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huskminn

Fish Trap Guide vs. Frabill XLTwin vs. Otter Medium Cabin???

Question

huskminn

I'm in the market for a new two-man house. I have read many posts on the pros and cons of each brand......I'm not looking at the Eskimo since it probably doesn't have the durability I am looking for.

I haven't seen anyone comment on the Frabill yet, seems like I'm leaning towards the Trap....the Otter may be too heavy and too expensive for frequent one-man use.

The Trap Guide seems like a decent compromise on weight, expense and durability.

Comments folks?

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David Swenson

Had my Otter Magnum Lodge out for the first time this weekend on Vermilion. I am glad I spent the extra money. Held up fine in the wind and temps in the low single digits. Only had to have my heater on low for most of the day w/o being able to bank any snow (because there is none). It was a little heavy but that just meant I had to unload the sled to put on and take out of truck. Towed great behind the snowmobile. As rough riding as the lake was I would worry about have a less quality sled.

I would recommend to anyone spend the extra to get quality.

David Swenson
http://muskieguide.homestead.com/

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cmpeterson1

I think if your going to be pulling behind atv I would lean towards the polar house.I own the mag & the med otters.great houses,but I see they changed some things on the house that was not good.Cheap plastic to mount the wind apron to the sled .I hear alot of bait shops are not happy with the new design,1 told me that they will not carry next yr.The polar & otter have a much better sled for pulling by hand or atv.Heavier mat.to

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huskminn

Well, I have no sled or ATV, so towability is not an issue to me. This house would be moved only by foot-power.

Obviously I want something durable, but this thing won't take a serious beating from towing across a lake. I am more concerned about functionality of poles and durability of the canvas over years of use.

Anyone have thoughts on the Frabill XLTwin?

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Skeets

The XLT is a nice unit, but the olny thing I wouldn't like is your feet are always on the ice. The bench seat does not slide back like the Guide does. I fish in my Trap 2 with my feet in the sled always. Otherwise your feet always seem to get cold.
I also think the guide sets up easier and is more durable.
Otters are the way to go if pulling with snowmobile or ATV.

Good luck in your decision.

------------------
Good Fishin'
Skeets
[email protected]

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Guest

huskminn,

I've had a Twin for three years, and this is my second year on the Solo. Both shanties are holding up extremely well. It was really windy here in Michigan Saturday, no problems. The Twin is tough to pull when there's snow on the ice, but the newer models have a different design for the sled. I bring a foam cushin for the seat, and it's a comfortable shanty.

Mike

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huskminn

Well, I looked at all three over my lunch hour today. I do like the sliding seat feature of the Trap Guide, thanks for mentioning that Skeet, as I didn't realize it had that before. That seems to allow a better utilization of the covered space, too.

I like the vent features of the Trap and the Otter....the Otter sled seems more functional for pulling, as it has a more gradual and longer "sloped" end than the other two.

Decisions, decisions!!

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slick2526

a board or mats work pretty good as helping you feet staying warm while they are on the ice

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Guest

I've seen traps and otters in the wind and I'm happy to say I was in the otter.

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Guest

the otter is a nice unit, but just remember you need to load and unload this everytime you go out.... the otter is very heavy, where as the guide is more managable... I can handle loading the guide in and out of my tahoe without any problem.

The fishtraps are very well built with neat pockets and vents and such that has been thought out well...

If I was towing with an atv, I might go for the otter but I walk on and pull by hand and prefer the fish trap guide.

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huskminn

I appreciate the info and opinions, folks. I still don't know which way I'm going to go with this decision.

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Guest

I have a Trap Guide. It is a great house for fishing lakes that I will be traveling by foot or if I am alone. It is very easy to load and unload, even by myself. The sliding bench seat is great. Plenty of room and the canvas is very durable.

However, I also like to take longer trips by snowmobile and I think the otter is set up much better for towing. I believe they have one of the best towing systems available when you add in the hitch and runners. They are quite a bit heavier so loading an unloading is a little more work with the otter but not a real big issue. As for the wind, well it sucks no matter what house you are in, I have fished out of each.

The bottom line is it comes down to how you are going to be using it. Scott Steil

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huskminn

Thanks for the replies........I'm going to try to make a decision before the week is out.

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Big Dave2

I would like to cast my vote for the fish trap guide. I pull by hand a lot also and weight is a big factor. I wanted that size sled in the lightest package I could get with the most features. In my opinion that describes the fish trap guide to a t.
By the way, you may want to get whatever you choose now while they are hot! a lot of the local retailers seem to be blowing out thier fish houses this week. Fleet farm advertised thier sale but it appears that most stores are about out of them already, but I was just at Gander Mt in Minnetonka and they had a better sale going than fleet farm. The guy I was with was looking for a clam 6800, Fleet Farm had them advertised for $419 which is a good deal on a $499 clam, but after learning that a couple of fleet farms were out of them we went into that Gander Mt store and he bought the last 6800 they had (except for the display unit)for $399.00!
Dave

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huskminn

I am leaning towards the Fish Trap Guide, although I had an interesting conversation with a guy at Sportsmans Warehouse last night.

I had ruled out the Eskimo Quick Flip II for rumored quality problems, but was advised that the Quick Flip II Deluxe (a newer model?) has heavier material and a higher quality sled. It's a little more expensive than the regular II, but still significantly less than the competing brands. They had a couple of models of Eskimos in there and even the suitcase model had much better material than the Quick Flip II that was there. Interesting.......

Still don't know what the heck I'm going to do.

