Insider's Tips on How to Keep Your Ice Bath Cold in Summer

Insider's Tips on How to Keep Your Ice Bath Cold in Summer

How to Cool an Ice Bath in Summer Time

Summer's around the corner, you're addicted to cold water, and you're worried on how you will keep the water temperature low?

Then keep reading!

Yeah, using a chiller is certainly the most effective method. I'm assuming that you either don't have one or aren't ready to invest in one yet. So let's take a look at what you can do to keep the cold temperature for longer!

How to Keep Portable Ice Bath Cold

When it comes to keeping the water temps low, it boils down to a few key principles:

  • Placement
  • Water levels
  • Optimal temperature
  • Insulation
  • Ice

Choose the Right Location

Where you choose to place your ice bath will significantly impact its ability to stay cold. Specifically, there are three variables that you should be looking at:

  • Shade: I recommend positioning your tub in a shaded area to prevent sun from heating the water.

    Permanent shade is ideal, but even if it's only shaded during certain parts of the day, it will still help. Direct sunlight will melt the ice quicker, making it harder to maintain colder temps.

  • Wind: Try to choose a spot sheltered from the wind. Wind can accelerate the melting process by increasing the rate of heat transfer from the air to the water.
  • Surface: If possible, your ice bath on a cool surface, such as grass, and avoid hot surfaces like concrete or asphalt, which can transfer heat to the tub faster.

Minimize Water Levels

I strongly recommend to keep the water levels as low as possible. Sometimes I see people filling their tubs to the very top; the problem with this is that during summer months, you are making it increasingly harder to reach the ideal temperature for your cold water immersion.

It's simple: the more water you have, the more ice you need. By reducing the volume, you'll reach the desired cold temperature with less ice, which makes the whole process more efficient and cost-effective.

I normally fill the tub to the point where I can easily submerge myself up to the neck, and that's usually with much less water than what I used to use when I first started out.

Optimal Temperature

Another key point is your desired temperature. You don't actually need to water to be as cold as you think for effective cold water therapy!

If it's hot outside, then a temperature between 45 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit is more than enough to provide a significant contrast to your body temperature... so you don't really need to drop it down into the 30s! You will still get all the major benefits of ice baths.

The lower the temperature, the harder it'll not only to reach it, but also maintain it. So to simplify your ice bath routine, I'll say it's better to lower the bar a little bit during the summer months.

Cold Plunge Insulation

There are many ice baths out there with different insulations. Better insulations will be slightly more expensive, but they can certainly be worth it in summer.

On the other hand, you can consider wrapping your ice bath with some kind of insulation material, such as foil. It may not look great, but it's a practical solution and it'll lower the amount of ice needed.

Large Ice Molds and Bottles

I'm not trying to be Captain Obvious here, but unfortunately, you WILL need to use more ice during summer. Period.

If you're buying the ice and you're someone who enjoys doing frequent cold plunges, then the cost will unfortunately add up.

You can also consider buying large ice brick molds if you have a large freezer—these are great and will help you keep costs down for sure.

Alternatively, you can freeze large water or milk bottles. No, don't freeze the milk—drink it, and then fill it up with water.

After your cold plunge, put your molds or bottles back into the freezer and have them ready for the next day!


Keeping the water cold when the ambient temperature is high can be quite challenging—but not impossible!

Consider all the 5 major points we discussed above and you should be fine. Personally, I think that the two biggest takeaways are:

  • Water temperature—seriously, during summer a temperature of 45-55 degrees is enough to create a big contrast in your body's core temperature. This by itself will give you all the benefits... so don't think you need to get down to the 30s.
  • Molds: A couple of ice large ice molds may be all you need to bring the temperature down for an effective ice bath

And whenever you're ready, and provided that you DO take frequent plunges and LOVE them, then I seriously recommend for you to get a chiller. A 1/2 HP will be more than enough and I promise, it'll make all the difference.