A pop-up fishing tent can add comfort to your trip and help you stay warm while ice fishing. An Ice shanty can provide shelter for you to fish in on cold days with high winds. Or, you can even use it as cover to gather under while socializing with friends. However, when it comes time to select one, you’ll have to make one major decision: choosing between an insulated vs non-insulated ice fishing shelter.

So, to aid you in your decision-making process, we put together this guide to help you find the best option for your needs.

Insulated Ice Fishing Shelter

The Frabill insulated ice fishing shelter on an icy lake with the sun setting in the background.

Image Credit: Frabill on Amazon

An insulated shelter can protect you from harsh weather conditions. The interior of these types of ice tents is insulated with a robust, heat-retaining fabric. This insulating fabric works as a barrier to trap heat inside your shanty. Therefore, making it self-heating and eliminating the need for a space heater.

Also, quality ice fishing shelters are wind, snow, and waterproof. They can even block out sunlight, reducing your risk of snowblindness. Some also feature a black interior coating so that you can use it as a portable dark house for ice spearing.

While there are many benefits to having an insulated ice fishing shelter, there are also a few drawbacks. One downside is, the insulation material used in these shelters can be quite costly. So, keep that in mind if you have a tight budget to spend on a new ice shanty.

Another negative about insulated tents is that they’re usually heavy and bulky. Their large size can be a significant disadvantage if you often travel on foot for long distances across the ice.

Pros and Cons of an Insulated Ice Shanty


  • Self-heating
  • Wind, snow, and waterproof
  • Blocks out light


  • More expensive
  • Heavier
  • Larger pack-down size

Recommended Insulated Ice Fishing Shelter

    Frabill Bro Series Hub

Frabill Bro Series insulated Ice Fishing Shelter against a white background.
    With 44.5 fishable square feet, this 3-person Frabill insulated ice fishing hub is comfortable, spacious, and will keep you protected from the elements.

Frabill is a well-known and trusted brand amongst anglers. They design their products for anglers and know what features make a quality ice shanty. The insulation on this shelter includes a thick 600D polyester top and walls and a 900D polyester skirt. The fabric and the ice anchors on this tent are durable, capable of withstanding extreme weather conditions.

Furthermore, this Frabill shelter is simple to set up, so you can spend more time fishing. Lastly, this hut is notably roomy. For example, when set up, the dimensions on this tent are 80”x 80” x80”. Now, that’s a lot of space for gear, cots, and your favorite fishing buddy.

Non-Insulated Ice Fishing Shelter

The Eskimo Quickfish3 non-insulated ice fishing shelter set up on top of snow.

Image Credit: Eskimo on Amazon

However, if an insulated ice fishing shelter isn’t within your budget or you don’t need a self-heating tent, consider getting a non-insulated one. Non-insulated hubs may not retain heat as well, but they can still offer you protection from rain, wind, and snow. Also, the material on a non-insulated shelter is way lighter, making it a breeze to pack and carry out.

You can even use a portable space heater inside your non-insulated tent to make it warm and cozy to fish in. However, since these shelters don’t regulate heat as well as an insulated model, you risk the chance of overheating. So, make sure to unzip a few windows while running your space heater to ventilate the inside properly. Having adequate ventilation will also help prevent condensation from building up.

Pros and Cons of a Non-Insulated Ice tent


  • More affordable
  • Provides cover from rain, wind, and snow
  • Easier to transport


  • It doesn’t retain-heat efficiently
  • Not as durable
  • Condensation could form inside

Recommended Non-Insulated Ice Fishing Shelter

    Eskimo Quickfish 3

The Eskimo Quickfish 3 Ice Fishing Shelter against a white background.
    The Eskimo Quickfish 3 features a quick 60-second set-up time and removable vinyl windows. Its dense fabric gives you protection from the wind and snow.

Eskimo makes excellent starter ice fishing gear, and their quality shelters are proof of that. Their 3-person ice shanty is wind and water-resistant, composed of 300D Icetight fabric. The pop-up metal hubs on the shelter make it simple to set up, and tear down is just as easy. Then, when it comes time to pack up, it fits into a sleek carrying bag, making it portable and painless to store.

Insulated vs Non-Insulated Ice Fishing Shelter: Our Pick

While a non-insulated ice shanty is sufficient, it certainly doesn’t beat the comfort of an insulated one. An insulated shelter’s efficient heat-retention abilities and protection from harsh weather conditions make it a more versatile choice. Whether you’re camping overnight in it or need somewhere to hole up in cold weather: insulated is the way to go.

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