Guest post series continues. Please welcome Kev from Chicagoland area. You may remember Kev from a saunatimes excursion together to Chicago Sweatlodge. His love of good heat began with visits to his in law’s cabin on Lake Vermilion, Northern Minnesota. Kev became enthralled with firing up the stove in their authentic Finnish sauna, long relaxing hot rounds with good steam from water being tossed on sauna rocks, and those intensely therapeutic cool downs in Nature, in the cool clear fresh lake. Welcome back Kev:
It is a sunny Saturday morning on Lake Geneva Wisconsin (a large clean lake in southern Wisconsin). This area is known as the Newport of the Midwest not known for saunas. There are no wood burning saunas on this lake! The air temperature is in the 20s, and the lake was just recently frozen. I anxiously await my friend Keith who is making the 70 mile trip from the Chicago suburbs with his new Morzh (walrus) tent and wood burning stove. Keith is born and raised in 218 and is a true Finn in mind and spirit. He shows up wearing a hat and sweatshirt indicating God is his SISU!! He generously gives me some of his own designed SISU gear.
We drive the short distance from my cottage to a snow covered beach. Most of the beaches at this time of year have tire tracks from people launching ice sailing boats (they take their sailing seriously here). We unload the tent which looks like a ice fishing tent. I purposely convinced Keith to order black because it would fit in with other ice huts on the lake. The instructions were in Russian, fortunately we watched a video of a Canadian installing his tent.
It easily went up in 20 minutes, the next time will be closer to a 10 minute set up. The stainless steel stove had the stove pipe packed inside with 4-5 sections that fit together. The narrow but deep stove could handle full length logs and we had the fire going in minutes.
I told Keith I would walk to my house to get a swimsuit and a meat thermometer and return in about 10 minutes. I would then tend the fire and he could go change into his suit. I figured it would be 20-40 minutes to heat up. I returned in 10 minutes to find Keith already in swimsuit sweating profusely inside the sauna. He had a big smile on his face and a red glow to his skin!! He exited with steam rising from his body we took a short video where he estimated it was 200 degrees. I went inside and immediately felt the heat, my meat thermometer rapidly sped past it’s peak at 180 to what was likely 220 degrees!!! After 5-10 minutes we jumped in the ice cold lake 10 feet away and swam around for several minutes before returning for many more rounds.
The heat was intense with good loyly from the Lake Vermilion rocks Keith had on the stove. The bench we used was a portable 4 person bench that worked just fine and packed nicely in a bag (https://www.amazon.com/BenefitUSA-Sideline-Portable-Folding-Waterproof/dp/B019I0CO4C)
When we were done. The tear down and clean up took about 10 minutes. We left the tent and stove for about 30 minutes while we had lunch and beverages. When we returned the stove was cool to the touch and I could remove the stove pipe with my bare hands. My rating for the experience was a 9.5/10. The only element lacking was lampomassa. What we lacked in lampomassa we made up with very high heat and extreme close proximity to cold, clean, clear water!
My favorite features 1-great heat, 2- large window with a great lake view, 3- amazing portability, 4-Easy set up. 5-expense for a decked out version you can keep it under $1000 USC including shipping. This seems like a lot for a tent, but from our experience I can tell you this is more than a tent!!