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JimBuck

When is a portable too big?

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So I'm going to pull the trigger on a portable for this winter. I've been looking around quite a bit lately and have an idea as to what I'm looking for in a portable. I was liking the features of the Clam 6800 because of the size for 3-4 people and I feel like the 2-person pop-ups are just a bit too small. I plan on fishing a small amount on my own on the ice as well, so weight and portability do play a role as I intend on walking with it out to the spots from the truck. SO, Is this too big to handle? Or where do you guys draw the line in terms of comfort vs. portability.

Cheers,

-Buck

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The clam cube style 4 mans are very ez to work with. They are fairly lite and pullable. If you are looking for a 4 man I would go this route. The big flip overs like the otter resort and otter village are too big to be put in most trucks and are very heavy. Once you have the big otters on the ice they are very nice with lots of space. It's getting them there that's the problem IMO. I like otters better than clams in general but for a 4 man you're right on track. For me the perfect house is the otter lodge. I love it. If you live on or close to the lake or have some sort of trailer you can use that would help too.

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My friend has a 6800 - very roomy and easy to setup. It is a beast though. Works best if you can drive to your spot with it in the truck. If you intend to drag it to your spot I would rig up some skis on a frame and place it on top. Without would be brutal unless on clean ice - just a poor design for dragging. Then pick-up a oneman for when your by yourself.

Another option would be to consider something like a Yukon which is better suited for pulling, and then pick-up (or get a friend to)a 5600 with a traplink that connect the two together. You can often find a 5600 used for a pretty good price. (NOTE: you could lay the 5600 on top of the Yukon for easy pulling)

One nice thing about a flip-over (FishTrap/Otter/etc), you can throw all your gear in the sled and don't have to worry about it falling out when pulling to your spot. When you hit your spot all you do is flip the tent over and your ready to go with gear already inside. Cabin styles like the 6800, you have to lay your gear on top and strap it down somehow so it does not fall off - when you setup/move you have to unpack/pack so being mobile does not work as well.

This is a great time to start watching websites for used gear.

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If your going to have 3-4 guys then being heavy isn't going to be an issue. I would go with the 4 man tub style flip-overs over a 6800 or sleeper any day. The portability of the big tub sleds is fast, just fold it in and hook it to the bumper and drag it to where you want to be. The tub style houses are more stable in high wind and will have more room. We used to fish out of a clam sleeper for our extended stays on LOW and decided to sell it and go with two X Thermals trap linked together.

Now that's another way you could go if you want to fish with 3-4 guys sometimes and 1-2 at other times. You can get two clam fishtraps and zip them together with their traplink. That way you can get the smaller, lighter sled when you want it and also be able to fish 4 comfortably.

Both Otter/CanvasCraft and Clam sell 4 man double flip-over houses but only Clam has them that zip together.

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Pulling a 6800 or 5600 is easy with glare ice, but once there is even half an inch of snow on the ice, it is like pulling a moose. I agree NCLAKER, if you plan on pulling over snow, build a sled.

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FWIW, I also looked at being able to fit it into my truck and close up the tailgate and topper securely. My Otter Cabin fits great, but I could have gone to the Lodge. But pulling by hand was also factor. If I would always have trailer with snowmobile, I would for sure go bigger. I pretty much leave my Otter in the truck all the time in the winter, just lock it up.

Good luck.

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I agree with many of the views of NCLaker,mnfishinguy, and zamboni. I have a yukon and a 5600. like zamboni said the box style houses are great on just ice or very little snow. For some reason they seem to plow when there is snow. If you have a few guys not a problem however, with just yourself I'm afraid it would be very challenging with a bit of snow on the lake. I use my yukon when I'm on my own which is much easier to pull, more comfortable, and has great storage. with 3 or 4 people I throw the 5600 on top of the yukon and we pull it out. I got the trap link that zips the yukon and 5600 together which is pretty neat. Good luck

MN Angler

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MN Angler - cool to hear from someone that is actually using the trap link solution. I've never done it myself but figured it would be a good compromise. I have placed a 6800 against another protable cabin syle were the two doors matched up very closely - we cliped them together where the doors met (poorman's traplink :-) and it worked awesome, like a two room cabin. The 6800 has two doors, so we used the other as the exit/entrance for both shacks. Pretty sweet.

JimBuck - if you are looking to go this Traplink route and trying to save money w/ used, be careful of the older Fishtrap/Clams. Only the ones from the last few years have the traplink option. You'll want to verify this before you buy. Also, the traplinks are NOT universal between Fishtrap/Clam models so you will want to look at their HSOforum to see which ones are compatible.

Let us know what you end up doing and how it works.

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BoxMN - How do you lock your portable up in the truck? Do you have a topper or an SUV? I have an open box so I always take mine out.

Yeah, I have a topper and short bed. I can fit the cabin in, and have about a foot left before tailgate.

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In my mind you have to get two houses. While this does put a strain on the checkbook, you don't have to get both right away, and you can search used. Personally, having 1 bigger house for all the guys or for trips where you can just drop it out of the truck is great. Nobody likes to be cramped while fishing. But this kind of house is going to pull like a bear. You need to get yourself a small lightweight single or 2 man shack for early season of for fishing by yourself. Get them used, buy 1 now, 1 next year, watch for spring sales etc. Having the flexibility is great.

I put one inside of the other for summer storage so it really doesn't take up too much extra room.

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What Gus said. I have a two man otter that has served me well for three years now. This year I got probably the biggest portable I have ever seen. It's a 12x6 trailer that drops down. First two feet of the trailer is storage then 10 feet of bed. In the bed are 4 catch covers. It has a canvas that goes on and is 10' wide, 9' tall and 16' deep. Can't wait to get that puppy on the ice!! It will fish 6 to 8 peeps with ease.

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