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Best Ice Fishing Sleds

The 5 Best Ice Fishing Sleds for Smooth Gear Hauling

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If you’ve ever been ice fishing, even once, you know that carrying your gear across the ice and snow is hard work. That’s why most regular ice anglers use sleds to make the job easier. But a lousy sled can be just as big of a headache if it doesn’t work well. A good sled will make hauling around your gear an easier job. You’ll be able to get to your fishing spots faster, safer, and with less work.

If you’re thinking we’re talking about those flimsy kids sleds, think again. Today’s sleds are rugged and light polyethylene gear haulers designed to glide over snow and ice. Rather than trying to backpack all your gear in, a sled should be able to carry a portable shelter, a gas or an electric auger, multiple rods and reels and tip-ups, bait bucket, and heater. The result? More equipment and more energy, so you can fish longer.

We’ve searched out the toughest, ruggedest, and easiest pulling ice fishing sleds to quickly transport all your equipment to your fishing hotspots. Check out these 5 top ice fishing sleds and why you need to add one to your gear.

5 Best Sleds for Ice Fishing

There are many “outdoor sleds” to look at, but for ice fishing, sleds need to be a little more rugged to handle the temperatures and weight of ice gear without getting mired in the snow. These are the 5 best ice sled options ice fishermen have today.

Last updated 2024-05-29 at 15:55 / Affiliate Links & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

1. Shappell Jet Sled — Best Overall

Shappell Jet Sled
  • Proven Design – Rugged design and a specially contoured hull that makes pulling gear easy.
  • Multiple Colors – Comes in Black, All-Terrain Camo, and Winter Camo.
  • Size – 54″ L x 25″ W x 10″H
  • Weight – 11.5 lbs

When it comes to ice fishing sleds, the Shappell Jet Sled is one of the most popular of all time. Jet Sleds are made from rugged polyethylene, with space big enough to carry all your gear. The hull is specially contoured for stable pulling it over all kinds of terrain a breeze. Made in the U.S.A., the polyethylene is so tough that you can drag it across mud, rocks, and pavement without worry.

The Jet Sled is more than just an ice fishing sled. Many outdoorsmen use it for hunting and hauling animals, for duck hunting, and for pulling firewood. The Jet Sled comes with a standard towing rope, but many people have added tow bars or chains for pulling behind ATVs or snowmobiles.

While the black Jet Sled is most common for all-purpose use, you can also get sleds in All-Terrain Camo, and Winter Camo. These are great options if you’re planning on using it for hunting as well as ice fishing.

Need more capacity? There is a Jet Sled XL that measures in at a whopping 66″ L x 31″ W x 12″ H. The added size comes at a cost, however, adding 10lbs to the sled weight (21.5 pounds).

Most ice anglers who have used a Jet Sled swear by them, with many customizing their sleds with tow bars, lights, rod holders, and electronics. Thanks to this reputation with anglers, and overall high quality, the Shappell Jet Sled has earned the title of Editor’s Choice for best ice fishing sled.

2. Beavertail Sport Sled — Runner Up

Beavertail Sport Sled
  • All-Purpose — Excellent for Ice season, as well as Duck and Deer hunting.
  • Rugged Design — Tough virgin polyethylene, with reinforced edges.
  • Sizes – Small (44″L x 22″W x 9″H), Med (55″L x 24″W x 10″H), Large (64″L x 29″W x 11″H)
  • Weight – Small (6lbs), Med (12.5 lbs), Large (17 lbs)

The Beavertail Sport Sled is a close runner-up to the Shappell Jet Sled because of its sturdy design and its overall versatility. Made from virgin polyethylene vinyl, this sled hauls just about anything from hunting and trapping equipment, ice fishing gear, wood, rocks, sand — you name it. It handles rough terrain, rocks, ice, and snow without complaint.

One thing that stands out is the multiple size options. There are Small, Medium, and Large Sport Sleds. The Medium is similar to the Jet Sled, and the Large is equivalent to the Jet Sled XL. Medium and Large are the best sizes for ice fishing, so choose based on how much gear you like to bring out and if you have a tow vehicle.

Some anglers will find the tow rope to be lacking, but it’s quite easy to replace if you see signs of early wear and tear. The rest of the sled is extremely durable and should last over many years of ice fishing and other outdoor adventures.

3. Otter Pro Sled — Largest Ice Fishing Sled

Otter Pro Sled
  • Tow Hitch Ready — The Pro Sled is tow ready, with molded-in hitch pockets for max tow strength.
  • Gigantic Sled — The Large is massive and will carry everything and the kitchen sink.
  • Size – 85″L x 44″W x 17″H (Large), 65″L x 32″W x 15″H (Med)
  • Weight  – 64 lbs (Large), 32 lbs (Med)

If you’re thinking that the sleds so far just aren’t big enough, have a look and the Otter Pro Sled. The Large size is a massive 85 inches long, 44 inches wide, and 17″ deep. All that sled weighs an equally massive 64 pounds. If you buy the optional Hyfax Kit (for the runners) and the tow-bar, you pretty much have yourself one mega ice sled that goes anywhere and should only really be pulled by snowmobile or ATV.

