As soon as the ice on the lake is ready, ice fishing huts begin popping up overnight. These colorful structures that dot the frozen waterways of the North are more than just an icon of winter. They are a necessity for anyone who prefers to enjoy ice fishing rather than endure it. While many anglers seem naturally immune to the cold, most are not. If you want to kick your ice-fishing game up a few notches, these top 10 ice fishing shelters under $200 are a great place to begin.
Whether you prefer a solitary day on the open ice or you want to turn it into a weekend party with friends, our list has a shelter that will meet your needs. Read on to find out the best fit for you.
THUNDERBAY Ice Cube Three-Man Portable Ice Shelter
While this THUNDERBAY Ice Cube is advertised as a three-person shelter, it’s fairly sizable at 90 by 90-inches (seven and a half feet square) hub to hub. Plus, the 80-inch ceiling height means that most people will be able to stand upright inside. Made of rugged bright red 300-denier fabric, it does an excellent job of blocking the wind, and there are four 24 by 10-inch hook and loop fastened windows.
Anglers who like to stay out on the ice overnight can get a proper sleep thanks to this shelter’s interior blackout coating, which effectively blocks out the early morning light. It also comes with eight ice anchors for stabilization during high winds. A carrying bag is included. Other nice touches include heavy-duty zippers, replaceable fiberglass poles, cast aluminum hubs, and extra-wide skirting to keep out drafts.
Dimensions: 90″ x 90″ x 80″
Weight: 26.25 pounds
Popsport Ice Fishing Shelter in four sizes
This Popsport hub-style shelter is wildly popular with the ice-fishing set thanks to the availability of three sizes, all under $200. Buyers can select from the following options:
- Two to three person shelter: 58” x 58 “x 66” (black)
- Three to four person shelter: 90″ x 90″ x 80″ (red)
- Eight person shelter: 142″ x 72″ x 83″ (orange)
Affordable and durable, these shelters are highly rated and made with 300-denier waterproof oxford fabric designed to keep you and your buddies warm and dry. Each features air vents, two-layer windows, double head zippers, fixing rope, anchors, and a carrying bag.
Dimensions: Vary (see details above)
Weight: 18.5 to 31 pounds, depending on the size you select
Goplus Portable Two Person Pop-Up Ice Fishing Shanty
There’s plenty of room for two inside this spacious pop-up shanty from Goplus. It is simple to set up and tear down, and it fits right in the enclosed carrying bag for easy transport and storage. One versatile feature of this shelter is the two versatile windows. They are designed with two layers; a transparent PVC layer and a fabric layer. If you want more insulation, install them both. If you want more light, take out the fabric layer. And of course, if you need ventilation, you can remove both layers.
Made with 300-denier waterproof oxford fabric, it’s waterproof, frost-resistant, and keeps out the cold. Reviews on the Goplus are excellent, and customers have used this shanty in several unique ways, including:
• Warm-up station in a Northern Michigan barn
• Outdoor dining tent during the pandemic
• Hot yoga space for a fitness instructor
• Puppy shelter during cooler months
• Indoor playroom for kids
Other uses aside, though, most reviewers have used this shanty for its intended purpose and seem satisfied with its quality and the price. The Goplus is one of the best ice fishing shelters under $200 that we’ve found.
Dimensions: 76″ x 76″ x 67″
Weight: 18.5 pounds
Eskimo QuickFish Series Two-Person Pop-Up Portable Ice Fishing Shelter
Eskimo is one of the top brands in ice fishing, and this impressive two-person shelter is one of the most popular options under $200. Although it is advertised as a two-person shanty, it’s five feet square and can accommodate three in a pinch. Constructed of 300-denier Icetight fabric, it’s watertight, windproof, and warm inside. While this particular model is not insulated, customers will be happy to note that the insulated version also comes in under $200.
The QuickFish is equipped with four big windows that let in the light, but you can also use the velcro shades if you prefer it dark. While the description says one door, customers have confirmed that it has two doors with heavy-duty YKK two-way zippers that won’t break no matter how cold it gets. True to the description, this pop-up ice shelter takes just 60 seconds to set up. Plus, it comes with solid fiberglass poles and rugged metal hubs to ensure many years of use.
Dimensions: 60″ x 60″ x 67″
Weight: 18 pounds
ibigbean Four-Person Ice Fishing Shelter
Ibigbean’s four-person ice fishing shelter is a great deal at under $150. Well-reviewed, this wind-resistant, water-repellant portable hut is made from sturdy oxford 300-D fabric and weighs just 22 pounds.
