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Authentic Sauna Blog

Do I really need a changing room?

If I had a stick of firewood for every time i’ve been asked this question, I could keep my wood burning sauna stove on idle most of the winter:

1. Double doors. Why do grocery stores all have a double set of entry doors?  Imagine you are a check out clerk at a grocery store and it’s below freezing with 25 mph winds and some old lady is standing in the doorway adjusting her hat.  Now imagine that you build your own sauna without a changing room and some old lady is standing in the open doorway adjusting her hat.  Close the door!

2.  Equalize your body temp. A backyard sauna with a changing room is a wonderful hang out space between rounds.  After a well deserved cold outdoor shower, it’s nice to sit in the changing room and hang out, visit, indulge in a sauna music play list as your body equalizes.   This is not only fun, but important!

3.  Expand your space. A sauna changing room is critical for a sauna party.  Offering hang out zones gives your sauna party structure and expansion.  How come people hang out in the kitchen at parties?

I built my mobile sauna with a changing room for all the above reasons, oh, yea, and you

4.  have a place to hang your clothes.

Click here for the ultimate sauna plan.  It’s the perfect design for a Minnesota sauna or a Finnish sauna or a backyard sauna or even a mobile sauna.

A changing room with windows and hooks and space to chill out.

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5 Comments on This Post

  1. As a Finn, I can confirm that a changing room is vital for making the experience better, particularly for winter use – even a non-heated one is a lot better than no space at all. After all, you are pretty warm, so the temperature isn’t that important, just that there’s no wind and that you can keep your feet warm.
    During the casual summer sauna, where everyone is on holidays and in no hurry anywhere, most of the time is spent outside the sauna, either on a porch or in the changing room, or whatever people fancy. The cycle (sauna, chilling out, sauna, chewing sausage, [drinking beer] and chilling out…) can go on for a good part of the day.

    Thanks for inviting me over, that is still the only sauna I’ve had so far in the U.S.

  2. A climate where winter temps hover above freezing is a diff story but awesome cold weather saunas are massively better with a temperate changing room (temps easily controlled by warm bodies and movement of hot room door and outside door).

  3. Glenn, appreciate your posts on the ideal sauna sizes. I am working with a 10×10 structure and was wondering how you would divide the space between hot room and changing room. Two 10×5 rooms or make the hot room 10×6 and the changing room 10×4? Sauna would be used primarily by one or two people but would like to accommodate 4 once in a while. Appreciate anyone’s help on layout. Thanks.

  4. 10×10 structure: I would look to carve our a 7×7 or 6×8 hot room within this space. As far as the small rectangle left over, this could be a curtain’ed off changing area, or you could box it off completely and access this small area from the outside, as a closet for tools or firewood.

  5. Thanks Glenn. Based on your recommendation I have been looking at some different configurations of the space and will likely go smaller. Thinking 7×6 hot room which will allow for a small hallway and much easier access to the structure. A couple of questions based on this new layout. I would like to have a door on one 6′ wall so I thought I would put the heater at the other end of the walkway on the far 6′ wall with just straight benches. However, I would also love to have an upper L-shaped bench. Any issues with moving the heater (electric) more into the middle of the room? We want to have a large single window on the 7′ wall to take advantage of the view. Can the heater sit under the window? Is there a maximum advisable window size? I know we will have to up-size the heater to accommodate the un-insulated square footage. Thanks for all the help. Got a new foundation set under our old shed last weekend and am now running electrical. Very excited that the build is underway.

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