How to Build a Bush Sauna

By Alex Andrews

What could be better than a DIY sauna while your miles away from civilization deep in the mountains of Patagonia? This is how myself and the Roark family came up with a way to stay warm aside from a fire.

How to build a bush sauna

Some things you need to make a Sauna in the wilderness:

  • Access to water, preferably a river, creek, lake, or pond.
  • You’ll also need a solid fire.
  • 30-50 Rocks. Don’t use rocks from a river, or lake. They explode! We made that mistake.
  • Tarp (20 X 20) without holes or tears.
  • Branches or tree trunks or posts. 6 ft minimum length.
  • Bottle of Whiskey or Malbec in this case.

1. Scout a decent size creek or body of water with stable ground nearby to build the sauna.

2. Start a fire near the creek and sauna. Surrounded and filled with scavenged rocks the size of a softball or larger. It’s important to get the rocks cooking prior to the rest of the build. Heat them for a minimum of 3 hours.

How to build a bush sauna

3. Build a typical A-frame structure with a beam running the length. Dig out benches in the ground for seating on each side of the sauna. Opposite the entrance, dig a 2-foot deep and 3-foot wide circular hole in the ground for hot rocks.

4. Drape the tarp over the top of structure and seal to the ground with dirt and rock.

5. Carefully transit 5-7 of the largest hot rocks to the sauna hole in the rear of structure. Use cast iron skillet or something to protect you from the heat.

How to build a bush sauna

6. Get the crew inside of the sauna quickly and seal entrance.

7. Pour cold river water onto rocks to create steam. Add hot rocks and water as needed.

How to build a bush sauna

The steam will build up, and bada-bing you have yourself a nice sauna in the middle of nowhere! One thing we found is that you need to have the shelter sealed nice and tight and commit to staying inside for a while! It’s also recommended to have a cold beverage, and some good friends to enjoy this with!

Want more? Read Volume 15 of Roark’s Artifacts Chronicle: "Vagabundos Del Carne."