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      Design the ultimate backcountry ice house     

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CRL
senior member (61)senior membersenior member
 
01/08/2021 11:52PM  
I've used a hub style ice house for several years on local lakes because I no longer own a truck and don't have a snowmobile or 4-wheeler. But it just doesn't seem friendly for a BWCA ski trip. As a former winter instructor for Voyageur Outward Bound School, I've logged plenty of winter days in the BWCA. But as an instructor, I never felt I had the reserve to ice fish on course-- teaching students to winter camp, dog sled, route find, etc. safely, enjoyable, and efficiently was all consuming.

Now I am in a different season of life and look forward to eventually returning to winter tripping-- but with more of an ice fishing focus. I have searched unsuccessfully for an ice shelter that would be compatible with reasonably rapid set up, roomy enough for fishing comfortable, and packable enough for a pulk and full winter gear. If you could design your ultimate BWCA ice house, what comes to mind?
My gut sense is floorless, wood stove compatible, and perhaps hoop tent style (like a tall Hilleberg). It seems it should also be relatively quick to set up and be wind stable. I think with the right design it could be anchored with 4 ice climbing screws for anchors. Let's hear your thoughts...
 
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01/09/2021 08:37AM  
Here's a good chuckle, I don't care for ice fishing. Have participated in the activity and do enjoy winter camping so I had to do a search. First thing to pop up was something I consider viable for your description.
Eskimo Quick Fish Install a stovepipe sleeve and it looks just the ticket.

Well, it did get my attention!

butthead
 
Northwoodsman
distinguished member(1557)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/09/2021 10:29AM  
butthead, that looks perfect. Not too heavy or bulky. With the right equipment you could even sleep in it.
 
CRL
senior member (61)senior membersenior member
 
01/09/2021 11:56AM  
Yes, that's certainly along the right idea, and I have something similar. The tough part is that is almost an entire pulk by itself. I'm thinking something that would pack smaller. I might just be trying to reinvent the wheel though. Maybe a better question would be, anybody fish out of a Snowtrekker or CCS T Hexagon or T Octagon? If so, what did you think?
 
Minnesotian
distinguished member(1910)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/09/2021 12:31PM  

Yep, I have fished out of a Snowtrekker. And we spent a night in it too.

Pros: nothing like catching a fish on your line from your sleeping bag.

Cons: Water. We drilled 2 holes and set the tent up over them. It was good for awhile, but the stove caused a lot of melt of the ice. By the morning when we packed up, we had a small lake around the holes and under the stove. We had brought some plywood planks to cover the holes overnight, but that didn't prevent a lot of melt. None of our bags got wet that night, but had we stayed longer I think a catastrophe would have occurred. Also, the snow flaps of the tent got soaked and really froze to the lake ice. We had to chip it out which was tedious.

 
01/09/2021 12:48PM  
I am also not an ice fisher.

But would one of the Seek Outside lightweight hot tents potentially work?

Seek Outside
 
Campcraft
distinguished member (148)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/11/2021 08:52AM  
This is a Big Agnes Yahmonite 5 that I just converted. I added the snow skirt and the stove jack and sewed the peak vent shut.


 
CRL
senior member (61)senior membersenior member
 
01/11/2021 05:47PM  
Campcraft: "This is a Big Agnes Yahmonite 5 that I just converted. I added the snow skirt and the stove jack and sewed the peak vent shut.



"


This is the type of thing I'm thinking of. I have a friend that did a similar thing with a Megamid. My question on this type would be how to best place ice hole positions so you have enough space from the stove for people, ice hole, etc. and enough space from the sides for effective hook sets and comfortable seating. If you ice fish, how do you think your set up would work?
 
Campcraft
distinguished member (148)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/11/2021 09:48PM  
CRL: "Campcraft: "This is a Big Agnes Yahmonite 5 that I just converted. I added the snow skirt and the stove jack and sewed the peak vent shut.




"



This is the type of thing I'm thinking of. I have a friend that did a similar thing with a Megamid. My question on this type would be how to best place ice hole positions so you have enough space from the stove for people, ice hole, etc. and enough space from the sides for effective hook sets and comfortable seating. If you ice fish, how do you think your set up would work?"


It would not be the greatest for jigging due to limited headroom. Probably only good for one guy. I imagine myself sitting in there sipping whiskey while watching tip ups through the door. ??
 
CRL
senior member (61)senior membersenior member
 
01/12/2021 06:41AM  
Campcraft: "CRL: "Campcraft: "This is a Big Agnes Yahmonite 5 that I just converted. I added the snow skirt and the stove jack and sewed the peak vent shut.




