Reviews > Buyers Guide > The Best Ice Bath for Summer

The Best Ice Bath for Summer

Last Updated Jan 13, 2024

We consider summertime the most fun time to cold plunge and the best season to start if you’ve never tried the practice before. The vibes are high, the sun’s out, and the warmer weather makes the contrast of the cold less shocking – easing beginners into the experience. Even though the weather’s warm, the benefits remain the same – from improved sleep quality to enhanced circulation and beyond. We’ve crafted the perfect guide to help with your summer cold plunging.

Navigating Summer Ice Bath Challenges

While summer is a great time to take the plunge into ice baths, the season brings with it a unique set of challenges that you won’t face in colder months. Here, we’ll navigate through some of the most common summer ice bath obstacles:

Melting Ice

Nothing is worse than the feeling of mentally preparing yourself for an ice bath, you’re about to get in, and you realize you either don’t have enough ice, or your current ice has melted. Higher ambient temperatures can cause the ice to melt quicker than anticipated, which can alter the desired temperature of the bath. This means you might need more ice than initially thought, leading to additional costs and preparation.

Insulation Issues

A typical ice bath container or tub is not always designed for insulation. In the summertime, without proper insulation, the outer warmth can penetrate the tub’s walls, leading to a faster rise in water temperature. Investing in an insulating cover or using specialized ice bath tubs designed for thermal efficiency can help maintain the desired cold temperature for longer.

Our Solution: Grizzly 400 Cooler

While expensive (around $1,000), this is the best insulated cold plunge we’ve tested. Originally built as a cooler to store meat and cold drinks, and is large enough to fit a human. As long as the top is down, your ice and water will stay cooler for much longer than almost any ice bath on the market, and condensation will be minimal.

To prove this thing’s size, the guy in the photo is 6’ 4” 225lbs.

Chillers in High Ambient Temperatures

Check out our Chillers Buyers Guide

Summer can be tricky if you’re using a chiller system to circulate water and maintain a steady temperature. Tap water in summer is generally warmer, so off the bat, you’re starting from a higher temperature making it take longer for your water to cool down. Even once the water gets cooler, if the ambient temperatures are hot enough the chillers won’t even get down to the desired temperatures as advertised.

Our Solution: Mod Plunge

The ModPlunge is the perfect blend of a DIY solution and a professional ice bath, allowing you to save money and get amazing results. The ModPlunge uses the above-mentioned Grizzly 400 Tub with a 1/4 HP Active Aqua Chiller. Now you may be asking,

Why can’t I purchase the tub and chiller separately to save money?

The answer is,

“you can.”

The benefit of purchasing through ModPlunge is that they do all the drilling for you, provide you with all the plumbing, filters and give you amazing step-by-step directions for getting you set up. ModPlunge will save you a ton of time and energy, and if you’re not handy like me, it’s the perfect solution allowing you to complete the entire setup in under 20 minutes. ModPlunge also ensures each individual part, giving you peace of mind.

Higher Evaporation Rates

Summer heat and increased sun exposure can lead to faster evaporation rates. If your ice bath setup is outdoors, you might find the water level decreasing quicker, necessitating frequent refills.

Our Solution: Keep the ice bath out of direct sun. While it can be tempting to put a plunge in the sun, it’s much more practical to keep your unit shaded and then use the sun’s energy for drying off.

Pest and Algal Growth

Stagnant water in the summer can become a breeding ground for pests like mosquitoes. Additionally, if exposed to sunlight, there’s potential for algal growth, which might require frequent water changes and cleaning.

Our Solution: Use Epsom Salt

Epsom salts can act as a water softener. Soft water can reduce the build-up of limescale and minerals on the surfaces of the tub, leading to a cleaner appearance. While Epsom salts don’t actively kill algae, they can change the water’s mineral balance. This altered mineral balance might make the water less hospitable to certain types of algae, reducing their growth.

Crafting the Best Summertime Ice Bath

1. Choose the Right Container

The more insulation, the better, but at the end of the day, anything will work so long as you can submerge your whole body

2. Fill It Up and Ice it Down

Using tap water as a base is the most common; make sure to leave at least a foot of room to avoid spillage when you step in. Once the water is filled, add ice and give it a few minutes for the water temperature to drop. Tip: In the summertime, the more ice, the better.

Ideally, you want to get the temperature to around 50-59°F (10-15°C) for the best effect.

4. Set the Mood

There’s no right or wrong way to set a mood, but we like to work up a nice little sweat before jumping in. By raising our internal body temperate, the contrast of the cold feels extra invigorating in the hot summer heat.

5. Dip In

Start slow. Immerse your feet first, then your legs, and eventually your whole body. If it’s your first time, aim for a duration of 1-2 minutes. As you get used to it, you can gradually increase the time, but typically, 5-10 minutes is enough for most people.

6. Warm Up Right

There’s no better feeling than warming up in the direct sun. It allows the body to warm up naturally and gives a euphoric feeling.

Safety Tips:

  • Always consult a healthcare professional before trying an ice bath, especially if you have underlying health conditions.
  • Avoid submerging your head if you are new. This can increase the risk of hyperventilation or shock.
  • Listen to your body. If it’s too much, get out.

Final Thoughts

While not everyone’s cup of tea (or bath of ice!), a summertime ice bath can be a therapeutic experience. Not only does it offer physical benefits, but the mental triumph over the initial shock of the cold can be empowering. So next time the summer heat feels unbearable, try this chilly remedy! At the end of the day, it might even be more refreshing than ice cream.

The Ice Brick

Long-lasting cubes for your ice bath