Freeze Tub

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Let’s Look Under The Hood Of A Freeze Tub.

construction of an ice bath

Often with things we buy, we tend to do a little research on the quality of the product, how they are constructed, or the materials and processes that go into making them.

All in all, this generally could impact a buying decision. Mostly, because we want our new item to last, and feel we got good value, right?

Your Ice Bath purchase is no different, so let’s explore the construction of a portable ice bath and what you should be looking for (and not looking for) before you buy one.

What’s The Foundation Like?

First, ensuring the company you’re buying an ice bath from is credible makes sense. You don’t want it to stop trading or close down. We know it’s not a ‘big ticket item’ but generally, the companies that have been around a long time, tend to care more about their brand and have quality control measures in place so their products last.

Also, can you make a phone call to the company, do they ship locally and have their stock in NZ and not drop shipping from an unknown location? A lot of larger companies often use sub-domains to say they are from a country when in fact, they operate off shore. This can be problematic if you need to return, have a repair that’s required or want to discuss an issue.

We’ve all felt frustrated at some point with a purchase only to get fed through to shoddy customer service and slow email responses but with a local address, it’s a little harder to ignore.

Check out if they have active social media pages also, do they appear like an expert in their field offering 3rd party endorsements showcasing the benefits of ice baths?

Are they registered as a business in New Zealand?

Having a registered business indicates potentially that they are earning enough to pay GST, so it’s more than likely they are doing well and are a trusted brand.

What Does the Construction of the Ice Bath Tell You?

Looking at the price of a product generally guides you into believing the product is more than likely made of good quality materials. But there are always exceptions to the rule that we’ve all fallen for in the past with our purchasing and as frustrating as it is, it’s just what happens at times.

In the world of Ice Baths. A good quality product will cost you more, the materials are stronger more durable, there will be improved thermal qualities, better stitching and the peace of mind and the benefits you will receive will be greater.

You will see when you shop around. there are good quality brands and then there are the Temu, or K-Mart-like brands. There will be an AI image of an attractive-looking person being photoshopped into an ice bath that looks like it’s filled with plastic ice, or foam, and is a good indicator your product might not last all that well – they are the cheapest of cheap.

The Construction Of The Freeze Tub Portable Ice Bath

A portable ice bath is made from either 2, 3 or 5 layers of thermal materials. If you want to go next level your cold plunging or you live in a warmer climate, you may want to invest in a chiller that keeps your water cooler 24/7.

If you’re relatively new to cold water therapy and want to test the waters first, so to speak, then a portable ice bath might be better suited.

I’ve had a lot of experience with plunging in cold water living in Canada for 8 years, their winters are pretty cold but in New Zealand here and I still plunge several times a week.

I still use the non-chiller ice baths, the portables are easy and serve me well.

The insulation of a Freeze Tub is made from 5 layers. Each layer serves a purpose in the construction phase.

Pearl Cotton

This stuff is like wrapping yourself up in a cozy warm blanket, the thermostatic properties of pearl cotton help regulate the temperature and keep your ice bath cooler for longer than thinner tubs. Freeze Tub have the thickest ice bath on the market in NZ.

We tested a 3-layer ice bath and 2 types of 5-layer tubs. First was the regular 3mm material and the 10mm material freeze tub use.

We added just hose water and 6 trays of ice using the freeze tub silicon ice trays. Each tray is equivalent to 1.3kg of ice.

We put on 2 x thermal lids on each ice bath, because it was a little warmer than we had expected, and the all-weather cover.

The results of the testing are below. The time was 2pm and the outside temperature was 19°C. We filled up the ice baths with hose water.

