Often overlooked, Portable Sauna Tents with wood burning stoves can offer the best of all worlds, and are winning over sauna enthusiasts around the globe.  They can be as cheap as infrared saunas, with all the health benefits of a Finnish Dry Sauna.  A good steam sauna tent offers some additional conveniences that you can’t get from any other type of sauna.

Think sauna tents aren’t real saunas?  Think again.  Criteria for a true traditional sauna includes:

  1. Gets hot (>160f)
  2. Rocks
  3. Loyly (Steam)

Passes The Test

Wood fired portable saunas can reach 200 degrees Fahrenheit inside. You can throw water on the rocks, throwing off a ridiculous amount of steam. Amazing.

(If you’re just looking for the best sauna tent to buy, click here and look no further).

Fails The Test

Portable infrared saunas are not saunas. Sad.

This simple test eliminates infrared saunas, most health club saunas, and sauna suits – but a good Sauna Tent with a wood stove produces copious heat and steam, and adequate rocks. For a fraction of the price of a traditional sauna.

Sauna tents are also the most flexible and portable type of sauna, they can go places even mobile saunas couldn’t dream of.  Depending on the situation, these flexible sauna tents can operated as a wet sauna, dry sauna, mobile sauna, steam sauna, winter camping tent, warming hut, and even a fish house.  Some are small and lightweight that would be great for backpacking, others are huge with multiple rooms that would work great for a family reunion or football practice.

In fact, sauna tents have even been used by professional NFL football teams when conditioning players for Florida heat and humidity.  They shine where other saunas would be impractical.

With all their benefits, their low cost is what makes sauna tents a gateway drug for sauna culture and achieving the health benefits associated with frequent sauna use.

Since most studies if sauna health benefits were done using traditional Finnish saunas, a sauna tent is the most cost effective way to get all the known health benefits of sauna without breaking the bank. Don’t get an infrared sauna and expect the same health benefits, when you can get a real sauna experience for the same price.

Long term Finnish health studies had dose dependent results, with those with 5 or more sauna sessions a week living longest.  Most people are not going to go to the gym that often, so having a home sauna is important to create the healthy sauna habit.

DIY Sauna Tent Methods and Safety

Build Your own Sauna Tent?

Sauna tents were invented by people like Mika of Sauna-Anywhere who wanted to find a way to bring the sauna tradition to their campsites.

He experimented with DIY Sauna Tents a lot in the early days with setting an old tent over rocks but found it to be a filthy exercise that lead to “getting smoked.”

And Mika is right. Having an open fire in a regular camping tent is not only smokey, but dangerous. The CO2 levels can quickly sneak up on you and be quite deadly.

Another DIY camping tactic that Mika talks about is a method of creating a makeshift tent sauna using old tarps or even tents without bottoms. The campers would build a fire outside the tent and place rocks on top of the outdoor fire. Once the rocks heat up, they would push the rocks out of the fi re and move the tarp or tent over them, go inside, and throw water on the rocks to create a steam room/sauna-like experience.

This takes care of the CO2 poisoning potential of having a fire inside the tent, but you still have the problem of exposing yourself to harmful chemicals that were used to treat the tent for weather resistance. Normal tents are not meant to be heated, and could easily catch fire unlike polyester sauna tents.

Sauna tents from sauna-anywhere.com are made from untreated 600D polyester. Mika says customers often note the lack of any king of plastic/other smell that’s associated with camping tents.

For a DIY Sauna we recommend, check out this ‘build a sauna’ guidebook from Hotbox Saunas. They use canvas and scrap plywood for a slightly more permanent sauna tent.

Benefits of Sauna Tents

  • Bring a sauna with you when you need one the most – camping, hunting, skiing, snowmobiling, etc.
  • Get around setback issues and building codes when building a sauna
  • Stick that sauna right up the water line at the lake, pool, river, etc.

Sauna tents are great for:

  • Winter campers – Cold weather camping provides solitude and beauty fair weather campers miss.  It is also extremely enjoyable to warm up by a fire and let the hot rocks maintain a nice temperature while you sleep.
  • Winter athletes – nothing beats a sauna after an activity like nordic skiing, snowboarding, ice climbing, or hockey game.  Added bonus: frequent sauna use will increase muscle mass and improve endurance.
  • Renters – Many people can’t build permanent outdoor saunas because they don’t own the land or there are some building restrictions.  Mobile sauna tents can be set up for weeks at a time in the backyard and are outside of building inspectors authority.  Worse case scenario – you can take it down and set it up again later.

