The Sauna Club at Vasa Park Scandinavian Day in South Elgin IL

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It was Illinois’ first cold, rainy day of the season. Everyone was complaining about the weather. Everyone, that is, except the recently victorious Chicago Bears and several sauna fanatics heading to check out a new Chicago Area sauna business.

When I learned Ryan Cohler had started a mobile sauna business using a Voyageur sauna with a Kuuma wood burning sauna stove, I was elated. I have been following both businesses through SaunaTimes over the years. Now this 50 degree rainy day would be my first introduction to The Sauna Club as Ryan shared his creation at the Scandinavian Days Festival in Elgin, Illinois. It would be one of their first big public events.

Sauna Club founder Ryan radiating the post sauna glow in front of his mobile sauna (shoes and solar panel sold separately).

The idea behind this business is simple as their web page says: an authentic wood burning sauna experience delivered to your door. What could be better than that? Offerings include rental by the hour, day, weekend, or week. For Scandinavian Days, hourly reservations were offered. My friends and I reserved the last time slot at 4pm.

Instant relaxation

We arrived early to the rain and mud-soaked festival. A variety of tents and pavilions offered Scandinavian food, crafts, and beverages. The pleasant scent of burning wood directed us to Ryan and his sauna. A nice location, it sat away from the main pavilion where most of the event-goers gathered to listen to the Abba tribute band. Instead we stripped down to swimsuits and hopped in the sauna. My first impression was that I had stepped into a wood burning sauna in Northern Minnesota. The smell of the cedar walls and birch wood burning along with the gentle löyly from the Kuuma stove was instant relaxation. My friends Keith and Cole–fellow sauna enthusiasts for adventures like Chicago’s Russian Bathhouses to tent saunas on frozen lakes—were blown away by the powerful, consistent heat from the kuuma wood burning stove. The heat was intense, but not harsh when water was added to the rocks. Because we were the last scheduled group, we invited Ryan to join us. He’d been outside all day and was excited to warm in his own sauna. The next couple hours included many sauna rounds, homemade oak vihtas, cool downs outside in the cool rain, great sauna talk and multiple visitors from the festival investigating the sauna while enjoying the pouring rain!

Our wonderful evening ended with the tribute’s band rendition of Dancing Queen and a ceremonial closing bonfire. Sauna Club fits right into the Scandinavian vibe and is a perfect name for this business. After one visit, Ryan had us feeling like exclusive members of a private club! Sauna Club is sure to be a great new addition to the sauna scene, and since it’s mobile, be sure and look for them at your local fests and events.

Sauna Club, Elgin IL
From left, Keith, Kev and Cole, aka the three Chicago sauna fanatics.

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