For many anglers, ice fishing tents are essential. They help protect anglers from outside elements as they enjoy targeting fish through the ice. With a small heater and some warm clothes, the conditions within the tents can be pleasant on even the coldest days. There is, however, one place where the cold is always felt: the floor.
Ice fishing tents generally do not have floors. When purchased, they come with the pop-up tent shelter, but nothing that separates anglers from the cold ice. The lack of a floor makes the tent more portable and allows anglers to drill holes wherever they would like inside the shelter.
Despite the lack of built-in flooring, a variety of quick fixes can make ice fishing more comfortable.
Depending on who you ask, you’d probably hear different answers about whether or not floors in ice fishing tents are necessary.
There are several factors that could cause an angler to add a floor to their tent: long stints on the water, extreme temperatures, and expensive gear.
1. Benefits of a Floor
Most ice fishing tents are insulated, so the majority of the cold comes directly from the ice. A floor would help keep feet warm, add to the overall insulation and keep some of that gear off the ice.
The floor fully insulates the tent and gives the cold air less of a chance to make the tent uncomfortable. Plus, a floor will prevent people on the inside from slipping and injuring themselves.
As the interior of the tent’s temperature warms, the top layer of ice begins to melt, and the slush can be extremely slippery.
Some anglers are comfortable with no floor because their boots keep them comfortable, and they enjoy drilling holes in the ice and not having to worry about moving a floor to get to the perfect spot.
Plus, if you decide to move spots, you’ll have to pick up the floor, so you can quickly move the tent to a different location.
The ease of transporting an ice fishing tent is one of the best features; a floor can interrupt that.
At the end of the day, it’s a personal preference, but even the most simple floor can make a big difference in adding to the comfort of the experience.
Even the warmest boots begin to feel the cold after several hours on the water.
Depending on how handy you consider yourself to be, you can make the floor inside of your tent as simple or advanced as you would want.
Remember, whatever floor method you choose, you want to make sure it’s okay for it to get wet and it’s easy to transport.
1. Foam Floor Tiles
Foam floor tiles are one of the better choices for anglers looking to add a floor to their ice fishing setup. Foam tiles are light, easy to transport, and relatively affordable.
If purchasing these tiles, ensure the foam you purchase is EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) rated. The EVA rating ensures the tiles are waterproof and have heavier insulation.
A waterproof floor is essential. If the floor isn’t waterproof, it’ll soak up some of the water that melts.
Non-EVA-rated foam will quickly be ruined and become extremely heavy because it’ll soak up the water and deteriorate.
These tiles are also non-slip, so you can walk around without worry of slipping when inside of your ice fishing tent.
When purchasing these tiles, you’ll notice that they’re generally a 24-inch square. Plus, they’re able to connect with other tiles.
Measure the size of the floor inside your tent and make your determination. Make sure you leave room to drill holes in the tent’s corners.
A section in the middle of your tent to store your gear and sit on your chair is enough.
Transporting the tiles can be a bit of a headache because they may be too wide to fit in your sled. If you choose to use them, store them at the bottom of your sled.
Doing so will prevent them from blowing away while making your way to your spot.
2. Yoga Mats
Yoga mats are another excellent choice for ice fishing tent flooring. The best feature of these mats is that they can easily roll up and store away when they’re not in use.
Mostly, these mats are also made with EVA-rated foam, so they will resist water and prevent you from being overly cold or slipping.
Unlike foam mats, yoga mats are easy to cut to fit the exact space you need. Measure the size of the floor you want and cut accordingly.
You can purchase these mats in ¼ inch or ½ inch thickness. The ½ inch thickness will add more insulation to your tent for those exceptionally cold days.
3. Interlocking Rubber Tiles
If you want a true heavy-duty floor, the interlocking rubber tiles you would find in a weight room are a good choice. These tiles are heavy, with each one weighing between 5 and 10 pounds.
If you don’t have to travel a long way and want an incredibly durable floor, purchase these interlocking rubber tiles.
They have an EVA-rated foam on the bottom of the tile and thick rubber on the top half of it. This thick rubber adds even more insulation than a full foam tile would.
Again, these aren’t as light or efficient as full foam tiles, but they do keep you warmer than most other floor options.
4. Custom Floors from Ice Fishing Companies
Depending on the ice fishing tent you have purchased, certain companies make floors that they sell separately. These floors attach to the tent via the bottom of the tent and fully insulate the entire shelter.
The edges of the floor fold in towards the middle to allow anglers to drill holes along the interior edges. Only some companies make these floors for every single one of their tent models.
Plus, they’re going to be quite a bit more expensive than any of the other options mentioned on this list.
However, you can always keep them attached to the tent, so you don’t have to transport something separate when you’re setting up and tearing down your equipment.
What Not To Use for Flooring?
There are a few things anglers have used for flooring in their ice fishing shelter and they quickly realize why they aren’t great options.
Ease of transportation and waterproof technology are the two most important things.
Carpet is going to get extremely wet and eventually freeze. It can be even more dangerous than keeping the floor bare. Plus, it’s obnoxious to transport.
Wood is not always safe to use on ice and can be cumbersome when transporting. Wood can easily slip and slide on the ice, so avoid it if you can.
Ice fishing tents are meant to keep us comfortable as we work hard to catch fish in the winter.
Sadly, most companies don’t sell their tents with floors, so it’s up to the anglers to improvise and create a setup that works for us. Comfort is key when ice fishing.
Whether it’s a foam floor tile, rubber tile, or a yoga mat, do yourself a favor and make a floor for your tent. It will keep you and your gear safe and comfortable while you’re out on the water.