Ice Fishing Clothing: The Essentials You Need To Have

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If you’ve ever been ice fishing then you probably know all about being cold out on the ice and how terrible it can be. Having the right attire is super important and in this post, I’m going to be showing you what to wear ice fishing to stay warm and dry.

Here’s everything you’ll need to wear ice fishing:

  • Some sort of headwear.
  • Moisture-wicking base layer.
  • Wind breaking fleece.
  • Insulated outer shell.
  • Waterproof boots.
  • Waterproof gloves.

As long as you have these you should be comfortable all day long out on the ice. If you’re in a heated shack then you won’t need all of this but if you’re like me and are out in the elements then you’ll definitely want to be prepared. Let’s jump into each piece of clothing.



One of the most important things you’ll need to do is keep your head warm. It’s one of the first things that’ll get cold and even having a hat on can help. You can wear a toque but I like to wear a balaclava if it’s super cold.

A balaclava will keep your face, head, and neck warm and if you get too warm you can take it off your head and still use it around your neck. It’ll all depend on the temperature and wind but one of these three options should do the trick.

I prefer something that’s a dri-fit sort of material rather than cotton because it’s not as itchy. It’ll also dry much quicker if you do get it wet. You can check out my favorite balaclava on Amazon.


The next thing you’ll want to sort out is picking the right shirts. You’ll want to have three layers so you can take one of them off if it gets too warm and still stay comfortable. Here are the three layers I use:

  1. Moisture Wicking Base Layer
  2. Wind Breaking Fleece
  3. Insulated Outer Shell

For the base layer, you’ll want some sort of dry-fit material (like Under Armour) that’ll take any moisture away from your body. This is the same type of shirt you’d wear playing sports because it’s warm and comfortable.

The next thing you’ll want to have on is a fleece-lined windbreaker. It doesn’t have to be fleece but it’s what I prefer. I find it to be the most comfortable and it’s sometimes warm enough if the sun is out and there’s no wind. This should be a sweater that you’d normally wear out around the town (and not something huge).

The final layer you’ll want to have is an insulated outer shell that’s waterproof and wind resistant (could be the standard snow jacket that you’d wear skiing). Any ordinary ski jacket would do and by having these three layers, you should be able to handle any sort of conditions.


I normally wear two layers when it comes to pants and it’s pretty similar to the shirts I wear. I don’t normally need as many layers but if it’s super cold or windy then I might throw on another one. Here is what I wear for pants:

  1. Moisture Wicking Base Layer
  2. Fleece Outer Shell

The moisture-wicking base layer is the same dry-fit material as above. It can be long johns or something like that but I like the Under Armour style because they take moisture away from your body and you don’t feel all damp.

The fleece-lined outer shell could be what you’d wear skiing (I don’t like the bulky pants). You’ll want to make sure it’s wind-resistant and making sure it’s somewhat waterproof is normally a good idea too. Sometimes the ice can melt a bit and that’s why you’ll want waterproof pants.

Another thing I like to have is an insulated seat cushion to sit on. Sitting on a bucket or stool for a number of hours isn’t my kind of fun so having something like this can make things comfier and keep you warmer. You can see our favorite gear here.

Waterproof Boots

Having a high-quality pair of boots is one of the main things you should spend good money on and you’ll want to make sure they have good grip on the ice, will keep your feet warm, and will keep water out. All three are super important for ice fishing.

There are a lot of different boots to pick from and a lot of it’s going to depend on what else you’ll be using them for. I’d recommend you grab a pair of boots that you can use for more than just ice fishing.

Best Waterproof Boots For Ice Fishing

If you’ll be spending a hundred or two on boots then you’ll want to get the most of out them. If you’ll be shoveling snow in your driveway and ice fishing then you’ll want a certain type. If you’ll be doing hiking and ice fishing then you’ll want something else. You can see my full article on the best waterproof ice fishing boots here.

Waterproof Gloves

The final thing you’ll want is a good pair of waterproof gloves. I don’t know how many times I’ve been out on the ice and had to sit with cold wet hands or keep changing them because they weren’t waterproof. There’s just no way around it, your hands will get wet and it’s one of the most uncomfortable things.

The good news is that they aren’t that expensive and can be used for other things as well. There are a number of different styles to pick from so it’ll depend on your preference but here are my favorite waterproof ice fishing gloves.

That’s about it. As long as you have all of these you should have no issues with cold or wet conditions. This is exactly what I use and it’s always been enough to get me through the day. I think it’ll be just fine for you as well.

Until next time, happy fishing. If you want to catch more fish, use more hooks.

Let me know your thoughts and any questions you have. Like this article? Feel free to give it a share!

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Jon Webber

I'm by no means an outdoors or fishing expert, but it's something I've been interested in for over 20 years. This site is where I test out different gear and techniques to see what actually works.

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