Ice Bath Temperature Test

TimeIce Bath 3 Layer Ice Bath 5 layer 3mm Freeze Tub 5 layer 10mm
0 min17°C17°C17°C
15 min16°C16°C16C
30 min16°C15.5°C14.5°C
45 min16.5C15°C13°C
60 min17°C15°C12°C
70 min17°C15.5°C12.5°C
80 min18°C16°C13°C
90 min18°C(leaking)13°C

The Ice Bath Temperature Test Results

Unfortunately, our 5 layer 3mm ice bath started leaking so we lost a lot of water. We’re not sure why, but it was down one of the support legs. It was one of the cheaper $130 option as we didn’t want to spend a lot to be honest with you, but we thought it might last a little longer than one try.

The results were quite good but we weren’t surprised as we had done the test with only 2 tubs several years ago, however we wanted to see if anything had changed given our upgraded material and thicker insulation, and it did.

The temperature held well with Freeze Tub 10mm insulated surround lowering a total of 4°C with 4kg ice. So what we have learnt is there is a little thinking ahead to be done. If you want to cold, the optimal time to plunge is 45 to 60 mins after placing in ice.

Then again, if you use a lot of ice, you would potentially want to get in a little earlier so your surrounded by ice and water for maximum effect.

Ice Bath Stitching and Support

With every ice bath tub, there is a series of stitching (cross stitching) that overlaps the tub materials to increase the stability of the ice bath when it’s filled with water. This patterned kit enables the tub to flex but not rip.

pattern stitching

Once this supportive weave is stitched into the 5 layers it’s bound together with other PVC plastics to again, strengthen the areas where the support legs slide into.

Remember, when ths ice bath is filled with water it’s over 400kg in weight. Then you need to factor in a human body dropping in and pulling themselves out again.

Half way down the tub you’ll see more support stitching and an area where it narrows slightly. This secures the legs at the half way mark so they don’t bend under the pressure. This is designed so the legs don’t slip and stay firm in the leg pockets.

stitching at the half way mark with ice bath legs

Air Valves

The air valves are very simple to work but it does catch people out every so often. There is an air-lock plug that prevents air from leaving the valve when you’re blowing it up. You need to first off put that into the base plug, then insert the pump.

Once you’ve inflated the rim, being mindful not to overinflate because the heat of the sun can at times add some additional inflation, you take the pump out and the air-lock valves prevent any air loss the inflatable rim.

Then you squeeze the final top of the plug on and if you like, you can thumb it down so it’s flush on the rim of the ice bath.

Thermal Lids and Covers

The thermal lid and all weather cover are additonal options for the portable ice bath. It’s worthwhile getting these lids as they keep the water cooler and the leaves and swirling dirt and dust from collecting in your tub.

Trust us, you think you won’t need them until you feel like you’re plunging in a ice bath with leaves and you’ll be buying a all weather cover in no time.

Final Word

Do your homework. Most cheap products are cheap for a reason. If you’re not sure if you want to ice bath on a consistent basis (we’re not sure why you wouldn’t however) you may want to start off with a cheap tub, but have the expectation it may not last.

But bear in mind, during our testing we tried 2 cheap tubs and one started leaking during our first test. It was a shame because we hadn’t finished our temperature testing but we just had to go with what we had.

So it may be worthwhile to invest a little more, get something that is strong and durable and will last the distance – you never know, you might just fall in love in the benefits that ice baths give you.


  • Dale Folland

    Dale is a seasoned Nutritionist with over two decades of experience in the health and wellness industry. His expertise has been sought after by elite groups such as NZ SAS Soldiers and NZ Fire Service, where he has contributed to optimising their performance and well-being. Dale is also a renowned speaker and educator and his work has been recognised in publications like the Daily Mail and various US media outlets.

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  • Neil Maidment D.O (Hons)

    Editor: Graduating from the prestigious European School of Osteopathy with a B.Sc (Hons) Degree and Diploma in Osteopathy in 2007. Neil has a passion for helping others improve their sporting performance, decrease their pain and recover faster. Neil practices Osteopathy out of Southern France, is an avid podcaster on Health and publicly speaks Internationally on health and wellness.

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