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Best Ice Fishing Sleds for 2022: Tough-as-Nails Options for Every Angler

Written by: Pete D
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Toting as many buckets as you can carry onto the ice is a chore no one looks forward to, and there’s no question that you just can’t bring all the gear you’d like this way.

The solution is simple: a good ice fishing sled.

The right sled can allow you to load your flasher, tip-ups, rods, auger, heaters, and shelter, enabling you to fish more successfully and more comfortably. And whether you plan to pull your sled by hand or drive a snowmachine, there’s a model that’s perfect for you - if you know where to look and what to look for.

If you’re in the market for a new ice fishing sled, we’ve got you covered. Below, you’ll find reviews of some of our favorites, as well as a complete buying guide to get you up to speed quickly. If you want to build your own, check out our smitty sled plans.

Quick glance at the best ice fishing sleds available today:

Related:

Best Ice Fishing Sleds Reviewed

Shappell Jet Sled 1 - Best Hand-Pulled Ice Fishing Sled

Shappell Jet Ice Fishing Sled, Large Heavy-Duty Multi-Purpose Utility Sleds for Hauling Fire Wood, Deer, Duck Hunting, Fishing Gear, Supplies, and Accessories

Amazon 

Weight: 11.5 lbs.
Capacity: ?
Size: 54" x 25" x 10"
Material: rotomolded polyethylene

Shappell’s line of Jet sleds are well known in cold climates, and from hauling firewood to winter hunting, outdoorsmen know that they can count on Shappell for a tough, no-nonsense product.

Ice anglers love the lightweight Jet Sled 1, especially if they’re not using a snowmachine. You really want to keep the sled as light as possible, saving weight for your heavy gear like powered augers. And that’s one place the Jet Sled 1 really shines: at just 11.5 pounds, the weight you’ll pull will be predominantly your gear.

Measuring 54" x 25" x 10", the Jet Sled has plenty of room for your stuff, and the rolled, firm lip around the edge is perfect for securing bungee cords or a tarp to keep your gear protected.

On deep or shallow snow, whether wet or dry, the Jet glides smoothly with minimal effort. It resists sinking, too, staying high in the snow so that it doesn’t get bogged down.

Made from tough rotomolded polyethylene, it’s tough as nails, and you don’t need to worry too much about beating this sled up, as anyone who’s hauled firewood in one can tell you.

The tow rope is plenty strong, but it may be a bit tough on your hands. If you find that to be the case, it’s easy enough to slip a section of garden hose over it, making it easier to pull.

At this price, the Jet Sled 1 is an almost irresistible bargain!

Pros:

  • Great price!
  • Durable and tough
  • Light
  • Glides well over snow

Cons:

  • Sometimes ships without the tow rope

Pelican Trek 60 Utility Sled

Pelican - Trek 45 Utility Sled - Black - Pull Rope - 4 Season Sled - Any Outdoors Activities - Carry Up to 130lb - Heavy Duty RAM-X Construction - Use 2 Trek 45 to Enclose Gear - LDT45PA06-00

Amazon 

Weight: 12.5
Capacity: 152L
Size: 60” x 25” x 12.5”
Material: high-density polyethylene

Pelican’s Trek 60 isn’t quite the bargain that the Jet Sled 1 offers, but you definitely see what the few extra dollars you pay are buying. Made from durable high-density polyethylene, it comes with excellent RAM-X runners attached to the bottom, as well as tie-down points along the rails.

Tough enough to truly offer a lot of utility, from wood hauling to winter hunting and ice fishing, this sled will do it all.

Measuring 60” x 25” x 12.5”, it’s a bit longer than the Jet Sled, offering more capacity as a result, but not much more weight - just one extra pound. That light weight, plus the runners, offer easy pulling, and this sled resists sinking, though I’d give the Jet Sled the advantage here.

Where those RAM-X runners pay dividends, however, is when this sled is pulled by a snowmachine. It’s going to glide easily and tolerate long, frequent trips out onto the ice, probably outlasting the Jet Sled for this kind of use. The runners have two layers - red under white - and when you can see the red color, it’s time to swap them out.

Around the rolled edge of the Trek 60’s lip, you’ll find convenient tie-downs that can accept bungee cords, allowing you to secure your cargo or protect it from the weather.

An excellent product, the Trek 60 fills the needs of ice anglers who need a little more space than the Jet Sled 1 or greater durability for the bottom, thanks to the runners. Available from Pelican directly with a towing hitch, expect the price to jump for that option.

