Best Ice Fishing Chairs: Reviewed Of Comfort, Stability and Durability

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Ice fishing is not the most comfortable of angling pursuits. The cold weather, howling winds, and often long waiting periods between bites are enough to turn some novice ice fishermen away from the sport entirely. If you’re savvy enough to give yourself some small comforts where feasible, you’re much more likely to make it to the next bite out on the ice. An ice fishing chair is a perfect way to give you a place to rest your feet and warm up with some coffee on an ice fishing trip.

Preview

Model

Weight Capacity

Dimensions

Check Price

Wise Outdoors Super Sport Hunting Seat with...

Wise Outdoors

5613-246

350 lbs.

11 x 12 Inches

GCI Outdoor Quik-E-Seat, Black

GCI Outdoor

19010

250 lbs.

14 x 17 Inches

GigaTent Folding 3 in 1 Stool Backpack...

GigaTent Folding

200 lbs.

11 x 16.5 Inches

Eskimo 69813 Folding Ice Chair

Eskimo Folding

200-250 lbs. (reg.) 300-350 lbs. (XL)

20.5-inch seat height, 34” tall total

Lightspeed Outdoors Xtra Wide Nylon Ripstop...

Lightspeed Outdoors

225 lbs.

33 x 19.75 Inches

Coleman Portable Quad Camping Chair with...

Coleman Portable

325 lbs.

24 x 37 Inches

MOON LENCE Ultralight Folding Camping Chairs...

MOON LENCE

242 lbs.

25.6 x 13.8 Inches

ALPS Mountaineering Grand Rapids Chair/Stool,...

ALPS Mountaineering

375 lbs.

19 x 31 Inches

G4Free Lightweight Portable Chair Outdoor...

G4Free

220 lbs.

41 x 23 Inches

PORTAL Extra Large Quick Folding Tripod Stool...

PORTAL PR-FS21122

225 lbs.

19 x 17.7 Inches


The Importance of Choosing the Right Chair

While ice fishing has a certain rugged allure, there’s nothing to prove by sitting around directly on the ice or standing up all the time you’re waiting for a fish to bite. Just like the batteries in your scanning equipment, you lose a lot of energy sitting on a cold surface.

If you want to be able to kick back a little bit while you adjust electronics or wait for a bite on the line, an ice fishing chair can give you that plus a few additional storage spaces depending on the model.


Choosing a High-Quality Ice Fishing Chair

Stability & Security

The last thing you want is to fall over on the ice. It can be slippery out there, but fortunately, most manufacturers have designed their products to stay put. A nice portable chair is often better at staying in place than a complicated fold-out clam ice fishing chair that can topple over from its own weight each time the user stands up.

Durability

Like every piece of outdoor equipment, an ice fishing chair should be able to stand whatever the backcountry can throw at it. Many people make the mistake of neglecting the durability of their ice fishing chairs, only to be surprised when the chair unexpectedly succumbs to moisture or the rattling around that happens in the back of an ice fishing sled.

Comfort/Convenience

If you're looking for a place to sit, it should offer a bit more in the way of storage space. Don't underestimate how handy it is to be able to keep small personal items like a wallet and cell phone somewhere off the ice and out of your pockets if you're in a fish house.

Some anglers prefer armrests to take a break and relax, but others find them cumbersome. Luckily, there are models with and without, and some with adjustable ones that will suit either type of ice fisherman.

Design & Portability Features

Lots of ice fishing chairs collapse quickly and set up easily, but the drawback is that they don't break down into smaller shapes. They're usually small and lightweight enough to carry over one shoulder. Still, if you really want to save space, there are lightweight and ultralight models later on in this guide that break down into collapsible rods and can be carried in the extra space in a bookbag.

The more portable models might take a little extra time to set up, but it's still worthwhile if portability is a significant concern.

Storage

The more portable chairs are also much easier to store since they’ll fit on any shelf or in a closet. The more common models that fold up into long shapes can be hung up on a hook if they have a dedicated shoulder strap. Many come with carrying cases that can be hung up or stored on a shelf as well. The important thing is to make sure to store it in a dry place and make sure it’s clean before you put it away.

