Author Topic: Review: Otter XT Cabin Pro X-Over  (Read 3122 times)

Offline fishEH

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Review: Otter XT Cabin Pro X-Over
« on: Oct 03, 2021, 08:59 PM »
This will be an ongoing review of my Otter XT Cabin Pro X-Over. Decided it was time for a new shanty this year. After hearing many good things about Otter, I splurged and bought the Cabin Pro. I really wanted the regular version but Bass Pro didn't have it in stock and for reasons I won't get into I here, I needed to purchase soon.

First impressions. Very good quality. Material is heavy and stitching is good. Sled is heavy duty plastic,  much thicker than my previous Frabill Trekker DLX.
I'm really looking forward to the side entry/exit. Total game changer.

I do have some some issues with the unit however. Since I haven't had it on the ice yet my praise will be limited, so you may have to  bear with my complaints. As I get some use I'll keep updating with my reviews and any upgrades.

Offline Buckshots

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Re: Review: Otter XT Cabin Pro X-Over
« Reply #1 on: Oct 03, 2021, 09:47 PM »
Itís a good shack. I have the regular version with bench seat and have had my share of issues, but I bought it the first year it came out. What are your issues? Maybe we can help.

Offline fishEH

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Re: Review: Otter XT Cabin Pro X-Over
« Reply #2 on: Oct 03, 2021, 09:53 PM »
After much looking I found a set of Otter hyfax runners. I had heard that its easiest to install these before assembling the rest of the shanty, and that is accurate. I had seen a video of a guy installing the hyfax on his Otter and he indicated the runners should fit into the slot in the curved front part of the sled.
Upon looking at the sled it is obvious there are recessed notches that look like they should accept the runners. Well, they don't. IDK if Otter increased the thickness of the runners but there is no way those are fitting in there. They are also VERY tight to get into the notched track part; I needed a rubber mallet to whack them in.
After that the install was pretty straight forward. Press down, drill, install screw, repeat what feels like 100 times.
Pros: Hyfax are nice and thick and should provide good protection.
Cons:
1) Hyfax seem to sit fuarther back on the bottom of the sled than originally designed. This causes a fair amount of overhang behind tub of the sled. Not too obnoxious, but it doesn't seem as it should.
2) Because the Hyfax are pushed back about 1" farther than intended, the rear most screw hole ends up being in the part of the sled where the bottom starts to taper up. The result is a screw that is too short to allow the nut to thread on properly. This was remedied with some SS #6 screws mounted reverse(screw head in tub/nut inside Hyfax hole.
3) The front most hyfax runner screw(actually the nut) protrudes obnoxiously into the front curved part of the sled. I didn't like the idea of that snagging soft materials or anything else so I replaced in the same fashion as the rear most ones.










Offline ont_angler

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Re: Review: Otter XT Cabin Pro X-Over
« Reply #3 on: Oct 04, 2021, 07:46 AM »
The bolts for my runner kit for my eskimo was the same, the bolts stuck through like your otter.

I took a couple 1$ foam matts and just leave them in the bottom of the tub, no more worry of snagging lures, gloves etc on em.

Offline jrjach75

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Re: Review: Otter XT Cabin Pro X-Over
« Reply #4 on: Oct 04, 2021, 08:16 AM »
The bolts for my runner kit for my eskimo was the same, the bolts stuck through like your otter.

I took a couple 1$ foam matts and just leave them in the bottom of the tub, no more worry of snagging lures, gloves etc on em.

I did the same on mine, found a roll of antifatigue mat at harbor freight that was easy to cut and fit great on the width. Plus, it keeps things from sliding around in the sled and may or may not give at least a small level of insulation against the ice.

Offline fishEH

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Re: Review: Otter XT Cabin Pro X-Over
« Reply #5 on: Oct 04, 2021, 03:21 PM »
Thats a great idea!
The bolts for my runner kit for my eskimo was the same, the bolts stuck through like your otter.