"




This is the type of thing I'm thinking of. I have a friend that did a similar thing with a Megamid. My question on this type would be how to best place ice hole positions so you have enough space from the stove for people, ice hole, etc. and enough space from the sides for effective hook sets and comfortable seating. If you ice fish, how do you think your set up would work?"



It would not be the greatest for jigging due to limited headroom. Probably only good for one guy. I imagine myself sitting in there sipping whiskey while watching tip ups through the door. ??"

Yes, certainly good for tip ups!
 
CRL
senior member (61)senior membersenior member
 
01/12/2021 06:42AM  
sns: "I am also not an ice fisher.


But would one of the Seek Outside lightweight hot tents potentially work?


Seek Outside "

Thanks. I haven't ever used or seen one in person, but I bet it has potential. The Kifaru set ups may be feasible, too.
 
gopher2307
distinguished member (171)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/21/2021 09:23PM  
Minnesotian: "
Yep, I have fished out of a Snowtrekker. And we spent a night in it too.


Pros: nothing like catching a fish on your line from your sleeping bag.


Cons: Water. We drilled 2 holes and set the tent up over them. It was good for awhile, but the stove caused a lot of melt of the ice. By the morning when we packed up, we had a small lake around the holes and under the stove. We had brought some plywood planks to cover the holes overnight, but that didn't prevent a lot of melt. None of our bags got wet that night, but had we stayed longer I think a catastrophe would have occurred. Also, the snow flaps of the tent got soaked and really froze to the lake ice. We had to chip it out which was tedious.


"


I've been searching high and low for someone who tried this. darn near posted this as a Q tonight. Good topic. Planning my first winter trip in a month and figuring out if I could have fished inside the tent at night.

Your situation sounds like what I assumed would happen, but wasn't sure. Anyone try this with some sort of reflective material on the floor to bounce the heat upward?

Seems like the snow would melt either way in the hot tent, causing the melt and pooling you mention. Does the fish hole really contribute the water, or is that water inevitable? Been thinking of planning ahead for this by just sleeping on a cot elevated by 4 to 6 inches.
 
01/26/2021 12:20PM  
I winter camp in a Snowtrekker and usually set up on the lake, but near shore in a protected area to help avoid wind and slush. I've never really wanted to ice fish from it as its further from wood, and I would worry about slush forming due to the hole. I usually find that my water hole, drilled typically 75 yards from my tent, develops more and more slush around it every day that I camp in the same spot. So I have camped toward shore and ice fished out in the open.

I have definitely thought about a very lightweight shelter that I could use for ice fishing, or potentially as a fast shelter if I am traveling and dont want to take the time to set up my Snowtrekker (which is big). To make it fast and light, I was thinking of a one hoop type tent. It would be like two half cones sewn together at the base. Just insert the one pole to make the half circle, then stake down the two ends. If I wanted to go really fast, two climbing ice screws would eliminate the need to wait for snow to sinter.

This quick sketch sort of gets the idea across. Have not thought through the dimensions well, but if 6 feet is used for a height and distance from center to end, it would take just over 33 ounces of 1.1 oz silnylon, plus one long pole, hardware, optional stove jack. May give it a try for next year.

 
Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(13568)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
01/26/2021 04:29PM  
The one Butthead posted is a quality shelter and a solid choice. I have the Eskimo 949iG shelter. I really like it for 2-3 guys. Minnesotan shared his story of ice melting inside the shelter. This is a real problem. Last Saturday I was out for 8 hours and the inside of my shelter was glare ice and water. Whatever you decide on be sure you have an insulated shelter. It’s about 30% warmer than a non insulated one and it really cuts down on condensation inside.
 
CRL
senior member (61)senior membersenior member
 
01/26/2021 06:59PM  
 
CRL
senior member (61)senior membersenior member
 
01/26/2021 07:04PM  
Jaywalker: "I winter camp in a Snowtrekker and usually set up on the lake, but near shore in a protected area to help avoid wind and slush. I've never really wanted to ice fish from it as its further from wood, and I would worry about slush forming due to the hole. I usually find that my water hole, drilled typically 75 yards from my tent, develops more and more slush around it every day that I camp in the same spot. So I have camped toward shore and ice fished out in the open.


I have definitely thought about a very lightweight shelter that I could use for ice fishing, or potentially as a fast shelter if I am traveling and dont want to take the time to set up my Snowtrekker (which is big). To make it fast and light, I was thinking of a one hoop type tent. It would be like two half cones sewn together at the base. Just insert the one pole to make the half circle, then stake down the two ends. If I wanted to go really fast, two climbing ice screws would eliminate the need to wait for snow to sinter.