Size & Weight

Larger chairs are more stable and usually offer more extra features, but sometimes all you need is a quick stool to take a load off for a little while. Pay attention to maximum weight capacities if you’re big and tall. Finally, make sure you don’t get a big, heavy chair that will outweigh its own usefulness with all the weight it adds to your should or sled.

Additional Features

Thankfully, the ice fishing chair market is still focused more on comfort and usability, meaning they aren't outfitting these chairs with gimmicky tricks or social media plugins (yet!). There are plenty of beneficial things like storage pockets, cup holders, and backpack straps that can make it easy to get one of these chairs out on the ice. It’s up to you which style you prefer.

Price & Warranty

Warranties aren’t necessarily the norm in the ice fishing chair market, but you can find a lifetime limited warranty with most of the big-name brands. These warranties only protect against faults in materials and the original building of that product, which is great for peace of mind, but it’s a rare thing to find a warranty that protects your chair from normal wear and tear. Thankfully, most models are inexpensive enough to replace once the old one wears out.


10 Best Ice Fishing Chairs Reviewed

1. Wise Outdoors 5613-246

Our Top Pick!

Weight Capacity

350 lbs.

Dimensions

11 x 12 Inches

Foldable?

Yes

Frame Material

Plastic

Warranty

5-year for chair, 1-year for upholstery

Combining two essential tools for every ice fisherman, this Super Sport 5613 from Wise Outdoors has been designed to provide everything you need in an ice fishing chair without bogging anglers down with excess storage or becoming too bulky to fit in a sled.

We’ve named it the best ice fishing chair on our list. The attached removable insulated foam cooler underneath the seat holds 10 gallons in a more convenient shape than a typical 10-gallon paint bucket and doesn’t have a very large footprint, which is great for saving space inside the fish house.

The chair itself folds up to a compact shape and swivels 360° to accommodate quick movements out on the ice. Foam padding with a 500-denier covering rises about 1 inch off the surface of the chair. There is also an adjustable carry-strap for anglers who don’t carry enough gear to need an entire sled for their ice fishing trips.

Some anglers may need a bit more padding on the backrest, and there has been some frustration caused by inadvertently kicking the cooler underneath the chair when pulling your legs back. Still, both of these problems are easily solved with slight alterations.

Pros
  • Quiet swivel
  • Cooler attached
  • Three patterns available
  • Carry strap included
  • Small footprint
Cons
  • Closed space beneath the chair

2. GCI Outdoor 19010

Runner Up

Weight Capacity

250 lbs.

Dimensions

14 x 17 Inches

Foldable?

Yes

Frame Material

Steel

Warranty

Limited lifetime warranty

 For a minimal footprint and a chair that you can set up just about anywhere for a quick and comfortable seat, this 19010 from GCI Outdoor is a reliable option and our runner up. The tripod shape of the chair legs allows anglers to use any small cranny of a fish house to sit down or store gear up off the ice.

While the seat is only lightly padded, it’s plenty comfortable for most anglers sitting by their fishing hole for an hour or two at a time. The whole thing sets up really quickly and easily; the only downside to the setup is that it doesn’t collapse into a smaller height than the one it has when it’s fully unfolded.

There is a limited lifetime warranty available from the manufacturer for this item. Still, buyers will have to register their GCI Outdoor 19010 within a month of purchase if they want to take advantage. For anglers who like to stay hydrated, this model comes with a cupholder. There’s also a shoulder strap included for easy transport, and the chair itself only weighs about 4 pounds altogether, which makes this chair perfectly portable for any angler to carry out onto the ice.

Pros
  • Triangular base
  • Steel construction
  • Sets up quickly
  • Shoulder strap included
  • Warranty available
Cons
  • Only lightly padded
  • Must register for warranty

3. GigaTent Folding Stool

Most Versatile Ice Fishing Chair

Weight Capacity

200 lbs.

Dimensions

11 x 16.5 Inches

Foldable?

Yes

Frame Material

Stainless steel

Warranty

None

This collapsible folding stool and insulated cooler have been designed with padded backpack straps for easy transport to just about any outdoor event you can think of. For the ice fisherman, it’s a great way to bring an ice fishing chair along without taking up space in the sled or strapping a heavy load to your back.

