Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What is a Yurt Anyway?

photos from Pacific Yurt Company

I'm going to start a little weekly post here about interesting alternative housing ideas.  Mark my words, Sam and I are looking for a more permanent dwelling place, but we don't want to have a mortgage.  We're exploring some creative ideas.  I want to share the journey with you.

A yurt is a portable felt-covered, wood lattice framed dwelling structure used originally by nomads in Mongolia.  

The modern ones are very nice.  They generally are classified under the tent category, but they are much stronger and weathertight.

Why a yurt you ask?
Well if the pictures alone haven't sold you, here are more of the bennies:
-They are cheap (a 12 foot one starts at $4,000 and you can get a 30 foot one for $10,000)
-Two people can sBoldet up a yurt in two days. 
-They look pretty
-It is portable.  You can easily disassemble and reset it up somewhere else
-You get a feeling of being in nature, it blends well with the landscape

Do they last very long?
Yes, if you take good care of it, the yurt will probably last your lifetime.  The frame will last your lifetime, and the outside will need some maintenance.  The cover has a 15 year guarantee.
-Do you really stay warm?
Yes, people have lived in the coldest regions.  You can heat the whole thing with a little, cozy wood stove.  The companies that sell them use the same insulation that NASA developed.  If astronauts in outerspace can stay warm I guarantee you will be toasty in Minnesota as well.
-Would I have to take a leek in the backyard?

Of course not!  Plumbing can easily be brought up through the floor.  Some people have set up a separate little room for a bathroom, or you can put up some interior partition walls for privacy, or a cute curtain.
What about electricity?
Yes, the outlets are usually on the floor.
Where do I get a yurt?
So glad you asked.  There are several reputable companies who have been making beautiful yurts for years. 
 I recommend Pacific Yurt Company
You can learn much more from looking at these websites.

Seriously, why do people live in double wides when you can live in one of these- at the same, if not lower cost?  Yes, I have put some fancy pictures up to show you just how nice they can be.  The ones pictured probably cost a little more money, but definitely not six figures.  Maybe you have been in one to warm up on a cross country ski trip, or maybe you have seen one outside of a ski resort.  I'm just curious, have you guys heard of a yurt, whaddya think?  


Andrea said...


One thing TJ and I are exploring is how much it would cost to lay pipes and hook up plumbing to the yurt. We're not too keen on the idea of a compost toilet...

But it would be ideal if we can find reasonably priced land where plumbing is already hooked up!

Thanks for sharing!

Colorado Yurt Company said...

Thanks for the wonderful post Becca. We at the Colorado Yurt Co appreciate the kind words and link. It seems like you are involved in some cool alternative living. You can also check out our blog about yurt and tipi living at coloradoyurt.blogspot.com Take care