I took a couple 1$ foam matts and just leave them in the bottom of the tub, no more worry of snagging lures, gloves etc on em.

Offline Buckshots

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Re: Review: Otter XT Cabin Pro X-Over
« Reply #6 on: Oct 04, 2021, 05:46 PM »
Somethings not right with those runners. I would of contacted Otter and let them know of the situation. They canít fix an issue if they donít know it exist. They would of sent you different runners more than likely. Otter has been known for high quality products but the quality has been going downhill lately since the release of the x over shelters. Otter quality control is not what it used to be. The runners show just that. For what these things cost new, donít settle for crap. Or that is what we will get.

Offline 800stealth

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Re: Review: Otter XT Cabin Pro X-Over
« Reply #7 on: Oct 04, 2021, 06:32 PM »
The runners for my XT lodge pro were similar, very tight fit in the tracks. I just warmed up the tub a little with a heat gun and it all went together fine, the length was correct on mine with no overhang. Personally I prefer it that they're a tight fit, more support from the tracks means less stress on the bolt holes during lateral loads.
I covered the floor and exposed nuts with automotive carpet when I did the full deck conversion. Found it in Otter blue on Amazon.
"May your lines be tight and never be tangled" (old Frankish Proverb)  Guinea 2021

Offline fishEH

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Re: Review: Otter XT Cabin Pro X-Over
« Reply #8 on: Oct 04, 2021, 07:15 PM »
Yeah, IDK. The runners are the correct part number, maybe their molding has gotten sloppy. The Otter vid doesn't seme to have the same issue with the overhang.

 Although it bugs me, its probably a good thing. I think the extra overhang will protect the back corner of the sled as I put it in my truck.

Offline fishEH

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Re: Review: Otter XT Cabin Pro X-Over
« Reply #9 on: Oct 04, 2021, 07:28 PM »
So I got the center seat support installed. Just for fun I decided to test fit some buckets behind the seat. FAIL!!
I was literally shocked to see that nothing fit.
Marcum Lithium shuttle bucket. Nope.
Frabill sit and fish bucket. Nope.
Surely a standard hardware store 5gallon bucket would fit? Nope!
The only bucket I have that fits behind the seat rail is a rectangular kitty litter bucket. 🤦‍♂️ Sorry but I'm not keeping my ice gear on my $1000 shanty in a litter box with a janky lid.
They sorta fit, but they dont sit flush on the floorand are hanging cockeyed between the seat rail and rear sled.
Such a massive oversight on Otter's part. All they had to do was center the rail and you could have stored buckets in front of or behind the seats.
Lazy engineering.





Offline hardwater diehard

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Re: Review: Otter XT Cabin Pro X-Over
« Reply #10 on: Oct 04, 2021, 08:32 PM »
fishEH years ago while searching for a flip over at my local Gander Mtn ..I encountered the dreaded cross bar seat set ups ..cant recall if it was Otter and/or Clam but it was a hard pass . Years later it seems to never been address .
Give a man a fish he eats for a day .Teach a man to ice fish he has an obsession for a lifetime

Offline fishEH

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Re: Review: Otter XT Cabin Pro X-Over
« Reply #11 on: Oct 05, 2021, 07:05 PM »
Almost have it fully assembled. This post is as much a question as a critique. 
The fabric went on pretty easily with the help of my son. Center cross bracing poles were pretty straight forward. I will say I'm glad the shabty has side entry/exit because the front door is kinda small.
Then I decided to test fit the black plastic trim that keeps the fabric to the sides of the sled.
Here's where my beef/question lies. The Otter Cabin has a wind skirt that adheres to the side of the tub, so it is inside the shanty when fully set up. The skirt goes against the outside lip of the sled, then the trim part goes over it and get screwed into the sled.
What I'm having an issue with is how this is supposed to sit when the plastic bucket seat rail is sitting on the lip of the tub? It seems the seat raill would be sitting right on top of the fabric and plastic trim piece. This would either cause the seat rail to not sit flush against the side of the sled or cause the fabric/plastic to wear prematurely,  or both.
What am I missing???
I also have no idea what I'm supposed to do with the skirt material when moving the shanty around. It's too short to want to stay tucked inside the sled, but its long enough where it will drag on the ground and get frayed in no time.








