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With the Wissota Mobile Sauna, Jon “has it all right here”

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Guest post series continues. We are pleased to welcome Jon from Jim Falls, Wisconsin. Jon undertook his own mobile sauna build, then when he was done, and digging himself with sauna and cold plunge sessions, he later realized that mobile sauna was, in fact, a thing. Let’s hear more. Please welcome Jon to Saunatimes!

Hi, my name is Jon Luther from Jim Falls Wi. I am 46 years old. I am married with 3 son’s. My wife Melissa and I have been married for 22 years. I work for Nestle in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. My family is involved in Scouts BSA. My wife and I hold several Volunteer positions in Scouting.

What compelled you to build your own sauna? 

I have been practicing the Wim Hof Method for roughly 4 years and doing Yoga, Ice baths and I have a cold exposure routine that involves walking for a few miles most days in the winter wearing only my 5 finger shoes and shorts. I do wear gloves and a hat though. I am still working on getting my hands used to cold, even though I will shovel snow barefoot. I have learned how to do this through Wim Hof’s Power of the mind course.  My Sauna journey began at work one day with a conversation with my friend and supervisor.

He said to me “ Hey with all the crazy shit you are doing you should build a Sauna. I mean you are right there on the Chippewa River, I mean why wouldn’t you.”  

So I did! He said he used to have a regular Sauna practice and it would be a good fit with my practices. He was right. I love It. It really complements my practices well. The wood I used for the Wissota Sauna was gifted to me Many years ago from my neighbor’s family after he passed away. It was from a White Pine he had fallen about 30 years ago and at that time the tree was 120 years old. The Sauna is a few hundred feet away from where the tree came down.

The Wissota sauna, set up by shoreline, for cold plunge action between rounds

How did you find saunatimes and give us a few examples of how the DIY eBook helped you out

I ran across Sauna Times Months after I had built my Sauna. A friend of mine sent me a link to the Sauna talk Podcast with Jesse Coomer because we are both into breathing techniques and we both read his book which is a great book to read about breath work. I highly recommend folks start a breath work practice. It will change your life.

That episode got me hooked on Sauna Talk. I started listening to all the episodes and realized I was actually part of something way bigger than I realized. I learned from Glenn’s interviews with his guests about the traditional Finnish Sauna and about all the different and amazing people he has interviewed. I love listening about all of the different sauna routines and building techniques,  it’s all so very interesting. Listening and learning to Sauna Talk I have been tweaking The Wissota Sauna since. One of the first tweaks was to raise the bench. I got it up there so my head is 6 inches from the ceiling. 

Jon’s Wissota mobile sauna

What were the biggest 1-2 challenges for your sauna build? 

I built my sauna without any real plan. I kind of had an idea of what it might be. I knew that I didn’t want it in a dedicated spot because I didn’t want to go through the permit process. I was thinking of putting it on skids but it would be harder to move.  I remember seeing some picture of a guy who built one in an enclosed trailer and I thought thats what I will do.  I had an old 5X8 trailer that wasn’t very road ready anymore so I just started throwing the 8 ft 1X10’s up against the rails of the trailer that I had installed years ago.

I removed the middle rail thinking I don’t need that but later moved it towards the top of the sauna because it needed to be there. It just looked good. I had all the 8ft boards up and then I cut the slope of the roof 7 1/2- 7 ft which seemed like a good height. I thought it would be better for heat. After listening to Sauna Talk I found I was right about that. I really had no issues with the build of the structure because I have been building for years. The biggest challenge was the stove. The stove is a packable tent stove and I was using the spark arrester that fits on the top of the chimney pipe and it kept plugging up and smoking me out of the sauna, and affecting the quality of the heat so I unplugged the chimney and bought a new chimney top and then the stove really started to perform. I like to get the temp between 70-90 degrees Celsius. 

Jon’s Wissota sauna, deck deployed for action

What aspect to your sauna build are you most proud of? 

I guess what I would be most proud of the fact that The Wissota Sauna is very traditional in the way that I have learned from listening to Sauna Talk. It’s wood fired and I get it hot. I do several rounds with a cold plunge either in the snow, river or the garden hose. whichever is colder. I am working on getting another chest freezer for an ice bath, my old chest freezer ice bath stopped working this spring. Regarding the build itself, I had certain material available to me and without knowing much about sauna construction it turned out great. The only money spent was the 80 bucks for the steel roof. The rocks are all from around the area wherever I find a nice dark rock. I have some decorative rocks on the stove as well because they are shiny and I like looking at them.

Any regrets or do overs? 

The biggest regret I have is putting such a nice sauna on such an ugly trailer. I had no idea that mobile saunas were such an up and coming idea until I started listening to Sauna Talk.  I was also thinking about rounding the inside ceiling to see how the steam flow changes. I have noticed the difference in the steam depending on where I throw the water on the rocks. I would really like to update the stove and chimney when I can afford to do so. I would really like a Kumma stove. They seem like a great stove and are made one state away from me.

Inside Jon’s $80.00 Wissota sauna

What is your favorite part of Sauna?

I will get in the Sauna and I will put a couple pieces of resin incense through the rocks on top of the stove and they start to smoke and it smells so nice, and then the sweat starts really rolling off the head down the back the legs everywhere, just rolling off my body, I love it! Then when the resin stops smoking I throw water at the rocks and that really turns the intensity up. That is my favorite part. If you haven’t tried resin incense like frankincense or Myrrh I would highly recommend it. 

If you could bring a mobile sauna anywhere in the world, where’s the first place that comes to mind?

I might like to move the Wissota Sauna to the other side of the house again:) I don’t have any travel aspirations. I have it all right here.

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7 thoughts on “With the Wissota Mobile Sauna, Jon “has it all right here””

  1. Hi Glen! I just downloaded your sauna build manual. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and expertise. We are converting a short bus into a mobile sauna, do you have any added tips to this conversion that may not be mentioned in the manual?

  2. Hi CJ:

    Yes, I am emailing you separately. Sauna Build Start to Finnish 2nd Edition includes a comprehensive section on mobile construction. There is some valuable material that should help you with your short bus -> sauna conversion. Nuances and topics like drip edge, hot room floor, insulation, etc. for mobile are expanded upon.

  3. Nice work! And I think your trailer is just beautiful. Just built my Sauna with Glen’s help this summer- but it’s on skids- not very mobile. We use it almost every day though with our medium Kumma and can’t imagine not having it. I have a little trailer like that though- oh the possibilities!

    Thanks for another great post Glen!


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