We all agree that cold plunges are basically the healthiest thing that you can do on the planet. If not, I’m not sure why you’re here. It’s imperative that everyone cold plunges at least 20-30X/week for a minimum of one hour each time. You should go out and spend at least $12-15k on your own cold plunge. You should definitely not use one at a health club (or your neighbors).
Joking aside, about a year ago, I had the opportunity to participate in a wellness event where I tried cold plunges. To my surprise, they paired it with a sauna for a contrast therapy session, and the experience was amazing. I felt a surge of energy, a natural “feel-good” high that lasted for hours, and it even helped alleviate my soreness and inflammation from intense BJJ training. Considering my aversion to cold water, this was quite a revelation—I actually found myself wanting to dive back in and experience it again!
After that, I made up my mind to purchase a cold plunge for myself. However, after a quick Google Search, I made up my mind that I would NOT be purchasing a cold plunge. I was blown away at what people were charging. Determined to find an alternative, I reached out to contractor friends, a plumber, and even a friend who uses a chiller in his bath. Through these conversations, I discovered that the key factors for a good cold plunge are its size (big enough for comfortable use), temperature (cold enough to have the desired effects), and cleanliness. It was go time!
My Cold Plunge
I wanted to take an easy and cheap route. I saw people had built them using a freezer, so this was the route I took. Here’s how I did it.
1 – Buy a Freezer
The freezer I used was 14.8 cu. ft. and it actually was a little bigger than I need. I am 6’5″ and 230 lbs. so you can probably use a smaller one. Also, American Freight sells stuff much cheaper than a lot of other big box stores. You can also find plenty of freezers elsewhere. NOTE- Make sure to get an “Outdoor” freezer if you intend to keep it outside. Also make sure that you get a freezer with a drain in the bottom or you will be emptying it by hand.
Link Here: Chest Freezer
2- “Weld” the Seams
There are a ton of products out there that say they are water proof. Hell, one even claims you can use a screen door for a boat bottom (eye roll). BUT, the ONLY product I would use is JB Water Weld. This is a simple product to use. USE GLOVES as it will take your skin off as I learned. I would only mix a little at a time because it does dry and then it won’t stick. Make sure to really mix it together. After you have welded all seams, make sure to give the JB time to cure. I let it sit overnight and filled it the next day. It was perfect.
3- Temperature Control
The next morning I wake up FIRED UP! I go outside and it wasn’t really THAT cold. So I went to my kitchen and got a thermometer to see the exact temp. I test it… 53 degrees. Dang. Not what I had in mind. BUT I went ahead and jumped in anyway and actually felt pretty great afterward. I had to go out of town that day for the night and would be back the next evening.
The next day was the 3rd day that my cold plunge has been chilling my water. I hurry out there, it’s an unreasonably warm September morning. I’m all fired up to test myself until I open the lid. IT’S Frozen… nearly solid. Crap. I get my thermometer again… 36 degrees. NOPE. So I dump a lot out, fill it with more hose water and get it to 45. My first real cold plunge and boy did it burn, in a good way. Now I needed a solution for controlling the temp. I did a lot of research, but most all solutions were based on time. Basically, the timer would cut the freezer on and off every hour or whenever you set it. I know that cutting something on and off a ton isn’t usually good for it, so I wanted something else. And then I found the Inkbird Temp Controlled power switch… WHAT? Perfect.
Now I’m hitting Ice baths like Wim Hof each morning. After about a week or so, I notice there’s a little slime starting to form. I grew up with a pool, so I knew what was gong on, but couldn’t believe it happened so quickly. I ordered some chlorine off the interwebs and tossed in in there. Problem solved. However, the next morning, I popped open the top, and, BOOM, I was thrashed with the harsh smell. Also, after jumping in with my BRAND NEW swimsuit on, I noticed it had discolored it a little. Maybe I put too much. But I also didn’t want to deal with that. I knew that they make MASSIVE fish tanks and so I started researching again. That’s when I settled on a charcoal filter and a black light. Both below. I don’t know if the black light is doing anything, but it looks cool at night.
My current set up detailed above has been rocking now for about 9 months (freezer and temp gauge for over a year) and I’ve had zero problem. I haven changed the water since I put the filter in late Spring ’23. Im sitting at under $1,000 total as well. I could basically by a brand new on every year and never spend as much as I would on one of these super expensive ones.
For aesthetics, I also bought a nice wooded bath mat and will eventually get around to putting some siding on it and decorating it to match the back deck.
For more context, you can also look at my story highlight on Instagram HERE.