Offline SPIN 1

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Re: Review: Otter XT Cabin Pro X-Over
« Reply #12 on: Oct 05, 2021, 07:32 PM »
Same as stealth800 I assembled lodge hyfax no problem. Wondering if the cabin sled is shorter and they sent lodge hyfax? Also if I remember right there wasnít problem with the skirt thought it tucked up out way Velcro? Iíll pull it out tomorrow getting the itch anyways
More than 3 cars in my driveway when I get home ? Probably an intervention! Iím outta there!

Offline Baetis62

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Re: Review: Otter XT Cabin Pro X-Over
« Reply #13 on: Oct 05, 2021, 07:47 PM »
Fish I have the Cottage but use a cover when I'm towing it.  I put the cover on and then stuff the skirt up inside of the elastic band of the cover.  Can't remember having an issue with the seat rail...seem to recall there being a gap between the 2  trim pieces in front  and some velcro that holds the hanging pieces of skirt together at that spot.  Not 100% on that and maybe the Cabin is different.

Offline fishEH

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Re: Review: Otter XT Cabin Pro X-Over
« Reply #14 on: Oct 13, 2021, 01:51 PM »
So I haven't done anything with the shanty, but I looked at it again yesterday after reviewing some posts online. I think the issue of the edge trim, skirt, and seat not fitting together well has to do with the flashing on the edge of the sled. These sleds are rotomolded and it looks like the edges have to be cut down. On my sled it looks like not enough of the edge/flashing was removed. This means the the lip, fabric, and edging all stick out further than normal, causing interference with the seat support.
The more I look at it though, the more I think I will not be screwing the skirt or using any edging on the inside of the sled area.
I occasionally use boot cleats and I can just see that skirt getting all chewed up.


Offline hardwater diehard

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Re: Review: Otter XT Cabin Pro X-Over
« Reply #15 on: Oct 13, 2021, 02:36 PM »
This is an old video but it does look different then your set up ..4:22 mark

Give a man a fish he eats for a day .Teach a man to ice fish he has an obsession for a lifetime

Offline fishEH

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Re: Review: Otter XT Cabin Pro X-Over
« Reply #16 on: Oct 14, 2021, 09:36 AM »
Thanks! Looks like he didn't get or didn't use the edging. I think that's the route I'm going.

Offline hardwater diehard

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Re: Review: Otter XT Cabin Pro X-Over
« Reply #17 on: Oct 14, 2021, 10:18 AM »
Thanks! Looks like he didn't get or didn't use the edging. I think that's the route I'm going.

Is it possible that the trim lock is on backwards ...if you can flip it around does it work better or worse . FWIW the diagram and instructions are pretty horrible .
Give a man a fish he eats for a day .Teach a man to ice fish he has an obsession for a lifetime

Offline SPIN 1

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Re: Review: Otter XT Cabin Pro X-Over
« Reply #18 on: Oct 14, 2021, 10:51 AM »




Otter lodge bench skirt not really in the way.

More than 3 cars in my driveway when I get home ? Probably an intervention! Iím outta there!

Offline fishEH

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Re: Review: Otter XT Cabin Pro X-Over
« Reply #19 on: Oct 24, 2021, 09:44 PM »
Finally had a minute to get back to the shanty.  Brought it out and set up in the driveway.
First thing I noticed are the bottom poles are extremely hard to pull out to extend. I tried lubing with graphite and no dice. I pulled one side out completely to investigate. There's a square plastic endpiece that's supposed to keep the smaller outer tube from rotating within the larger tube. It is causing binding inside. I took a file a put a tiny bevel on the edge of the plastic piece. It helped a little. I think those parts just need to "wear in".

