Want to live in a yurt? Why not 'Do It Yurtself.'

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/09/19/want-to-live-in-a-yurt-why-no.html


Just a small point … this design has walls with the thermal value of a denim shirt. It’s not something you’d want to do in 99% of climates.


I wonder how this fares in areas affected by hurricanes? This might be a safer option for that…


But will he wait outside and listen to a podcast with noise-cancelling headphones?

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R-value considerably improved by felted sheep wool:

Community house-raising.
It’s not an Amish barn raising, but I love how everyone is pitching in to help in this video.

I’ve put up a canvas teepee before, ETA: and the lodge poles raising is similar. Need extra hands and arms and legs to get it done efficiently the first time. (Sorry for late completion, my internet connection went down.)


This is very cool, but my understanding is that part of the traditional definition of a yurt was that it was portable. I’m guessing this is not?


Yeah, that struck me, too. I’m surprised it works in Oregon. The roof has a couple layers of “reflective foil insulation” on top of the cloth, which is better than nothing, but the walls are - what? - some sort of semi-rigid sheet-plastic? It’s certainly not very heat-retentive.

It really doesn’t look designed for that kind of environment. I’d be surprised if it didn’t blow away entirely. It’s a bunch of layers of cloth (and plastic) on a minimal frame, after all.

“Portable” in the sense of being fairly easily demolished, I guess. The cement pilings would be the most resistant portion.


These yurts are fairly pricey to set up. The biggest surprise is that you must build a platform for them, which often takes as more effort to build than setting up the yurt itself.

Tipi’s are cheaper and easier to set up than a yurt and are more comfortable in hot weather, although less comfortable in cold weather. No platform required, but it’s certainly an option if you are also willing to use a stove instead of a firepit.

Both yurts and tipis are great for people who don’t mind bugs, rodents, dirt, and outdoors getting inside. Maybe not ideal for people who suffer from hayfever.


Maybe a Sami goahti or lavvu would be warmer.

The Loft space is amazing. However, the lattice work on the first floor is hideous. Is the yurt asymmetric? Or is that an effect of using a wide-angle camera?

Why not ‘Do It Yurtself.’

no… noo… noooo…

It looks nice. But for that price- I could buy a used Airstream.


There’s “live in a yurt” with a faint niff of hipster and live in a yurt, with livestock and working the land (for real, for survival, with skills). It’s hard to escape the feeling that the (brilliant) architecture of the yurt isn’t fairly specific to the culture and patterns of use. The Portland one is missing the fireplace/stove in the middle… burning dried yak patties…

I imagine Mongolian GPS (Ger (yurt) Positioning System) doesn’t work with the Portland model (find a ger, ask directions, walk to the next ger in that direction, ask directions…)

Two BTW’s

  1. Mongolians are awesome; they have my complete respect. Practical, no nonsense, gets the job done culture, right up there with the Inuit.
  2. Of the four babies in the movie (awesome movie), the Mongolian kid raised in the yurt got the best deal. Also something unlikely to be replicated in yurt near Portland.

Our yurt came in around $65k which included all the building materials, furniture and appliances.

Maybe two or three, even.


Hell yes - I didn’t see that number. And I can tow it with the family Truckster.

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Wow, that could probably get me a used Leisure Travel Van with a dry bath! OTOH, the cost of fuel is going up. :thinking:


Hell, for $65k, I could erase my debt, buy an Airstream, and have utility rent for at least a year.


Yurts have lower initial cost than traditional homes, but because they fall apart more quickly, they are not as good a value in the long term, especially factoring in heating costs.

This makes them better suited for situations where the long term is not the goal. People who have rolling stone lifestyles and will be gone on to the next thing in a few years. People who don’t have access to mortgages to build for the long term. Ignoring building codes so the county could condemn it in the future. Building on community land plots where the legal framework to sell is shaky or nonexistent. And of course pot grows.

Depends on how you define “portable”. A yurt big enough for a herding family would take several hours to put up or tear down and pack away. And it would require several pack animals to carry all the parts. And then several other pack animals to carry the furniture and the stove that was what really made habitable in winter. I saw a different video of a yurt going up a few years back. The family was kind of modernized - they had a couple of vans about the size of the Volkswagen minibus. It took two of them to carry all the parts of the yurt and everything that went inside it.

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