Are Ice Fishing Tents Insulated? | Plus Ways To Stay Warm

Ice fishing is a cold sport- the name gives it away. Staying warm while fishing can be difficult, and nothing will help as much as an ice fishing tent. To remain as warm as possible, you’re probably wondering if ice fishing tents come with insulation.

Not all ice fishing tents have insulation in their ceilings and walls, but it is easy to find tents of either variety. Choosing a tent with insulation will be warmer, with the trade-off of it being heavier and more expensive, while uninsulated tents will be lighter but worse for cold weather.

If you’re interested in how ice fishing tents are insulated and other factors that go into keeping you warm ice fishing, keep on reading.

How Well Are Ice Fishing Tents Insulated?

Ice fishing tents from different manufacturers and at various price points will offer different amounts of insulation.

There are many different insulation levels, but even the most basic ice fishing tent will provide you with at least some insulation.

1. Will An Ice Fishing Tent Keep Me Warm?

Ice fishing tents offer much more warmth than if you were sitting outside, especially if there is wind when ice fishing tents serve as a windbreak.

In terms of how warm you feel, wind chill can play a massive part in how the temperature feels. Ice fishing tents, even those without insulation, will help trap heat and keep you a bit warmer.

As long as the tent you use has a solid roof and four walls, you will be much better off than you would be without it. However, most ice fishing tents are specifically designed for this purpose.

Most ice fishing tents will have additional insulation and ventilation that allows you to run a heater if it is below freezing.

Extra heat is not always needed; combining body heat and insulation will keep you reasonably warm.

While ice fishing tents will keep you relatively warm, it is still essential to wear the proper clothing for the occasion.

Dressing in plenty of warm layers will allow you to remove and add layers as needed to stay warm.

Will An Ice Fishing Tent Keep Me Warm

2. What Ice Fishing Tents Are Going To Be The Warmest?

Ice fishing tents will use a few different ways to market their insulation, including a posted R-value or the number of grams of insulation per meter.

For both of these measurements, the higher the value, the better. A tent with an R-value of at least 3 will help keep you warm, and a value of 5 will do a great job of keeping you warm.

When considering insulation quantities, you should choose at least 50 grams per square meter, with 90 grams close to the spectrum’s top.

Of course, the amount of insulation is not the only reason an ice fishing tent will keep you warm. Perhaps the most essential feature for providing proper insulation is the addition of a floor.

Most of the heat will still be absorbed through the ice once the ice fishing shelter is set up. The more ice there is exposed, the more heat it will absorb.

For best results when choosing an ice fishing tent, choose one with insulation and some flooring.

Having the extra help from insulation and flooring will separate the warm air of the tent from the cold weather and ice and help retain heat.

The other thing to note when figuring out how much an ice fishing shelter will insulate you is that warmer tents will be heavier and bulkier.

Pop-up ice fishing tents with insulation will be much heavier than their non-insulated counterparts and can become quite a burden to transport and set up.

Flip-over tents, a tent that serves as both a sled and an easy-to-flip-over-and-use option, are a great choice to bring a heavily insulated tent.

These tents do not require unpacking and setting like up other shelters, making them easier to use if you are solo.

Not all flip-over tents will have a built-in floor to use, but many removable and after-market options are available that can be easily implemented and keep you warm.

3. Other Ways To Stay Warm When Ice Fishing

An insulated ice fishing tent will help keep you warm, but you might want more than just the tent to keep you warm. Thankfully, there are plenty of other options available to keep you warm.

A portable heater powered by propane is one of the most common options for extra warmth.

With open ventilation in your tent, these are safe to use inside, but you should still make sure to have a carbon monoxide detector, just in case.

Heaters will work well in insulated and uninsulated tents, but you’ll save on propane in an insulated tent.

Heaters are bulky and more expensive than other options, but they are the best way to stay warm while ice fishing and can be worth the hassle.

Clothing will also play a big part, so be sure to layer adequately based on the weather. Several lighter layers will typically be better than one thick layer, allowing you to adjust as needed.

Hand and boot warmers are also great options for keeping your extremities warm. Stuffing a pair into your boots will go a long way in keeping your toes extra toasty.

The final tip to staying warm while ice fishing is to wear a warm hat or keep one nearby.

During cold weather, a surprising amount of heat escapes through your head, so wearing a hat will help mitigate that loss.

Other Ways To Stay Warm When Ice Fishing

4. Can I Spend The Night In An Ice Fishing Tent?

With the weekend off, or maybe some vacation time during the week, you might be interested in sleeping out on the ice to maximize fishing time.

You’ll probably wonder if you can stay in the ice fishing tent all night. The answer is yes; you can sleep in your ice fishing tent, provided you bring plenty of food, water, and a warm sleeping bag.

Some other comforts will help keep you warm as well.

If you plan on sleeping in an ice fishing tent, I strongly recommend having a warm winter sleeping bag and another heat source, such as a portable heater.

Nothing is worse than waking up freezing in the middle of the night, which can lead to a lousy fishing trip.

A carbon monoxide detector is even more critical if you are running your heater while sleeping because you won’t be awake to notice any effects of carbon monoxide poisoning.

A CO detector will wake you up and keep you safe, even though the risk of using a heater is reasonably low.

You’ll also want to check local laws and regulations to be sure that overnight camping is allowed, as some places are day-use only.


Ice fishing tents will always provide at least a small amount of insulation, but some tents are better insulated than others. Insulated walls are a big part of the shelter’s overall insulation, as is having a floor.

When deciding what ice fishing tent to purchase, choosing one with insulation will be heavier and more expensive than one without, but it will keep you much warmer.

However, even if you have an uninsulated tent, you can use a portable heater and appropriate clothing to stay warm the whole trip.

Shailen Vandeyar

A proud Indian origin Kiwi who loves to plant trees and play with my pet bunny when not freshwater fishing in the nearest creek or enjoying saltwater fishing by taking boats far in the ocean.

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