Sauna Tent Reviews

Mobiba Sauna Tents

Mobiba is the original Sauna Tent company with international reach.

They are based in Russia, and partnered with Sauna Anywhere in 2010. They gained global exposure from a British TV show called Dragons Den (seems like a British version of Shark Tank) and have sold saunas around the world.

Unfortunately, due to the war on Ukraine Mobiba tents are not a practical solution outside of Russia.

Morzh Sauna Tents

Morzh is Mobiba 2.0, also a Russian sauna tent company. Again, they make good sauna tents and have helped pave the way but Russia’s war has made them an unreliable partner. Luckily there are now alternatives to Morzh and Mobiba, including a great sauna tent company based in Duluth, Minnesota.

North Shore Sauna

If you live in Canada or the USA, North Shore Sauna is American tent sauna company you’ve been looking for. The design is similar to Russian and Japanese models, and they are available for rent or for sale in North America.

North Shore Sauna Tents are now available for sale in the US. Their next shipment of stoves is selling out fast, so get an order in today.

Savotta Sauna Tents

Finnish tactical and camping gear company Savotta has some well designed sauna tents, or ‘telttasaunas’ that are light weight and truly built for the arctic. Tactical companies like Savotta have been making winter tents with stoves for years and are well positioned to make wood burning sauna tents.

Did you know according to some sources, the Russian military invented the sauna tent?

Sauna Tent Rentals, Spas, and Communities

Sauna Tent Rentals In Finland

There are some great examples in Finland that show the potential for sauna tent rentals. In Finland you actually can rent a sauna tent directly from a National Park website, and they will deliver it to your campsite.

They make it possible through Eränen, a sustainable tourism company that provides tent sauna services in the Repovesi National Park, such as renting tent saunas to the reservation camp site, in connection with the reservation hut or the resting places.

Imagine the total silent forest, millions of stars in the sky and hazy blende of the northern lights in the sky also. And somewhere you can hear the owl. What a great moment to enjoy life, nature and tentsauna!

Raine Honkaselkä, Eränen Sauna Rentals

Sauna Lovers Movement in Japan

Japan has a remarkable sauna culture, and sauna tents have become popular at beaches, parks, pubs, skiing mountains, and even train stations.

Sumo wrestler tenting to the sauna tent in Japan

Sauna Tent Culture in Japan

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Several tour companies are offering sauna tents as part of the travel package, and villages and spas have taken their saunas to the outdoor during the pandemic. There are entire “spa campsites” that are considered a safer alternative than indoor gyms.

Hybrid Canvas and Wood Sauna Tents

canvas saunas with wood floors and benches are also becoming a popular way to build a cheap home sauna now that lumber prices are so high.

These are build with basic 2×4 framing and covered in a canvas tarp. If the canvas or tarp wasn’t designed for high heat, you can use a welding blanket or two behind the wood stove to keep the canvas from getting too hot or lighting on fire.

And these hybrid sauna tents don’t have to look like homeless shelters. In fact, Finish designer Johan Brunel won international awards for his hybrid sauna tent design in 2016. He calls it the Nomadic Sauna and it is absolutely stunning.

The Nomadic Baths offers the comfort of a return to nature, be it to the places we pass through, but also to our own nature. If the great ancient baths contemplated the immensity of architecture, the Nomadic Baths offer an immobile contemplation of nature, to the point of being able to take part in it, to immerse oneself in the living.

Johan Brunel

Sauna Tent FAQ

How long does it take to heat up a sauna tent?

Good wood burning sauna tents are ready to go within 30 minutes of starting the fire.

How long does it take to set up a sauna tent?

20 minutes is a common. Some sauna tents, like the Prism by North Shore Sauna can be set up faster than a regular camping tent.

What are the health benefits of a portable sauna?

Unlike the infomercial “sauna tents” that are used in living rooms, wood-burning sauna tents are authentic saunas that likely provide all the health benefits of traditional Finnish Saunas, including cardiovascular, endurance, stress relief, sleep, and skin health benefits.

How hot do sauna tents get?

The biggest factor keeping sauna tents from wide adoption is fear they won’t get hot enough, but good sauna tents have no problem reaching temperatures above 180 degrees F in the middle of winter.

How much do sauna tents weight?

They can weigh as little as 55 pounds and fit in the trunk of a car.

Are sauna tents portable?

Many sauna tent and stove combos can fit in the trunk of a car, with the chimney stored inside the wood stove. You wouldn’t want to carry them by hand very far, like backpacking. If you are hiking far, you may want to use a cart. You can easily transport a sauna tent in a canoe.