The fabric isn't very tight. I have all poles and supports fulled extended, yet there is quite a bit of loose material, especially in the front corners. This just kinda bugs me.

The top front pole is Janky. This is the pole that has a pivot point in the middle, allowing the poles to rotate for side entry. The way this pivoting piece bends and allows the roof to sag does not inspire confidence it will last. And its an eyesore.

As I was sitting in the shanty in my driveway, I noticed the position of the side windows; they're in the doors. This means to look out either side I need to lean forward significantly or get up slightly. What a pain!!! I usually place tipups within line of sight of my windows. Having to constantly get up to check tip ups instead of just glancing out the window is awful. This is a major miss on Otter's part. How can a compant like Otter not have a single person on staff that catches this and says "hey it would be 1000 times better if we move it back 12 inches"?

My last gripe is the removeable support poles. The ones that extend are pretty janky with those twist knob set screws. I just see those not lasting at all.

Nevertheless I'm excited to get this thing on the ice and use it. But I see a LOT of tweaking and modification in my future.






Offline fishEH

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Different sleds & LED light
« Reply #20 on: Dec 28, 2021, 07:08 PM »
Stopped in at my Bass Pro today and they had the bench seat non-Pro model in stock. I realized the Pro uses a completely different t sled than the bench seat version. So there's basically no way to install the bench in the Pro model, at least not in a way that would free up any more storage space.

With that realization I decided to start making some small mods.
First up is lighting. In my old Frabill I had used some irrigation pipe and a LED strip for lighting. I made a new one with larger diameter pipe for the larger square Otter poles. Basically cut a slit lengthwise in the pipe. Stick the led light to the pipe, apply liquid electrical tape to really stick it on there, and wire it up. Plenty bright and it can spin on the pole to allow more/less light.





Offline fishEH

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Milwaukee power supply, Clam corner console
« Reply #21 on: Jan 14, 2022, 09:10 PM »
I installed a Clam corner console. I debated whether I wanted to occupy the space with it sin e its quite large, but I'm glad I did. The Otter sled angles up at the end, so I had to use an old piece of aluminum to level it out.

I also decided to ditch my heavy lead acid battery for shack lighting. I bought a Milwaukee 18v battery adapter and 12vdc converter and wired them into a 5.1mm Jack mounted in the Clam console. Mounted the battery adapter to the sled and it tucks away nicely out of the way.













Offline eyeflyer

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Re: Review: Otter XT Cabin Pro X-Over
« Reply #22 on: Jan 14, 2022, 10:07 PM »
Otter looks like a big PIA, couldn't give me one.

Offline fishEH

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Re: Review: Otter XT Cabin Pro X-Over
« Reply #23 on: Jan 15, 2022, 11:59 AM »
Otter looks like a big PIA, couldn't give me one.
Yes and no I'd say. For the money I am disappointed in the lack of attention to detail. However, I'm pretty anal about things and IDK that any other brand shack would be any better overall.
I've looked at a fair amount of Clam and Frabill shanties in person and there are things I dislike about each of them. Clam sleds are very shallow and kind of chincy, and their doors are corner doors not a true side exist. That inconvenience was a deal killer for me. Frabill sleds are pretty shallow and cheap too, although their side exit doors are good.
At the end of the day I don't think any manufacturers adequately and thoroughly think about the fishability of their shanties. The devil is in the details and they just don't seem to care. It's more about whatever is easiest to crank out shanties.

