Author Topic: 2018 Clam vs Otter Hub Shelters  (Read 406 times)

Offline Shife

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2018 Clam vs Otter Hub Shelters
« on: Feb 19, 2019, 08:13 AM »
I thought I'd give some insight on the newer insulated Clam and Otter hub shelters since I have both (Clam purchased Nov 2018 and Otter Purchased Feb 2019). The models in question are the Clam Escape FLR Thermal and the Otter Pro XTH Lodge. Yes, they are drastically different sizes but that's why I have two hub shelters.

They both set up super easy like any other hub shelter. The fabric is very similar and we've had the Clam out in several hours of rain without getting wet. I've not yet had the Otter in the rain to make a comparison. The Clam carry bag has sturdier fabric, but the Otter bag is roomier and has a plastic liner in the bottom that makes getting the hub back in easier. I managed to break a buckle on the Otter bag the first time I used it - I'll replace the chintzy buckles with delrin ones. Both shelters come with a compression strap to help squeeze the hub down for repacking, however the Otter strap is longer and the buckle is easier to use with cold hands. The zipper pulls on the Otter are far better than the Clam, but the zippers themselves occasionally skip teeth and don't appear as beefy as the Clam. The Otter has removable windows and the Clam is fixed. The window shades on the Clam have more velcro to secure them - the shades for the Otter kind of droop in the center and let in light. The hubs and poles appear to be of the same quality. Both hubs feature vents at the roof line, however the stiffener to keep the vent open on the Otter is weak and the rain shield collapses on the vent - the Clams vents stay popped open. Otter has some handy pole holders sewn on to the walls and both brands feature gear nets at the roof and pockets on the walls. Both hubs have anchor points at each corner as well as anchor straps coming from each hub center. Otter has a more elaborate anchor system at the corners that seems to reduce the need to use the straps at the hubs. We don't bother to use the corner anchor points on the Escape and just use the hub straps with that shelter. The Clam anchors are easy to bend and we've had to replace most of ours with Eskimo anchors - Otter gives you a full set of anchors (8 for the Lodge) and they are pretty burly. The snow skirts are similarly sized. Clam has an optional floor available, though we've not found it something we want to spend the money on.

As for size, I can't really make a direct comparison. The Clam Escape is downright massive with a ridiculous amount of headroom. We have no problem putting six people in there in camp chairs with a camp card table. Due to the volume, you really need a Big Buddy heater or something with a fan when it's cold inside the Clam. I assume the Otter Resort would compare similarly. The Otter Lodge fishes four people without a problem, but if you use camp chairs and a table you're going to be cramped. I'm 5'9" and can walk around without hitting my head in the Lodge, though taller people might want to look towards Clam's higher ceiling height. If you just fish on buckets and have minimal gear, you can fit an army in these shelters.

I don't think you can go wrong with either the Otter or the Clam version of these insulated hubs. The Otter was on deeper discount when I was looking for a smaller shelter and that's why I ordered it over the Clam Refuge. If you go with the Clam, you will definitely need to upgrade to either Otter or Eskimo anchors. The Clam anchors are just awful. Apart from that, they are really very similar. It will be interesting to see how they age, as the Otter zippers and bag appear less durable than the Clam, however I don't think there is enough difference to recommend one over the other. There was minimal direct comparisons when I was shopping for a new hub (most reviews were of the older models with the curved zippers), so that's why I decided to post this. Hopefully it will answer some questions that others might have.

Offline RStock521

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Re: 2018 Clam vs Otter Hub Shelters
« Reply #1 on: Feb 19, 2019, 08:35 AM »
Thanks for the great review!  My buckles on my Otter bag also snapped, I've been meaning to replace those with better quality ones.

Offline Albertan

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Re: 2018 Clam vs Otter Hub Shelters
« Reply #2 on: Feb 19, 2019, 09:50 AM »
I've spent hours this past weekend comparing the Eskimo Fatfish 6120i, Clam Escape Ice Thermal, and the Otter XTH Pro Resort.  I had about crossed the Clam off the list because of the windows aren't replaceable and they seem a bit high.  The fact that the Otter's air vents collapse on themselves brings up a concern though as I hope to do some overnight camping on the ice...I'll run a CO detector regardless.  I do have a couple of questions about the Escape Ice you might be able to answer, as I've read conflicting accounts:

1)  Can you look out the windows to check tip ups while sitting in a chair?

2)  Is the Clam completely dark inside with the windows covered?  I've read the Clam's are a bit on the bright side inside.  I'd rather have complete darkness for sight fishing.
    

