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Hardhouse or permanent ice shelter anglers are often left waiting until mid- to late-season to get their shacks out onto thicker ice for safety hauling out the heavy equipment often towed by a mid to full-size truck. Getting out earlier in the season with a more lightweight hybrid that can easily be pulled out by ATV or UTV can get you on the hardwater in comfort a lot sooner and ultimately will get you more time ice fishing. In this article, we explore a few great hybrid options to consider if you’ve been looking for something that you can get out with earlier in the ice fishing season.

Shacks covered below include the:

THE ZACK SHACK

With its fender/ski system and minimal tongue weight, Zack Shack customers say it’s nothing to pull their Zack Shacks through harsh terrain with a tracked ATV or UTV, and set it down in down in seconds – the skis folding back into fenders, the house floor dropping to the ice surface, holes drilled out for fishing.

Based in Bismarck, North Dakota, Zack Shacks are hand-built by Cole Glatt and his small staff, who took over the company from Zack Zackmeier in 2019.

Zack Shack offers 10-, 12-, and 14-foot options, all 6-foot width, either with a flat- or V-front. Both the 6’ x 10’ and 6’ x 12’ flat-front sell for under 15K (at the time of this writing in 2023). The exterior is all tin and the frame is 100% steel for strength and a long life.

“We’ve sold around 1000 fish-houses since 2019, and I’ve never had one come back with frame issues, even on the older models,” says Clatt.

And the houses are light; the smallest weighs 1200 lbs.; the 6’ x 12’ is 1400 lbs.; and the 6’ x 14’ is 2000 lbs. And all Zack Shacks have a 61-inch wide ramp door for tracked ATVS.

“That’s kind of our claim to fame; 80-90% of my customers out here in the Dakotas have an ATV with tracks. That’s the deal—an ATV with tracks and a Zack Shack,” says Clatt.

The company specializes in build-to-order exactly to customer specs, dealing direct, no dealer-base. For example, each Zack Shack features a two-person bunk system and customers can increase lodging space to two sets on the side or one along the front. Front V-bunks run $650, side-wall bunks cost $750 a set.

For anglers looking for extreme portability in a lightweight and quick-to-set-up hardhouse/toy hauler, the Zack Shack is ideal for getting off the beaten path.

CANVAS BY THE STITCH

Handmade in Webster, Wisconsin, Canvas By The Stitch hybrid toy-hauler houses offer lots of fishable space, are light weight, extremely mobile, allow trailer use the whole calendar year, and can be sprayed under-floor to float for early- and late-ice conditions.

Built around a rigid steel frame with 200 gram 3M Thinsulate insulation and heavy, weather, and fire resistant denier coating inside (200) and out (300), Canvas By The Stitch offers three shelter/trailer sizes: 15’ for $7,842; 18’ for $9,018; and 21’ for $10,195 (as of Dec 2023)– each available in black or a timber camo for dual fishing and hunting use. Width varies from 6’6” to 6’8” for toy-hauling ATVs w/tracks, UTVs, snowmobiles, etc.

The small, husband, wife, and son operation offers numerous options to customize exactly the fish-house you’re looking for, with add-ons like skylights, wall-fold-out, built-in bunks/mattresses, an expandable porch, wheel skis, electric vs. included manual drop-down winches, a front ski, and more.

A popular model is the 18’ 6”, 6’ 6” wide Nodak A.S.S.T. with 3500 lb. axle, 15” tires, steel tube frame axle, 3-layer enclosure, 8 windows, 5 holes, ¾” treated floor, and full rear opening door. A perimeter skirt eliminates having to bank the house with snow.

Marine-grade flooring, composite flooring, carpet, electric winch, LPR tank holder, catch covers, rear screen door, waterfowl opening, privacy curtain, screen porch, spear hole, skis, height extension, bunk frames & cushions, and vent/stove jack ports are all available add-on options.

In terms of weight, the original weighs around 900 pounds, and the Max is about 1300. Tongue weight is about 80 pounds so you can move them easily by hand or with a machine.

Most customers pull Canvas By The Stitch shacks out on the ice with ATVs, UTVs, snowmobiles, or like owner Scotty Cone, a Wilcraft All-Terrain vehicle with after-market tracks instead of wheels. With this system, he says he can fish literally anywhere, regardless of ice quality.

For anglers and hunters looking for a shelter that defies sketchy conditions, Cone sprays the frame undersides for flotation. They also offer strap-on skis that fit under the wheels for easy transport in rough conditions.

TEAM LODGE

Manufactured in Watertown, South Dakota, Team Lodge offers a traditional hard-house with smaller footprint that can be used year ‘round as a toy hauler or off-grid RV. One popular model is the Team Lodge Junior.

In terms of construction, Team Lodge shelters comprise a 2” x 4” powder-coated steel frame, 2” x 3” wood frame structure, 1.5” minimum closed-cell spray-foam insulation, and 0.040 screwless aluminum siding.

At 6.5’ x 14’, the Team Lodge Junior weighs 2,850 pounds, features a single axle with 6,000 lbs. GVWR, 3,150 lbs. cargo capacity, 360 pound tongue weight, 72” ramp door height, 54” ramp door width, .040 aluminum screwless treadplate exterior trim, 54” fold-over sleater, (2) 24” x 36” windows, (1) 15” x 30” window, 32” x 72” fold-down cot, 30” x 72” walk-thru door, 0.050 rubber flooring, (2) 30 lb. propane tanks & cover, 0.7 cubic ft. microwave, 3 burner cooktop, front kitchenette cabinets, and (2) side upper cabinets.

Upgrade options include: (1) 12V 27 Series Deep Cycle Battery, On/Off Disconnects, (6) recessed interior lights, (2) exterior flood lights, (1) exterior on/off flood light, (4) 110V outlets, (3) 12V USB outlets, boat seat with pedestal and base, 30” x 48” dinette & table, 20K BTU forced-air furnace, 13,5000 BTC A/C unit, and DVD/CD player with surround sound, and various interior wood grain and color options.


If you’re looking to get out sooner on the hardwater than your typical hardhouse allows, these hybrid houses are some great options to consider to get you set up with a permanent shack that can be used on a wider range of ice conditions and allow you to get more ice fishing in during the bookends of the season.

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