Trail Sauna





Introduction: Trail Sauna

About: Jake 17 Anarchist Vegetarian Wiccan Puuunkkk

I first leaned this on an 8 day canoeing trip in Canada. it is a sauna that is very easy to make with materials you should have at a campsite (thus, trail sauna)

Step 1: Materials

you will need:

-a big boiling pot
-rocks (about fist sized, to fill 1/2-3/4 of a big pot)
-a light tarp, nylon is best you cannot use a blue poly one
-a bucket of water
-a hot fire
-gloves (fire gloves would work well)
-something to pick up extremely hot rocks with (ex: a shovel-NOT YOUR HANDS) duh...

Step 2: What to Do

1) gather enough fist sized rocks to fill a big pot around 1/2 - 3/4of the way full
2)put rocks in a hot fire, surrounded by embers
3)while the rocks are heating, get a bucket of water ready.
4)pick the rocks up out of fire (after about 15-20 minutes) with a small shovel (and gloves) and put them in the big pot
5)carry the pot over next to the bucket of water and have a group of people pick up the tarp and put it around themselves like a bubble, making sure no air escapes (you want to keep air & steam in the sauna
6)lightly sprinkle water onto the rocks do not dump large amounts of water on the rocks at one time, as this will cause steam burns
7)when you are nice and sweaty, take a shower!

*using a sauna cleans the pores and refreshes you*

Step 3: Tips and Warnings

DON'T USE SOAPSTONE (it explodes at high temperatures)
don't pour too much water on rocks at one time (it can cause steam burn, and can end a sauna prematurely by making rocks cold
don't let the tarp touch the hot rocks, it will melt
be careful with fire
have fun!


"Soapstone (also known as steatite or soaprock) is a metamorphic rock, a talc-schist. It is largely composed of the mineral talc and is rich in magnesium."
it is greenish white in color, soft, and has a soapy feel
_magnesium ignites, so, add soapstone to fire and will explode_

it happened in my scout troop, a kid had to get stitches because a piece of hot exploded soapstone hit him in the head


edit: river rocks can soak up water and then expand and explode when exposed to heat-thanks AoiKaze



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    I'm glad people are getting interested in saunas and sweat lodges but I would strongly suggest against this. There are so many factors that go into the Traditional Native American sweat lodge. There are so many things that can go wrong i'll list a few.
    1.Water has a high capacity for heat, it would be very easy for you to burn something. Steam is hot and can burn you.
    2.Plastic does not breath like blankets or other fibrous materials, You risk suffocation or overheating by not going with natural materials. The smaller the structure the worse the chance. People have died of suffocation.
    3.Rocks found in lakes and river beds can explode too.
    4.Carelessness can cause splashing, fire, or burns.....and get me if i'm wrong but being surrounded in a plastic shell that catches on fire = not fun.
    There are more, please use your brain with projects like this. If you really want to do this bring blankets or canvas and not tarps. On that note....never pay for a *Nature experiencing trip* that puts you in a plastic shell.

    how hot will there be in the sauna and will this keep you warm in winter in


    3 replies

     im not sure of temperature at all. it makes you sweat though..haha, try going in a sauna and finding out? thats about what it is...and i suppose it would keep you warm in winter, though when you finish, it would have made you sweat. which would cool you down, putting you at rist for hypothermia, ect. i wouldnt reccomend it for winer.

    if the temperature doesn't rise over 100 degrees celsius i wouldn't call it a sauna 

     I'm not sure how hot it is...but it definitely makes you sweat. i suppose it all varies on the temperature of your rocks, water, and things of that nature..

    to tell you the truth, im not really sure. though we just used rocks we found around the places we were staying (usually islands and shores around Canadian lakes) to the best of my knowledge, most things will work. you could always google native american sweat lodge i guess, they're pretty much the same thing :)

     I like the idea and the instructions seem easy to follow. With the rock warnings, what kind of rocks would you recommend?

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    This seems to be a sweat rather then a sauna. Also, the more layers of tarps, the better.

    1 reply

    thanks for the input!

    Congrats on your first instructable...... I was hoping for some pictures *shuts eyes and dreams of dipping a paddle in clear blue waters of the north woods*

    2 replies

    I have some which I can upload for you...

    my friends took lots, i think im getting a dvd of them i will post

    Nice instructable first of all. And second People should avoid using river stones. Some of them can actually soak up river water and crack of explode when heated.

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    ahhh good I'll add that thanks! -jake

    I was a Charlie Guide in the summers of '87, '88 and '92. I miss those times so much. That's where my username comes from. Someone should do a Baybread instructable!

    oh my god yes! i think you can order mixes for it from the northern tier website, but I'll have to check...

    actually, I got back from the trip yesterday. truthfully, I was away from home 10 days, but only 8 of them were canoeing