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Cove

Maybe "thermal" ice shelter roofs / walls are worth something

18 posts in this topic

I have been a fair weather ice fisherman in recent years; 20's and 30's mostly.  Today I went ice fishing when ambient temp ~ 6 degrees.  I have my old trusty Ice Cube 4 Man which is 81 inches high and 91 X 91 inches for walls.  Nice and big...and cold!  I could not get it nice and warm despite running my Mr. Buddy, 9000 BTU at max.  

I wondered to myself how much different I would have been in the Clam Legend XL Thermal.  Oh, I know, I would be heating less cubic feet of space and yes, I may be trying to rationalize a purchase, but I do want input on whether the various "thermal" walls or ceilings add more than just weight; weight that a 66 yo man would rather not be dragging around the lake.

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I have a Canvas Craft 4' x 8' suitcase style thermal house and I have fished in a long sleeve shirt at -8 with a light wind. I use a Portable Buddy heater that has a maximum 9,000 BTU. Don't know how CC's thermal compares to Clam; I'm quite sure the floor in the CC is a big advantage though, which is why I bought it. The down side of the CC suitcase is the weight, 85#; I'm coming up on 67 and that house gets harder to move around each season. The HUGE advantage of the thermals IMHO is the lack of condensation. 

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Thermal is the way to go. As noted above, no water dripping off the walls and ceiling = lots dryer warmth. No "clammy" feeling. You can always go out to the big box store and buy some Reflectix panels to add to the roof and sides, too.

Edited by RebelSS

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Once you fish out of a Thermal, you'll wonder why you never made the switch sooner.

Along with being able to heat easier, it is also more even. No more cold back, hot front. I wouldn't go back.

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I'm to frugal to pay the $ they want for the thermals, so for years I've carried an old quilt with me to put over my clam voyager. King size works the best and is easily fastened to the house with a couple squeeze clamps. When it is extremely cold, it works wonders.  This past weekend on Bemidji, I stayed nice and toasty. Taz

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When my 10 year old Otter wears out I will get a thermal but until then I do what Rebel said and that is use Reflectix.  The stuff work great.

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Hey, thanks for the comments.  Keep them coming.  I just asked my wife about quilts that might relegate to ice fishing.  I looked up the Reflectix.  A quick search brought me to Home Depot.  My pop up presents a puzzle for how to attach either quilt or, in the case of Reflectix, how to attach the radiant barrier to the inside of my pop up. I imagine I would get the Reflectix product that is attached to some depth of bubble rap so it would in essence act as a quilt as well as radiant loss barrier.  It is pretty inexpensive so I could see trying some and tucking it in between spokes on my pop up.  RebelSS, how do you attach it?  Do you have a collapsable house or a "perm"?

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Hey Cove.  Review this old post and it will show you how to install reflectix.  I've had mine installed in my Clam Guide since that post and been loving it since.

 

 

 

 

 

gunner55 likes this

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I am definitely going to invest in some of the Reflectix product.  The web page, reflexticinc.com, has a long list of "applications" but no ice shelters.  They should read this forum.  It sounds like you guys are buying the Reflextic Single Reflective Insulation product, which has the radiant barrier plus 5/16 inch of heavy gauge polyethylene bubbles.  The reflective barrier faces into the house and has the bubbles between me and the walls.  It is inexpensive and easy to cut so with some of the photos provided, I should be able to figure out something that would fit into my pop-up Ice Cube and take down quickly, when time to fold up, slip it into its case, plop it into my sled and trek home.  I would only need to do that with the "winter II" that we have had lately, when temps in the single digits or below.  If I do spring for a new clam type shelter I will feel better about the added weight and expense of the thermal skin.

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Bartman took care of it for me...that's how ya do 'er. It makes a HUGE difference. Good luck! :)

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For me, comfort is key when ice fishing. You want to be able to stay out longer and be focused on fishing. To keep jigging in different motions, changing out your lures, putting on fresh bait and, and to ponder where the schools are located. These all can focuses be interfered by enduring crappy wind and cold. Yeah, you are tough but being cold sucks.... Sometimes, upgrading these small things add up for you producing fish.

 

So Yes, thermal houses are worth it. Stay out longer to drink more "liquids" and be far away from your wife.

LindellProStaf likes this

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I'm still very much on the fence with thermals. When I bought my HUB, I wanted something light, portable, and easy to move around. I've never been cold in my non insulated house, but I'm sure I go thru a little more heat. The weight is significantly different. For that purpose, I'm willing to deal with the cost of extra propane...but its usually on low anyways.

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All I have heard is guys saying once you go thermal you'll never go back.  I am going thermal.

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I agree with everyone who posted above, I bought a thermal this fall and couldn't go back. That being said, if you're not in the market to upgrade/replace a house I wouldn't see a need to buy a thermal. It is very nice and warm on a windy day and makes a huge difference in the amount of heat you need (or don't in this case!) The weight wasn't very noticeable to me, make sure you get one with a convenient carrying case or make yourself a sled using old skis and you should be fine. I carry mine on my back with no issues and it's a very easy walk for me doing it this way.

gunner55 likes this

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I just got a Clam Big Foot XL4000T hub style house, which is thermal.  I don't have a truck to haul a sled around so I wanted something more "compact."  This thing fits in our Traverse, but is nearly six feet long in the bag. Wasn't real cold yesterday, but I can see where that thermal material will make a big difference on cold days.  

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I had reflectix in my old frabil flip over and it worked to keep it warmer.  I even cut pieces for the side that I'd put in on really cold days once I had it set up.  But I upgraded to a full thermal otter and it is significantly better.  Not only does the full thermal keep it much warmer and no condensation, but the thing I haven't noticed anyone say is how much less flapping there is from the wind as the fabric is much heavier.  So I'd say reflectix is a cheap solution to get you by a little bit until you bite the bullet and go thermal.  You won't be disappointed.  

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used my thermal Otter Sunday before the football games.  Great house.  Might not be any better than a Clam but it was all they had in stock at the store here.  LOVE IT.  We had to turn the heater on the lowest setting, although it was about 20 out and a little windy.  Yes I didn't even think about it but the wind didn't flap it around like my old non insulated portable.  I can tell I will be fishing more now that I have it since it is so quick to set up and tear down.

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I have an Otter Cabin XT with a thermal roof and I love it! I use a Big Buddy Heater and I find that i get too hot when i am fishing. I was out a couple of weeks ago in northern MN when it was -25 degree air temps and the walk out was cold, but I stayed warm all day. They are definitely worth the money!

Rick likes this

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