In 1980, ice fishing guru Dave Genz created the first portable ice fishing shelter that would become known as The Fish Trap.
Until then, ice fishermen had to rely on crude shelters that were more or less going to remain in place throughout the winter as moving them was out of the question.
While other anglers were relying on homemade ice houses throughout the 1980’s, Genz was continually improving his invention and seeking to make it more efficient each year.
Fast forward a few decades later and there is a considerable demand for portable ice houses among the many anglers that frequent frozen lakes across North America.
Ice fishing enthusiasts have long been well-aware that having the best possible gear and equipment items will help ensure that you have a successful and safe trip on the lake.
With the recent advancements in fabric and technology, many of the most popular ice fishing gear brands have come a long way in producing equipment that’s much more efficient than what had been used by anglers just one generation ago.
When it comes to ice fishing shelters, two of the most well-known companies in the industry are Clam and Otter.
Both brands are known for making some of the best shelters available, and many anglers are fiercely loyal to one brand or the other.
Otter and Clam are companies that were established roughly 20 years ago and have since skyrocketed to the top of the ice fishing industry as two of the most prominent ice house makers on the market.
So the question many anglers ask is:
“Which brand makes better ice houses, Otter or Clam?”
To answer that question, let’s take a closer look at each company and compare the philosophy behind their products and what truly sets them apart from the competition.
History of Clam and Otter
Clam was founded in part by Dave Genz, who designed his portable ice houses based on a lifetime of ice fishing experience. Clam Outdoors officially adopted their trademark blue colors in 2005 and their products have since garnered quite a reputation as some of the best quality ice houses ever made.
Otter was founded in 2003 and has established a reputation as one of the best portable ice house producers that offers incredible value when compared to its competitors whose products are usually more expensive.
Otter’s first product, the Otter Sled, helped to establish the company as one of the premier ice fishing gear brands shortly after its release.
For many years, Clam was considered to be the best of the best when it came to ice fishing shelters with Otter nipping at its heels in product quality and design. Now, the two companies are virtually at the top of the ice fishing industry and the question of which one is better is a common topic among ice anglers.
Otter Brand and Products
It’s hard to deny the level of quality and efficiency that come with Otter’s newest products. The company was recently issued a patent for its ice shelters that feature a convertible frame, which has paved the way for a high level of interest of the biggest names in the ice fishing industry.
Otter offers a full lineup of ice houses in all kinds of shapes and sizes. The company produces the Xtreme Thermal XT PRO X-OVER Series, which is geared toward providing top-of-the-line insulation in the most extreme environments and weather conditions.
The Otter XT X-OVER Series is a more moderate lineup that’s made for the average ice fishing enthusiast to enjoy across North America’s best fishing spots.
Otter makes these ice houses in a variety of sizes from the single-person Cottage model to the Cabin size, which is capable of seating three anglers.
The Lodge model is a more spacious model that also seats three anglers and the Resort size is made to accommodate up to four users.
Many of the newest Otter models feature the capability to switch from front door access to side entry doors.
The EZ Lock Assembly makes it much easier and faster to set up the Otter ice houses. Many users report that it takes just a few minutes to set up each model with the EZ Lock ability. The Thermal-Tec Triple Layer Insulated Shell system is also one of the best on the market for 2021.
Clam Brand and Products
Clam offers some of the highest-quality ice houses in the industry and many anglers are well-acquainted with the many different features and capabilities of their models and lineups. Clam’s Hub Shelters are made to be set up in less than a minute for many anglers.
The C-Series are also some of the most popular models in Clam’s inventory as they feature a number of improvements over models from previous years.
The C-Series shelters are made to be some of the most durable as they offer heavy duty poles and hubs. These ice houses are made in thermal and non-thermal models depending on the needs of each angler.
Users report that the C-Series ice houses are also incredibly easy to set up compared to some of Clam’s competing brands.
The X-Series shelters are made with 900 Denier fabric that offers 90 grams of insulation per square meter.
Otter also has recently released its 40th Anniversary Shelters lineup which are made with 900 Denier fabric and are well-suited for fishing in the most extreme environments.
The Stealth Series are made to be extremely lightweight and warm and are available for a much more attractive price than some of Otter’s competing brands.
Which Brand is Better, Otter vs Clam?
Despite the fact that Clam has been around for twice as long and has the backing of such ice fishing legends as Dave Genz, Otter appears to be the better choice based on both companies’ 2021 lineups.
Otter has come a long way in the production of ice houses that are simply better all around and are usually available for a more reasonable price than Clam and other premium ice fishing gear manufacturers.
A comparison of Otter vs Clam ice shelters in a one-on-one basis shows Otter products to have the clear edge over Clam in addition to being more affordable.