The shelter is simple to set up. All you need to do is grab the center tab of each wall and pull gently. The wall will pop into shape on its own. Then, simply go into the shelter and push up the center. It’s equipped with a generous skirt that you can use to pile up snow for a good seal, and there are four metal screw-ins to secure it against the wind.
Users mention that although the dimensions are listed as 78.7″ x78.7″ x86.6″, it seems smaller, likely due to the skirting. Most say this will comfortably fit three but is nice and roomy for two people. It features all-metal hubs and solid poles, a double-layered door zipper, and two air-permeable windows for ventilation. Included are the stakes, ropes, poles, shelter, and a carrying bag.
Dimensions: 78.7 x 78.7 x 86.6″
Weight: 18 pounds
Frabill Hq200 Three-Person Hub Shelter
Since 1938, Frabill has been a trusted brand among anglers everywhere, and this inexpensive ice-fishing shelter will not disappoint. Incredibly lightweight at only 23 pounds, it’s sewn from rugged 300-denier polyester that can hold up under all kinds of weather. Setup is fast and straightforward, and thanks to the included oversized carrying case, transport is a breeze.
Customer complaints about the Hq200 are minor and easily resolved. Some purchasers have noted that the zippers felt a bit stiff, and several reviewers mentioned that the pegs were hard to get in and recommended drilling pilot holes to secure the guy ropes. Overall, however, positive reviews outweigh any issues with this model. At under $200, this ice fishing shelter from Frabill is an absolute steal.
Dimensions: 70″ x 70″ x 80″
Weight: 23 pounds
Happybuy Insulated Eight-Person Ice Fishing Shelter
Here’s an extra-large ice fishing shelter under $200 that’s perfect for a weekend on the ice. The Happybuy eight-person pop-up shelter is ideal for multiple uses, too, including camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities. At nearly twelve feet long, six feet wide, and seven feet tall, this is a shelter where friends can gather.
Constructed of Durable 300-denier material, the Happybuy is reported to be warmer than a standard tent, and the fiberglass pole construction makes this a long-lasting budget ice-fishing shelter. It is equipped with two doors, four double-layer windows, two air vents, web handles for easy setup, and mesh pockets to hold your gear.
You will find the shelter, six ground stakes, six guy ropes, instructions, and a handy carrying case in the package. The only downside of this ice shelter is the weight. At 30 pounds, you will probably need to bring this in with an ATV or snowmobile. However, it assembles in minutes and is ideal when you need shelter for a crowd.
Dimensions: 11.8’ ‘x 5.9’ x’ 6.7’
Weight: 30 pounds
Happybuy Two-Person Waterproof Pop-up Ice Fishing Tent
For those who want to take advantage of Happybuy’s super low prices on ice-fishing shelters but don’t need a huge model, this two-person option is a steal. Like the eight-person shelter, it’s made with rugged 300-denier oxford fabric and is waterproof and wind-resistant. Warmer than a regular tent, it’s designed to keep you comfortable and snug during your ice-fishing expedition.
The shelter is simple to set up and has an included transport bag. At just 12.8 pounds, it is exceptionally light and easy to carry. Its equipped with two doors, a double-head zipper, a two-layer detachable window, mesh pockets to hold your gear, and an air vent for safety. Customers can select from blue, orange, or red.
Dimensions: 4.8′ x 4.8′ x 5.5′
Weight: 12.9 pounds
Happybuy Two-Three Person Insulated Ice Pop-Up Fishing Shelter
Happybuy makes our list again with this popular black two-to-three-person pop-up ice fishing shelter. This model is insulated and made with strong 300D Oxford fabric that is resistant to cold, wind, and rain. This cheap ice fishing tent is one of the best options online, and it sets up in under 60 seconds.
At 58″ x 58″ x 66″, it’s suitable for one, two, or three people, although some users caution that three might be a little snug. It features two doors with double-head zippers and two-layer detachable windows. You can remove the oxford layer and use just the PVC layer if you want visibility, or keep the fabric layer on for added warmth.
Five web handles are attached for simple setup, and mesh pockets are built right in to hold all your accessories.
Dimensions: 58” x 58” x 66”
Weight: 14.9 pounds
Eskimo Quickfish 2i (Two-person insulated)
Last up on our list is the Quickfish 2i. This ever-popular model from Eskimo is often sold out thanks to its excellent pricing and great features. However, if you can snag it, it may be the warmest ice fishing shelter under $200 we’ve come across.
The Quickfish 2i is nearly identical to the first Eskimo QuickFish shelter on our list. Still, this one is fully insulated with IQ Insulated quilted fabric that the brand claims is 35 percent warmer than a comparable non-insulated shelter. Customers agree, noting that there is no dripping from condensation and that the opposable velcro vents allow for plenty of ventilation.
