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Over the past couple of months, I’ve been dipping my toes in the cold plunge craze. Unsure if it was something I would stick to, I’ve been primarily experimenting with entry-level portable ice baths. And while they’ve been great, they have one serious drawback–the necessity to constantly add ice. So when I saw that Ice Barrel was releasing a redesigned insulated cold plunge, I was intrigued. Initially purchased as a pre-order, the wait seemed long, but I can tell you upfront, that the Ice Barrel 300 was worth the wait.
A Quick Overview Of The Ice Barrel 300
The all-new Ice Barrel 300 is not to be confused with the original, cleverly designed Ice Barrel 400. You know, the one that looks like you’re basking in a barrel of fine Kentucky Bourbon. No, enchanting as it may be, Ice Barrel has gone in a different direction with this new model, and in my opinion, all for the better.
The Ice Barrel 300’s design is now more reminiscent of the ultra-accessible portable ice tubs I’ve become accustomed to. Measuring 35.5″ tall by 30.5″ wide and holding up to 77 gallons (292 liters) of water, the 300 is more stout than its predecessor, making it infinitely easier to get in and out of. No longer do you need to brace your arms along the edges as you slowly lower yourself into the icy confines of the tall, upright barrel.
The Perfect OUTDOOR Cold Plunge
Like before, the Ice Barrel 300 is still produced right here in the USA of recycled plastic materials. However, unlike the original barrel, the 300 is fully insulated with polyurethane foam. That includes the tub AND the lid, making it one of the best cold plunge options for outdoor use.
Contrary to questionable recommendations by The Spruce, which declared the 300 the best indoor plunge, the insulated 300 is meant for hotter climates. Trust me, from personal experience, if your plunge is outdoors without proper insulation, the cost of constantly adding ice will eventually bankrupt you, or at least seem like it.
Also, to make things even better, the Ice Barrel 300 now comes water chiller ready right from the factory. That’s right, not only does it retain the outlet drain plug, but an additional plug has been added to serve as an inlet line. So whether you go the DIY water chiller route or purchase an all-in-one unit, the option to easily add one is there.
- Great for people who want a dedicated cold plunge
- Superior insulation that maintains cold temperatures for much longer
- Smaller dimensions make it easier to enter and exit, especially for shorter individuals
- Dedicated seat and armrests to enhance your experience
- Can be cost-prohibitive at $1200
- The filled weight is around 700 lbs. Plan accordingly!
- Chiller not included
Is The Ice Barrel 300 Worth The Price?
When you consider the price of Joe Rogan’s preferred cold plunge or even the Shark Tank famous The Plunge, the Ice Barrel 300 is a bargain. That said, I’m not too jaded to say that $1200 isn’t a lot of money–because it is. Particularly for a glorified plastic tub.
I can’t do anything about the price, but I can compare the Ice Barrel 300 to what else is out there. As far as I can tell, there’s nothing that comes close. Tru Grit and others offer an inflatable tub for around $1000. Although they work well, long-term durability is questionable.
Other folks have resorted to DIY chest freezer conversions. It’s an innovative approach, but not ideal for a lot of obvious reasons.
For someone like me who has already gone the portable ice bath route, and decided I love plunging, the Ice Barrel 300 is a logical purchase.
Ice Barrel 300 vs 400 Specs
|Ice Barrel Model
|Ice Barrel 300
|Ice Barrel 400
|30.5″ H x 35.5″ W
|42″ H x 31″ W
|Lid, UV-protective cover
|Lid, stand, stool, UV-protective cover
Related: The Ice Barrel 500 Review
Hands-On Experience With The Ice Barrel
If you’re someone who likes unboxing big presents, the Ice Barrel 300 won’t disappoint. The shipping box is enormous, requiring the FedEx driver to use a dolly to offload it to my front porch.
Once you get past the packaging, the 300 is still really quite impressive. Its simplistic design is understated, yet, dare I say elegant? Yes, I’m romanticizing the looks of a black barrel. But in all seriousness, the Ice Barrel 300 is something that, to me, actually adds to the aesthetic of my backyard deck. It’s modern and attractive enough to gauge curiosity and not be considered an eyesore.
Looks aside, the physical footprint is relatively small. With a 35.5″ circumference, the Ice Barrel 300 fits almost anywhere when space is limited.
Will The Ice Barrel Fit Through A Standard Door?
A word of caution, if you’re concerned about the Ice Barrel fitting through doors, read this.
A standard front door in the U.S. is 3 feet wide (36″). The only way it will fit is if you lay it on its side. For me, although it went through the front door okay, it did not fit through my back door which is 32″ wide. To get it to my back deck, I had to lug it around the outside of the house. Just keep that in mind when it comes to your own circumstances.
Also, on that same note, when the Ice Barrel is full of water, it weighs about 700 lbs. That not only makes it a semi-permanent structure when filled but it also requires a solid footing underneath as well.
