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Sauna Talk: Rod Buhrsmith discusses his love for and investment in sauna

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March 17, 2020. Today on the bench was the day the coronavirus became front and center in the United States.

We visit with Rod Buhrsmith

His Father in Law had a brain aneurysm, and he really leaned into assisting with this family emergency.

Stokeyard Outfitters

Activating two sauna locations: Hewing Hotel and The Village, 4700 Nicollet Ave. S.

“Mobile is kind of our thing.”

The use of mobile assets (mobile sauna) has allowed Stokeyard Outfitters to activate in Minneapolis.

The Village is only 5 blocks from Rod’s house. There are certain things that happen away from the Village, like filling water, printing the roster, etc. Creating the hot room ambiance to assist for when the guests check in. A linear trajectory of growth. Within the community are partners more than just logo sharing. Tactical on the ground partnership.

Add scope on the fly.

Eddie, the new owner of Parkway Theater is busy with his own organic project. This has given his property in South Minneapolis more of a runway of time for Stokeyard Outfitters to operate and activate in the space.

Last year was the busiest sauna year of Rod’s life. Cold plunge became a regular part of Rod’s sauna routine. The 5 gallon water bucket with a 32 oz. deli cup leads to an outdoor shower connected to a garden hose, and then a $72.99 100 gallon stock tank cold plunge.

The Friday Happy Hour Sauna, a decades old tradition birthed over at 4700 Nicollet Ave. S.

Stokeyard Outfitters commissioned for two mobile saunas from Custom Mobile Saunas (now called Voyageur Custom Saunas).

7’x12′ mobile sauna. 6’x7′ hot room. Wood fired. Voyageur Sauna Special

The yard pallets: a great solution for standing outside in bare feet. They roll up easily, and weigh 25 lbs. Inexpensive to make. Rod made 40 of them.

The building of Omar’s mobile sauna. “We are not builders of anything” but we are outfitters. We care about the equipment we use. Whether it is a Snowtrecker tent sauna or a Voyageur mobile sauna, Stokeyard Outfitters builds activation of sauna.

The mobile sauna. A great design with 3 legs of a stool. Two wheels and the tongue can be adjusted to position the mobile sauna to allow for water to shed, or make the structure level. The catalyst for a mobile business. Programming and activating, and seeing real success with Full Moon and Aufguss with Alex at the Hewing. When Stokeyard bought these units, they were in the mobile sauna business. Activating in Nature or at breweries and certainly at 4700 Nicollet Ave. S., the Village.

Geo-spacial technologies: Rod’s day job. They lower dramatically the barriers of entry. Testing an entrepreneur’s passion with a mobile solution. Trips to Portland, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, etc. as a sponge to see what can happen for mobile businesses and development projects to “dilapidated urban assets”. Pop up.

Rod’s philosophy of investing

“I like to invest in the people.” MBA in entrepreneurship. Business is always something I think of and am doing.

Have invested in auto body repair, refractive surgery, satellite systems, geo-spacial startup, Gerhardt brats.

Not trying to boil the ocean, but they are really passionate about what they are doing. They have a way of trying to make it happen that resonates for me. They are modestly trying to create something and make a living from it. Classic angel investing. Life coaching with small businesses. Long enough to get certified. Slivers of capital and time, as wings underneath people who are doing it full time.

My secret to enjoy this busy life is to create buffers in my day. Managing my time and how I show up. I have to be prepared which means being on time or early. Everything is set up, ready to engage. Let’s get going. Don’t let things linger too long. Keep it fresh.

Sauna, mountain biking, meditating, stretching, being disengaged from people is how I recharge.

Sitting on the sauna bench.. what can be talked about here is different than most environments.

You have got to take care of yourself. What it means for you is just fine. Movement, recharging, Get to know you and what makes you work best. What makes me work best is these three things:

  • physical movement
  • alone time and
  • deep connections with humans.

The calendar allows Rod to schedule is own time. The calendar is an A lister. Building the boundaries and buffers. 30 minutes or an hour between things is not wasted time, it is extraordinarily useful.

On average, Rod takes sauna every other day. He keeps track of when he saunas. He keeps this information on a spreadsheet. 13-15 sauna sessions per month. “I rarely have to schedule a sauna.” He is able to fit in a sauna and create a window of time for movement and then sauna. Professional commitments are scheduled, and the “movements” will fill in between these commitments. There are so many ways to do movement. The sauna is great for a non movement day. Let the sauna do its magic as an off day for movement.

Favorite moment of sauna?

  1. When the fire catches in the sauna stove.
  2. Riding up the first round. Stretching and moving as the hot room rises up to temperature.

If you could bring your mobile sauna anywhere in the World?

Any where would work. The Bruhl River, between Superior and Ashland Wi. The water is in motion and is cold. Something about having the sauna next to water. Lake Superior is not a bad choice. Fresh, fast running water.

If you could sauna with anyone in the World, past or present, who would you choose.


What do you think is not yet understood about sauna?

Sauna offers numerous things at once. It is this thing that looks like a closet and gets hot. And so a well designed sauna creates many benefits. It can reset. Circulatory benefits, meditative benefits, muscular anatomoic benefits, social benefits. Lighting a fire, splitting wood, there are just so many benefits with three rounds of hot and cold.

“There is so much more to it than what one may think.”

Rod’s timely warming present. Sauna in the time of corona.

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