I pack a lightweight, portable shelter on early ice trips. This can take the form of a one-angler flip-over, like the Frabill Recruit 1250, which also provides the sled that I use to transport all of my gear. Unique design features of the Recruit 1250 provides me with more fishable area than other one-angler flip-over shelters, and also incorporates a full thermal shell to ensure a warm, comfortable day on early ice. If I’m fishing with a friend, I trade my flip-over for a thermal hub, like the Frabill Bro Hub which provides plenty of room for two anglers plus all of their gear, and an expansive 80” of headroom to allow for a good stand-up-and-stretch when the bite slows. Weighing in at just 36 pounds, the Bro Hub is easy to transport to and from the fishing grounds.
Beyond my electronics and shelter, everything else that I carry, including rods in a hard case to keep them safe and secure, essential tackle and tools, tip-ups when chasing fish with teeth, an assortment of live bait, and snacks and drinks, all need to fit into that single sled. If you minimize the amount of gear you bring on early ice trips, you’ll be more likely to remain mobile on the ice, and mobility is the key to success for the modern ice angler.