What’s a Yurt

We debated for awhile about where and how we would live while we built our house next year. We want to be out on the land while it’s being built and it certainly won’t hurt to have the money from the sale of our house available to put towards the new place. We considered purchasing an old camper or RV or maybe even a cool Airstream. It would certainly have it’s perks: kitchenette, bed, insulated, heating and cooling features. Only thing was that the cheapest ones were $10,000+ and it’s highly unlikely that we’d use it after the few months we’d live in it.

Another possibility was to simply live in the shop. At 2400sqft and 16ft ceilings it’s definitely big enough. But we would have to insulate it all, build a small room for us to sleep in and it would also be where we store all of our crap and building supplies. We’d basically be squatting in our shop. We aren’t really going for the hobo-chiche vibe. And really it just felt pretty ghetto to me.

Third option (and most logical, I might add) was to live in a Yurt. Yes a yurt! A Mongolian hut – why hadn’t we thought of this before?! If you don’t know, a yurt was a traditional Mongolian home that could be erected in a day by nomadic herdsmen… We sorta nomadic herds people, we fantasized! It’s perfect. It is also super cool and very reasonably priced for a modern, prefabricated version. There’s several yoga and meditation retreats that use them due to their calming/peaceful/sexy nature.


Here’s what Flora Bora says about The Traditional Yurt:

“On the grassland steppes of central Asia, yurts or “gers” have been the primary shelter for nomadic herdsman for centuries. These circular wooden dwellings were traditionally covered with felted wool and skins. As the nomads lives revolved around the rhythms of nature, the yurt’s design was portable and able to withstand high winds and extreme temperatures. Even today, many pastoral families in Mongolia still prefer life in a yurt. There is a spirituality associated with living in a yurt; in its structure the whole universe is represented: The roof represents the sky and the smoke hole the sun. The hearth contains the five basic earthly elements of soil, wood, fire, metal, and water (metal in the grate and water in the kettle) and because there are no corners it is thought there is no place for evil spirits.”

Heck ya. Sounds good to me.

The Modern Yurt is a slight step-up from the traditional version. The walls are a lattice wood frame with post and beam supports to a central compression ring and 5-foot diameter dome window and vent in the middle of the roof. The yurt can be fitted with a wood burning stove and whatever else you might need depending on the size. Some people live in them year round but most use them as summer houses or cottages. Flora Bora Forest Lodging and Gardens at Emma Lake SK is a resort where all of their lodgings are modern yurts.


A couple weeks ago we had met with our potential home builders, who had recently completed their own cabin at Candle Lake, while building it they lived in (what else!) but a yurt.

We were recommended the Yurtz by Design from Surrey BC (there is also Pacific Yurts in Portland OR, but with the Canadian dollar lower + duty + shipping, the Canadian one made more sense). Normally I don’t trust companies that use a Z instead of an S, but I read their website and talked to the owner by phone before we placed our order. We decided to go with the mid-sized 15 foot diameter structure. Not too big but enough for a bed, small table, a couple chairs and a wood burning stove.

We’d like to be able to camp this winter for snowshoeing or cross country skiing so we thought it best to get it insulated and have the snow and wind kit added due to our weather in Saskatchewan. Plus with the recent tornado near our land we didn’t want to be watching our lovely yurt floating down the river some day.

I do get a good laugh when I tell people that we are going to live in a yurt for 6-8 months next year. Some people get a twisted up expression and ask, “Um, what’s a yurt?” and when I tell them they sort of roll their eyes and do the old ‘get a load of this weirdo’ facial expression.’ Others, the cool/intelligent ones, think it is pretty darn neat.

We want to have an experience out there and really, when are you going to have another chance to live in a yurt?

When we discussed the actual purchase of the yurt it just so happened the company had a 15 foot one that someone had purchased and never used. They were looking to sell it and we had just called at the right time. For about 30% off the price we were able to get exactly the yurt we wanted with an extra two windows included. It should be arriving in the next couple weeks. Now onto the task for building the foundation for it…


(Originally posted July 17, 2014)

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