When my children were little, they loved swimming in the summer. I started buying ever-larger above ground pools and they would delight in them all season. Around April of 2020, though, I had a horrifying thought. I went online and discovered that my fear was justified: there were no large above-ground pools to be had, as locked-down folks had purchased them in a frenzy realizing that they were about to be stuck at home all summer without the beach or community pool to keep themselves and their children entertained. I was lamenting this to my business partner and he asked if I knew about Softubs. I didn’t, so he told me he’d gotten one at the state fair the year before and loved it.

I checked them out online. They are small hottubs made of structural foam covered in heavy vinyl. They’re designed to be shipped by conventional carriers, rolled into place, and plugged into a standard 110v outlet. No plumbing or electrical required, no cranes to hoist it over the house, no special foundation or decking.

photo of the Softub unconventional hot tub

They aren’t cheap relative to an above-ground pool, but aren’t as expensive as most spas — particularly considering the lack of infrastructure required. I couldn’t order from the web site, so I called them and told them the story. They said that, since there was no state fair, they’d give me the fair discount which amounted to about $1,000. They had closed their production facility but were about to re-open it.

It took a few weeks, but eventually the truck pulled up to my driveway and disgorged a large octagonal box and a smaller rectangular one. I asked one of my sons to help me move them, but I needn’t have: the octagonal box rolled easily through my side gate, across the back yard, and onto my patio. Less than two hours later, I was filling it. It took about a day and a half to get up to temperature, and my children and I have been enjoying it ever since. We did, eventually, find an above-ground pool for the summer 2020 season, but the hot tub became an adjunct to our day of swimming. When we moved to the house with the pool, the Softub came along in the moving van.

I tore the labrum in my left hip, and was in serious pain for a couple of years during which the tub was my great relief until I was able to get definitive care. Since retirement, I call it “my office” (as in, “if you need me I’ll be in…”). It’s been one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. I’ll miss it while I’m on the island this month, and again while we’re waiting for our shipping container to arrive.


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