Pros:

  • Durable and tough
  • High-quality runners improve bottom durability if you tow your sled
  • Light
  • Glides pretty well over snow
  • Great tie downs around the edge

Cons:

  • Doesn’t glide over snow quite as well as the Jet Sled 1

Trek Sport 75 Utility Sled - Best Towed Ice Fishing Sled

Weight: 33 lbs. (sled only); 42.8 lbs with towing package
Capacity: 300L
Size: 74.5” x 30.5” x 14.75”
Material: high-density polyethylene

Trek’s Sport 75 is a beast of a sled, offering tons of capacity for anglers who prefer to tow their sleds behind a snowmachine. Built tough and made to last, it’s a great buy that’s going to serve you season after season.

Designed as an all-around utility sled that’s more than ready for your toughest jobs, the Sport 75 is perfect for anglers who need lots of space and carry heavy gear. Constructed from high-density polyethylene that doesn’t know the word “quit,” it’s more than willing to work.

Pelican’s excellent RAM-X runners help save the bottom and decrease drag on the ice, both features you’ll appreciate over the course of the winter.

Pelican ships the Sport 5 with instructions for you to make your own dividers, allowing you to create customized storage options for your gear. That’s a nice touch.

Pelican has recently improved the towing system, attaching the tow bars to the side rather than the front of this sled. That has improved stability considerably, and this is a very secure sled that you won’t need to worry about as you drive your snowmachine. Just do your thing, and your gear will arrive safe and sound.

For ice anglers looking for a big, capacious, tough sled to tow, Pelican’s Sport 75 is very hard to beat.

Pros:

  • Durable and tough
  • High-quality runners improve bottom durability
  • Glides pretty well over snow
  • Slides really well on ice
  • Stable and secure

Cons:

  • ???

Beavertail Sport Sled

Beavertail Sport Sled, Marsh Brown, Large

Amazon 

Weight: 17 lbs.
Capacity: ?
Size: 64" x 29" x 11"
Material: virgin roto-molded polyethylene

If you prefer to pull your sled by hand, but you need a lot of space, the Beavertail Sport Sled may be just the option you’ve been looking for. Simple and durable, Beavertail’s Sport Sled isn’t anything fancy, but it will see you through the winter.

Measuring 64" x 29" x 11", the large is the way to go if you want extra space, but I wouldn’t want to pull this bad boy filled with wood! For ice fishing, it provides space for everything you’d want, and probably room to spare for all but the most gear-hungry hard-water anglers.

Ice auger, shanty, flashers, and buckets full of tip-ups? No problem - as long as you’re fit enough!

The Beavertail Sport glides across snow well, refusing to get bogged down even when the powder gets deep. On ice, it’s very slick, allowing you to pull it easily.

I’m impressed with this sled’s capacity and performance, but at nearly three times the cost of the Jet Sled 1, it may be too much money to justify the extra space.

Pros:

  • Huge capacity for a hand-pulled sled
  • Durable and tough
  • Glides pretty well over snow
  • Slides really well on ice

Cons:

  • Expensive for what it offers

Otter Pro Sled Mini - Best Portable Ice Fishing Sled

Weight: 8 lbs.
Capacity: ?
Size: 43” × 23” × 10.5”
Material: polyethylene

Not every ice angler needs tons of space, and plenty of folks don’t drive large trucks that can fit huge sleds. If you’re someone who drives a car or small SUV to the hard water, don’t worry, there are sleds for you too.

Otter’s Pro Sled Mini is sized to fit in the back seat of most cars, measuring 43” × 23” × 10.5”. Of course, you’ll want to break out a tape measure before you buy, but that’s a size that’s forgiving for transport and easy to store.

Manufactured from tough polyethylene, the Pro Sled Mini is durable and tough. For hard work like pulling a load of split wood, to dragging your auger, flasher, and tip ups out onto the ice, Otter’s sled will get it done.

And at just 8 pounds, the weight you feel will be pretty much all gear, and it glides well over snow and ice.

Be aware that this sled does not come pred-drilled or supplied with a tow rope. You’ll need to spend a few seconds with your drill and find your own cordage.

But for anglers who need to transport an ice fishing sled in a car, this is a fantastic option.

