Best Low Cost Tiny House Alternative - The Mongolian Yurt (1 Viewer) Video 

Matt Derrick

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We met up with Rivkah from Groovy Yurts (www.groovyyurts.com) to learn about the traditional hand-painted yurts (gers) they import directly from Mongolia, and we also helped her team set one up at the Tiny House Festival this summer. It was more work than we thought it would be but it was totally worth it when we finally stepped inside the beautiful structure. Mat and I both love the round shape of a yurt, and the natural light that pours in from the skylight dome in the center. We also really appreciate that these yurts are made from 100% natural & renewable resources. The wall lattice (khana), the roof ring (toono), and the rafters (uni) are built from sustainably harvested wood (Groovy Yurts plants 35 trees for every yurt sold). The cotton liner and outside cover are made from cotton (less sustainable but still natural and renewable), the insulation is made from sheep's wool felt, the ropes that tie the yurt together are made from braided horse hair, and the lattice joints are held together with pieces of camel hide. It took us no time at all to set up the walls of the yurt into a perfect circle. The tricky part was making sure the centre ring was actually centred so that the rafters could fit into the notches at the top of the lattice walls, and into the notches in the centre ring. In less than a few hours, we helped set up a house that was cozy and warm, all natural, and that provided ample natural daylight. We couldn't get over how easy it was to make a yurt compared to building a tiny house or a conventional home. And it was so much cheaper, too! Obviously the materials that a yurt are made of will not last as long as a conventional home, but they can still last a very long time if they're properly cared for. Rivkah was telling us that in Mongolia, they expect a yurt to last 100 years, with repairs and maintenance of course. In some of North America's wetter climates, yurts of any kind (natural and synthetic) can experience moisture issues if they are not regularly occupied and heated to keep them dry. To combat this moisture issue, Groovy Yurts offers the option of including an additional waterproof layer between the canvas and the insulation to avoid moisture seeping into the structure. Mongolian yurts are hand-painted and are usually red or orange inside to symbolize the sun shining over the Mongolian steppe. They are traditionally heated with a wood stove that is also used for cooking. Since Mongolian people have a deep respect for the earth, they prefer not to tie their homes down to the earth. Instead, they will use a rope and attach it to something heavy, like their wood stove or a heavy rock to prevent it from being damaged by high winds. Yurts (also known as Gers) are impressively simple yet efficient little structures with a lot of character. We hope you have fun learning more about them in this video.

For more information about Groovy Yurts, visit their website here: http://www.groovyyurts.com/en/
 
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Tadaa

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Been inside a few on my trip across mongolia.. they are very big inside indeed. But very dark in general. A friend in canada has one at her moms house with some windows in it. Waaaay better.

Was actually looking into gers to other day on how much they cost second hand.orhow to build one yourself.
 

paiche

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$4,500 for a 12 foot yurt, $6,800 for a 16 foot, $8,300 for a 20 foot. And that does not include a platform (floor). Not so cheap.
I built a 14' diameter yurt one summer from scratch using only hand tools and I spent $80 all together. Granted it wasn't all that pretty on the outside because I only used layers of sheets, blankets and tarps but on the inside it was adorable. I made a lot of mistakes but used it for a whole year through a Maine winter. I only used pallets for the floor and the center where the wood stove sat was dirt. Nothing glamorous but one can definitely be made very inexpensively.
 

Matt Derrick

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I built a 14' diameter yurt one summer from scratch using only hand tools and I spent $80 all together. Granted it wasn't all that pretty on the outside because I only used layers of sheets, blankets and tarps but on the inside it was adorable. I made a lot of mistakes but used it for a whole year through a Maine winter. I only used pallets for the floor and the center where the wood stove sat was dirt. Nothing glamorous but one can definitely be made very inexpensively.

that sounds awesome. how did you learn to build one? do you have any pictures of it? im just curious to see what your DIY yurt looked like :)
 
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i myself like yurts as well. i've been trying to strive for collecting the materials to make one, however small. Obviously, it wouldn't be for when im jaunting about on boot tramps, since i would have a tarps tent and some other stuff, but imo it would be a nice thing to have, when van or maybe motorcycle traveling.

so far, ive decided to go with trying to build a metal roof ring (that way its moderately heatproof ?), made out of an old round table frame, and metal brackets of some sort, into which the roof poles can be inserted into or hooked onto.
 
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