When it’s cold outside we usually spend the days huddled up next to the warm glow of a burning fire but those days are gone with the advent of the mobile hunting shanty many years ago. Since that first shanty we have grown, expanded, and nearly perfected the product and millions of anglers are happy because of it.
Shelters come in a few different varieties, the primary ones I see on the ice is the standard sled style which contains the shelters like the Clam Kenai or the Frabill Trekker. If being mobile is important to you then this is the type of shelter for you!
Being able to quickly flip up your cover, grab the rope, and start running is a major plus in the sled style shanty. I’m sure most guys run a sled while ice fishing and what better way to make a move than to load everything into one quick, and easy package.
I’d say in my experience the most popular one is the two-man Clam Nanook and Nanook Thermal. The thermal lining is said to keep the shanty 25 degrees warmer than the outside which is up for debate but no matter what way you look at it warmer is warmer!
Behind the Nanook is the Trekker Thermal, this is Frabill’s two-man shanty, I will say this one offers excellent seats that I could easily spend 12 hours in without wishing for some schnapps to numb my butt from the OSB and bolts sticking through the seats. Like the Nanook the Trekker offers fold down seats while the Trekker’s foam is removable.
I didn’t forget Eskimo! The QuickFlip 2 is the two-man flip-over offering from the provider of the red shelters. The FlipMO 2 Inferno is their offering in the thermal line-up, the added benefit of their thermal line-up is they tend to be a little wider, stronger frame, and swivels seats.
Then we have Otter offering two packages in the two man theatre. The XT650 is a thermal top with a bench to stuff three guys in the Lodge model while the XT1200 Resort offers up 35 square-feet of fishing area and three individual seats plus a full thermal setup from top to bottom.
Next up we have pop-ups, this is the way I personally went due to its low cost and high functionality.
Clam offers up more shelters than just about anybody else out there, and with the backing of Dave Genz it’s no surprise they are expanding like crazy. The shelter I picked up is the Big Foot XL 2000 which is a 3-4 person shelter though they do offer massive shelters like the Six Pack 1550 Mag which is 65 square-feet of fishable area which is good for 4-6 fishermen comfortably.
Pop-ups aren’t as easily mobile like the flip-overs but they do offer up complete protection and pure size. Most shelters are now using the hub design which means simply pull up on the tabs to deploy it and you’re good to go!
If you are able to find yourself a shelter with a thermal lining you will be able to avoid the condensation that can plague a good day of fishing with cold water falling from the “skies” of your shelter.
Shelters are really something you can go wild with, you can spend $800 on an Otter or down to a $130 Fish Trap. As I said before the one I went with was a Clam Big Foot XL 2000 which I got on a killer deal and I can’t say I what got it for but it is usually in the $249.99 price class.
If you’re able to shop around you can find some great deals and I’m sure once you fish with a shelter you won’t want to fish without one!