This quick sketch sort of gets the idea across. Have not thought through the dimensions well, but if 6 feet is used for a height and distance from center to end, it would take just over 33 ounces of 1.1 oz silnylon, plus one long pole, hardware, optional stove jack. May give it a try for next year.


"
Yes!! This is more along the idea that I am thinking of. Quick and packable. I get that it isn't as nice as a hub house, but it seems plausible and it is different than other solutions out there already. This might be worth fleshing out more. Thanks for your thoughts!
 
01/26/2021 09:27PM  
CRL: " Yes!! This is more along the idea that I am thinking of. Quick and packable. I get that it isn't as nice as a hub house, but it seems plausible and it is different than other solutions out there already. This might be worth fleshing out more. Thanks for your thoughts!"
One pre-COVID day I wandered a Gander Outdoors and marveled at the design of the Eskimo and other pop up ice houses. But from what I could see, the all weigh twice what my giant Snowtrekkertents weighs.

I definitely want to keep thinking this through. Last summer I did play around with some extra tent poles to figure out how the hoop might work, but did not press on. Maybe soon.
 
01/26/2021 09:37PM  
Oh, and one more idea, if needed half the cone could be doubled back to the other making half a cone. Would still need to stake the other side out, but would make a nice half shelter.
 
Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(13568)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
01/27/2021 11:11AM  
Jaywalker: "CRL: " Yes!! This is more along the idea that I am thinking of. Quick and packable. I get that it isn't as nice as a hub house, but it seems plausible and it is different than other solutions out there already. This might be worth fleshing out more. Thanks for your thoughts!"
One pre-COVID day I wandered a Gander Outdoors and marveled at the design of the Eskimo and other pop up ice houses. But from what I could see, the all weigh twice what my giant Snowtrekkertents weighs.


I definitely want to keep thinking this through. Last summer I did play around with some extra tent poles to figure out how the hoop might work, but did not press on. Maybe soon. "




How much does your giant snowtreckker tent weight if I may ask?
 
Northwoodsman
distinguished member(1557)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/27/2021 06:29PM  
You could always use the rain fly and pole set from your summer tent. The fly normally doesn't extend all the way to the ground, this would help so it doesn't freeze to the ice when the water forms. To keep the wind out build a small snow berm around the bottom, a foot or so back from the bottom. I would personally find a cheap tent and not risk damage to my favorite ones.
 
Arcola
distinguished member (283)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/27/2021 08:21PM  
I've designed and not built one yet that is two-side tripod, 6'x 1/2"fiberglass tubes, cut in half and socketed. The covering is syl nylon. I figure what I want is a wind break and mobility, light weight and packable. Anchoring is achieved by banking snow.
 
CRL
senior member (61)senior membersenior member
 
01/27/2021 09:56PM  
Glad to hear that there are some others here are thinking about this too. I think the hoop idea has the value of speed and simplicity. Aluminum poles would be durable. Oversized pole sleeves would be easy with mitts on. Ice climbing screw stake out is quick and solid.

How about two hoops about 7-8 feet apart that would form the "gable" ends--quounset (spelling?) hut style? The roof is a simple rectangle with pole sleeves. The gable ends would match the roughly semi circle shape formed by the hoops. For simplicity, one end is actually 2 pieces sewn along the hoop sleeve but split vertically on the center line and overlapped by about a foot to form a door that could be secured with ties. The other end is a semi circle sewn around the perimeter. This end has the stove jack. Snow flaps around the base. Set up would take 6 ice screws-- 1 at each corner at the base of the poles and 1 at each end. The end ice screws would be set along the center line about 8 ft out and would have 5 guy lines (top of hoop and 4 others evenly spaced out on hoop perimeter) that tie off to it. Material could be 1.1 silnylon. Does it check the boxes-- simple, quick set up, packable, lightweight, plenty of fishable room, decent headroom, and stable in a wind?
 
01/28/2021 11:28AM  
Savage Voyageur: "Jaywalker: "CRL: " Yes!! This is more along the idea that I am thinking of. Quick and packable. I get that it isn't as nice as a hub house, but it seems plausible and it is different than other solutions out there already. This might be worth fleshing out more. Thanks for your thoughts!"
One pre-COVID day I wandered a Gander Outdoors and marveled at the design of the Eskimo and other pop up ice houses. But from what I could see, the all weigh twice what my giant Snowtrekkertents weighs.