Offline PaddyO

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Re: Review: Otter XT Cabin Pro X-Over
« Reply #24 on: Jan 15, 2022, 06:36 PM »
I have the XT X-Over Cabin - purchased past year.   I've had many huts - mostly Clam (still have the single Stealth Thermo - run and gun sled), 1 Frabill - the Otter is hands down the best built hut of them all.  Trick is - just like a Clam, as far as buckets is the kitty litter bucket - but I cut off the top 7/8" or down to 2-3-8" off the top of the bucket with an oscillating saw - they fit perfect then.   Forget a 5 gallon pails - don't fit in any sled good - basics of trying to fit round things into a rectangular sled.   Runners - i had no issues installing them - bare sled and started at the front. Also - the bench is 41 lbs alone and I remove it when needed and use a 5 lb folding chair.  Smitty Sled custom built helps a lot.   Hope this helps
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Otter XT X-Cabin Thermo
Clam Kenia Pro
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Marcum VS485C
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Offline PaddyO

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Re: Review: Otter XT Cabin Pro X-Over
« Reply #25 on: Jan 15, 2022, 06:45 PM »
The fabric isn't very tight. I have all poles and supports fulled extended, yet there is quite a bit of loose material, especially in the front corners. This just kinda bugs me.


When you installed the canvass, did you use spring clamps around the entire hut to hold an secure the cover and pull everything tight with the poles fully extended before you installed the trim and screws?  I think I used 12 spring clamps to make it perfectly tight before I fitted the trim and screws.   I'm OCD big time and pre fitment is the trick before screws are put in.    Wish you luck - Its a great hut.
Clam Kenia Pro Thermo Stealth
Otter XT X-Cabin Thermo
Clam Kenia Pro
Marcum Showdown
Marcum VS485C
Labatt Blue Light

Offline Baetis62

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Re: Review: Otter XT Cabin Pro X-Over
« Reply #26 on: Jan 15, 2022, 08:22 PM »
I have the XT X-Over Cabin - purchased past year.   I've had many huts - mostly Clam (still have the single Stealth Thermo - run and gun sled), 1 Frabill - the Otter is hands down the best built hut of them all.  Trick is - just like a Clam, as far as buckets is the kitty litter bucket - but I cut off the top 7/8" or down to 2-3-8" off the top of the bucket with an oscillating saw - they fit perfect then.   Forget a 5 gallon pails - don't fit in any sled good - basics of trying to fit round things into a rectangular sled.   Runners - i had no issues installing them - bare sled and started at the front. Also - the bench is 41 lbs alone and I remove it when needed and use a 5 lb folding chair.  Smitty Sled custom built helps a lot.   Hope this helps
I use the square milk crates instead of buckets.  Even before I got the flip I switched to those and it made life easier with an open jet sled.  Better use of space. I like my Pro X Cottage.  Wish I had a just a little more height for a big sweeping hook-set on Macs but other than that its been great. Hope you can get it dialed to your liking this season.

Offline fishEH

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Re: Review: Otter XT Cabin Pro X-Over
« Reply #27 on: Jan 17, 2022, 04:36 PM »
Finally got out ice fishing in the Otter yesterday!! The shanty has very good insulation. I used a Little Buddy heater on Low and it was too hot inside in 20į weather. 
The side entry is really nice and I love it. That said, the clip to move the pole for side entry is really tight. I'm hoping that loosens up a bit. 
I'm still struggling with the storage. I bought a square kitty litter bucket and that has helped a bit, but the seat support rail and plastic seat base really complicate things. I have a feeling I'll end up removing the entire seating system and making something better kn the future.

Offline Baetis62

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Re: Review: Otter XT Cabin Pro X-Over
« Reply #28 on: Jan 17, 2022, 06:53 PM »
...and how was the fishing?  Didja christen the new house with some fish?

Offline fishEH

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Re: Review: Otter XT Cabin Pro X-Over
« Reply #29 on: Jan 18, 2022, 09:37 AM »
I did! Caught about 8 crappie, kept 4, and lost a real nice one at the hole. A few bluegill and a half dozen micro perch. Pulling the shanty was a breeze on bare ice. Will bust out the Smitty sled for snow. It was easy to flip up, move, and flip back down; no need to retract poles or anything. I need a rod holder now.

 



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