Sweat Tent Review: A Hands-On Test of the Leading Portable Sauna Tent

As the portable sauna trend rises, our resident sauna expert shares a hot take on whether or not the Sweat Tent measures up to the real thing

Sweat Tent Review: A Hands-On Test of the Leading Portable Sauna Tent


Katherine Englishman


Katherine Englishman

Thanks to the recent proliferation of saunas and rediscovery of thermal bathing’s healing power, more people are looking for ways to simply sit and sweat, myself included. Building a home sauna kit completely changed the game for me, and before I realized it, my wellness routine had turned into a sort of ritual of reconnection and relaxation.

But here’s the thing about getting hooked on the sauna experience that no one tells you: after some time, you can’t help but want to sauna everywhere; in different locations and in different types of sauna. While some swear by the sauna blanket and infrared heat trend, for me, the sauna holy grail is heat bathing in nature where there is easy access to wild water for a dip in between sessions. portable sauna tents have emerged as a new, affordable subgenre allowing users to sauna wherever they please—while also offering a functional, portable alternative to permanent backyard saunas for those on a budget and or without ample space.

So I decided to test one of the most popular portable sauna tent, the Sweat Tent, billed as the ultimate outdoor sauna tent. Not surprisingly, my sauna brain had a crystal clear vision of testing the tent sauna here in Maine on a piece of lakefront property that has been in my family for decades. So that's exactly what I did.

In this article I will walk you through my experience testing the Sweat Tent, covering everything from delivery, assembly, and how to use it. This Sweat Tent review was conducted help of my husband and just a few basic tools.


Health Benefits and Why Buy a Sauna Tent?

Firstly, the health benefits of heat therapy are widely established. A traditional sauna heats up the body’s core temperature to increase blood circulation and heart rate, improving cardiovascular health, reducing muscle tension, and lowering blood pressure. All of which can inadvertently boost immunity and aid in body detoxification.

Like any good sweat, the perspiration acts as a deep cleanse for the skin, giving regular home spa and steam sauna users a healthy glow. It’s recommended to enjoy a few rounds of sauna therapy, with 10 minute breaks in between for water, cooling off, showering or even a cold plunge, before going back for another session.

The reason for buying a sauna tent specifically is to access all of the health benefits without having to shell out thousands of dollars and build a permanent outdoor sauna. The Sweat Tent is made with durable synthetic materials such as insulated ripstop oxford 210d nylon to trap heat and lightweight fiberglass poles for ease of portability. Designed to be temporary and transported, these pop up much like a camping tent or ice fishing tent would.

Portable sauna tents have become popular for their lower cost and low-impact, portable features that are ideal for renters or anyone who doesn’t own land, but wants to own a personal sauna.

A big draw and major selling point of tent saunas in general is the quick and easy setup. While my personal experience wasn't necessarily “easy,” after some practice I see how swift the setup and breakdown process can be. But there’s definitely a learning curve for first-timers. Read more about that below.


What’s Included With the Sweat Tent

The classic Sweat Tent costs $1,599 (it's also available in a larger size) and comes with the following:

  • Insulated pop up sauna tent and carrying case with handles
  • Stainless steel sauna stove
  • Sauna rocks and rock basket
  • Ergonomic fire poker and heat resistant gloves
  • Wood thermometer
  • Weatherproof roof cover
  • Instruction manual

This does not include the bucket and ladle, torch lighter, wooden bench, or sauna hat, which can all be purchased separately on their website along with some other sauna accessories.

Shipping and Delivery

The sauna is shipped in five boxes, so expect to receive several separate shipments each including 1-3 boxes. Unlike receiving a home sauna kit, you won’t need to schedule any deliveries or be there to sign for them.


Choosing the Right Location

Sweat Tent recommends setting up your sauna outdoors on a level surface like dirt, grass, concrete, tile, ice, or unvarnished wood area. As I mentioned, my chosen spot was on the shores of a lake with a sandy beach.

Since the sauna is heated by a wood burning stove, be aware of local burn bans and only set up your sauna tent where fires are allowed (consult your local fire department for local rules and regulations to be sure). If you’re setting it up in a public space like a beach or park, you may need to get a permit to make a fire. This can be tricky, but it can also be quick! In coastal Maine, where I live, some local beaches approve these permits within a day. Oceanfront sauna sounds pretty sweet, huh?

I’d also suggest choosing a location that’s relatively private and secluded. If you’re going to a public outdoor place, do any initial assembly and building of parts beforehand to avoid attracting unwanted attention and to help the sauna set up and use go smoothly.



Seasoning the Sauna Stove

Sweat Tent’s stainless steel portable wood burning stove is a tiny but mighty detail that I loved and really enjoyed using. The heat source for my personal sauna is an electric stove, so I was psyched to have some good wood fired heat out in nature. The stove itself comes fully assembled, you simply pop open the foldable legs, connect the chimney pieces together and then to the stove. The instructions explain that the sauna rock basket only takes some light assembly, which is totally true, and within five minutes I had the stove put together and ready.