The foil-lined cooler will keep food and drinks chilled for hours, and ice can be added to keep them cold for even longer. Everything about this chair has been made to be easy for the user. In fact, you can even use it as a backpack and stool combo for shorter outdoor excursions even when you aren’t headed out to fish on the ice.

The shoulder straps are comfortable, and so is the chair itself. While it doesn't have a backrest at all, the nylon construction and reinforced top-stitching of the suspended stool section will keep anglers comfortable and elevated off the ice to stay warm while fishing in cold weather. The stainless steel frame is durable enough to take a beating during transport or out on the ice. Overall, we’d have to say this is the most versatile ice fishing chair.

Pros
  • Cooler included
  • Folds into backpack
  • Reinforced stool section
  • Durable frame construction
  • Additional front storage pocket
Cons
  • No backrest

4. Eskimo Folding

Best Folding Chair For Ice Fishing

Weight Capacity

200-250 lbs. (reg.) 300-350 lbs. (XL)

Dimensions

20.5-inch seat height, 34” tall total

Foldable?

Yes

Frame Material

19mm steel

Warranty

None

There's nothing too fancy about this folding ice fishing chair, but sometimes that's exactly what you need. It folds up into a 300-denier polyester storage bag for easy transport, and it only has three legs, which makes it ideal for smaller fish houses and great for a quick setup if you’re moving quickly between holes in the ice.

Eskimo offers this model in both regular size and an extra-large size to make sure anglers of any height and weight can have somewhere nice to sit when they go out ice fishing. Anglers can sit higher up off the ice with this Eskimo ice fishing chair than they can with a standard 5-gallon paint bucket, which can be handy when fishing a drop shot into cold water.

This chair has a backrest, but that's about it feature-wise. It's great for a quick setup when you just need a place to sit, and your other gear is already taken care of. Plus, it's portable for ice anglers who want to be able to throw it on the sled or sling it over their shoulder without overthinking it.

Pros
  • Carry case included
  • Portable
  • Triangular legs
  • Easy setup
  • Backrest included
Cons
  • Few additional features

5. Lightspeed Outdoors

Best Tripod-Style Option

Weight Capacity

225 lbs.

Dimensions

33 x 19.75 Inches

Foldable?

Yes

Frame Material

Steel

Warranty

None

Compared to competing tripod-style ice fishing chairs, this model from Lightspeed Outdoors is more lightweight at under 4.5 pounds, has a nicer and more durable ripstop nylon fabric construction, and has a cup holder and storage pocket on one side to keep smaller items, and beverages close at hand.

Ease of use is the mantra at Lightspeed Outdoors, and it's apparent in this ice fishing chair. Unfolding it takes less than a minute, and it doesn't have the balance problems you might find on some of the clam ice fishing chairs that have room to store tons of heavy gear in additional pockets.

There’s an integrated shoulder strap which negates the need for a separate carry bag, which is nice to save a little bit of space in the fish house. Many anglers prefer the carry case to protect their chair, but the legs are pretty durable. There's nothing to prevent other gear from getting tangled in the legs, so watch those rods and tie down any extra line. This is a run-and-gun model for sitting down quickly but isn't the most optimal for other situations where you might want to have an integrated cooler or a swivel seat.

Pros
  • Quick and easy to use
  • Ripstop nylon fabric construction
  • Cupholder and storage pocket
  • Integrated shoulder strap
  • Maintains balance when empty
Cons
  • No carry case
  • No swivel option

6. Coleman Portable Cooler Quad Chair

Best Portable Ice Fishing Chair

Weight Capacity

325 lbs.

Dimensions

24 x 37 Inches

Foldable?

Yes

Frame Material

Steel

Warranty

1-year limited warranty

Anglers who want a bit more storage space, comfort, and stability can find it all on this four-legged ice fishing chair that folds up quickly and transports easily in the included carrying case. Coleman is a brand that should be familiar to anyone with even a modicum of outdoor equipment shopping experience, and they've brought their well-renowned expertise to the design of this chair as well.

The seat is roomy and padded for extra comfort if you plan to be sitting for a long time during an ice fishing trip. At about 8 pounds, it’s not as lightweight as some of the tripod-style models, but it’s well worth it to have the extra leg providing better stability. Balance isn’t an issue with this Coleman Portable.

