Area51 Mike's Woods Arctic 4 Hot Tent build:
French and I have been discussing for awhile now getting a hot tent for winter ice fishing. It would provide great comfort and the ability to stay out overnight or even a couple nights. Outfitter tents are pretty expensive, bulky, heavy and a PITA to set up. We started watching YouTube channel Chuck Porter - Everything Outdoors, an outdoor enthusiast from Labrador who converted an ice fishing pop up shelter into a hot tent.
Chuck's latest incarnation used an Eskimo 959i which is an 8'x8' insulated pop up ice shelter. I did some research and this year Woods came out with an identical model the Arctic 4 which is 7'8"x7'8" and is also insulated. Other than color and window shape the two are identical, and the Woods unit was in stock locally.
Pop up shelters have the shelter material & poles joined permanently together but collapsed. They set up easily in less than 2 minutes by pulling on the centre hub of each wall to pop in place.
I set up the unit in our basement spare bedroom to get a layout and feel for floor space vs camping equipment. I was pleased to find that my woodstove and cot fit with ease.
This unit is very well constructed, the insulated material is thicker and the whole shelter much more sturdy than my old Rapala 2 person shelter.
Test fitting the stove location and designing an exit for the stovepipe.
One upgrade I made was installing a 16' 12v LED strip light in the ceiling of the shelter. It's installed with ty-wraps and will be put in place each time the shelter is set up so it doesn't get damaged during transport. The strip is extremely bright lights up the interior very well. It will make indoor activities and picture taking much better on future adventures. It's run off a 12v alarm system battery, something I have lots of!
The amount of light inside is unbelievable.
All of the window panels are held in place with Velcro and each have a drop down sun/privacy shade.
I replaced one of the windows with a custom made heatproof/fireproof stove jack through which the stove pipe will safely exit the shelter. The stove jack was custom made by Greg Russell in Portugal Cove and he did an outstanding job on this one and one for Mark French.
I had to modify the OEM straight stovepipe to work in this installation by adding two 45 degree bends. The full process of that work can be found in my Hot Tent Woodstove 1.0 Project article.
The hot tent looks great and I'm really pleased with how it came out. This shelter is very portable and I believe a lot less work and effort to transport and set up compared to other options. Check out my initial overnight campout story: Mike's Hot Tent Shakedown January 2022.
In March of 2023 everything finally came together, time, weather and logistics to get out for an Overnight Ice Fishing Adventure. This was always my main goal for putting together this shelter.
This drill adaptor is a must have for driving the anchor screws, especially since we always have a drill on hand for our 6" Ice Augers.
This is my first time running the stove with the new H-shaped cap & gasket on the door. I also chose to add 2 firebricks at the front of the stove to balance the chimney pipe & new cap, especially in the wind. The stove is running much better than my first campout in January 2022. With the new H-shaped cap and door gasket, no smoke leaks out anymore. I do still get smoke opening the door, but not nearly as much as before.
Overall the first actual ice fishing campout was a huge success. All equipment performed as good as or better than I expected, the trip was a lot of fun and I cant wait to do it again!
Copyright © 2011 Michael Smith