This shelter will definitely keep you warm out on the ice. One customer even remarked that it got so warm they had to open the door to cool things off. In the box, you will find the shelter and everything you need to get started. It all fits in a carrying bag that you can throw over your shoulder for easy portability.
Dimensions: 5’ x 5’ x 5.6’
Weight: 26 pounds
You might also like: 10 Best Subscription Boxes for People Who Love to Fish
Which Ice Fishing Shelter Should I Purchase?
Perhaps you already know precisely what you’re looking for in an ice hut. But if you’re newer to ice fishing and are looking for the best ice fishing shelter under $200, here are a few details to consider:
There are three basic ice shelter styles: Hub, Cabin, and Flip. Each type has distinct advantages and disadvantages. Knowing which shelter best matches your angling needs can help when it comes time to making a final decision.
Hub-Style Ice Shelters
Hub-Style Shelters are typically the least expensive style of portable ice shelter, with an easy-to-set-up tent-like frame that locks into place. Because a hub-style shelter offers the most amount of space for the money, this type is usually suitable for most casual anglers.
However, there are a couple of disadvantages to hub-style shelters.
While the setup is typically quick, it can be harder to accomplish in windy areas because it is so lightweight, and you may need more than one person to complete the task. Also, to keep it from blowing away, you’ll anchor it to the ice with screws. If you like to move around the ice a lot, you probably won’t want a hub shelter since unscrewing and screwing it in every time you change locations is an inconvenience.
Still, this type is the cheapest you will find, which is why you will note that all of the ice fishing shelters under $200 contained in this review are Hub-Style.
Cabin-Style Ice Shelters
Cabin-Style Shelters are one of the preferred choices for warmth and comfort. Although any activity out on the ice will be chilly, a cabin-style shelter typically has a built-in floor that offers additional protection from sub-zero temperatures. It also helps to hold in the heat if you’re planning on bringing a heater along. The floor will have at least two openings so you can drill your ice holes. Because cabin shelters typically set up like a tent, they can be less portable if you move around a lot.
If you like to change locations often to look for active fish, the Flip-Style Shelter is your best bet. It offers total angling mobility so that you can test out multiple spots during the day. This style is the most expensive of the three. However, Flip-Style Shelters are highly portable, and they set up and break down fast.
Flip Shelters also have their own sleds to house your gear. Once you decide on a location, you lock the sled poles into place and put the shelter over the top. Many Flip Shelters have additional features inside, such as padded seats and storage to keep your gear handy.
They are also the most sturdiest of all the shelters. At first glance, this may seem like a significant advantage. However, since they are both a sled and a shelter, they weigh more than the Hub and Cabin Styles. If you have an ATV or snowmobile to drag it, this may not be an issue, but if you’re walking through heavy snow, the weight of a Flip Shelter can be cumbersome.
Other Considerations For Finding The Best Ice Shelter
There are a few other factors to take into account if you’re trying to find an excellent ice shelter under $200. Before deciding on your final purchase, have a look at some of these additional considerations:
Fabric and Thermal Materials
Nearly all shelters are crafted from polyester or nylon fabrics. Typically, the durability and thickness of the material are measured in deniers, a unit of measurement for fibers and thread. The higher the denier, the more durable your structure will be. For example, a 300-denier fabric is highly durable and may resist tearing and ripping, whereas a 250-denier fabric will likely be less robust.
Keep in mind, however, that higher-denier fabric also weighs more. This means that your ice shelter is likely to be more cumbersome to transport.
Some shelters also contain thermal materials that help to seal out the cold and retain heat. Thermal materials can also add weight to your shelter. In harsh conditions, thermal layering can be a lifesaver, especially when the temperatures drop. However, if the climate is milder, you may want to forego the additional bulk.
Are you a long angler who prefers peace and quiet, or do you see ice fishing as a group activity? The answers to these questions will dictate the size of shelter you purchase. If you plan on bringing others along, be sure to buy a shelter that allows for plenty of elbow room and enough space for your guest’s extra equipment.
Let’s be real—most of your time spent ice fishing is sitting and waiting. Since you will be on your backside for most of the day, seating can quickly become an important issue. While many anglers are satisfied with a five-gallon bucket, a built-in padded seat is more comfortable by far. Consider this when you are deciding on the style of shelter you want to purchase. Some Flip-Style ice shelters even have padded seats with backrests!
There is a vast selection of ice fishing shelters under $200 available to those who want to brave the elements and take part in this growing pastime. In fact, there are so many options available that it can be hard to choose which one is right for you. By taking stock of your needs and carefully researching the selections above, you’re sure to find a shelter that will afford you and your friends and family hours of angling enjoyment.