Additional features include a four-can storage pocket to keep additional beverages close at hand on a fishing trip. If you’re out in really low temperatures, it’s a great place to keep a backup thermos of coffee, tea, or soup. There's also a mesh cupholder for whatever you happen to be drinking at the moment and a side pocket for your keys, wallet, or cell phone.

The sitting height is just over 18 inches, which is an excellent level for ice fishing. Overall, all the additional storage features and the comfort anglers need in their fish house are included with this portable chair. If you do buy this model, you can register for the 1-year limited warranty here.

Pros
  • Padded seat and backrest
  • Storage pocket and cupholder
  • Carry case included
  • Better stability
  • Roomy seat
Cons
  • Heavier than some models

7. MOON LENCE

Best Compact Ice Fishing Chair

Weight Capacity

242 lbs.

Dimensions

25.6 x 13.8 Inches

Foldable?

Yes

Frame Material

Aluminum alloy

Warranty

Lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects

If carrying weight is your main concern, then this is the chair for you. While the setup isn’t as quick or easy as some of the other models we’ve discussed in this guide, this Moon Lence chair is ultralight. It disconnects into its various pole-lengths to fit into a carrying case that you can lift with a finger and stow in a regular bookbag with your other gear.

It's pretty easy to connect the different parts of the chair with sewn-in loops. The seat itself is made partly with breathable mesh and is designed to give anglers a comfy seat that molds around their body rather than merely offering a flat place to sit as other models do.

The whole chair is surprisingly durable considering its light weight. The frame is made of an aluminum alloy and the fabric is 600D Oxford cloth, both of which will prevent serious damage from normal wear and tear for a good amount of time. Even though the whole chair only weighs two pounds altogether, it can support up to 242 pounds. You can clean it off quickly with just a wet rag.

Pros
  • Folds up very small
  • Ultralightweight
  • Cleans easily
  • Breathable mesh
  • Ergonomic design
Cons
  • Takes a bit longer to set up

8. ALPS Mountaineering

Most Comfortable Ice Fishing Chair

Weight Capacity

375 lbs.

Dimensions

19 x 31 Inches

Foldable?

Yes

Frame Material

Steel

Warranty

None

For anglers who are concerned about their knees or back, this chair from ALPS Mountaineering sits a comfortable 7 - 10" off the ground and is very easy to get in and out of. It doesn't require a deep squat to sit in, and the mesh material used in its construction is not bothersome to sit in for an extended period. It's got a triangular footprint that isn't too large for a fish house, but this chair will also be suitable for use in warmer weather. It comes with a drawstring-closed carry case as well.

There's a mesh storage pocket on either side of this chair for storing personal items, and both pockets close with a zipper so you won't have to worry about anything falling out on accident. Two of the features that make this one of the most comfortable ice fishing chairs on the market are the wider seat and an angled backrest that allows the user to lean back in whichever way is most comfortable for them.

The mesh construction makes the whole thing breathable, and it will dry pretty fast in direct sunlight if it should get wet on accident. Armrests could make this model more comfortable, but leaving them off has saved a lot of room and left space open for ice anglers who are moving their arms around while fishing.

Pros
  • Breathable mesh construction
  • Two storage bags
  • Tilted backrest
  • Wide seat
  • Carry case included
Cons
  • No armrests

9. G4Free

Best Lightweight Ice Fishing Chair

Weight Capacity

220 lbs.

Dimensions

41 x 23 Inches

Foldable?

Yes

Frame Material

Aluminum alloy

Warranty

1-year replacement or refund

While not ultralight, the G4Free is still only 2.8 pounds, less than a pound more than competing ultralight models, which is why we’ve named it the best lightweight ice fishing chair. For that slight bit of extra weight, anglers can have legs that rise higher off the ground, nylon of an impressive 900D Oxford cloth construction, and an aluminum alloy that can take a beating for a good while.

This model folds up really small because the supporting poles all slide out from the fabric completely and fold up. The carrying case will fit comfortably inside a sled, which makes it super portable for ice fishing trips.

