What Is A Flip Over Ice Fishing Shelter? | Features, Benefits

With ice fishing growing in popularity, ice shelters protecting anglers from snow, wind, rain, and sunlight while keeping them warm are a popular topic of discussion.

One of the more popular models is the flip-over ice fishing shelter, a tent that can be pulled over a toboggan or tub, usually about 20 ft.² and fits up to 2 anglers. The tub or toboggan is situated next to the ice fishing hole, and the tent shelters the angler, hole, and tub from the elements.

However, there is more to flip-over than that. This article covers what a flip-over ice fishing shelter is, when and why you should use it, the different kinds, and more.

What Is A Flip-Over Ice Fishing Shelter?

A flip-over Ice shelter is a one to two-person tent-like structure that can be flipped over the top of a tub, or toboggan. Anglers will usually sit in chairs while ice fishing.

It provides cover from the elements and insulation for anglers on the ice.

This type of ice fishing shelter can be pulled directly over the top of anglers in one fluid motion, making it easy to set up and break down.

This shelter is usually situated directly over the fishing hole, protecting the hole in the ice, angler, and tackle from the elements.

This configuration allows anglers to sit on chairs or buckets in the tub or toboggan and fish over the hole while staying insulated and sheltered from the wind and rain.

1. They Provide Mobility

This model is a favorite of anglers who move around a lake or river, targeting different fishing holes as it doesn’t require a tie down or straps, attaching directly to the sled or tub.

Another perk of this model is that it is easy to set up for fishermen alone on the water.

This type of ice fishing shelter is limited in space, designed to accommodate two anglers and a small amount of gear directly over a fishing hole.

Anglers will find it challenging to use popular ice fishing equipment such as hook setters or flashers if more than one angler is inside the flip-over shelter.

They Provide Mobility

2. Price

Often ranging in price from $79 to well over $1200, flip-overs can be bare-bones fabric and tent pole structures or heavily insulated, waterproof fabric, free-standing structures, depending on price.

Why Do You Need a Flip-Over Ice Fishing Shelter?

A common question for people looking to get into ice fishing is, why purchase an ice fishing shelter? Flip-overs are incredibly helpful out on the ice for several reasons.

1. Shelter from the Sun

Even though the weather is frigid during ice fishing season, the effects of the sun are still a significant factor.

From sunburn to reflecting off every piece of snow and ice on the water, causing glare, it’s essential to take precautions with the sun.

An ice fishing shelter like the flip-over model helps mitigate glare and sunburn by providing shelter and shade for anglers on the water.

Shelter from the Sun

2. Shelter from the Wind

The wind can be one of the most detrimental factors for any ice fisherman due to its ability to tangle lines, stir up the water, and blow away gear.

Instead, the flip-over ice fishing shelter protects anglers from the wind and stays secured in one spot via the tub or toboggan seated against the ice.

3. Shelter from the Rain and Snow

Rain and snow are weather patterns that many ice anglers will face during their time on the water.

Instead of bringing an umbrella or waiting for better weather, anglers can flip over their shelter and stop worrying about snow or rain wetting the gear themselves or disturbing the fishing hole.

If not correctly cared for and dried out, these shelters can mildew or rot from mold, damaging the integrity of the seals and outer layers.

Proper cleaning and maintenance can prevent leaks and tears in the shelter, so take good care of your shelter on and off the ice.

4. Insulation

The cold is one of the most significant factors anglers face while on the water. A good flip-over ice fishing shelter provides anglers with insulation from the chilly weather, allowing them to focus on the fish.

In case your current ice shelter isn’t insulated, you can do it easily after following my article on ways to insulate an ice fishing shelter.

Depending on the price range, the insulation in a flip-over ice fishing shelter may range from a few millimeters of waterproof fabric to thick polymer or vinyl lining.

But the question arises, do you really need insulated ice fishing tents and shell extra money? Do check out my article discussing the need of an insulated ice fishing tent.

When purchasing one of these shelters, it’s important to know the temperatures and conditions you will face out on the water to help you make an informed decision on how much insulation you need.


What Makes A Good Flip-Over Ice Fishing Shelter?

A good flip-over ice fishing shelter should have several key things:

  • A sturdy aluminum frame that can withstand wind and hold the fabric against snowfall.
  • Water-repellent exterior fabric to shed snow and rain.
  • Fabric that insulates the interior of the shelter, keeping anglers semi-protected from the outside weather.
  • A durable bottom toboggan or tub that can hold up to two anglers.
  • A lightweight frame and fabric to make it more easily transportable on and off the water.

Less important components include windows, ventilation, storage pouches, and even sleeves where anglers can place gear tackle while fishing.

Other Kinds Of Ice Fishing Shelters

There are several other kinds of ice fishing shelters commonly used by anglers. For the most part, the two structures are ice houses and pop-up ice shelters.

Ice houses are free-standing buildings usually constructed out of polyethylene that can be drug onto the ice via a sled and set directly over the fishing hole.

Well insulated, these structures are much heavier than pop-ups or flip-overs and are single structures, meaning they are more challenging to transport or change fishing locations.

The upside to these structures is they are usually larger and have better insulation for anglers inside.

The pop-ups are similar to flip-overs in their lightweight, easy-to-set-up or tear-down design, but instead of being pulled over a toboggan or tub, they have aluminum poles and tie-downs.

The upside to these structures is that they are usually more extensive and spacious, accommodating more anglers, gear, and wider fishing holes while being more mobile than ice houses.

The downside is that they take time to set up and are less mobile than flip-overs.


Ice fishing is an increasingly popular method of angling as more and more fishermen look for ways to hit the water during the cooler months.

Flip-overs keep anglers warm and out of the elements without leaving the water, making them an essential piece to any fishermen’s gear.

They are lightweight, portable and easily set up shelters that anglers can transport to and from the water or new fishing holes with great ease.

It uses a sled or tub to hold the shelter in place so that anglers can stay high, dry, and relatively warm out on the water.

Before hitting the frozen water this year, make sure to purchase an ice fishing shelter that is right for you. As always, good luck, and stay safe out on the water.

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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