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Author Topic: Polar Bird Ice Shelter Review Part 1 and Part 2  (Read 3886 times)

LoneWolf

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Polar Bird Ice Shelter Review Part 1 and Part 2
« on: Dec 15, 2015, 09:25 PM »


Date of Testing and Filming: 12-05-15

                                          Polar Bird 3T Review

This is part 1 of a 2 part review on the all new Polar Bird 3T three man insulated hub shelter. I will do Part 2 after actually using the shelter out on the ice. I'm going to keep this strictly about the shelter and not try to do comparisons.
I also have an accompanying video on YouTube which shows the different features. I tried to keep the video only about the shelter and the features. I also tried to keep the video as short as possible but still show as much as possible. The video link is at the end of this review.
I'm going to try to write this in the fashion that I noticed features .. from the box through the shelter set up. It's a bit lengthy but I'm trying to keep it thorough.

Out of the box :

Removing the bag and shelter from the box I noticed something right away. The shelter bag had no zipper, no drawstrings or an end opening. The bag has a simple strap and double ring design like those found on the older motorcycle helmets. It has  4 straps keeping the oversized bag secure.
To open the straps you simply pull up on the double rings and the straps loosen. Undo the straps and open the bag. I can see this design being beneficial in freezing temperatures vs zippers or drawstrings.
Once the shelter is removed I found a pocket with a small bag inside. The bag contains 4 anchors and the anchor straps. The anchors had a vinyl coating on the handle and a rubber plug on the point of the threads. I thought it was a nice touch between the vinyl and rubber plug. Someone was actually thinking.


Opening the Shelter  :

After laying the shelter out the first thing I started to notice were the light colored sides and the dark roof. As I pulled on a side wall hub strap I could feel the resistance and then it popped into place firmly. I've had hub shelters before this one and they had no where near the resistance of this unit. It felt very solid. I proceeded to pop the roof and other side walls.


Exterior :

What stood out to me again were the two toned colors. The roof and corners were a dark blue and the sides were a light color .. like an off white. After thinking about it the coloring made sense .. to me anyway. The darker colors, such as the roof, would absorb warmth from the sun while the lighter color would allow light in for easier seeing inside the shelter.
The next thing I noticed was the oversized 9 1/2” skirt around the shelter. This was the darker color material with the insulation. On the skirt corners are straps for securing the shelter with the anchors. There are also straps on the hubs to ease the shelter set up but they can also be used to secure the shelter using the anchors and anchor straps.
There are two doors on the shelter. Each door has two zippers and there are storm flaps over each zipper. The doors are both insulated. The velcro to secure the door open is not on the exterior but on the interior. On my older shelters the door was secured to the exterior and when the wind kicked up your heard the door beating against the sides or it broke loose completely.

Interior :

The first thing I noticed going inside the shelter is how much light the lighter colored walls allowed in. It wasn't overly bright but I could see well. I found it hard in my past shelters, that had the dark material, to be able to see. If I were trying to tie a jig on 2lb test I either tried to maneuver next to an open window or turn on my headlamp.
On the roof there are two large mesh pockets. They are large enough to store a coat or whatever. On the sides, near the floor, are two smaller mesh pockets.
Inside you get a view of the all metal hubs and the strong fiberglass poles. Here is a link to a video at one of the ice shows where PB had asked people to try and bend them until it breaks. Polar Bird Poles
On the sides of the shelter there are two small windows with shades. The shade and window both have velcro. They are located at the upper part of the walls. The windows can also be used for vents.
I found a nice feature located at the lower wall near the floor. It is a round hole that has a cover using velcro. It can be used as a vent. It can be used to run a gas line from a propane tank outside to a heater inside. It can be used to run an electrical cord from a generator outside to electronics inside.
The insulation appears to be very well constructed. It's comprised of three layers of fabric plus the insulation. It has the inner material, then the insulation, another material and the outer material. The inner material is fused over the insulation to the next layer  using ultrasonic thermo stitching. This process leaves no stitching holes for heat loss or leaks. The resulting interior quilt pattern leaves 4” x 4”  squares. The last part is the outer layer.
This shelter has an optional insulated, waterproof removable floor. The floor comes with pre cut holes or you can make your own holes. The floor folds up, has carrying handles  and two straps. Once inside the shelter I removed the two straps, stored them in a small pocket and unfolded the floor half way. At the bottom of the shelter walls you will see two overlapping skirts. The upper skirt has velcro. To secure the floor to the shelter you position the floor over the bottom skirt and pull the upper skirt over the floor. Attach the floor and skirt using the velcro. You unfold the rest of the floor and continue. You can also leave the floor in the half open position to allow more ice exposed for spear fishing or whatever. Also with the floor fully installed the entire shelter can be dragged to a new spot with up to 100 lbs of gear inside.


