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The 612 Sauna Society

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John and the 612 Sauna Society

They say there are two types of people in the world, those that say there are two types of people in the world and those that don’t.

As it relates to mobilizing sauna culture in North America, there are also two types of people in the world, those that don’t give a shit and those that get off the couch and make things happen. And a recent census study reports the former at 99% and the ladder less than 1%. But someone built the first craft brewery in America. Someone started the first yoga studio in America. And someone created the first drinking glass made out of ice between sauna rounds.

JP ships. JP gives a shit.

JP doesn’t have dollars in his eyes, but a deep integrity towards advancing and sharing the health and wellness benefits of sauna: the physical benefits, as well as the societal benefits. The physical benefits to sauna have been detailed in multiple places, including here. Societally speaking, in JP’s interview with Max Musicant, founder Musicant group, we start to understand about how mobile urban sauna can “create spaces where people want to be” and the deep need for public spaces where folks can gather “hanging out and doing something healthy, and social, and having a good time. We need more of that.”

The 612 Mobile Sauna

There’s something magical about bringing a sauna party to someplace unexpected. Here in Minneapolis, MN, I helped my friend John build his mobile sauna. Labeled “The 612 sauna” for the Minneapolis area code, this sauna started as a tiny house, and was enhanced via the integration of an interior tongue and groove cedar hot room, wood burning stove, changing room, and upstairs loft.

For folks living with intense building code restrictions, a mobile sauna may be the right answer to be able to enjoy an authentic outdoor sauna, then trailer it around to your next party.

Check out more of the 612 Mobile Sauna here.

It is 612 Sauna Time

Those of us who don’t own a sauna can invest in the experience of authentic sauna, thanks to the 612 Sauna Society.

Those of us with cabin saunas or backyard saunas may not be as compelled to want to sauna in the public domain. But the 612 Sauna offers us the ability to enjoy the experience together.

As John Munger, Director of the Loppet Foundation says, “we can ski alone, or we can bike alone, but it’s more fun to do these things together.”

7 Reasons Why the 612 Sauna Society Offers a Great Public Sauna Experience

1. Great heat

A good sauna starts with the stove. Not just any stove but a stove that provides a massive amount of thermal mass. Good heat penetrates deep in the body. Good heat doesn’t sting your ears as if you’re sticking your head in a boiler oven. A good sauna stove holds a ton of rock (well, several hundreds of pounds of rock). A good sauna stove reflects the steam (Loyly) softly, yet intensely. Good heat is not spoken but felt deep in our bones. The 612 Sauna offers really good heat.

2. Good flow

Sauna in the public domain can be tricky. Sitting in close quarters next to people we don’t know can be a little strange. However, as Bigert and Bergström describe, based upon their Solar Egg Sauna, “when we sit on the sauna bench we are all equal.” The 612 Sauna has great flow. We can get in and out of the hot room with ease. From any bench seat, we are able to come and go at will.

3. Ample Space

The 612 Sauna is built within an 8’x24′ mobile trailer. This is big. The hot room holds 10 people comfortably. No compromise was made with the changing area, a space often confined with boots, coats, towels, water bottles, hats, socks, shirts.. you get the idea. The outdoor zone, the “3rd space,” is well defined. The outdoor chill out zone includes ample bench seating, fire pit, 5 gallon water container, and everything one needs to feel the endorphins rushing while hanging out in the garden all misty wet with rain.

4. Nature

Sauna and Nature are intertwined. No intent to throw hotel or health club saunas too far under the bus, but the 612 Sauna celebrates Nature. Fresh air and old growth trees are only steps from the hot room door. Whether in the shadows of Wirth Park Trailhead or along the shores of an area of Minneapolis lake with actor Owen Wilson, being a mobile unit, the 612 Sauna is able to be deployed surrounding Nature.

Owen Wilson (center) gets ready for sauna round with Alex Goldfarb and Silvia Yordanova. (photo: John Pederson).

5. The Clean Rinse

The 612 sauna travels with an easy to assemble outdoor shower. Are you benefiting from the clean rinse after every round? Almost all 612 Sauna bathers seem to be hitting the fresh cold water shower between their sauna rounds. Wim Hof would be pleased. Brown fat thermogenetic blood alkaline autonomic nervous system activation fans unite! Jumping into a cold lake or enjoying a nICE cold shower helps us take the sauna experience to an 11.

6. Lighting

The 612 sauna has conscious lighting. Subtle, minimal, functional yet aesthetically pleasing.

7. Hosting

“You good?” asks Kurt. He’s like an expert trail guide: there when you need him, but allows you to enjoy your own experience. You hike with more confidence. You get the idea that with Kurt as your guide, should you fall and be unable to walk, he’d wrap up your ankle and carry you back to camp.

