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!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Solid-wall Yurts Easier to Move

The original premise of the Mongolian yurt was that it was to be somewhat portable.  While the Mongols lived in their yurts for a substantial part of the year, when the dead of winter hit in the high Himalayas, these semi-nomadic people moved lower down the mountains, packing their felt, skin and pole –framed homes with them on carts.  They were hardly light enough to transport by hand or skid.  Today, we build abridged and hybridized versions of these very early homes, but we have lost much of the portability of the original ger.
One of the reasons is that we have a great deal of lattice framing to handle.  While the lattice is lightweight, the assembly and disassembly of the frame is time consuming.  Along with that impediment to mobility, the roof ring also requires more than one person to erect and install, and the layering of the outer skins requires a delicate balance of adjustment and readjustment. If the bubble insulation is used, this provides an additional round of stretching and securing into place, most often requiring an extra set of hands.
The semi-solid wall yurt provides much of the benefit of the solid wall yurt, while actually decreasing the weight of conventional flexible walled designs.  At the same time, the insulative value of the rigid insulation that forms the core of each solid panel provides a protection against temperature fluctuations from hot to cool. This design has been found to provide a comfortable environment when the outside temperature varies from plus 35C to minus 25C – a full 60C (108F) variation.  The wall design can support a roof load considerably greater than that of flexible lattice designs, too.
However, one of the primary advantages of this semi-solid wall system is that it can be erected in less than 2 hours and broken down into components in less than one, with only one person required for the tasks.  That makes it ideal for medium-term camping, for setup in summer months and storage in winter (making it an optimal lakeside guest house), and for portability.  Although the unit requires more storage space than a flexible wall yurt, a sixteen-foot diameter yurt can easily be transported in the back of a half-ton truck, or on a small utility trailer, as its weight does not exceed 200 pounds (excluding floor and joist system).

A portable yurt may seem unnecessary for most applications, since they often are set up and remain in place.  However, given that almost no flexible wall yurts meet engineering standards that will allow them to be substituted as permanent, permitted structures in zoned or code-controlled areas, the only way to bypass permanent home rules is to be able to erect and disassemble the units rapidly.  This gives them an exemption as temporary structures, similar to portable garages.  With a 90-day window common for these buildings, the semi-solid wall yurt provides the capacity to build and de-construct the unit rapidly, allowing them to qualify for use in zoned areas.