Conclusion :

I'll start by saying I know there's no shelter on the market that will please everyone. In my opinion the Polar Bird shelter has many positive features.
I actually prefer the light and dark colors of the tent for reasons given.
I like the idea of  no stitching holes by using ultrasonic thermo stitching.
I like the idea of smaller windows for less heat loss.
I like the idea of the round hole by the floor to run a line or cords through.
I like the all metal hub and the extra strong poles.
I like the floor but it doesn't mean I have to use it on every outing. I may use it when I have the kids. I may use it when there is a few inches of snow. If there is bare ice I may leave it home so I don't accidentally step in with cleats on. I just like having the option.

I could go on but I think Polar Bird just reinvented the hub shelter. I think PB was very innovative and took advice from ice fisherman while designing these shelters. I would have to say these are premium compared to some others. Whether you like or dislike certain features of these shelters PB just raised the bar. Other manufacturers will have to take notice which is a good thing for us.
Also if you visit the Polar Bird website (I did) you will find they are not a new company to ice shelters. They are new to North America but have been in business for many years producing shelters in Siberia and Eastern Europe.




The accompanying video review : Polar Bird Video Review



Polar Bird 3T Review Part 2

This season has been challenging to say the least as far as safe ice. I did manage to take the PB 3T out on the ice two times for in the field testing. At the bottom is the Part 2 video link.
One concern that had been mentioned was the windows. After using the shelter I have to agree that I would prefer to have 4 windows vs 2 and positioned lower near the hubs. I do realize Polar Bird did this to minimize heat loss. At the same time by adding two more windows and lowering their position would greatly increase your field of view and the heat loss I believe would be minimum.
Another concern that was mentioned was the durability of flooring material. I purposely wore heavy metal spikes inside the shelter and on the floor material. I wouldn't recommend it but it was a test. I'm 190 lbs and as you can see in the video the floor material did not puncture.
The floor hole layout was also mentioned. I believe that Polar Bird would be better off giving you a full floor with no holes. They could include directions (and online videos) on how to install the holes yourself. This way everyone can do the floor layout how they would prefer.
The last concern mentioned was the light color of the fabric. This is going to be a personal choice as to how you fish. I personally prefer the light color of the fabric. I mostly use electronics and rarely sight fish. The light color allows me to see inside the shelter without the need for lights.

Overall I believe the Polar Bird 3T shelter is very innovative and is built strong. I found it to be an asset in many ways. If I were bringing children out it would keep them sheltered and warm. If it were just the adults we have used it as a “command center” where  we would hole hop and if anyone got cold they could go in and get warm. Also we would cook lunch outside the shelter and eat inside in comfort.
I believe by changing the window layout and offering a full floor with no holes (DIY) that for the money Polar Bird shelters would be the best hub shelters on the market.


Polar Bird Video Review Part 2




Those who are brave are free ..

mr.clean

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Re: Polar Bird Ice Shelter Review Part 1
« Reply #1 on: Dec 17, 2015, 02:08 AM »
LoneWolf thank you for the review and video link. Hopefully your area will get thick enough ice so you can give us a review after a fishing trip.
Steve

LoneWolf

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Re: Polar Bird Ice Shelter Review Part 1
« Reply #2 on: Dec 17, 2015, 06:14 AM »

Steve you're welcome and as soon as I have the PB out a few times I'll do a part 2.