My First Cold Plunge
After positioning the barrel exactly where I wanted it, I then used the garden hose to get it filled up with the 77 gallons of water it required. To keep the water as clean and sanitary as possible, for as long as possible, I recommend using an RV filter on every fill-up. If you’re using it for the first time, let the water run through the filter for a minute or two before filling the tub to flush out the carbon particulates that are common to most filters.
If you don’t have a chiller to hook up, you will need about 60 or more pounds of ice for your first plunge. Well, I should say I needed that much ice. The water out of the hose was about 85 degrees, so it took quite a bit to drop the temps. It goes without saying, that the more ice you add, the colder the water temperature will be.
On my first plunge, the water was about 59 degrees F and it felt–incredible! Exhilaratingly cold, yet comfortable enough to stay in for 10 minutes.
How Long Does The Ice Barrel 300 Stay Cold?
Assuming you’re not using a water chiller, you might be wondering how long the water will stay cold and how often you’ll need to add more ice. That’s a valid concern because manually adding ice is tedious and expensive.
To give you an idea of how well-insulated the Ice Barrel 300 is, here’s a scenario:
I first checked the water temperature at 10 AM. The thermometer read about 55 degrees Fahrenheit. With the water chiller and pump turned off, I rechecked the temperature 28 hours later. At that point, the water was about 61 degrees.
That’s 28 hours of water sitting in 80-degree ambient heat. In my opinion, that’s pretty good.
Ergonomics and Design
I’m 5’10”, which is average height. For me, sitting in the Ice Barrel 300 is a non-issue. In fact, it felt super roomy inside. Enough that I could slide back and submerge my head without a hitch. Ice Barrel claims there’s room for someone up to 6’2″, but I think that’s being conservative. No matter what, you still have to bend your knees inside, but not so much that you feel cramped.
One neat little feature is the addition of the “seat” and armrests. There’s a small elevated ridge inside that’s about 3″ high. Sitting on it brings your body into a more upright position and allows your legs to come down ever so slightly. Also, coincidentally or by design, the indents of the exterior handles are placed just perfectly to rest your arms on. It will give you major lounge chair vibes while staying frosty.
Overall, I find the new Ice Barrel’s design to be excellent. It’s not too tall to make it difficult to get out of, the seating is comfortable, and the material quality is top-notch. I’m grateful to know it’s backed by a lifetime warranty, but honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever need to use it.
Adding LED Lights To The Ice Barrel
This is totally unnecessary, but I decided to buy some waterproof rechargeable LED lights and place them on the inside lining of the Ice Barrel. It’s an easy “modification” that really ups the aesthetic, especially at night. They’re not too expensive and can be found on Amazon.
How To: Add An Ice Barrel Water Chiller
As mentioned earlier, adding a chiller to the Ice Barrel 300 is incredibly simple. There are a lot of different options available, but if you want to save yourself some money, here’s our tutorial:
Ice Barrel offers a pretty standard 30-day return policy. Unfortunately, a 30% return and restocking fee will apply. That doesn’t really surprise me considering the Ice Barrel’s shipping weight is around 90lbs. They have to recoup some costs somehow.
Accesories on the other hand are not eligible for returns without prior approval. You will need to email email@example.com
Again, the Ice Barrel is covered by a limited lifetime warranty. Be sure to read the fine print because there are a number of stipulations. Pretty standard stuff, but it’s worth a read before plunking down $1200 dollars.
Any questions or concerns can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Since the Ice Barrel 300 is just now shipping, as of this writing, reviews are non-existent. However, I would like to point out the many positive reviews of the original Ice Barrel.
The majority of people have been very pleased with it. The two most common complaints I’ve seen are 1.) It’s too tall to get into, and 2.) It doesn’t have any insulation so ice melts quickly.
Thankfully, the 300 addresses both of those issues. Therefore, I think other people will agree with me when I say I love it so far.
Final Verdict Of The Ice Barrel 300
Listen, I understand there are innumerable different ways to cold plunge. Heck, jump in a cold lake if you can.
Subjectively, for me, this new Ice Barrel is a nice upgrade over something like the Spartan Barrel.
If you’re familiar with the Ice Barrel already and you’ve held off buying the first model, good for you because this is the one to get. I think it checks all the right boxes and adds in all the missing features you likely wished for.
Ice Barrel FAQs
Why Trust Recovatech?
Dr. Ben was an early adopter of the Ice Barrel 300 and has extensive knowledge and daily hands-on experience using it. This comprehensive review is based on his findings. This is not a sponsored post and he was not directly compensated for it. All thoughts and opinions on the Ice Barrel 300 are his own.
Editor-In-Chief at Recovatech. Dr. Ben is a board-certified Doctor of Chiropractic with over 10 years of clinical experience. He specializes in structural and neurological imbalances with an emphasis on functional movement patterns, exercise performance, and muscle recovery. He has been the team chiropractor for professional baseball and soccer organizations, as well as collegiate athletes. In his personal life, he’s always been driven when it comes to athletics and personal performance.