According to Forbes, the cold plunge pool market is expected to reach $409 million by 2029, as the cold exposure trend continues to make waves in the wellness community. Often left out of the discussion are the benefits of incorporating the reverse treatment into your routine: the hot soak. The process of alternating between hot soaks and cold plunges is a wellness regimen that has been practiced by Nordic cultures for hundreds of years. The cold plunge constricts blood flow and resets the nervous system, while the hot soak improves circulation and eases sore muscles. When practised together, the routine has a number of science-backed benefits such as reducing fatigue, soreness, and swelling, and accelerating the body’s natural healing process. B.C.-based AlumiTubs wood-fired hot tubs offer a new and customizable way to soak, with the option to use it as a cold plunge before heating up with a hot bath or shower, or using an ice bath next to the tub and jumping into the heated up AlumiTub after. We chatted with co-owner Laura Andersen to learn more. —Noa Nichol
When and why did you launch AlumiTubs? What niche were/are you aiming to fill?
AlumiTubs has been in business for over 20 years. The original AlumiTubs wood fired hot tub was built in 2001 by another couple, Wendy and Eric Holtz, who built it to outperform their own cedar hot tub, using what Eric learned from his decades of experience with aircraft fabrication. Traditional cedar tubs, on top of being difficult to assemble, are typically higher maintenance and aren’t very heat efficient. They’re also prone to rot and leakage, particularly in the winter months, so even well-maintained tubs usually have shorter lifespans. AlumiTubs were built to last a lifetime. The aluminum frame is lightweight, durable, and easy to maintain, and you’ll never have to worry about rot or leakage. It also provides superior heat retention, so it stands up to even the coldest winter temperatures. My partner Josh and I fell in love with our own AlumiTubs, and we saw huge potential for the business. We took over AlumiTubs in 2019, and we’ve been growing the brand ever since.
What products/services do you currently offer, and what makes them unique?
We have two different AlumiTubs hot tubs available: a standard size and a large size. We believe that a good soak is meant to be shared, so all of our tubs are built with gathering in mind. Our standard wood fired hot tub is six feet in diameter and can comfortably hold up to five people, and our large-sized tub is seven feet in diameter and can hold up to eight people. AlumiTubs are built better, not just in the way we build our tubs but in the way we operate our business. We’re not a mass manufacturer; we’re a small business. We’ve been pioneering the aluminum cedar hot tub for over 20 years, working with real people from our community to manufacture each and every tub. All of our tubs are made with love in our local community on the Sunshine Coast, using 100 per cent locally sourced, recyclable materials, including marine-grade aluminum and FSC-certified Canadian Western Red Cedar. AlumiTubs are guaranteed to never leak, and they can be filled using whatever clean water source is available where you are, including saltwater. They’re also portable and come pre-assembled, making it easy to then roll onto the back of a truck or a boat to get them where they need to go.
Who are AlumiTubs for? Do they require a certain type of property, amenities, or space to set up and use? Maintenance? How do they work?
If you have space for the tub, access to clean water, and the ability to make a fire, you can have an AlumiTubs. AlumiTubs don’t require any electricity or chemicals to maintain, and they’re just as easy to set up and use whether you’re in the city or on a remote island. AlumiTubs are wood-fired hot tubs, which means they’re heated using an internal firebox. A few hours before you’re ready to soak, you light a fire in your firebox and wait for the water to heat. Once it’s been heated, the water will stay at hot tub temperature for a few days, so it will be much quicker to heat before each use. AlumiTubs can also accommodate alternative fuel sources, including propane, gas, electric, and solar power, if wood burning isn’t an option in your area. In terms of maintenance, AlumiTubs were created to be easy to use and reuse. You can clean your AlumiTubs by wiping it down with a soft cloth, and we recommend switching out the water every couple of weeks, but beyond that, there isn’t much that needs to be done to maintain your tub. If you need to winterize the tub for the season, you can simply empty it, wipe it dry, and cover it. That’s it!
In this day and age, what do you think the benefits of having something like an AlumiTub in one’s personal space/home are?
A hot tub is a perfect way to relax; the practice of the hot soak has been around for centuries, and it has a lot of science-backed health benefits. We view having AlumiTubs in your space as the ultimate way to unwind. With AlumiTubs, we’re also on a mission to slow things down. The idea is that building the fire that will heat your tub forces you to make an intentional decision to spend time outdoors and make time for yourself. When you put all your attention into the task at hand, you’re allowing yourself a moment to disconnect from the stressors in your day-to-day and put things in perspective. Using a wood fired tub isn’t about hitting a button; it’s about truly unplugging and giving yourself the space to relax and recharge.
What are your top tips on how to slow down, relax and unwind?
My top tip is to be intentional about setting aside some time for yourself. If your idea of relaxing involves multi-tasking, you probably aren’t going to be able to really unwind. Commit to giving yourself a dedicated window to disconnect and stick to it. Once you’ve given yourself that space, you can begin building a ritual that works for you. For me, getting outdoors, connecting with nature and spending time with my family really helps me to slow things down and remember the big picture. Lucky for me, my AlumiTubs allows me to do all three! I try to stick to my ritual as much as I can, but I’m by no means a relaxation expert! Relaxation is something that we all need to work on, but it helps to give ourselves a couple of tools to make it more readily-accessible.
Final, personal question: your idea of a perfect AlumiTubs session? (Don’t spare the details!)
To me, the thing I continue to come back to is the ritual aspect of putting kindling in the fire box, watching it catch and seeing the steam begin to rise off the surface of the water. There is something magic about making an experience for your loved ones without the use of electricity where you can completely unplug, connect and relax. The perfect AlumiTubs session is when you are with your favourite people in the world in a quiet place. You’ve spent the day hiking, cooking, the stars are out, and the kids have been put to bed. There are no more expectations, no more responsibilities, and no more worries. You can open that bottle of wine you’ve been saving for a special occasion, step into the tub and feel your entire life slow down. That is the dream.