This holiday post is in spirit of and tribute to Kevin Kelly’s “Cool Tools.” Kevin Kelly is the co-founder of Wired magazine and a great DIY ethos dude who brings on guests to his podcast to talk about what cool tools they discover and use. I suppose I could find it in my graces, if Mr. Kelly would contact me to be on “Cool Tools.” Yet, in the meantime, I thought I’d extend my stocking stuffer gift ideas for sauna and cold plunge enthusiasts.
As a 30 year veteran of sauna and cold plunging, here are my cool tools.
1. Outdoor faucet protector – $2.77
A wonderfully simple cool tool. It covers and insulates your outdoor faucet to keep jack frost from nipping at it, and freezing up. It’s probably not gone up in price since I first wrote about it in 2015 here., And could be your best value stocking stuffer this year. $2.77 at Home Depot.
2. Frost free faucet – $28.99
What a fabulous invention. With a pipe wrench, some plumbers tape and 20 minutes, you can back out your existing garden faucet from your basement at the shut off valve. Then, replace with this faucet and pipe assembly. Et Voila. Outdoor access to running water all winter long!
The way this works is that as you shut off your faucet nozzle outside, it turns off the water flow from about a foot inside the pipe, inside your basement. Ingenious. It has probably gone up in price since I first wrote about it in 2015 here, but Home Depot has these in stock for $28.99.
TIP: bring along your old faucet and set it on the Home Depot floor (after the guy drives by on the floor cleaner machine) so you can line up and purchase the exact length for your replacement.
3. Plunge tank – $79.99
$72.99 when I first wrote about it in 2018 here. and happy to report that the contrast therapy craze hasn’t affected demand surge pricing too bad. An enthusiastic helper like the one above can wheel one out for you at Fleet Farm for $79.99. Too big to fit under the Christmas tree, consider setting it up out back by the sauna on Christmas eve, and you’ll be all set for a Christmas morning cold plunge!
This is my favorite cold plunge for a few reasons. The shape is ideal for a grown adult to settle into. Further, the shape is concave, such that when a layer of ice forms, it expands up, not out. Other stock tanks, the aluminum ones specifically, may look cooler, but a hard freeze and bam! The ice expands out. Over time, leaks will develop. Also, unlike aluminum, this poly based material may not be as free range or organic, but it sure feels better on bare skin.
4. Outdoor Shower – $20.00
Next to a cold lake plunge, there’s nothing like stepping out of a backyard sauna and straight under a cold shower. It’s an easy set up, and is perfect for Wim Hof training and as a pre cold plunge de-jankifier. This set up illustrated by our youngest son back in 2009 is still in use and relevant today. Every sauna is best to offer an opportunity for a clean rinse after every sauna round. A simple garden hose shower, hung on a tree branch or fence post, is all you need.
5. The 5 Gallon Pickle Bucket – Free
Probably hasn’t gone up in price since I first wrote about it in 2017 here. Especially if you know of a restaurant that likes to serve pickles on the side. Once empty, kind restaurant staff are known to rinse out these buckets, and set out back for the taking, right by the back door smoking corner.
In Minnesota, you can often tell a 218’er from a 612’er by their sauna water bucket. Many 612’ers purchase made for sauna water buckets. They look beautiful, don’t get me wrong. But most 218’ers I know go for the 5 gallon pickle bucket. We are no frills kind of people. We dip in a deli cup and toss water on the rocks, and “ahhhhhh”. As we use our saunas for bathing in 218, we tend to use a shit ton more water during our sauna sessions. We chop wood next to our wood pile, then we carry water from the lake. Some call it enlightenment. And for this we use the 5 gallon pickle bucket. More on area code delineations here.
Perhaps one or even all of these cold plunge accouterments could be great Christmas gift ideas. Whether for yourself or for a loved one this holiday season, these 5 products are all time tested enhancements for any sauna and cold plunge enthusiast.
Disclaimer: these “cool tools” help support the equation that with sauna plus cold plunge, 1+1=3.