There's padding along the whole back of this ergonomically-designed chair, and they've even built a headrest into the back of it. Rather than stopping at a backrest that ends around the shoulder blades, they've built this chair to support anglers’ necks and backs. There are mesh sides to make it breathable as well. For added variety, this chair also comes in 3 different sizes to suit any angler.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Headrest built-in
  • Folds up very small
  • Carry case doubles as a storage pocket
  • Easy to clean
Cons
  • No armrests
  • Longer setup time

10. PORTAL PR-FS21122

Quick-Folding Model

Weight Capacity

225 lbs.

Dimensions

19 x 17.7 Inches

Foldable?

Yes

Frame Material

 Steel

Warranty

None

There are many chairs on this list that anglers can unpack and set up super fast, but this Portal model beats them all in terms of its folding ability. All you need to do to get this chair ready for use is pull the front leg until it unfolds all the way.

There's an integrated shoulder strap as well, so when you are prepared to leave, all you have to do is pick the chair up, push the legs in, and throw it over your shoulder. Unlike many other quick-use chairs, this one has a foam-padded backrest and remains comfortable to sit in for extended periods.

At 4.5 pounds, this chair weighs more than the lightweight or ultralight models, but it’s ready to use much, much faster. It also comes with a storage pouch and cup holder to store personal items and a beverage just below the seat and out of the way. The fabric used in the construction of this chair was designed to be weather-resistant, so it should last through many uses out on the ice.

Pros
  • Quick & easy setup
  • Padded backrest
  • Storage pocket & cup holder
  • Integrated shoulder strap
  • Weather-resistant fabric
Cons
  • No armrests
  • Slightly heavier

Top Fishing Chair Brands

Eskimo

Eskimo is one of the most well-known ice fishing gear brands. With a slick website where you can register and make a claim on a warranty and an extensive product line specifically designed for ice fishing, it's no wonder this is one of the most trusted brands in the industry. Eskimo ice fishing chairs are sturdy and reasonably priced, even if they aren’t the fanciest models around.

Frabill

For over 80 years, Frabill has been making top-notch fishing gear. They manufacture just about everything you could possibly need for an ice fishing trip. The Frabill customer service department is reachable by phone at 800-226-9868 and promises to return all calls within 24 hours.

Ameristep

More of a hunting company than a fishing one, Ameristep manufactures chairs meant to be quiet for hunters in their blinds. Since hunters and anglers both need a comfortable place to sit for long periods, Ameristep chairs are still useful in a fish house. They don’t have the widest product line for ice fishers, but they do have a customer service line similar to Frabill if you should have any questions.


People Also Ask (FAQs)

What is the best material for an ice fishing chair?

Ripstop nylon or polyester that’s been weather treated or waterproofed is the most ideal material for the rugged conditions of a frigid ice fishing trip.

Are there any special ways to care for and maintain these chairs?

Take care to find a model that cleans easily with a wet rag or soap and water. There’s not much need to machine wash the fabric of most chairs where possible if you wipe them down after each trip is over.

Do I really need to invest in an ice fishing chair?

The short answer is yes. If you want to be able to sit on the ice next to a productive fishing hole without breaking your back leaning over on a paint bucket, an ice fishing chair is a fast, cheap, and easy way to do it.

Can I use the same fishing chair on a boat or onshore?

Probably, yes. However, take care to check out your chosen chair before you buy it because many chairs designed specifically for ice fishing haven’t been built to prevent sinking in muddy or sandy conditions. They’ll work on a boat just fine, but shore conditions can sometimes outdo ice fishing chairs.

Where can I buy these ice fishing chairs and other ice fishing accessories?

Amazon is the best place to purchase most ice fishing chairs because they're easy to mail, and you can buy a whole outfit of items for your ice fishing trip, like this thermal chair cushion or ice fishing gloves to keep you warm out on the ice.


Conclusion

There’s no reason to make yourself suffer for nothing on the ice. The best thing you can do to make sure you last long enough to get some fish out of a frozen body of water is outfit your productive fishing holes with a shelter and a comfortable place to sit. Get an ice fishing chair that doesn’t take up too much space, has some storage features for smaller items, and won’t be too big a pain in the neck to bring with you. Most chairs aren't going to break the bank.

For anxious buyers, the Wise Outdoors 5613-246 offers one of the best warranties you can find on the market. It has all the features you need in an ice fishing chair, and it'll take the weight off your shoulders (and feet) during those long periods between bites.