Though I grew up in Minnesota, I hadn’t experienced sauna until we moved back from California in 2019. I have always liked taking hot baths and using hot tubs, and I thought sauna might be nice to try.
I dipped my toes in with a Morzh tent sauna. The tent enabled me to experiment without spending too much money, which helped me determine how much I would like sauna and which aspects of the experience were most important to me. I had it set up on my deck the last few winters as a nice little retreat for myself.
I found that I enjoy sauna as a way to relax and be kind to my body, and a way to make the Minnesota winters more enjoyable. I also discovered a lovely community of sauna-lovers, which sparked the idea that sauna could be a vehicle for building community in my own backyard. More community is something I’ve been looking for since moving to a new town immediately before the pandemic kicked off.
My friend Darin Mays recently started building saunas, which was perfect timing for me as I considered taking things to the next level. After a wind storm damaged my tent last winter, I decided to go all in and order one of his NorthUp ultralight mobile saunas. It arrived yesterday and I could not be more excited.
Since starting my sauna adventure, I have had the luxury of trying out many different kinds of amazing sauna experiences. Some of my favorites have been Archimedes Banya in San Francisco, and all of the great folks at Banya Fest 2023 here in Minnesota. I can safely say that the NorthUp sauna has some really amazing and unique characteristics that help to set it apart, especially at its price point.
The most noticeable feature is its transparent body, which lets a ton of natural light in. This is excellent in the dead of winter, when I am really craving more sunlight. But also, this helps the sauna start warmer thanks to the heat of the sun—I’m warmer as I try to get the fire started, and I spend less time waiting for it to come up to temp and more time sitting on the bench and smiling.
I do not yet have a way to tow it to new places, but I imagine I will eventually be interested in bringing it next to some water at some point, or up north for Christmas with the family.
I’ve already had a couple of very nice sessions and I’m seriously looking forward to sharing this with friends and family in the coming months and years.