Hopefully this season won't be as warm as they are predicting. 

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jdsmith1

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Re: Polar Bird Ice Shelter Review Part 1
« Reply #3 on: Dec 17, 2015, 09:22 AM »
Great review! I have two seat portable time to move up.

Idahogator

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Re: Polar Bird Ice Shelter Review Part 1
« Reply #4 on: Dec 17, 2015, 11:43 AM »
Thank you LoneWolf, for this very well thought out, well written review and videos.     :thumbsup: :bow:
      

Ice Scratcher

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Re: Polar Bird Ice Shelter Review Part 1
« Reply #5 on: Dec 18, 2015, 04:51 PM »
Sounds like a great shack to me..

Thanks for the detailed write up!!

Maybe some day they would make an all black one for the dark house folks, spearing and sight fishing..

I come from a school that believes that shallow water fish are spooked by movement in a lit up daytime shanty situation..

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Deal Ninja

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Re: Polar Bird Ice Shelter Review Part 1
« Reply #6 on: Dec 18, 2015, 06:09 PM »
Great review.  Thanks.
DON'T DILLY DALLY!!!   ;D

icefishnhusker

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Re: Polar Bird Ice Shelter Review Part 1
« Reply #7 on: Dec 20, 2015, 11:47 AM »
Nice review. Nice video. I used a hub shelter a few years back. I like the hub shelters, however, I now use a 2 seat portable. It has an easier set up, especially in the wind, and it is easier to move around on the ice.

MrE1979

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Re: Polar Bird Ice Shelter Review Part 1
« Reply #8 on: Dec 20, 2015, 01:43 PM »
Just looked at the site and I see a 4t in the near future for me.  It sounds like they have a good product by your review.
It is MY responsibility to make sure my children can enjoy fishing years from now. Make sure your kids can fish.  If you see something ILLEGAL Contact the Massachusetts Environmental Police Radio Room at 1-800-632-8075 at any hour of the day. They might show up if there is enough staff working.

Mainedog

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Re: Polar Bird Ice Shelter Review Part 1
« Reply #9 on: Jan 16, 2016, 09:48 PM »
Good write up.  Thanks Lone Wolf.
I look forward to reading more.
I have a pop-up, and have liked it from day 1.
Sounds like Polar Bird has made some well thought out innovations.
I really like the floor level air/propane hose feature.
MD

LoneWolf

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Re: Polar Bird Ice Shelter Review Part 1
« Reply #10 on: Mar 14, 2016, 03:58 PM »

I just added part 2 of my review (with video) to my original post.  :icefish:
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blue igloo

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Re: Polar Bird Ice Shelter Review Part 1 and Part 2
« Reply #11 on: Mar 16, 2016, 06:28 AM »
I'll be back to read your review Doug. I haven't seen that shelter up here but then again I was on the ice so few times this season  >:(
Final trip coming up this Friday.
Blue Igloo  :tipup:

Idahogator

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Re: Polar Bird Ice Shelter Review Part 1 and Part 2
« Reply #12 on: Mar 16, 2016, 12:07 PM »
Nice realistic Part 2 and well done, Doug.

But, did you catch any ?    :roflmao:


Tom
      

LoneWolf

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Re: Polar Bird Ice Shelter Review Part 1 and Part 2
« Reply #13 on: Mar 21, 2016, 09:36 AM »
I'll be back to read your review Doug. I haven't seen that shelter up here but then again I was on the ice so few times this season  >:(
Final trip coming up this Friday.
Blue Igloo  :tipup:


I hope you did well on your last outing. We didn't have a great season either.


Quote
Nice realistic Part 2 and well done, Doug.

But, did you catch any ?    :roflmao:


Tom
Modify message

Thanks Tom. I managed a few decent crappies and perch later in the day.  ;D
Those who are brave are free ..

 

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