Before you install the stove in the sauna tent, the small wood burning stove needs to be seasoned separately, which adds about an hour onto the initial setup. This is essentially a way of breaking it in so that any chemicals from the manufacturing process burn off outside the tent, rather than risk you inhaling them during a sauna, and allows all the pieces to heat up, cool off, and settle into place.

The Sweat Tent customer service team strongly recommends not to skip this step, which might be tempting because it’s a bit tedious and time consuming, but still easy to do. Add 2-3 small pieces of firewood and burn for 15 minutes, and repeat that process once more.

After initial seasoning, fill the whole stove with firewood and let it burn for about 30 minutes until the fire is completely out and stove is cool enough to handle. We took this time to assemble the rest of the sauna.

The stove sauna heater is too small to fit most cord firewood, so we used a hatchet to get it down to size. Keep that in mind and get everything you need before starting the fire or you’ll have to backtrack!


Sauna Tent Setup & Assembly

This part of the setup took the longest and caused the most confusion. While the tent is billed as being super easy to assemble within three minutes, that was not the case for my first try.

The pop up tent comes fully assembled and is described as only needing a good, strong pull to “pop” open. I’m still not sure if the tent was packed incorrectly or we made a mistake, but the tent seemed to be inside out because the handles you’re intended to pull on to open them up were on the inside, not the outside. The instructions and videos provided no extra help or detail, but after a good amount of time wrestling with the tent, and a few really forceful pulls (more than you’d think!), the walls finally popped out and into place. After that, there were no issues with the tent, but it was confusing and time consuming to say the least.

Once the sauna tent is up and in the right spot, the rest of the assembly is pretty straightforward, and all the instructions are clear and easy to follow. You need rocks, logs, or sandbags to place on the tent skirt to keep it in place, with optional stakes and rope for additional security on windy days.

A super cool feature are the panoramic windows with removable window panels that velcro on the exterior. You can opt to keep them on for privacy and insulation to prevent heat loss or open it up for a beautiful view. Because I had a lake and mountain view, I chose the latter.


Included Sauna Accessories

The set Sweat Tent sent me included the bench, bucket and ladle, which also required some minor assembly. Note that if you don’t order the bench, you will want to have your own seating, like a foldable chair or other camp furniture (note: avoid metal).

The cedar wooden sauna bench is basic but of nice quality, and even though the manual doesn’t say so, we found using a power drill sped up the assembly process and made sure it was very secure. All the parts were clearly labeled and the instructions were easy to follow. If you've put together IKEA furniture before, you'll be fine.


Using the Sweat Tent Sauna

Here’s the best part: getting to use the sauna! The stove heats up extremely fast, and in less than 30 minutes the tent had already reached 170 degrees F. Inside the tent, 170 didn’t feel that hot at first, but it was more of a slow burn, and the interior is small, so if you’re looking for a higher temperature, give it a little time and you’ll be cooking soon enough (Sweat Tent recommends 200 degrees F as the maximum temperature). Just make sure to keep a stack of firewood, the fire poker, and gloves nearby so you can adjust the heat without leaving the tent. The dry sauna never got too humid, even after tossing a few ladles on the heated rocks, but the heat was just right.

Sweat Tent Pros & Cons

The biggest perk of a Sweattent portable sauna tent is being able to sauna in a beautiful outdoors location. The Sweat Tent totally delivered on that front with its small stow size and panoramic windows. Once set up, the sauna experience was wonderful. The stove was easy to use and heated the tent quick.

As for the cons, hanging the thermometer was more confusing than videos showed, and I ended up looping some twine over the pole DIY style. Unfortunately, the Sweat Tent torch lighter didn’t work either, so I had to use my own. The provided bench sits a bit low to the ground and lacks a backrest, and I couldn't seem to stoke the small sauna heater much hotter than 170 F. Though those last two downsides could be chocked up to personal preference.


The biggest downside to my sauna experience with the Sweat Tent was definitely the setup, as described above. It wasn't a huge issue—after roughly 30 minutes all was fixed and my second and third setups went considerably smoother. All these small things were frustrating and added a lot of time to the process.

In the end, all of those annoying pressure points faded into the background when I was able to enjoy the sauna on a beautiful beach. Diving straight into the lake right after my sauna session was the cherry on top. This is truly the pinnacle of a sauna and cold plunge, so in the end none of those details took away from the overall experience.

Final Verdict:

Are all saunas created equal? No, certainly not, and I would not say that the Sweat Tent is on the same level as my permanent home sauna kit, but it is a relatively affordable option that offers users the opportunity to sauna in a range of locales without the time and monetary investment in building, electrical hookups, etc.

Technical difficulties aside, I was really impressed by the quality, the sleek aesthetic, and portability of Sweat Tent. If you're looking for a less expensive traditional sauna with all the health benefits, little to no building required, and one that gets you outside, I recommend the Sweat Tent.


Use code "FIELDMAG100" for $100 off your order

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