I definitely want to keep thinking this through. Last summer I did play around with some extra tent poles to figure out how the hoop might work, but did not press on. Maybe soon. "


How much does your giant snowtreckker tent weight if I may ask? "


I have the Basecamp 3+, which is 9 x 11.5 and weighs 26.8 lbs. Add on the medium stove at 21.9 lbs, and I come out just above 48 lbs. I love the extra space when I am camping close to my car, but its less than ideal for hauling deeper into the BWCA. Then I wish I had the Crew 8 x 10 and a smaller stove. I'd save about 14-15 lbs. The Eskimo's I referred to were not quite as big as my tent, but I seem to recall weighing about 50 lbs or so. I could be off on that a bit.
 
01/28/2021 11:35AM  
Northwoodsman: "You could always use the rain fly and pole set from your summer tent. The fly normally doesn't extend all the way to the ground, this would help so it doesn't freeze to the ice when the water forms. To keep the wind out build a small snow berm around the bottom, a foot or so back from the bottom. I would personally find a cheap tent and not risk damage to my favorite ones."

That is a really interesting idea that might work work really well for some. Unfortumately for me, my Nemo Losi poles clip into the "jakefeet" attached to my tent, though it might be possible to jerryrig something.
 
01/28/2021 11:37AM  
CRL: "Glad to hear that there are some others here are thinking about this too. I think the hoop idea has the value of speed and simplicity. Aluminum poles would be durable. Oversized pole sleeves would be easy with mitts on. Ice climbing screw stake out is quick and solid.


How about two hoops about 7-8 feet apart that would form the "gable" ends--quounset (spelling?) hut style? The roof is a simple rectangle with pole sleeves. The gable ends would match the roughly semi circle shape formed by the hoops. For simplicity, one end is actually 2 pieces sewn along the hoop sleeve but split vertically on the center line and overlapped by about a foot to form a door that could be secured with ties. The other end is a semi circle sewn around the perimeter. This end has the stove jack. Snow flaps around the base. Set up would take 6 ice screws-- 1 at each corner at the base of the poles and 1 at each end. The end ice screws would be set along the center line about 8 ft out and would have 5 guy lines (top of hoop and 4 others evenly spaced out on hoop perimeter) that tie off to it. Material could be 1.1 silnylon. Does it check the boxes-- simple, quick set up, packable, lightweight, plenty of fishable room, decent headroom, and stable in a wind?"


This would certainly improve the usable space inside! Flat ends would make it more prone to wind issues than something of a conical end, but I'm guessing it would be manageable. I did think about adding a second hoop - either the same or slightly smaller to improve interior usable room. The quick model I posted above suffers from an excess of unusable space inside.
 
SurlyDude
member (48)member
 
01/30/2021 10:02AM  
I have been trying to find a good solution for this as well. I have an eskimo quickfish 2, which I think I am going to try and add a stove jack. I think most eskimos have the velcro removable windows, so my plan is to make the stove jack that size with velcro and have the pipe go out the window. The quickfish 2 is pretty small but I think for solo it will work well and 2 could make it work. It only weighs 20# with ice screws and is really easy to setup. Way too small to sleep in - but not my intention to do that. On group trips we have brought these same pop-ups and they work great but buddy heaters and the propane is just so bulky.
 
BrianDay
member (34)member
 
02/05/2021 08:13AM  
CRL: "sns: "But would one of the Seek Outside lightweight hot tents potentially work?

Seek Outside "

Thanks. I haven't ever used or seen one in person, but I bet it has potential. The Kifaru set ups may be feasible, too."


Hey CRL!

Thanks for the heads up on this thread. Looks like lots of good ideas flying around.

I have a Kifaru 4-man tipi (they no longer make this size) and a Megamid that I put a stove jack in.






!$/a


Link to the DIY project on the stove jack is here:

DIY Hot Tent

A few thoughts on this setup.

First, I do think the Megamid is too small for fishing. Definitely not much room for jigging. Especially with the stove installed.

The Kifaru tipi is bigger, but requires a bunch of stakes to set up. The oval shape isn't as fast to set and would be a hassle on the ice. I expect the Seek Outside tents would have similar issues. Lots of ice spikes.

I do think the Megamid would do decent duty as a shelter for two guys watching tip-ups. You can open up the front of it completely and the little stove blasts out some serious heat.

Seeing what other folks have done I'm very tempted to add some snow flaps to the 'Mid. It pitches up off the ground a bit. Flaps would seal it off nicely and make setup even easier. Gotta get that sewing machine back up and running!

See ya around the forum!

 
02/14/2021 07:25AM  
How about this discount tent?

TZ
 
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