How To Build a (Semi) Solid Wall Yurt

The handbook, "How To Build A Yurt (solid wall design) is now available at or at www.robertflee.books.php. To purchase this handbook from Amazon or Smashwords, visit or and search for the title under the author's name, Robert F. Lee. The semi-rigid walled yurt described in this booklet can be constructed in less than 40 hours and assembled or disassembled on site in under three hours, by one person!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Yurt Portability

One of the so-called advantages touted by suppliers of the lattice-and-canvas flexible wall yurt design is that the system is portable.  On the surface, that claim seems credible.  Fabric or poly weave skins, ultra-light pvc or wood lattice a light rafter ring and bubble/foil insulation all contribute to the perception of portability. 
It is true that each, or all, of these items are portable, if one considers only the weight and space.  But true portability also requires ease of assembly and disassembly.  Here, the flexible wall yurt fails.
First, consider that erection of a simple 16-foot diameter flexible wall yurt requires the expertise and strength of two to four people.  To hold the rafter ring in place, for example, requires two people, while another one or two install the rafters.  The assembly of the lattice walls requires two to three people to place the curved segments in place, while hoisting the skins into position also requires more than one person.  Typically, assembly of a lattice-design ger takes at least eight hours, not including the deck or floor.
On the disassembly side, things are almost as complex, requiring care and precision in taking each piece apart in sequence.  On a windy day, the task is monumental, with the risk of damage to the fabric or window plastics a major cause of concern.
The concept of a yurt being portable, to be consistent with the Mongol original yurt design, simply is unrealistic.  In fact, the Himalayan tents generally were only moved twice a year, at most, so even they were not intended to be purely portable. But today’s outdoorsman may be seeking that ability to move from place to place.  The answer is the lightweight rigid (not solid) wall system. 
The yurts constructed by EasYurt provide that ability, with their EPS rigid insulation walls and roof system, routed rafters that allow foam insulation to rest in channels, and floor deck joists that have channels cut in 2 by 6 dimensional lumber to reduce weight by fifty percent while maintaining strength. 
It is true that EasYurts offer a budget concept, with a solid (rather than clear acrylic) dome vent, lighter (14 oz) poly tarp skins as opposed to heavy (22 oz) or canvas skins and less attention to aesthetic design.  However, their prices are at least 45% lower than the nearest competitor (and as much as 78% lower than other suppliers), and their designs all include deck floors (which no other supplier offers).
I have assembled an EasYurt in under 2.5 hours, and disassembled that same unit in under two hours, by myself.  Truthfully, these yurts are simple in design and appearance, but I also can find replacement parts, if needed, at any local lumber yard.  As a seasonal camping unit, or as a summer guest house, the system is perfect.  However, I am reluctant to spend a Manitoba winter in one, as it has only R7.5 insulation value and winters here are bitter!  But, I although I have used conventional yurts such as Colorado Yurts, I would be similarly reluctant to winter in any other commercial unit. 
Yurt suppliers have found a wide client base.  Fortunately, there is such a diversity of products that you can pick and choose the right one for your preferences.  Just be sure that you research their attributes, rather than rely on manufacturer claims of portability, ease of assembly and comfort in all weather.