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11 thoughts on “The 612 Sauna Society”

  1. Glenn & JP you need to practice your sauna pronunciation, you keep fluctuating between Sow-na and saw-Na. I’ll give you some slack since you aren’t Finns. But since you are promoting something that is culturally Finnish and have the name in your organizations you guys need to work on your pronunciation. Since you are in Minnesota there are plenty of Finns around that can help with the lingo ;). Here is a tip, with Finnish words the emphasis is on the first syllable and the rest fade just like when you throw water on the rocks of the kiuas.

  2. Glenn I don’t understand your point, if your site was called ‘ 사우나 Times’ (Korean for sauna) then ok, but it is called ‘Sauna Times’. In the melting pot of the English language I believe that sauna is the only Finnish word to make it in so we take pride in it. If I were promoting a Korean custom then I would ask a Korean the proper terms and pronunciations and try to do them. Hope your not offended or insulted I am just trying to pass on information. When a person grows up speaking one language they miss many of the inflections of a foreign language because their ears haven’t learned to hear it and their mouths to annunciate it. I will give you slack on most Finnish words as they are tough for an English speaker to pronounce but sauna isn’t one of them 🙂

  3. Looking to build a mobile sauna on a 7 foot X 18 foot flatbed trailer. Wondering about drainage and insulation specifications to prevent mold and wood rot. Do you have a short list of specifications to follow. I can see the floor drain system with durock and wondering about insulation sealing.

  4. Richard:

    Mobile sauna. Awesome!! Specifications are detailed in my ebook. Basically, 1) drainage: sloped floor system with skim coated durarock works great. 2) Insulation: Yes, a vapor barrier between insulation and t&g paneling. I use foil bubble wrap and make sure to foil tape the seams very well. It’s interesting how neither mold or rot happen with a good sauna. It’s too hot for mold, and with a properly vented sauna, there’s no rot because moisture gets out of there.

    Please keep in touch with your project. Mobile sauna tide is rising lots of boats.

  5. Madison, WI sauna enthusiast here…recently found Sauna Talk. I’ve really enjoyed the first few I listened to (Wim Hof is crazy! Good crazy…mostly 🙂 Now I’m dipping into the Sauna Times and I can tell I’ve got lots of catching up to do here too.

    And having read this post…my first visit to The Forge is starting to formulate in my mind. Thanks!

  6. Hello from Canada!

    I’ve wanted to build a sauna for 5+ years and am new to Sauna Times. I’ve recently bought a bumper pull horse trailer and am in the process of converting it to a mobile sauna. Not sure this is the venue for questions, but as a rookie builder (just purchased the Sauna eBook), I’m trying to find the best way to insulate and build the inside walls. The width of the trailer is 5′ and I’m trying to save as much inside space as possible

    I’m thinking about the following … from outside to inside.
    Outside trailer wall; spray-on insulation (applied in a thin layer) … or closed foam insulation; reflective foil; cedar t & g inside walls fastened to a series of thin studs. Alternately, I’m considering using 1/2″ marine plywood inside the reflective foil followed by cedar — I can then use thinner cedar and have more nailing surface.

    Any comments from the sauna community would be appreciated!

    …. the inspiration for this project comes from pics of a red horse trailer sauna – currently on Pinterest ….


  7. Bill: i’m helping build mobile saunas here in Minneapolis.

    The closed cell spray foam (for mobile) seems about the best way to go.

    We really tried to dive into the off gassing (not aufgussing!) rabbit hole, and we’ve come out the other side pretty solid with the fact that it ain’t off gassing after it’s all cured. But I can see why a guy may sleep better at night that after spray foam between the joists, we foil vapor barrier, and then t&g. Happy for others to chime in as it’s a good topic to wrestle to the ground.

  8. Hello,

    I’m in the early stages of building a mobile sauna with some friends. I’m wondering what to look for in terms of towing capacity of trailers. In other words, how much does the average sauna weigh? We’re using the design in the ebook as a jumping off point. Can you give me a ballpark figure of how much that sauna weighs? Any other tips on the type of trailer to look for? Obviously we want to spend as little as possible, but at the same time we want it to be safe and street ready. Thanks! Really dig the blog and site!


  9. Hey Patrick:

    Glad you are enjoying the free relevant information on saunatimes! Mobile sauna is very much in my wheelhouse these days. Eric’s Custom Mobile Saunas weigh approximately 2,500#. We want to take into account tongue weight, and a key component to this is stove location, especially if using a kick ass stove (vs a toaster oven) that weighs 400# or so, like the Kuuma. You can email me with questions, and keep clicking around here and using the search bar. Sauna on Patrick!

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