It’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it. Somebody needs to take all the new, innovatively designed ice gear and set it up on the ice. Then, we need to fish in it and check it out thoroughly. We do this for you out of our deep concern for fisher-kind and it’s well-being.
OK, so I’m making that part up. I pretty much like to try new equipment and find out what sucks and what doesn’t suck. I’m adding the Eskimo 6120i thermal, six-sided, portable ice shelter to my list of ice gear that does NOT suck. In fact, I would say that it goes beyond not sucking so far that it is really great! I was impressed. Plus, part of testing gear allows me to make a list of all the features that are kind of important to ice fishermen but overlooked by companies like Eskimo. Or, at very least, they forgot to tell us about them.
Did you know that the Eskimo 6120i has a blackout interior? No? Well neither did I until I set this one up on the ice. To date, none of the Eskimo pop-ups I’ve frequented have blackout interiors this being particularly true for their thermals. They were usually grey inside and leaked mottled light through the material. Several of our customers over the years have mentioned this and we simple assumed the same to remain for all Eskimo tents. So, one would reason that Eskimo would point this detail out to EVERYBODY including their dealers, but NOOOOOOO! Make us all guess or take the time that redrockstore.com takes to show our customers and the world this very important feature. Maybe they mentioned the blackout inside somewhere and I simply missed seeing it, but I was surprised on the ice. To a lot of ice fishermen, this is a big deal. We should have Joe Biden talk about what a “big deal” a blackout inside is in a thermal pop-up. He’d say it with emphasis while using colorful language that we would never forget.
Also, it would have been nice to know that the carry bag is actually built much better than the crappy bags Eskimo was using for years and years, now. It is made out of a stronger material, it has enough room inside and it has built-in compression straps that you won’t ever lose. Unlike Clam who uses the cheapest crap (shredded rags) they can find to tie the tent together to get it in the case, Eskimo provides a nice velcro strap that holds the 6120i together for stuffing in the bag. Unlike Clam (who makes the crappiest ice anchors in the world by paying ZERO attention to making certain that the anchor’s threads begin at the VERY POINT of the anchor instead of 1/4″ back), Eskimo provides the absolute best, tapered-shaft anchors that screw right into the ice with relative ease. They put a bunch in the bag and provide a carry case for them as well. Clam gives you a bag and a string. Ooooo- fancy.
Inside the 6120i, there is also a triangle of netting on the roof – only one(?) for somebody to stash mitts or a small tackle box. The 6120i has windows up the wazoo and like all Eskimo windows, they are velcroed in place and you can remove them for more air or yelling at passersby.
The doors on the 6120i are smaller than the Clam 1660 Mag Thermal which means you have to figure out how to get in and out more efficiently. The roof is not as high, but at 3 feet from dead center, I was not yet touching the roof with my head. In the Clam 1660 Mag Thermal, the roof is much higher and the tent is also bigger. For the ultimate in warmth, you could buy the Eskimo 6120i and the Clam 1660 Mag Thermal and set up the Eskimo inside the Clam to form a double-walled, thermal tent. That seems a bit cumbersome but it would be pretty warm inside. Don’t get me wrong – the Clam 1660 Mag Thermal is a nice tent. Clam, as of late, is never quite as fancy as Eskimo when it comes to features in their pop-up ice fishing shelters, but if you need a bigger tent with bigger doorway, the Clam will be a better fit.
The Eskimo 6120i has a tough-to-move zipper just like the Clam 1660 Mag Thermal. You just have to be patient. I believe that leaving the door zipped when packed it away will help stretch out the new material. They must make these tents a bit tight to accommodate material break-in. That’s all I can figure.
You could fit 4-5 organized guys in the 6120i. Probably more, but that would be all that I’d want in it for myself. I think its rated for 5-7 guys.
Well, if what I wrote isn’t enough about this tent, I’ll say it in video. I left out the actual fishing parts as I completely forgot about filming since Dave and I were shooting the bull and watching northerns come in the underwater camera and also in sight fishing. I had a 12 pound northern looking and thinking at my lure. I also had another northern suddenly swoop in and completely swallow my Sebile Vibrato with big trebles hanging off of each end. I set the hook, doubled over my rod, hit the ceiling of the tent with it, and proceeded to crank up my lure, no fish in sight. How they can swallow two #4 trebles, experience a hookset like a coiled spring and not be hooked is beyond me. I completely forgot about filming. That’s why they call it fishing.
Well, if you are so inclined, watch the vids and learn about the Eskimo 6210i – the Untold Story from redrockstore.com