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Guest

Otter Cabin. It's only as heavy as you make it. AND it has an actual SLED, not just a plastic bucket. See how well your fishtrap pulls weighted down through powder....not good, more like a snow plow, then try towing it at higher speeds with an ATV/Snowmobile, good luck. All in all the otter has the vents, better zippers, thick canvas, nice windows, a sled, many accesories, they are all around a better made product.

I spent 3+ hours at Cabellas looking at all the different ones. I didnt know what I wanted before I got there but after my buddy and I compared styles even he (who doesnt know much about ice fishing) said the Otters were way better and looked warmer. THey are worth the extra money...you get what you pay for and you might pay for it on the ice if you dont.

Get an Otter, you wont be disappointed.

morrsicode

[This message has been edited by morriscode (edited 01-16-2003).]

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Guest

Here's another vote for the otter. Great for towing behind anything, everything I would ever need will fit inside it, and the canvas is strong enough that it will hold up in the highest winds.

I have the cabin and I'm able to load mine in the back of my truck by myself without takeing anything out of it.

------------------
Paul
[email protected]

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huskminn

I agree that the Otter is a very high quality sled...I've looked at them extensively.

I've got two problems with them: cost and weight. I know you get what you pay for, but it would cost me $500 to get into an Otter and only $320 to get into a Fish Trap Guide. That includes seats, sled, canvas. Both have vents, windows, etc. The Guide seats slide back over the sled, which is a nice feature. The Otter is larger and taller, which is nice......but!

The weight is a serious issue for me because I have no snowmobile or ATV to tow it with. If I had either one and used it for ice fishing, I would probably go with the Otter. But, I'm not too interested in trying to pull a 140# Otter (sled, seats, skin) around with all my gear in piled into it. The Guide weighs under 70#.

We're talking about preferences here.....not necessarily quality.

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Guest

I've got 2 Otters, Med. and Large. I have given away a Clam (fell apart and not hand-towable with ANY load amount, Shappel(has pop-up skis and not towable with ANY load as well, Fish Trap, fell apart too.

My best friend had an XLT, gave it away and got an Otter.

I have a tow-bar on the large Otter for the 4-wheeler and they do add a lot of weight, but I have rope on the Med. Otter and I've pulled that loaded to the gills by foot in 1-2 ft. of snow--yeah it's hard work, but I don't have to constantly turn around and check to see if something has fallen off or worse, go back and retrieve the fallen item(s).

If you're going to move around by foot, especially with any amount of snow I'd rather be pulling an Otter that is designed to be towed in any fashion rather than the "Dogs" I mentioned above--they are useless on glare ice and even worse with snow cover because of their botton design--they dig into the snow and would cause a person walking all that much more grief.

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huskminn

You both make some good points on the Otter's sled design. It is more conducive to creating less friction and floating in snow, which makes it easier to pull.

You might be convincing me a little...normally I don't skimp on quality with larger purchases.....but I always try to find the product that best suits my overall needs and budget.

As far as the seats on the Trap Guide....they come with two seats....not getting them is not an option. I've been sitting on buckets my whole life...don't want to do that anymore. That's another detractor from the Otter...the seats are expensive and weigh nearly 25# each.

The Frabill XLT uses the Ice Armor fabric, just like the Trap Guide, but I do agree about the color....black is warm, which is good.

Keep the comments coming!

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coldasice

Hi All,

I bought an Otter Lodge this winter too. I compared all of the similar models and decided on the Otter. It has good head room, durable canvas, awesome sled, and other great features. This is one of the most important pieces of ice fishing equipment. Don't skimp.

Good Luck!

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Dave

huskminn, wear the pants in the house. Tell the little woman you NEED a ATV and an Otter wink.gif

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gill man

Just to confuse you more, I don't think I would go for the Otter of you're pullin by hand. You might be able to manage with a smaller one, but I've use the larger size and it's a bear to pull by hand with just a mild load. It would skim over ice fine, but hit a patch of thin, hard packed snow and the thing pulled a heck of a lot harder. The snow patches should have been ideal for pulling-hard packed and just thick enough to get foot traction. I've never pulled around a two man Trap, but from what I hear they don't weigh nearly as much, and it looks like they pull easier.
I looked at the Frabils, and I just don't like their design very much. I'm sure they would be fine, and if I was in the market for a new shack I might look at one a little more, but there was just something I didn't like. If I was looking right now, I would be checking out the Fish Traps.
Good luck!

gill man

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Guest

Yeah, well put Chell. About those seats you mentioned that come in the fistrap pro, IMHO I think they take up too much space. Sit on a five gallon bucket and buy one of those seats for it if you have to. You can put stuff in bucket you cant on those seats. The Otter is not hard to pull because it is a sled design, I bought the hyfax runners for the bottom and they really help out. The first thing I bought for the Cabin model was the tow bar. I use a ski rope handle to pull it, then for safety the rest of the rope goes in the sled. I dont have an ATV or a snowmobile, so I walk every time I cant drive out.

Pay the little extra, even if you cant get it now just save a little more. Ice fishing is hard enough as it is.

morriscode

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Deitz Dittrich

My vote is with the Frabil XLTwin. Its black... black absorbs more heat. Also make it darker on the inside if you do any sightfishing. The poles are made of steal not aluminum. Make sure you look at where all the poles meet, on the Frabil and the Otter its two pieces of material holding in the poles rather than just one side on the Fish Trap.

The Frabil is an 870 Dinear nylon, that doesn't get stiff in the cold. Sit in each of them in the store and try and see light threw them, that will tell you some of the quality of the material, how much wind/air gets in...

I chose the XLTwin. And hav enot regeated it yet!

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