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How to go glamping: Lighting a wood-fired hot tub

Hot tubs need a bit of time and care before you’re steaming under the stars. Always look for instructions from the owner on the specific type at the space, but here are a few tips to get your hot tub technique up to a simmer before you arrive.

Step by step

  1. Plan ahead. Check with the owner how long the hot tub takes to heat up. This will stop you wasting wood, time and energy – as well as prevent the disaster of you being out for dinner when it’s ready.

  2. Carefully select your chosen kindling, making sure it’s in small-ish logs that will fit, also ensuring you have plenty to hand and don’t run out mid warm-up.

  3. Clean out the burner if it’s not already done, you can use a brush or small shovel for this.

  4. Place firelighters and small soft wood pieces in a small pyramid in the centre of the burner, using a match to carefully light the firelighter.

  5. Add small pieces of wood at a controlled pace, keeping a pyramid structure that allows air to the fire’s centre (it needs oxygen to keep burning). Let the heat build-up enough for larger logs.

  6. Now add slightly larger logs on the fire, making sure you close the burner door after placing the wood on the flames. Make sure the vents on the door are open (it still needs that oxygen).

  7. Keep checking the fire every 5-10 minutes, adding logs to keep the fire blazing.

  8. During the heating process, take the top of the hot tub off and use the provided paddle to stir the water, as all hot water rises to the top.

  9. Once the water reaches 35°C - 37°C, it is ready to get in. Place a log on the fire so it heats up a little more while you enjoy the relaxing tub. You don’t want the fire to die, but you also don’t want the water to get too hot, so use your judgement to keep it warm.

  10. Switch your phone to silent, tentatively dip a few toes in, and take the plunge. You may well not even notice it get dark.

Our top tips

  • It usually takes 3-4 hours to heat the water up to the correct temperature, which is around 38°C.

  • Keep checking the fire. If you leave it and disappear for a few hours, the fire will die, and you’ll be left staring at a giant water pail.

  • Keep the lid on the hot tub – you have saucepans at home, right? Same idea.

  • Stir the water at regular intervals or you’ll get a shock when you step down into the cold depths.