Wood Fired Hot Tub Improved To Winter Perfection


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | October 4, 2015      
Life is good at WildSnow HQ.

Life is good at WildSnow HQ.

Under the blood red lunar eclipse, we toasted the one year anniversary of our wood fired hot tub at WildSnow Field HQ. After a day of backcountry skiing, hiking, cabin development or hard-core blogging, soaking under the crisp winter stars equals bliss.

Keeping with the WildSnow tradition of modifying “ski touring” gear until it reaches perfection (or at least some kind of imaginary exaltation), the tub has undergone a few tweaks in the past 12 months.

Brother from another mother, Angus MacGyver, high fives Lou’s improvements.

In order to keep the tub clean and prevent leaking, we used trimmed down water tank for a liner.  A siphon outlet on the side drains all but 2 inches of water.  To drain the last bit of water, Lou drilled a hole in the bottom and we plugged it with a bathtub stopper, which we found at our local hardware store.

In order to keep the tub clean and prevent leaking, we trimmed down a water tank for a liner. Full details here. A siphon outlet on the side drains all but 2 inches of water. To drain the last bit, Lou drilled a hole in the bottom and we plug it with a bathtub stopper. This low-tech solution to an effective drain is really quite funny, as how to get that last inch of water out of a tub can be quite perplexing.

To keep the water sparkling clean, Lou rigged up a filter which is powered by our solar system.  When the sun is out, the contraption hums along and completely filters our 400 gallon tub in about 5 hours.

To keep the water sparkling clean, Lou rigged up a bilge pump and filter powered by our solar system. When the sun is out, the contraption hums along and completely filters our 400 gallon tub in about 5 hours, totally sun powered.

Sump style water filter and bilge pump (upper right).

Sump style water filter and bilge pump (upper right). The filter turns grey, mainly from ash. We still use chlorine spa treatment to keep the water sanitary, and we change out the water often since it cools down anyway when we’re back in civilization (unlike a domestic spa that’s kept heated to one degree or another).

The original tub cover is made of cedar, and quite heavy to remove.  Dust and rain seep between the boards and make the water murky.  We made a more user friendly cover out of reflective roll insulation from our local and beloved (kidding) building supply store.

The original tub cover is made of cedar, and quite heavy to remove. Dust and rain seep between the boards and turn the water murky. It’s a surprisingly poor design considering how much these tubs cost at retail. We made a more user friendly cover out of reflective roll ‘bubble wrap’ insulation that floats directly on the water surface. While the stove is fired up, we keep the water covered to hasten the heating process. Ideally, some kind of cover that completely sealed the water from contamination would be ideal, but difficult to achieve due to the stove vent and other parts of the tub above water level.

We're impressed with the efficiency of the Snorkel Stove.  The water heats quickly -- going from 50 degrees to 100 in under three hours.  We use DIY fire starter mix to burn the fire hot.  Mix kerosene wth wood shavings and sprinkle liberally between the logs before the fire is lit.  We use this in the cabin wood stove too.

We’re impressed with the efficiency of the Snorkel Stove. The water heats quickly — going from 50 degrees to 100 in under three hours. We use a DIY fire starter to burn the fire hot. Mix a bit of kerosene with wood shavings available as pet litter (the shavings work better than free sawdust and just cost a few bucks, though you can use sawdust from a local woodshop if you want to get that recycling feel-good buz). We use this fire starter in the cabin wood stove as well. Caution: never use any sort of petro fire starter on hot coals, the resulting inflammable vapor can put you in the hospital.

We've thought of building a bench in the tub, but keeping it uncluttered makes it easy to clean.  Small camp chairs are comfortable and much more versatile.

We’ve thought of building a bench in the tub, but keeping it uncluttered makes it easy to clean. Small Coleman camp chairs are comfortable and much more versatile. Using them seems funny at first, but they work.

For a lightweight foldable camp chair, check out the Coleman Woodsman.

