How to keep ice bath cold in summer

With the popularity of ice baths and the weather getting warmer, many of us are scratching our heads asking the question of how to keep ice bath cold in summer? The easy answer is of course to dump a bunch of shop-bought bags of ice in there but in this post, we’re going to discuss more cost-effective ways to keep your ice bath cold in the summer and warmer climates.

Ice baths have been getting increasingly popular due to cold water therapy’s incredible benefits. From increased energy and focus to mental and physical resilience training, and proven physical recovery, it is no wonder ice baths have been a popular topic.

What are ice baths?

An ice bath is a practice that involves submerging a substantial part of the human body in a bath or plunge-type structure in cold or icy water for a specific duration. It is also known as cold water therapy.

For most people to maximise the benefits of an ice bath, you should aim for 11 minutes a week total, this can be split between multiple sessions. By hitting 11 minutes a week you will increase your stores of brown fat which boosts core body metabolism.

Generally for cold water therapy the ideal temperature is between 10-15°(around 50-60 Fahrenheit). The common recommendation duration for an ice bath is to never exceed the number of degrees in minutes. For example, don’t exceed 10 minutes in a 10°C ice bath.

How to keep ice bath cold in summer?

There are quite a few ways we can keep our ice bath colder during summer or when living in warmer climates. The following will go over some of the obvious and not so obvious approaches to keep your cold water therapy practices effective this summer.

Buy more ice

This is an obvious answer but is certainly not the most cost or time effective. Constant trips to the shops to buy ice and keep refilling the freezer can quickly become tiresome after the 3rd trip in a week, not to mention the cost rapidly adds up. Each 2kg bag of ice is around £1, so for 10kg of ice, you’re looking at around £5 worth of ice per ice bath.

Make your own ice

Making your own ice is a cost effective way to keep your ice bath cold. Although getting your perfect system in place may take some experimenting and a little bit of effort, once you’ve got it down properly you’ll be glad you did it.

There are so many effective ways to make your own reusable ice that I’ve written a whole separate post on it. But to summarise you can;

  • Freeze large water bottles: This approach is good to cool water over a longer period of time and doesn’t require loads of trips to the freezer.
  • Freeze water bottles multipack: Use a multipack of 24 or more. This approach has more surface area, therefore, cooling the water quicker.
  • Use DIY Ice trays: Use this ice tray hack to create many ice blocks yourself
  • Ice packs: This approach may not be cost effective due to the number of ice packs you’d need.
  • Disposable ice cube bags: These are a cheap way to create hundreds of ice cubes, but the reusability of the same bags is questionable due to leak concerns.

How much ice you need will depend on your desired temperature, ambient temperature, and the capacity of your ice bath. Generally for cold water therapy the ideal temperature is between 10-15°(around 50-60 Fahrenheit). Depending on the ambient temperature and water capacity you may need around 7-15kg of ice.

If this amount of ice is too much to fit in your existing freezer, then consider buying a small freezer dedicated for your ice. An added benefit of your ice being separate from your usual freezer is that your dedicated ice bath freezer will have a more consistent temperature with it being opened less.

Move your ice bath

Look at the location of your ice bath currently, is it situated in the most effective place it can be to maintain a cold temperature? The following questions should be asked.

  • Is your ice bath outdoors?
  • Can it be moved indoors?
  • If it must be outdoors, can it be moved to a shaded area?
  • If it can go indoors, where is the coolest most suitable part?

The location of your ice bath in your home can make a big difference to the default temperature that it’ll sit at. If the ice bath must be outdoors then we must look to place it in the coolest part of the garden where there is shade, remember to consider drainage and the ability to refill the ice bath from a suitable water source.

If the ice bath can go indoors, we must look at the most suitable place considering drainage, suitable water source, and temperature. Water spillage is likely whilst getting in and out of the ice bath, so perhaps consider things like the level of water resistance with flooring and safety risks.

The ideal solution

The most ideal solution is to have an ice bath with an associated chiller unit that will allow you to set the desired temperature, this removes the necessity for ice and is ideal for those that want to experience cold water therapy in warmer climates.

The biggest issue is that ice bath specific chiller units are not cheap and can cost around £4000 in the UK, all the way up to £9000 if you want a high-end luxury model.

Luckily, there is a much cheaper way to achieve the same thing but it requires some DIY. A great alternative if you have the means is to create your own DIY chest freezer ice bath, this would allow you to control the temperature without ice at a fraction of the cost of the professional ice baths.

Often times you can pick up good second hand chest freezers for cheap and with a bit of effort you’ll have a perfect ice bath that’ll be effective no matter the temperature outside! Some important considerations with this approach are the amount of space it’ll take up, drainage areas, and also an electrical source.






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