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Ice fishing is a way to experience fishing all year round, but the harshness of the environment offers some challenges to us hardcore anglers! Ice fishing is like climbing into an icebox and sitting for hours with a line dangling through a hole in the ice.
A floor in your ice shelter goes a long way to adding some creature comfort to ice fishing, but which quick and easy flooring options are best?
Ice fishing shelter floors can increase your comfort level exponentially. If you have a commercial shelter, the manufacturer’s best option is a floor made for your shelter. Alternatively, you can make your floor using EVA foam tiles, rubber floor tiles, composite deck tiles, or yoga mats.
Putting a shelter up for ice fishing get you out of the wind, but you still have the ice at your feet, chilling the inside of your shelter. The cold starts to creep up through your boots, making your feet cold and uncomfortable.
Using a floor will help to reduce the cold and keep your feet warm and dry. Here are some ideas for ice fishing shelter floors to help you be more comfortable on the ice.
Why A Floor Is A Good idea For Ice Fishing
Ice fishing is by its very nature a cold activity! You are sitting on a big block of ice and not moving you’re body very much.
The lack of movement to keep you warm and the chilling effects of the ice can cause you to become very cold in the hours you spend in your ice fishing shelter.
There are many benefits to incorporating a floor in your ice shelter.
- Keeps the cold out and the heat in. An insulating floor will help to keep the cold from the ice out of the shelter and keep any heat you generate inside the shelter. This will increase the overall ambient temperature in the shelter and increase your comfort level.
- The floor keeps your feet warm and dry. The top layer of ice on the floor inside your ice fishing shelter can begin to melt from the relative warmth inside the shelter. A floor in your ice fishing shelter will keep your feet off the cold ice and keep them dry.
- Prevents slipping on the ice. Ice is slippery, and even the best boots can still feel like walking on glass, especially if the top layer of ice starts to melt. A floor in the ice shelter provides safer, non-slip footing inside the shelter. No worries about slipping and falling into your propane heater!
When you are looking for suitable flooring for ice fishing, the floor should offer the following benefits.
- Provide good insulation. The flooring material should keep cold out and warmth inside and minimize the heat loss to the ice below.
- Lightweight material. The floor should be lightweight for easy transportation and carrying out onto the ice.
- Openings for access to the ice. The floor should provide easy access to the ice. After all, that’s the reason you are out here!
- Easy installation and removal. The installation and removal of the floor must be quick and easy. There is no point in using a floor that will take too long to set up. You will use it once and then consider it to be too much trouble to use again!
What Type Of Ice Shelter Do You Have?
The type of ice shelter you have for ice fishing will to some degree, influence the type of flooring that will work the best.
Many commercial ice fishing shelters are sold without floors because some anglers prefer this configuration. Most manufacturers of ice shelters, such as Clam Outdoors, manufacture insulating floors for their shelters that attach to the shelter with Velcro.
These specially designed floors are made from an insulating material, including flaps built into the floor that can open to reveal the ice below for fishing.
These floors are quick to install, and once installed, you can leave them attached to the shelter when it is time to pack up and leave the ice.
Comparing insulated vs non-insulated tents so you know what to expect from your tent when fishing on the ice.
If you plan on sleeping on the ice overnight having an insulated floor and tent will make the night comfortable for you!
Quick And Easy Floors For Ice Fishing Shelters
If you have an ice fishing shelter without a floor, and you are not in a position to purchase a commercial floor, other options work well as an alternative.
Below are four ideas for you to use as quick and easy floors for your ice fishing shelter.
EVA Foam Interlocking Tiles
EVA foam is a high-density foam made from plastic material that has good insulation and cushioning properties. The material is waterproof and provides a sound barrier between your feet and the ice.
The surface is non-slip, and the interlocking edges allow you to customize the size of the floor to match the size of your shelter.
The interlocking mechanism of the EVA foam tiles from Amazon above makes it quick and easy to lay the floor before you erect the shelter and open tiles on the inside where you want the ice hole located to do your fishing.
These tiles generally come in a 24-inch square format which consequently, won’t require many tiles to cover the floor area of your ice shelter.
Interlocking Rubber Floor Tiles
Rubber is well known as an insulator from the cold, and these rubber floor tiles perform well as an alternative flooring for your ice shelter.
Most of these interlocking rubber floor tiles from Amazon are not made solely from rubber but rather a combination of EVA on the bottom and a rubber layer on the top surface.
This gives a double layer of insulation from the cold and makes the tiles waterproof. The upper rubber layer provides a non-slip surface ideal for ice fishing.
The rubber can handle the weight of fishing gear without ripping, tearing, or leaving permanent indentations in the flooring.
Composite Patio Deck Tiles
Plastic composite deck tiles are another excellent option for a floor in your ice shelter. The plastic composite material offers good protection from the cold and gets your feet off the ice.
The insulating properties are not as good as the foam or rubber mats, but the surface is firmer, which some anglers may prefer.
Due to their rigidity, the Amazon composite patio deck tiles are a little more cumbersome than the rubber or foam options, but they are still lightweight and easy to transport.
These tiles fit together with a click-to-fit mechanism, making them easy to put together and remove without the need for any tools.
Yoga Mats As Flooring For An Ice Shelter
Yoga mats are not all the same, so you need to pick the type of mat carefully if you choose this option. Yoga mats made from a high-density foam that is at least ½-inch thick are your best option.
Most of your mainstream discount or sporting goods stores will carry a high-quality yoga mat you can purchase locally.
These high-density foam mats are easy to roll out and place your ice shelter over the top. Depending on the size of your shelter, 3 or 4 of these mats could easily cover the floor surface area.
The high-density foam is an excellent insulator to keep the warmth in and the cold out and keep your feet warm and dry.
On the inside, fold the yoga mat section up to open the ice fishing hole space. These mats are easy to layout and easy to pack up when it is time to leave. They could even double as yoga mats when at home when you are not fishing!
A floor for your ice shelter is a good solution to get the most out of ice fishing and make it more comfortable out on the ice.
Some anglers use wood pallets, but they are heavy and cumbersome to transport, and you need to take them away when you are done fishing.
Simpler options that are lighter, easier to use, and provide better insulation, such as the options I have suggested, are preferable to using pallets!
Plan for your next ice fishing trip and try out some of these options for a more comfortable ice fishing experience. If you didn’t plan ahead, steal your wife’s yoga mat and try it out as a floor for your ice shelter! What’s the worst that could happen?
Definitely take a look at waterproofing your ice fishing tent too! Waterproofing can make a huge difference in the moisture that develops in your tent.
Have fun and stay safe out there!