10 Reasons Everyone Should Live in a Yurt

Yurt with a View

In any survival situation from natural disaster to nuclear war, shelter is a primary consideration. Unless the disaster is one that requires an underground bunker, a yurt will meet all your shelter needs. These inexpensive homes can be made from everything from small trees and animal skins to metal posts and heavy canvas. They are mobile yet solid.

Many people are choosing to live full time in a yurt, while others like it as a second home, guest house or vacation get-a-way. Here are 10 beautiful yurts that will make you eager to build one, whether you are a traveler, businessman, recluse or socialite.

What is a Yurt?

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What is a Yurt?

Before we look at all these yurts, let’s define what exactly we’re talking about.

According to Webster, a yurt is “a circular domed tent of skins or felt stretched over a collapsible lattice framework and used by pastoral peoples of inner Asia”. To you and me: a round building with a domed roof. The walls are made of felt, hides or, more commonly, canvas. The interior structure can be wood, aluminum or even steel.

Above all, yurts are really cool. They are easy to heat. They handle all sorts of weather with ease. They are cheap. They can be moved and yet make comfortable permanent homes. They are the ideal shelter for a survivalist who wants to be prepared for anything.

Winter Yurt

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1. Winter Yurt

Yurts are not only for campers, nomads or those seeking an alternative lifestyle. They can be a smart building choice for the average home owner. Take this yurt for example. It is spacious with lots of windows and well insulated against the weather. It is faster to build and cheaper than a traditional house. The money that you save can go to building a stunning deck and entrance like the one pictured here.

Yurt with a View

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2. Travel Yurts with a View

Yurts are becoming popular alternatives to cabins or hotels for vacationers. The round living space is novel and fun for visitors. For the proprietors yurts are easy to build, relatively inexpensive and require little maintenance.

Consider your climate before building a yurt. The canvas used for most American yurts holds up well in rain and snow, but is susceptible to wear from the sun. In sunny climates, especially at high altitudes, the canvas will need to be replaced more frequently.

Yurt Made of Wool

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3. Wool Yurts

The original yurts of Central Asia were built with felt made from wool. This small yurt was made similarly, from pressed sheets of wool. Most American style yurts use canvas in place of felt. The design is versatile. In a survival situation you could use a variety of materials or even hides in place of wool.

Yurt on the Water

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4. Yurt on the Water

Most people choose to build their yurts above the ground on a platform. There is no foundation nor cement slab to pour. Elevating the yurt helps it stay dry and allows air to circulate. It also allows you to place the yurt in many places, like this one on the edge of a lake. The canvas is well water-proofed against the rain, and the circular space is easily heated by a wood burning stove. This is an efficient, effective shelter for the whole family.

Building a Yurt

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5. How to Build a Yurt Frame

Yurts are unique because they are not permanent structures. You don’t have to pour concrete. They can be removed. They can be moved. The framework can built from purchased lumber or constructed from poles harvested from the surrounding forests. Many yurt enthusiasts enjoy them because they provide so much freedom.

Winter Alaska Yurt

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6. Yurt Buried in the Snow

This picture was taken in March. Really. The yurt is nicknamed “the grandma yurt” and is located outside of Anchorage, Alaska. As long as the canvas is properly waterproofed, a yurt is the perfect home in snowy weather. This particular design is made with wood rather than canvas, making it a permanent structure. Remember, snow is a natural insulator. With a good wood burning stove and enough books, even an Alaska winter can be comfortable.

Inside a Yurt

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7. Interior of a Mongolian Yurt

In Mongolia yurts are not an alternative form of housing, but rather the norm. This is a typical interior design that American yurt owners may choose to adopt. The central feature is the stove, used both for heat and cooking. The family’s beds and dressers are placed along the walls, leaving plenty of open space in the middle for gathering. Tapestries and curtains are convenient ways to provide a little privacy in a round home.

Mongolian Desert Yurt Homes

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8. Mongolian Horsemen and Ger Village

In Mongolia yurts are called “ger” which simply means home. The word we use, yurt, is actually Turkish for abode or home. Interestingly, the Russian “yurta” refers to something of Turkish origin. Yurt homes are ideal for nomadic people like many clans in Central Asia.

Yurt in the Mountains

Image courtesy of photography.nationalgeographic.com

9. Krygyz Yurt

This traditional yurt from Kyrgyzstan is made from felt instead of canvas. Though modern architecture has arrived in Kyrgyzstan and most people live in houses or apartments, the yurt remains a symbol of home. For centuries if not millenia the nomadic herdsman of the Kyrgyz steppes used yurts. They are practical, easy to assemble and move and beautiful to live in. For a survivalist, there is no better shelter in terms of durability, stability and flexibility.

Portable Noomad Yurt

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10. Modern Nomad Yurt Homes

Even a simple travel yurt can be transformed into a cozy home. This small yurt has a nice little deck and sits on the owner’s lot. A yurt like this makes a great guest house or alternative to a modular home. While the cost is similar to a small modular or trailer, a yurt is more efficient to heat and often much more comfortable to live in.

Panama Yurt

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Yurts for Sale

Are you ready to go yurt shopping? Here are a few good companies that offer a wide variety of options.

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