Fishing in the winter is very popular in colder countries. And ice fishing huts (or ice shanties, ice shelters) go hand-in-hand with this activity. They provide many utilities but their main purpose is to protect you from the harsh environment. So, you may be wondering, are these huts heated on the inside to protect you from the cold?
Ice fishing huts are heated from the inside through the use of heaters. These portable heaters are made specifically for ice shelters. Additionally, these huts are crafted from fabric that acts as an insulator and prevents heat loss. So, the inside of the hut remains hospitable for ice anglers.
In this article, we are going to dive deeper into the topic of how ice fishing houses work. We will also be reviewing ice fishing heaters and how to use them safely.
Read along till the end where we will be listing the best ice fishing heaters available on the market as well. So, let’s begin.
What Are Ice Fishing Huts?
An ice fishing hut is a tent-like structure that anglers use to fish in the winter. The size and shape vary widely across different regions and manufacturers. They provide temporary shelter on the frozen lake and keep you warm.
They also go by different names in various parts of the world. Ice shanties, ice shelters, ice shacks, sheds, etc. are some of the variations of this concept. But the concept is the same.
People make these shelters from many different materials. Early shelters had a structure made from timber with a sheet of fabric covering it. Modern huts have an aluminum frame and the fabric is much more advanced.
Some huts are small, compact, and foldable. So, you can readily set up your base wherever you feel like it. These are super convenient for people who are constantly on the move for their next catch. These structures are usually suitable for a couple of people at a time.
On the other hand, there are large, elaborate houses that you have to tow, or they are permanently fixed in a secure location. These structures can house more than six or seven people easily. Moreover, these provide much more than shelter. They have other facilities such as a kitchen, a toilet, adequate lighting, heating, etc.
How Do Ice Fishing Houses Work?
The main role of these houses is to provide protection from the cold, harsh condition of winter. So, they are made to be sturdy enough to withstand any rough wind or storm. They also must have properties that prevent them from becoming frozen in the snow.
This is why modern ice shanties are constructed from aluminum. Because it is a durable material that is not susceptible to freezing temperatures. So, you do not need to worry about being stuck in the snow.
These houses are adept at keeping the heat inside so that you do not get cold. First of all, the canvas is typically made of nylon, Oxford, or any other fabric that is highly effective in preventing heat loss. This canvas not only acts as a thermal insulator but also provides an extra layer of durability.
Most anglers also carry a portable heater with them when they venture into the ice. This heater is small yet very efficient in keeping the inside of the house warm. They provide the source of heat and the canvas maintains that temperature.
Smaller, foldable ice shelters have a zipper that you can open and close. This serves as the gateway for your house. Larger, more expensive houses have a door that shuts from the inside. Of course, manufacturers make sure that the door does not get jammed by the ice.
Another benefit these huts offer is the ability to store your fishing gear and rigs. You do not need to carry extra luggage or a storage compartment. You can simply keep it all in the hut and bring out whatever you need at your convenience.
The more elaborate huts offer significantly more amenities. You can set up a kitchen, you can bring a television set, and pretty much all of your fishing equipment. Although the problem with these houses is their mobility. They are stationary and you will require towing to get them to the place you desire.
Are Ice Fishing Heaters Safe?
Heaters are a common companion for a lot of ice anglers. But these machines also raise concerns as to how safe they truly are.
Rest assured, these heaters are perfectly safe and suitable for any type of ice shelter. However, you do have to utilize them properly or you will end up in an accident. And an accident inside any ice hut while out in the winter is a nightmare scenario.
There are two types of heaters commonly used out on the ice-
Propane heaters are much more common as they are easier to use. The risk with these heaters is the resulting emission of carbon monoxide (CO). This is a by-product of burning fossil fuels. If CO gets into your bloodstream, it can cause severe headaches, hypoxia, etc. all of which can prove fatal.
Electrical heaters are rarer due to their high maintenance. You need to carry a generator if it is an AC heater. And battery-powered heaters are not practical as heaters consume so much energy. The risk here is in the use of electricity while you are surrounded by water. One simple mistake and you might end up electrocuted.
How To Use Heaters Safely?
As I mentioned, most anglers carry a propane heater with them. Now, when you buy one for yourself, check to see if it is suitable for indoor use. Consult with the supplier if needed. Many heaters are not recommended for this activity. So, you have to make sure the heater you buy is perfectly safe when used indoors.
Additionally, you must ensure that your shelter has proper ventilation. This will prevent any CO from forming and will allow the passage of oxygen. After all, oxygen is needed for your breathing and for running the heater.
Many modern heaters have a built-in oxygen sensor. They can read the oxygen level inside the hut and automatically switch it off if it is too low. Thus, reducing the risk of CO build-up. So, we highly recommend you select a product that offers this facility.
Even with all these mechanisms, accidents can still happen. So, if you feel like you are having problems with breathing or a headache, immediately seek fresh air. we suggest you turn the heater off and go to an area with better ventilation.
If you do use an electrical heater, then always be careful to not get it wet. Keep it dry at all times. When you expect to come into contact with water, turn off the heater and place it somewhere that the water will not reach.
Best Ice Fishing Heaters
The perfect ice fishing heaters are the ones suitable for indoor use. They have safety mechanisms installed that reduce the risk of any potential accident. So, here are our top three recommendations:
1. Mr. Heater Big Buddy
Mr. Heater has been dominating the ice shack heater for some time now. And the Big Buddy is one of their best models yet.
The Big Buddy is a powerful and safe indoor heater that is also very durable. At 18,000 BTU this model can comfortably heat 400 square feet. It comes with an oxygen sensor and anti-tip mechanism. So, if the oxygen inside your shelter is too low or if you accidentally knock the heater, it will automatically turn off.
This model is suitable for larger ice huts that are permanent. The weight of this heater is not easy to constantly move around with.
2. Mr. Heater Portable Buddy
If you want a Mr. Heater product that you can easily carry, the Portable Buddy is sure to satisfy your demand. At 10.6 lbs., this model is perfect for anglers who are constantly on the move.
Of course, it has less power than the Big Buddy with 9,000 BTU. But that is more than enough to keep any foldable ice hut warm. Again, this model also has oxygen and anti-tip sensors.
3. Fochea Personal Portable Ceramic Heater
The highly versatile and multi-functional Fochea ceramic heater offers great value for money. Its design is sleek, compact, and super easy to carry around.
It comes with multiple built-in safety features. The heater will automatically turn off if it becomes overheated or is tipped over. It also has a thermostat that measures the temperature of the surrounding area. So, it is designed to save money and energy.
Ice fishing can be highly enjoyable and rewarding if you have the right tools for it. A suitable ice hut and a proper heater will be two of your best friends in this venture. Hopefully, with the information provided here, you will be prepared to take on the winter.