By Tony Barthel
“Ice house trailer” is not a term I ever thought I’d be searching for, but as I seek out RVs to share with you somehow this caught my attention and now I’m intrigued. As someone who grew up on the beaches of Southern California, ice fishing isn’t really in my normal day-to-day, but it is for some folks.
First, if you’re like me, you have to start with what an ice house trailer is. In places like Minnesota, where they have a lot of lakes that freeze in the winter, there are still avid fishermen and fisherwomen who aren’t done with their poles and bait just because the fish are below a layer of ice. So, years ago someone got the idea to build a little shack and cut a hole in the floor and a corresponding hole in the ice, plop their fishing line in, and catch fish.
As with all human endeavors, the next person to come along had to do that first one up just a bit and likely built a bigger shack – until we came to where we are today. Now there are companies who actually build proper RVs that also can double as ice house shacks – except these aren’t any shacks at all.
First of all, you’re not likely to take whatever that RV is that you have now and use it as an ice fishing shack, even though I’m sure you know at least one or two others who have done just that. Just because Cousin Eddie does something doesn’t make it right.
What makes a proper ice house RV is one that can lay flat on top of the ice and then accommodate fishing through the floor of the RV and a corresponding hole in the ice. To be able to do this, first of all you need a unique suspension system that can lower the bottom of the RV to sit right on the ice.
Then you need an RV that can sit there on the ice without all the systems freezing up and exploding. Remember, it’s frozen out there.
So let’s talk about the Glacier A164TH, which is built by Glacier RV in – surprise, surprise – Minnesota.
In some ways, this is a traditional travel trailer in that it’s built with an aluminum skin over a wood frame. The design is a v-nose type with a single axle, and there are the usual things like a three-burner stove with oven, microwave and audio system.
But this also is very unique in that there are eight holes in the floor that are capped with what looks like a screw top for a five-gallon bucket. That’s where you do your fishing.
Inside, the trailer is finished in cedar planks – which is actually quite nice. There is a HappiJac bed at the back along with flip-up bunks, so this unit can sleep five. Just because the fish are down in that cold doesn’t mean the people fishing should be cold as well.
This model also has a large drop-down rear cargo door so you can load up ATVs and such when the lake isn’t frozen over – meaning this truly is a four-season trailer. Of course, the walls are all insulated to R-16.
What you don’t find in most of these trailers is any provision for running water because, again, that whole frozen lake thing. This particular model does have sort of a closet so you could bring along a portable toilet, and there are ways you can make provisions for a sink and such as well.
I don’t think that ice house trailers are going to take over the market, but considering that you can use this year ’round, even in Minnesota, bring your gear in the summer, fish in the ice in the winter, I can see how these would make a select few excited.
These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with my own research and represent the most accurate information and opinion at the time of writing. Your experience is always encouraged.