As you can tell by the weight, the Pro Sled is built heavy duty. The Medium weighs 20 lbs more than the equivalent sized Jet Sled! To make up for such weight, Otter had the good sense to mold hitch pockets right into the front of the sled. The majority of ice fishermen will not be pulling the Pro Sled by hand, so the built-in hitch points are crucial.

While the Otter Pro is the best heavy duty ice fishing sled, your investment shouldn’t stop at the sled. You’ll want the Otter Pro Utility Tow Hitch, and probably the Otter Travel Cover to keep your gear load in place while transporting over the ice. Although an incredibly rugged sled, use the Hyfax Kit to save the runners some wear.

4. Terrain Sport Sled

Terrain Sport Sled
  • All-Purpose Sled — Thick polyethylene and extra height make this an excellent all-around outdoorsman sled.
  • Size – 54″L x 25.5″W x 10″H
  • Weight – 12lbs

The Terrain Sport Sled is a no-frills, no gimmick outdoor sports sled that just plain works. From the impact-resistant polyethylene material to the heavy-duty pull rope, the Terrain Sport Sled gets the job done.

The Sport Sled is just 12lbs, light enough to pull ice fishing gear, but rugged enough to haul deer out of the woods in the fall. The gear capacity is on par with Shappell and Otter, as you can comfortably fit an ice shack, auger, ice rods and reels, and a few 5-gallon buckets in its belly.

5. Otter Sport Sled — Great Cheap Option

Otter Sport Sled
  • No Frills — A lower cost ice sled that’s good for light to medium loads.
  • Roto-molded Polyethylene — Similar Construction to the Otter Outdoors Pro Sled.
  • Size – 53″L x 25″W x 10″H (Med)
  • Weight – 11.5 lbs

The Otter Outdoors Sport Sled is a great option for those looking for a cheaper option for light to medium loads. Many ice anglers and deer hunters love this sled because it slides great on snow and ice, especially when the temperatures drop below freezing.

It does have a thinner bottom than many of the other sleds listed here, which means it has the potential crack over rough ground and when it is overloaded, especially in colder temperatures. The Sport Sled receives excellent reviews from people who recognize the sled’s limitations and use it accordingly.

Ice Fishing Sled Design Considerations

Best Sleds for Ice Fishing

Consider how you’re going to use your new sled when you’re buying one for ice fishing.

Are you just taking your gear to your icehouse and back out, or are you hauling everything from spot to spot? Are you traveling over snow and ice only, or are you going over dirt, rocks, and rough terrain? How much gear are you taking? Looking to haul more than an auger, pole, and portable stool or is that enough? Are you hauling wood, deer, or traps as well as using it for ice fishing?

Here are some things to think about when selecting your ice fishing sled:

  • Ice Sled Size and Capacity: As you can see, sled sizes vary, so choose the size that’s right for your equipment. Take into consideration your augers and their sizes, as well as how much gear you expect to take. Also, your transportation to and from your favorite ice fishing spot: will your sled fit in your truck or SUV?  (Check out the table below.)
  • Runners: Sleds with good runners glide over the snow and ice better. Without runners, the sled tub would dig into the snow and bog down.
  • Versatility: The fish won’t care what color your sled is, but a camo color would allow the use of your sled during hunting season. A brown or woodland camo sled works great in deer and duck season; a white camo sled works well for winter hunting.
  • Rugged Polyethylene: Easy to mold in the roto mold process, polyethylene is extremely tough, impact resistant (important in the freezing temperatures), and glides better than other materials.
  • Hitch Pockets for Towing: Molded-in hitch features allow you to add on special ice hitches for hooking up to snowmobiles and ATVs for long-distance hauling.
  • Travel Covers: Travel covers help protect your gear from the elements and help keep everything in your sled.
  • Modifications: Once you used your sled a few times, you’ll likely have a few “upgrades.” You can add tow bars, skis, bungee cord tie-downs, rod holders, and more.

Ice Fishing Sled Size for Trucks and SUVs

The best sled in the world won’t help you if you can’t get it in your truck to your favorite ice fishing spot. Here are the general dimensions of how big of a sled your vehicle can haul.

Vehicle Bed Sizes
SUVs 45 inches (1.14 m) L by 32 inches (0.81 m) W
5 ft (1.52 m) Pickup Bed 60 inches (1.52 m) L by 44 inches (1.12 m) W
6 ft (1.83 m) Pickup Bed 70 inches (1.78 m) L by 44 inches (1.12 m) W

Last updated 2024-05-29 at 15:55 / Affiliate Links & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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