East Vancouver, Canada
There were too many occasions perfect for jumping in a glacial river, or mountain lake, but it was always just too cold to be fun for everyone. We had to do something, so after a few weeks of intense activity, we finished the construction at the stroke of midnight 2001 and immediately drove it out to some beautiful, mist-shrouded lake in the mountains to meet about 100 of our close friends.
The saunavan is built in a 1980 GMC Vandura. Both the vehicle and the stove are powered by propane fuel.
The sauna stove is a ventilated and exhausted box of welded steel, with the propane burner inside. The burner generates 35,000 btu/h or 10kw, which uses 20 pounds of propane over about 18 hours at maximum power. The burner controls and ventilation are outside the vehicle, exhaust escapes via a chimney. The burner is removed and stowed during transit. On the inside the stove box is covered with rocks and surrounded by a stainless steel shield. All exhaust exits through the chimney flue. This stove design is not very efficient, recently we have learned a lot about building better stoves.
In these photos, you can see into the changing room where there are benches and hooks for clothes.
A door then leads into the cedar sauna (2m x 2.1m x 2m / 6′ x 7′ x 6′) with two levels of benches that can seat 3 people lying down, 6 comfortably, or up to a very friendly 14.
The vehicle is very manouverable and equally capable in the urban environment as it is in the wilderness. In the city the van is
basically invisible to untrained eyes and can park almost anywhere. Unfortunately while the van was parked it was hit by another truck, causing much damage to the back of the sauna and cracking the already rusted out frame. We managed to temporarily repair the damage, but we could never insure the vehicle again.
We found a resting place beside the house, where we can fire it up every sunday night and invite our friends. Entertainment
often includes djs (like Woodhead, showing sauna technique in this photo), freestyle MCs and live music, some of it recorded and
available to listen and download at saunasessions.ca
In 2006 the saunavan was renovated and reborn as saunavan V2, a new sauna trailer!