This blog has reported on spas in some very strange places – suspended from a bridge, on top of a mountain, built inside of a cave or sunk into a glacier.
But a hot air balloon hot tub? Where would a off-beat start-up launch such a creative endeavor? Where else but in California?
In Napa Valley, they take Hot Tubbing to the extreme with Hot Air Balloon rides – in an 8 person hot tub, heated to 105°!
Hot Air Hot Tubs is the brainchild of Sergei Enganar, who with partner Pablo Payoso, dreamed up the idea while taking tourists aloft over the scenic northern California vineyards.
As Sergei tells it, “Several people had commented to us during our first few years, how cold it is up in the balloon, and that we should install a hot tub” After a few months of tinkering in a garage with fitting a hot tub shell into a hot air balloon basket, they were ready for the first test flight.
“We lost about 50 gallons [of water] on that first flight” says Sergei. Pablo chimes in to explain that they learned to fill the tub only about 3/4 of the way full, to avoid water loss when the basket swayed.
Asked how the pumps and heater operated, I was surprised at their ingenuity. The circulation pump is powered by a car battery, “Our pumps we had made to be able to run on 12V” says Sergei. “We tried to do the same for the heater, but it wouldn’t heat the water hot enough – so, we switched to gas!” Pablo says with an excited look in his eye.
A splitter manifold delivers gas to a small burner beneath a heat exchanger located on the side of the basket. When asked about heating water at high altitudes, they both agreed that it’s much faster, but Sergei added, “we have to monitor the temperature constantly as we ascend and descend, to avoid over or under heating the water”.
Heating challenges aside, how about all of that extra water weight? “Yes, it’s very heavy, we had to install twin burners on this balloon, to add enough lift to counter balance the weight of an extra 1.5 tons of water”.
Hot Tub Rules? I asked. No alcohol. No babies. No splashing. Clothing Optional? I asked. “We request normal swim suit attire”, says Pablo, with a sly grin.
Interesting… Hot water at 5000 feet! Now, I’ve seen it all!
If you want to take a ride in the Hot Air Balloon Hot Tub, you might have to wait awhile – and if you believe this malarkey, you just fell for our April Fool’s Joke!
You can’t put a hot tub in a hot air balloon! 🙂
Ha-Ha Happy Hot Tubbin’!
Hot Tub Works