Bosnia to the coast of Croatia, you can find him fishing when he's not camping, hiking, or hunting.
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