Offline Shife

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Re: 2018 Clam vs Otter Hub Shelters
« Reply #3 on: Feb 19, 2019, 10:34 AM »
I feel the Clam gets as dark as the Otter. A little bit of light gets in with either, but the fabric itself is pretty solid on both. Whether or not you can see out of the windows while seated in the Clam depends on what kind of chair you are using. Using a folding chair I can see out of the windows while seated. If I'm using a camp chair I have to get up. The windows on the Otter are a bit different as they alternate shape and height.

Offline Monticatgeek

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Re: 2018 Clam vs Otter Hub Shelters
« Reply #4 on: Feb 19, 2019, 01:55 PM »
I've spent hours this past weekend comparing the Eskimo Fatfish 6120i, Clam Escape Ice Thermal, and the Otter XTH Pro Resort.  I had about crossed the Clam off the list because of the windows aren't replaceable and they seem a bit high.  The fact that the Otter's air vents collapse on themselves brings up a concern though as I hope to do some overnight camping on the ice...I'll run a CO detector regardless.  I do have a couple of questions about the Escape Ice you might be able to answer, as I've read conflicting accounts:

1)  Can you look out the windows to check tip ups while sitting in a chair?

2)  Is the Clam completely dark inside with the windows covered?  I've read the Clam's are a bit on the bright side inside.  I'd rather have complete darkness for sight fishing.


if you are into sight fishing I would look at the Clam Spearfisher hub house. it uses the stealth thermal fabric and is designed for sight fishing and for spearing hence the name spearfisher.
Fishing is not a hobby it is a way of life

Offline Albertan

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Re: 2018 Clam vs Otter Hub Shelters
« Reply #5 on: Feb 19, 2019, 02:04 PM »
if you are into sight fishing I would look at the Clam Spearfisher hub house. it uses the stealth thermal fabric and is designed for sight fishing and for spearing hence the name spearfisher.

It is appealing.  Unfortunately, it's too small. I'm looking for something that I can put a pair of cots in and overnight with the son-in-law.
    

Offline Monticatgeek

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Re: 2018 Clam vs Otter Hub Shelters
« Reply #6 on: Feb 19, 2019, 02:12 PM »
It is appealing.  Unfortunately, it's too small. I'm looking for something that I can put a pair of cots in and overnight with the son-in-law.


only Clam hubs that are bigger are the Escape at 11.5 feet across or the XL6000 & XL6000 Garage which are 8 feet by 14 feet. only thing with these three is that the fabric is not as dark so sight fishing would be harder to do in them. the spearfisher is 9 feet across when set up.
Fishing is not a hobby it is a way of life

Offline Albertan

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Re: 2018 Clam vs Otter Hub Shelters
« Reply #7 on: Feb 19, 2019, 08:29 PM »
I do have a couple of questions about the Escape Ice you might be able to answer, as I've read conflicting accounts:

2)  Is the Clam completely dark inside with the windows covered?  I've read the Clam's are a bit on the bright side inside.  I'd rather have complete darkness for sight fishing.

I feel the Clam gets as dark as the Otter. A little bit of light gets in with either, but the fabric itself is pretty solid on

the Escape at 11.5 feet across or the XL6000 & XL6000 Garage which are 8 feet by 14 feet. only thing with these three is that the fabric is not as dark so sight fishing would be harder to do in them.

 :blink: :blink: :blink:
    

Offline Shife

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Re: 2018 Clam vs Otter Hub Shelters
« Reply #8 on: Feb 20, 2019, 07:14 AM »
If you're looking for absolute darkness, neither of these options will likely satisfy you. The Clam lets in light where the fabric is fused together in little dots. The Otter has window shades that droop and let light in and at fabric seams. In my opinion neither is superior in this area.

Offline Albertan

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Re: 2018 Clam vs Otter Hub Shelters
« Reply #9 on: Feb 20, 2019, 08:19 AM »
If you're looking for absolute darkness, neither of these options will likely satisfy you. The Clam lets in light where the fabric is fused together in little dots. The Otter has window shades that droop and let light in and at fabric seams. In my opinion neither is superior in this area.

Yeah I get what you are saying.  If it's as dark as the Otter, that's good enough for me.  Black is black.  And IMO, if the Escape is as dark as the Otter then the Clam Spearfisher shouldn't be much different.  I've seen videos of these hubs on YouTube and they seem dark enough.  I've just seen it posted a few times that the Clams in general aren't as dark as other brands, conflicting with what I have seen in videos.  Thanks.
    

 



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