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Shappell Shelters

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Looking for feedback from those who have used these. Please don't turn this into a Glacier or Otter vs. Shappell post, as I've read plenty about those already on this site. I was checking out these out at Cabellas and liked what I saw. Interested in positive and negative experiences of those who've actually used them.

Thanks.

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MILF:

I bought an S4000 2 years ago, and I like it quite a bit. I bought this type of shelter since my girlfriend wanted to go fishing with me, and it's big enough for the 2 of us, yet I can take it out by myself. It can be a bit of a balancing act to get it put up solo, but not too bad.

I thought that the skis on the bottom would be better for pulling it, but you've either got to put the skis up, put your stuff on top, then take all your stuff off, flip the house over to put the skis down, then turn it over to fish. Pulling the house without the skis up just bends the tips down when you run into hard packed snow. I've removed the skis and it still pulls fine.

Also, if you are buying a 2000/3000/4000, DON'T put the poles inside the house when you take it down, you might end up with a rip in the wall.

I like my S4000, and would recommend it to anyone looking for a roomy 2 person house...

eyes317

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For 3 years a Shappell 3000 was the only portable I owned. I set it up and took it down about 50 times each winter.

Positives:
+ It holds heat really well.
+ You can stand up in it pretty comfortably.
+ One person can spend the night in it on a cot or reclining lawn chair. (I have done this several times.)

Negatives:
- If you have more than an inch of snow on the ice, it pulls about 3 times as hard as a flip up built on a sled. Not an issue if you're always on small lakes or always fishing close to your vehicle(i.e. never pull the shack more than 500 yards). But I have pulled mine a mile in 6 inches of snow with the power auger, a propane tank, and a full bait bucket NEARLY HAD A HEART ATTACK. I can do the same with a Fishtrap Voyager and barely break a sweat (not bad seeins an empty voyager weighs 3 times as much as a Shappell).
- It's a b!t@h to set up if the wind is 15mph or stronger.
- After 150 uses in 3 years, the fabric is beginning to separate from the edge of the floor. I also think the fabric rips too easily.
- I would get condensation when running a heater inside. Not a big problem except that when it was time to go home, I'd shut the heater off and start folding up the Shappell. When it time to separate the pieces that make the U shape in the corners and over the door, the joint would be frozen together and I couldn't pull the tubing on the top half out of the tubing on the bottom half.
- not as portable as a Fishtrap or Otter.

All in all I think this is OK for a second portable, but I wouldn't go for one as my first or only portable.

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I baught a 2000 because it fit in my small car with room to spare. I have a larger homemade house that has a plywood bottem. it is alot lighter than my old one. the wind will blow it around if you aren't in it. it seems to pull easy (I don't have a power auger or big tank for my buddy heater to weigh it down) has a spot for the bucket to sit on it when folded up and is carpeted inside (nice not to have the feet on the ice). setup isn't bad but not as easy as pulling over the top on other portables. one thing to remember is that a two man is realy a one man with a heater. I think I got mine for $150 at mills last year.

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I've been putting a 2000 thru an "unintentional" torture test for the last 3 years. Like GEM EYE GUY said, take your nitroglycerine pills with you (or a BIG friend) if you are going to try to hand pull it out in snow over 6" deep if you take much gear with you.
When using it "set up" behind a 4-wheeler, I found that the "Hole Doors" latches want to self open, and you'll have to dig thru about 2' of snow in your hut after driving about a mile. I replaced mine with regular latches I got from a hardware store, and they work real good.
The zippers (on mine that is 3 years old, they may have changed them by now) have teeth that are to small. They get full of ice, and snow, and are almost impossible to open after they freeze up. I've been looking for a better zipper to replace them with, but no luck so far. If you want to compare, look at the zipper on an Otter, and then the one on a Shappell....you'll see the difference.
If you get the Shappell, be sure to get the "Canvas" hut. That way you can use the iron-on patches for bluejeans to repair any holes. Mine looks like it's 1/2 patches on the inside, but hey...It still works good!
I like the 2000, because it collapses so low, You can fish 2 people pretty good, you can stand up in it, it heats up easy.

It is tough to use in a high wind, but none of them are easy in the wind. I got a small "Otter" last year to use on the "walk-out days", because the Shappell was so hard to pull out by hand. I still rather fish out of the Shappell if I'm able to use the 4-wheeler. I set it up at the truck, throw all my gear in it, and I'm set for a day of fishing!!
I also mounted skis on the bottom (The long way, and cut them in half at the hinge) so that when pulling with the Honda, the bottom won't get so worn.
If you get the Shappell, carry a couple of "Bungie" cords with you, and run them from the rear support pole to the front one on the side with the hole covers. When you open the covers, just pull the bungie over the open hole covers to hold them aginst the side. That way the wind pushing on the side of the hut won't close the door on the hole, just as you get that 13" perch to the top of the ice!!

[This message has been edited by Hrdh2o (edited 10-27-2002).]

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Gentlemen,
Good replys, thank you. From what I've read so far, it seems like it will fit my needs (roomy, warm and fits in a car). Of the negatives I've read, some are not an issue for me i.e. pulls hard (I fish small lakes and can use the exercise) or wind issue (I've fished Clams and assume it's similar). But the fabric and condensation/pole sticking issue concern me. Have any of you other guys had similar problem? I have my eye on the DX3000.

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When the condensation refreezes, that's when the zippers freeze up. I haven't had the stuck pole problem, but I did have to replace the rubber cord inside the poles. It's an easy job, just get the stretch cord at a "Fabric" store. They should last about 3 years, at least.

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The DX3000 is a nice unit. The shack is actually canvas, not plastic material like the other 2000, 3000, & 4000 models.
Is has a nice big window in it, tows easy, keeps heat in and is big enough to move around in.
I would suggest towing your gear in a small otter sled, otherwise your gear will fall off the Shappell DX3000 when moving around.

Good luck in your decision. smile.gif

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I've had a 3000 for about 5 years now. It's a good little unit, I think the new canvas ones would probably be more durable. Only time I ever had trouble with the poles freezing was once when I was ready to take it down and somebody came along to visit. Normally if I took everything out and folded it up right away, no problem. Only thing I wish it was a tad bigger. I'm 6'2' and 275 lbs. and with two people fishing it can get a little crowded. I'll probably replace it with another Shappell, I really ain't seen anything I like any better.

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Everyone,
Thanks again for the replies. All very good information for me.

Graybeard2 - you might want to peek at the DX4000....that's a man's house (wish it would fit in my car)!

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I had the 3000 model. I agree with all of the posts stating its a lot of fish house to pull in the snow. I have had the frozen zipper and frozen pole problems too. Heres one more thought its not the kind of house you want to be in in a strong wind on glare ice. I have slid hundreds of feet while fishing. Its also next to impossible to collapse in a strong wind on glare ice. Just a thought. I sold mine and bought a fishtrap pro this move was the best I have made!!!!!!!

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