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8 reasons why the 612 Sauna Society offers a great public sauna experience

light steam graphic

As of this writing, the 612 Society is in its second year of operation. Their primary asset is the Forge, a wood fired mobile sauna that is currently deployed outside the Trailhead building, Theodore Wirth, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Below is a sauna enthusiast’s list as to why this sauna offers an excellent 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.

JP in Mobile Sauna
JP overlooking the first light of 612 Mobile Sauna (photo: another co op volunteer).

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 or Wirth Park Trailhead or along the shores of an area 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? Most 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.

8. 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.

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.”

John Munger, Loppet Foundation, and Glenn cooling down between sauna rounds outside the 612 Sauna Society mobile sauna, outside the Trailhead, Wirth Park, Minneapolis, MN

EDITOR’S NOTE: Author was lead builder for the 612 Sauna and currently sits on many sauna benches as well as on 612 Sauna Society Board. His biased opinions (based on 30 years of authentic sauna evangelism) are included throughout this article.

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