Recap of WildSnow posts from the week of September 28th to October 2nd, 2015:

One of the finest boots for backcountry splitboarding.

DIY tips from the man — Marker Kingpin binding mount how to.

Next best thing to skiing in the mountains — climbing on Washington Pass

Scientific secrets revealed — VW and GW.

This man brought the first tech bindings to the US.



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Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


Comments

14 Responses to “Wood Fired Hot Tub Improved To Winter Perfection”

  1. jw7 October 4th, 2015 8:50 am

    That is the sh*t! 🙂

  2. Clyde October 4th, 2015 6:43 pm

    This post is nothing without cute girls. Perhaps invite some nice coeds up from Colorado Mountain College to learn about off-the-grid living. Guaranteed you’ll spike your web hits 😉

  3. Lou Dawson 2 October 4th, 2015 7:55 pm

    Clyde, great minds think alike. Am working on that. Lou

  4. ptor October 5th, 2015 3:52 am

    Really nifty setup! Inspiring!

  5. Mark Worley October 5th, 2015 6:34 am

    Great time exposure shot. Very cool.

  6. Scott Nelson October 5th, 2015 8:03 am

    That hot tub is pretty amazing. Wood fired, solar powered…awesome! Hope the logging clean-up went well; you should blog the rigging set up.

  7. Chet Roe October 5th, 2015 10:21 am

    What do you do with the water when you are gone for weeks or even a week at a time…frozen solid cold tub? If you empty where do you get the new water? I have not paid attention to previous posts, do you have running H2O close by? Way Cool or rather Hot!!!!!!

  8. Lou Dawson 2 October 5th, 2015 12:46 pm

    Hi Chet, it takes quite a while to start freezing, at least a week, perhaps 10 days, but we drain it and refill if we’re in doubt. We have a pretty good system of filling, even in winter, using a tank on our truck and running a hose down the hill to the hot tub. Our Duramax hauls 400 gallons of water like it’s not even there, impressive. Lou

  9. DavidB October 5th, 2015 5:35 pm

    Lou, a handy way to cover the pool completely is by screwing lugs on the side of the tub and making a tonneau cover similar to those on the back of a pick up with elastic cord. So cut out a piece of UV protected PVC the diameter of the outer edge of the tub and stitch a three inch valance to the outer edge. Punch some holes with insert reinforcing eyelets. thread the elastic cored and attach pull tight on the lugs.
    You can cut out the sections for the above water and the whole thing will seal properly. Keep the bubble wrap cover under the tonneau and it will keep the heat in the tub for extended periods.

  10. Lou Dawson 2 October 5th, 2015 5:42 pm

    Excellent David, thanks! We’ll do something like that ASAP. Need to make a winch cover for the truck as well. Any links for the correct material PVC? Thanks, Lou

  11. DavidB October 6th, 2015 5:43 pm

    This should help Lou. Don’t worry too much about the names of each. the numbers after the name is the GSM, so select based on which weight of PVC you prefer. You can also adhere thick rigid foam to the underside to make a rigid cover with greater insulation qualities as well. many commercial spa covers are made in this fashion.

    http://www.galecommercial.com/types/pvc-fabrics

  12. b. fredlund October 15th, 2015 4:22 pm

    Good inspiration Lou and Lisa. 🙂

  13. Shawn December 29th, 2015 9:06 am

    Greetings from the Eastern Slopes!

    We love wood fired hot tubbing and would be interested in rigging a similar circulation/filtration system to our tub. Can you provide some details regarding the bilge pump
    you used?

    Cheers
    Shawn
    Bragg Creek, Ab

  14. Lou Dawson 2 December 29th, 2015 9:44 am

    Hi Shawn, it’s a blister packed 12 volt unit off the boating product display at Walmart. Super basic. I think just about any bilge pump would work, sized for your power supply. Separate the intake and output with tubing so the water doesn’t short circuit. It moves quite a bit of water until the filter starts to load up. Lou





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