Well my friends, here I go at one of my first attempts to review a product to present to you here on the blog! I'm excited to give this a whirl, and what a better way do it! I have been in the market for a portable "pop-up" style ice shelter this year and man oh man, was my timing ever good! This year Eskimo, the leader in ice fishing equipment, has come out with their new "Fatfish" series shelters!
This 4 person tent has a fishable area of 61 square feet! This is a vast improvement from the 4 person "quickfish" series, which allowed for 48.75 square feet! The leap forward in square footage is made possible by a re-designed base that gives more fishable room, but doesn't take away from the shoulder and head room up higher. At a height of 80 inches, you will also enjoy 99 inches of elbow room. The tent features 2 zipping doors, 2 vents, 2 mesh pockets for storage, 6 windows, 2 storage pockets, and 6 ice anchors. All this collapses down and fits nicely into a bag equipped with backpack straps, and at 27 pounds is a comfortable load.
I have been able to use this shelter on 3 occasions now this winter, and let me tell you, it has been put to the test for sure! I was very impressed with the shelter the first time out of the bag! We opened it in the living room after letting it adjust to room temperature. This helps all the fabrics separate without peeling, and I suggest you do this to any tent or ice shelter. With the help of my kids we had it set up in a good 45 seconds! And after a few minutes we took it down just as fast.
On our first outing to Panguitch Lake my grandpa and I had it set up again in no time. The two of us fished in it very comfortably, in fact it was plenty roomy! We didn't stay in long as it was actually a very nice day and we found the shelter to be too warm.
Overall, I am VERY impressed with this product! I would recommend it to any serious ice fisherman! I think a lot of the use from mine will be in keeping my wife and little ones comfortable, but that's OK if that's the price I have to pay to be able to get them out to enjoy this sport with me. I am however very excited to get to use it myself again this Friday! A bit of advice being this late in the ice fishing season...shop around! This time of year there are great deals to be had on ice fishing equipment! Many sporting goods stores will be having close-out sales on their ice gear. Look for great deals to come, but jump on them before they are gone. I purchased my Fatfish 949 for $239.00, which included shipping, and at the time was $10 cheaper than I could find in any sporting goods store around here. Sportsman's Warehouse was the next best deal, at $249.00. I found my deal from a google search of the shelter, and picked it up from Glen's Army and Navy store, where without shipping it was offered at $199.00! What a steal!
You can also find Eskimo on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/eskimoicefishinggear