cedar hot tub slats

Behind the Scenes: Designing the Wood Burning Hot Tub

Posted by Courtney Dionne on

Deep thought and intention goes into everything we design at GOODLAND. We believe in creating objects to be the best they can be, merging functionality with beauty to create timeless, long-lasting pieces.

For the Wood Burning Hot Tub, our design team went through a huge amount of research and testing to create the best wood fired hot tub we could dream up. We designed it to be made from enduring materials, to heat up in just around 90 minutes, to be intuitive and simple to use, and more. 

We wanted to share a bit of a behind-the-scenes look at the design process, shedding light on some of the design choices our team made. These are the things that you might not immediately notice, but subtly make your soaking experience that much better.

wood burning hot tub and tray

Comfortable Seats


Soaking in a wood burning hot tub is intended to be restorative and truly relaxing—and seating is a big part of the experience. A lot of round-style wood-burning hot tubs offer bench-style seating, which can sometimes be uncomfortable and a bit awkward—a bit like sitting upright in a dining chair. We wanted create seating that would be ergonomic, and something you could really lounge in. 

The design team at GOODLAND used the seating as an opportunity to add in even more relaxation and comfort, while also staying functional.

Our Solution

We carefully designed our lounge-inspired seating to be ergonomic and comfortable. The seats have a curved backrest for lumbar support, and we also made them wide enough to stretch out, sit sideways, and ultimately soak more comfortably. They’re designed to work for any body type, and being able to lounge back allows for better circulation as you soak.

We also chose to use western red cedar, a much softer material than traditional molded fiberglass seats. Our hand-sanded cedar seat slats have softened edges, making them the most comfortable and natural feeling surface to support your body. They’re designed to work easily for a range of body types from XS to XXL. Plus, cedar infuses the air with a fresh yet warm scent, allowing for an even more immersive soaking experience.

The seats are secured in place with custom seat pins that allow you to easily remove the seats to better transport the hot tub, and to clean or replace as needed.

hot tub paddle from red cedar
cedar hot tub seats

A Safe Submerged Stove


Creating the stove for the Wood Burning Hot Tub was a true design challenge. We chose to go with a submerged stove instead of an external stove—a more challenging (but rewarding) design choice. The submerged stove helps the water heat more efficiently, allows the tub to perform better in cold conditions, and streamlines the design. 

What’s more, figuring out the size of the stove was an exercise in finding the right balance. On one hand, the stove needed to be as big as possible to heat the water faster. But, it also needed to be small enough where the water could circulate around it, while also leaving maximum room for seating. Our design team worked to determine how much space there should be around the stove, its placement, its size, and much more. 

We also wanted to ensure that the stove was as fire-safe as possible, creating a submerged stove where the fire could be easily contained and controlled.

Our Solution

The stove in the Wood Burning Hot Tub is made out of marine-grade aluminum and submerged in water. While we did want the stove to be as large as possible for faster heating, we also wanted to ensure there was enough space around it. That way, it’s be easier to remove debris or anything stuck in the area (although if you’re concerned about debris and leaves falling into the tub, the Rigid End Cover is the perfect solution). 

The team ended up creating a submerged stove that isn’t permanently secured to the body of the hot tub, allowing for water to easily circulate around the rest of it. This design decision also allowed for the stove to be reversible and replaceable, which comes in handy so you can orient the stove to feed wood into whichever side is best, depending on your property.

We also found a way to have the stove lock into place, so it wouldn’t float when the Wood Burning Hot Tub is filled up with water. We went so far as to design our own custom hand screws to perfectly help the stove stay firmly in position. 

wood stove hot tub

Insulated & Leak-Proof


Prioritizing insulation was important to help with heat retention. Insulation helps decrease how long it takes to heat up the Wood Burning Hot Tub, and also helps keep the water hot once it’s heated up. Importantly, we also needed to the tub to be totally leak-proof—helping to prevent any potential issues. 

Our Solution

We specifically chose to use marine grade aluminum for the body of the tub, and we’ve double-welded the aluminum seams to prevent any leaks. We love marine grade aluminum for its strength, workability, and resistance to corrosion—it’s an ultra durable material, fitting our brief for making an entirely leak-proof hot tub. 

To keep the tub not only leak-proof but insulated, our red cedar exterior helps as it’s already an insulating wood. And, we added in a layer of reflective insulation to slow down heat loss even more. 

We also slightly raised the tub above ground to further help with insulating the tub—the gap of air between the tub and the ground helps to provide some insulation from the ground itself. For even more insulation, this also serves as extra space for adding rigid foam as a DIY to insulate even further.

2 person hot tub
wood fired hot tub with cedar

Easier Transportation


Making sure that the Wood Burning Hot Tub was genuinely moveable was key in the design process. It was important for it to be easily transportable, instead of having it delivered in one location and essentially stuck there. 

We know that not every location is easy to access by car. Maybe it’s the hillside of the Blue Ridge Mountains or in the middle of the desert in California—there’s plenty of spots where delivering a hot tub can be a challenging task. Allowing it to be moveable means that the hot tub can be easily transported to places where a car just won’t reach. This also opens up the ability to have an off grid hot tub—with only access to water required. 

Having the Wood Burning Hot Tub be moveable also helps for people looking to switch locations seasonally. It might make sense to have the hot tub closer to the house for ease of access in the winter, but in the summer it could be best to have it further out into nature. A portable design opens up this possibility. Also, as life shifts and evolves, a portable Wood Burning Hot Tub means that you can invest in something that can come with you if and when you move.


Our Solution

The Wood Burning Hot Tub can be moved or repositioned by two people. You can also make it even easier to carry by removing the cedar siding—making the hot tub just 125 lbs. Since it also doesn’t require any plumbing or electrical set up, having a moveable tub helps you put it in just the right spot. 

When designing the Wood Burning Hot Tub, we wanted to make sure that pieces were removable for easy transporting. Besides this benefit, having removable components makes it easier to replace them if anything is somehow damaged or needs maintenance. While proper use of the Wood Burning Hot Tub shouldn’t result in any issues, this at least ensures that if a problem comes up, it’s at least possible to replace one component without having to replace the entire tub. 

Besides the cedar exterior and seating, the stove and chimney are also removable.

wood fired hot tub design

A Few Other Considerations

Besides the design decisions above, there are plenty of other considerations and choices that our team made. Here are a few more for the design curious:

  • The paddle is milled out of the same western red cedar as the hot tub, giving it a seamless aesthetic
  • The dimensions of the hot tub take into account the size of shipping pallets, and also standard garden gate and doorways to simplify transportation and setup
  • After reviewing the first production sample, the interior of the tub was redesigned  to make the floor slope and optimize the drain hole for better drainage
  • There are several options for you to choose where you want the drain kit to exit, based on what’s best for your setup


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