I used to go with friends in their homemade shanties. Since I moved to Anchorage, I don't really have any friends and my wife and I have gone a few times on local lakes (no snow machines/four wheelers) with no shelter and literally used an ice pick to hack into someone else's frozen over hole. I have a 3.5 year old that I want to get on the ice and show her the wonders of it all.
While at Cabelas last night, a guy saw me looking and was very informative about them all. I saw the cheap (and small) package deal with a (cheap and underpowered) auger. He WOWED me withe the larger blue ones (don't know the make and model) I didn't really like the Eskimo ones, and have read reviews that say to avoid them, they don't last long. The other brand (grey) and the blue ones had a nice sled that the tent folds down into. Now, he said something interesting that some of the ones with the sled, the frame of the tent kinda fold onto the TOP of the sled kinda making it taller and thus a little more room for gear in addition to the vast amount of canvas that you're stuffing into there.
Do they all fold into the sled in this manner or do some have the framework taking up sled space?
I don't want to spend *too* much on one, but I HATE being cheap and regretting a purchase when I could have spent more, but had a much better, much more durable product that lets you actually enjoy your activity instead of being a pain in the butt. Though, I don't want to break the bank.
Thanks in advance, Mike.