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Getting confused about what to pack for your next sauna party? Consider nothing, by applying a little “thermo-minimalism”

light steam graphic

How exciting that we have many public saunas popping up all over. In Minneapolis, we have the 612 Sauna Society, The Yard at 4700, various Custom Mobile Sauna installations, and in Duluth, MN, we have Cedar & Stone, and Hiki Hut. Farther afield, we’ve got the Little Red Sauna in Maine, the Hot Box in Brooklyn, Brighton Beach Sauna in England,. It goes on and on.

Are you thinking of attending one of these saunas in the public domain?

Before we head out the door, let’s consider the critical “need to remember” items for a public sauna session:

  1. Drinking water
  2. Bathing suit
  3. Towel

As we review the “big three” must haves for public sauna, take note that there are some sauna pros who have reduced their sauna bag to zero. How you ask? Let’s consider:

Drinking water:

Hosts of the 612 Sauna Society are all quick to name water bottles as the #1 item in the lost & found. “We could outfit a high school football team with all the water bottles left behind” says one staff member. We know that most sauna pros are known to drink 32 oz of water before heading out to a sauna session. And the real pros ensure good hydration through mineral water. Sodium is by far the #1 mineral depletion through excessive sweating, yet zinc, magnesium, and potassium are all super important minerals that can lead one to major league post sauna fatigue.

So, why do we need water bottles anyway? Thermo-minimalists show up well hydrated, and without a water bottle. They are known to drink mineral water before going to sauna, then at a public sauna, will open their mouths like thirsty elephants under the cold shower between their sauna rounds. If enjoying a cold beer or other pre packaged beverage, a thermo-minimalist is not beyond rinsing out an empty container to refill with fresh cold water onsite, at the sauna party.

Bathing Suit:

Sauna in the public domain in the United States is 100% bathing suit happening. And in Finland, public sauna with mixed gender is this way as well. Germany is one crazy place (for those of us not German) as it’s all coed and nude, and that’s just the way it rolls.

So, for most of the public sauna world, these wet bathing suits on bodies, hanging on hooks, or wrapped up in gym bags like soggy diapers are a thermo-minimalist’s buzz kill. Solution? If we know we are heading off to a sauna party, we can wear our bathing suit underneath our clothes. Or, we can dress wearing a dual boxer short swim trunk combination product like Troxers (for the spontaneous sauna goer in you). Wearing underneath what you will be wearing on the sauna bench means less fumbling when you show up to a public sauna (drop trow and go) and one less thing you’ll need to remember to bring to your next sauna party. “Wear it. Don’t remember it” is the thermo-minimalist moniker.

After a sauna party, now what? Well, with a quick drying poly micro fiber fabric product like Troxers, the sauna bather to can walk away waving their swim wear in the air as a flag of freedom, not as a packed away soggy diaper.


Sauna semi thermo-minimalists recognize that smaller towels make for better sauna towels. Big beach towels drag on the ground and can fill a gym bag with way excess fabric. However, sauna thermo-minimalist pros don’t mess with towels at all. How do they get by without a towel? Easy. Thermo-minimalists dress for a sauna party with two shirts: a T-shirt and and over shirt. The last sauna round is met with a simple drip dry, often back in the hot room for a minute or two. Then, the undershirt serves just fine as a towel, drying off any remaining wetness on the body.

So, “the big three:” water bottle, bathing suit, and towel are all eliminated from care and consideration by thermo-minimalist sauna goers. At the end of the night, all that is needed to remember to bring home are two things: a mostly dry pair of Troxers, and a semi damp undershirt.

BONUS: Freeing up what one needs to bring to a sauna party allows the sauna goer freedom of mind (and hands) to bring a gift for the sauna host, often in the form of some immediate consumable beverage or food product, for spontaneous “wow” and good vibrations to host.

a thermo minimalist enjoying sauna in the public domain

EDITOR’S NOTE: Given that this writer is not of the female persuasion, apologies if there are gender specific considerations not detailed in above.

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2 thoughts on “Getting confused about what to pack for your next sauna party? Consider nothing, by applying a little “thermo-minimalism””

  1. Hi Glenn! I was just referred to you by someone over at 612 Sauna Society, I was looking for advice on what to do about our basement sauna. We just bought a 1960’s house that has a huge basement sauna, or what once was a huge sauna! The previous owners took out the seating, installed a steam shower in one corner, and used the rest for storage. We would like to get the sauna in working condition again! Any suggestions on who to consult for this type of work? Thanks!

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