Micro adventure: building a sauna for the price of climbing gym admission

As part of our series of articles on the subject of micro-adventures, Daniel Zuberbühler and Pascal Haltiner from Fajro will show you what a micro-adventure needs and present ideas for excursions. In today's post, the two of them show you how to build your own sauna with very simple means. 

A contribution by Daniel Zuberbühler and Pascal Haltiner from Fajro - with the support of Seat to Summit

The days are getting colder again and slowly but surely the winter time is approaching. Ideal for taking a little more active care of your immune system and general health. Nothing is better than a visit to the nearest sauna.

Of course, you can go to the comfortable variant, but we decided on the sauna as a micro-adventure and set out for a nearby river over lunch. 

Build a sauna instead of training in the climbing hall

We have reserved four hours for the short adventure. In pairs and with three sheets, a lunch, a little salt and honey, a water bag (Watercell X 4l), as well as a folding spade, we set off. An ideal spot for the temporary home-made sauna is quickly found by a river or stream.

At this time of year there are not many people left by the streams, so that the ideal gravel bank with forest or trees in the back soon appears. A slightly larger gravel bank is so suitable because there are enough large and small stones there. But before the private SPA area is ready to use, work first follows. 

Your sauna heater: a stratified fire and large stones

In order for the sauna to work in the great outdoors, various tasks must be completed. First of all, a lot of wood has to be collected. Depending on how many people there are, it even makes sense to drag whole tree trunks. A stratified fire is set up with the collected wood.

When collecting the stones, make sure that the stones are as homogeneous as possible.

In this you place eight large stones (handball size) when you stack them up. When collecting the stones, make sure that the stones are as homogeneous as possible. This means that the stones appear uniform at first glance and show no large veins or irregularities. Irregular stones are more likely to break when heated to a great extent. When everything is piled up and ready you light the fire.

This is how you build the natural sauna

Now it's time to build the scaffolding for your sauna. For this you need long branches that are about the width of a thumb and easy to bend (willow or hazel are ideal). The bigger the sauna, the more branches you need. You can mark the size of the sauna with large stones that serve as seating before you start building the scaffolding.

The key here is to move closer together and to build the sauna just big enough that all sauna-goers have enough space.

In addition to the seats, there must be space in the middle. This should be deep enough so that you can sink the stones from the fire into it. So, now you have the outline and can start building a dome over the seats with the branches. Always bury one end of the branch on one side and stretch it to the other side of the sauna.

Depending on your aesthetic requirements, you can spend more or less time on this. Important: Include an entrance on one side. At the end you put the tarpaulin over the scaffolding and make sure that everything is sealed as well as possible. Heavy felt blankets (à la military blankets) are better than tarpaulins - but these are also a lot heavier to wear and then dry and clean again. That's why we chose tarpaulin. A bit of string will help tie the branches together easily. 

Use synergies: Cook a fine dinner on the fire at the same time

While the scaffolding is being built, do not lose sight of the fire. The glowing hot stones are almost your most important ingredient in the sauna. Once you have everything set up, you can build a nice path to the river (decorate it with candles at night, works magically). There should still be time now to prepare a small meal on the fire. We opted for vegetable risotto and the larger pot of the Sigma sets 2.2. used by Sea to Summit. When the fire is almost down, everything is ready. 

Ceremony as the icing on the cake

Now you are ready for your outdoor private SPA session. It should already be said that the stones are incredibly hot - around 400 degrees. So don't touch it. Use a spade or a sturdy fork for the transport. Before you start to take a sauna, for the first time only sunk some of your stones into the sauna pit. Make sure you have the water as well as the salt and honey ready to hand and then you can start.

For the first time sunk only part of your stones into the sauna pit.

Take a seat, pour water from the stream over the stones and enjoy the wonderful steam sauna. If you want, you can rub the skin with honey, which has a skin-cleaning and nourishing effect, or with salt, which above all results in a wonderful peeling.

Depending on your mood, the whole ceremony can be repeated several times until the stones have finally given off their heat at some point. Last but not least, the jump into the cool water should not be missing.

This material is needed: tarpaulins, stones, branches, water bags.

Dismantle your natural sauna again

Before going back to the office, everything is dismantled according to the “Leave no Traces” credo and a coffee is brewed on the last embers. In the end, our outlier from everyday life only lasted four and a half hours (door to door). A little adventure that is absolutely worthwhile, especially on colder days, and that lets you dream away from reality for miles on the Stadtbach. 

If you want to immerse yourself in the adventure of a natural sauna alone, with your team or with friends, have a look at ours Offer on www.fajro.ch

Do you want more micro-adventures?


Fajro specializes in experiential pedagogy and action-oriented learning, nature coaching, accompanying development processes and jointly exploring new paths. We are outside and make use of nature as a living space of experience.

When we at Fajro speak of micro-adventure, we mean the pleasurable and playful immersion in nature. An immersion that will sooner or later take everyone, young or old, out of their daily grind - into a world full of voyages of discovery and deceleration. Micro-adventures should open up the little wonders that are often unseen on the doorstep and inspire individuals and families to go outside. Having time for yourself, with friends or for family is almost as valuable as gold in our current reality and if you don't have enough time for big adventures, then you should just make them smaller. With the series of articles we would like to invite you people to brave the outdoors and immerse yourself in many micro-adventures.

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