Pros:

  • Small and light
  • Should fit in the backseat or trunk of most vehicles
  • Durable and tough
  • Glides well over snow
  • Slides really well on ice

Cons:

  • Doesn’t come pre-drilled or supplied with a tow rope

Cabela's Utility Ice Sled

Bass Pro | Cabela's

Weight: ?
Capacity: ?
Size: 49" x 26.25" x 10"
Material: polyethylene

Cabela’s Utility Ice Sled is a budget-minded option designed to compete head-to-head with models like Shappell’s Jet Sled 1.

At 49" x 26.25" x 10", Cabela’s sled is a bit smaller than the Jet 1, but also a bit deeper. That can be a nice feature, as it helps to keep unruly items where they belong. And as an added feature, you’ll find molded bucket holders on the bottom of the sled.

That’s a nice thing to have when you’re trekking across uneven snow, and you can be sure that your tip-ups and rods stay put.

This sled is certainly ready to work hard, and if you drag firewood or hunt in the winter, you can count on this sled to pull its weight - provided you do! It glides well over deep snow and slides on ice like a champ.

For me, the weak point of this sled is durability. Cabela’s doesn’t publish this sled’s weight, which is unusual, but it’s certainly light - perhaps too light. And while that’s great for dragging through deep snow, I’m not sure how many seasons you’ll get out the bottom.

And if you do something abusive like tow this sled from an ATV or snowmachine, and start suddenly with plenty of weight loaded, you’ll risk ripping the rope through the pre-drilled plastic.

Sensible users shouldn’t have that problem, and I like the deep sides and appreciate the molded bucket holders. But as the least durable option on our shortlist, I think I’d rather spend my money on the Jet Sled 1.

Pros:

  • Good capacity with deep sides and molded bucket holders
  • Light
  • Glides well over snow
  • Slides really well on ice

Cons:

  • I have questions about this sled’s durability

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

Durability

The life of an ice fishing sled is tough, and few only see use as a vehicle for angling gear. 

Instead, they serve as firewood haulers, hunting sleds, and general-purpose replacements for wheelbarrows in the winter. And even on the ice, when used for their intended purpose, the bottom takes a real beating.

Look for dense, high-quality polyethylene. This super-tough plastic can take a licking and never miss a beat. 

The thickness and quality of that material is everything, and you’ll notice that the sleds we recommend offer top-notch durability.

Not every ice fishing sled does, though, so do your research before you buy. 

Weight

Weight is a big issue if you're pulling an ice fishing sled by hand.

You want the sled to be light for its capacity, and you need to know your physical limits. Sure, your snowmachine or ATV can pull a sled full of wood till it runs out of gas, but you’ll be out of gas in just minutes unless you’ve gauged your fitness level realistically.

Capacity

Overall dimensions can be misleading, especially given the shape of the nose on sleds, ,but they offer reasonable metrics by which you can judge carrying capacity.

Deep sides are always a plus, as they help to keep your gear where it belongs. 

But in conjunction with weight, be realistic about what you need and what you can pull, especially if you’re dragging your ice fishing sled by hand.

It’s safe to go too big and underload your sled, but you may be disappointed if you size-down and can’t carry what you really need out onto the ice.

Finally, for those of you out there that don’t drive a full-sized pickup, consider a small or mini sled that can fit in your trunk or backseat.

Gliding

A good ice fishing sled should ride high in deep snow, not bog down and nose dive. 

That may not matter a lot to your snowmachine, but if you're dragging your gear by hand, you’ll immediately feel the difference between a sled that glides well and one that doesn’t.

Final Thoughts

We can’t tell you which ice fishing sled is right for you, but we can promise that our recommendations are thoroughly-researched performers that won’t let you down.

For ice anglers who need a tough, no-nonsense sled that they can pull by hand, nothing beats Shappell Jet 1. Big enough to carry what you need, but light enough to pull across deep snow, the Jet 1 is the ice fishing sled to beat, and its enduring popularity is a testament to what you get for the money.

If you tow your sled, Trek’s Sport 75 Utility Sled is a great buy, offering excellent capacity and an improved design that increases its stability and security. Tough, big enough for almost anyone, and easy to tow, it’s a great option if you drive a snowmachine out onto the ice.

Finally, for anglers who need a truly portable sled that can fit in the back of a car or small SUV, Otter Pro Sled Mini is sized right and more than capable of getting the job done. Rugged, dependable, and light, it glides well and can hold plenty of gear for a day on the hard water.

As always, we’d love to hear from you if you have any questions, so 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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