Lumi’s larger ice bath model is well made, simple to set up and packs down easily – ideal if you want your own portable ice pod.

Lumi Therapy’s Recovery Pod Max (buy now) is the UK fitness recovery company’s biggest fold-away ice bath. With a 420-litre capacity, it’s 100 litres bigger than the basic Recovery Pod. Above this there’s the Pro Barrel and the Pro Bath, which are rigid options that include chillers for keeping your water filtered and at a steady 3 degrees. Depending on your budget, these are all good options to use alongside stretching exercises to enhance recovery.

Men’s Fitness verdict

A great choice for a portable ice pod and impressively has enough room for users up to 6ft 7in. An insulating lid is ideal for back-to-back sessions.
  • Can be set up in minutes
  • Well insulated with lid
  • Room enough for users up to 6ft 7in / 2m
  • Attachable tube to let water out
  • Inflating with the foot pump is fiddly

Lumi Recovery Pod Max features

It’s insulated with five layers of TPE as opposed to the fibreglass of the rigid models. And you’ll have to rely on the insulated Lumi Thermo lid to keep the temperature steady rather than a mobile app-controlled chiller. But that means it comes delivered in a box you can sling under one arm and take out into the garden rather than on a pallet. It also means you not paying close to a grand for cold baths.

It means set-up is a breeze too. Once I opened the box, I had the Recovery Pod Max ready to go in 15 minutes. Admittedly, 13 of those were probably spent pumping up the top ring with a rather fiddly foot pump. (The website suggested it came with a hand pump, which looked a little simpler to operate.)

A portable ice bath with lid in a garden
The all-weather cover is an optional extra but will keep the bugs out of your bath

Apart from that all you really need to do is insert the legs, make sure the inner valve is closed and pump up the insulated lid ring. There’s a handy carry bag for the box in the box, too, as well as hose for draining the water into nearby flowerbeds or a bucket. But once you’ve filled the pod up with water you’re good to go.

The instructions said to fill up to 6in / 15cm below the underside of the top ring, which can require some guess work. It’s not a major deal, unless you take your recovery baths on top of expensive Afghan rugs, but a marker or guide would have been helpful.

Using the Lumi Recovery Pod Max

I tried my first few sessions just with tap water at about 15 degrees, just to make getting in a bit easier. Lumi says that even at this temperature you should still be getting the physical benefits of cold water immersion. That’s good to know as at first I was reluctant to go much colder. Still there’s plenty of room to kneel, crouch or sit without your legs feeling cramped.

Lumi has tested the Recovery Pod Max with members of the Exeter Chiefs rugby team, and says it will fit users up to 6ft 7in / 2m. I can’t vouch for that, but at 5ft 8in / 1m 70cm I had plenty of room to spare.

Lumi Recovery Pod Max insulation

Having gone colder with ice, I can say that physical benefits (not to mention the ‘high’ from extremely cold water) do last a lot longer than tap water alone. The insulated TPE does a good job of regulating the water temperature if you have extended recovery sessions. I wouldn’t extend too much, though. Lumi recommends only staying in one minute for every one degree above zero – so five minutes at 5 degrees.

The insulated lid worked well too. I checked the water 30 minutes after my session and the ice hadn’t fully melted. That could be useful if there’s more than one of you using it.

When putting the insulating lid on, it didn’t quite fit flush inside the inflated ring on the main body, though. That would only be a worry if I was using the lid to keep bugs and other debris out. Fortunately my pod also came bundled with the all-weather cover (normally costing £24.99), which acts as an elasticated waterproof membrane that definitely would rule out the ingress of any organic matter.

Emptying the pod is straightforward with the included hose, and the entire pod packs down in no time, into a soft bag that would make taking this to races, events or on holiday a cinch. If you’re serious about your recovery protocol then the Recovery Pod could be a useful and inexpensive addition to your fitness arsenal.

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