Choosing good ice fishing shelter isn’t that hard, if you know what qualities and features to pay attention to. Some people buy shelters based on their looks, and i guess that’s fine if you’re okay with replacing it once every year, but if you’re interested in getting something to last, you will need to do proper research and read some reviews. Also don’t buy whatever the salesmen recommend, either. Their loyalty lies with the outdoor gear stores and brands, so it’s in their interest to sell you whichever brand or product will make them most profit.
When looking to buy ice fishing shelter, the first thing to consider is the size. How big do you want the shelter to be? If you don’t have many friends who share this hobby with you, you’ll probably want to stick with smaller versions. There are hub-style shelters, that function almost like a tent, and there are flip-over versions, which are quite hard to describe. Just look flip-over shelters on YouTube and you’ll get it. The main difference is that the latter are much easier to transport and set up. Which means that if you’re looking for mobility and flexibility, flip-over shelters are the way to go. Otherwise – stick with the other. With both types of shelters, insulation is very important. You don’t want to get a simple tent. You want the shelter to actually shelter you from the cold. Some of them also come with additional chairs and other gadgets pre-installed, which is also a plus. After you make sure that it’s properly insulated, it’s a good idea to get quality portable heater. It will save you from freezing in harsh temperatures of winter.
Prices vary depending on the size. Smaller versions cost around two to three hundred dollars, depending on what additional features they have. Also quality plays important role. Some cheap shelters might be properly insulated but they’ll have constant problems with zippers and minor stuff like that, so they’re not worth the investment. I’d advise to save some money and buy something decent instead. There are few brands that you can trust – Frabill, Eskimo, Clam. All of their products are trustworthy, so are their warranties and customer service. There might be few other brands making quality stuff, but these are the three big fish in this field and i’d recommend sticking with them.
If you do have few friends who are into ice fishing, consider an option of pooling money together to buy one big ice shelter to share. Large shelters can cost up to four hundred dollars, but when you’re buying it as a party of five, it turns out to be much cheaper than buying them individually. Of course, there’s issue of over-usage, but i’ve never had problems with that. We always go ice fishing together, anyway, and it’s not a very common event.