Yurts in winter?

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Apologies for cross-posting but it seemed appropriate. I'm camping in a small backpacking tent on a farm at the moment. I have the option of staying here through winter... But it will be colder of course. So I'm thinking of something bigger and actually liveable but not permanent. I wonder what it's like in a yurt? I mean a proper, insulated yurt as opposed to the simple frame and canvas advertised as "glamping". I might be able to have a small wood stove in it. Has anyone tried it?
 

Robson Valley

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Nov 24, 2014
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We have long, dark and snowy winters. There are a few yurts in the district but each appears quite small. I think I would be thoroughly claustrophobed by February. I'd be a nut case.

But judging by the dross of living in one with kids, I can see the litter suggesting that they have not abandoned the place. 5 years now?

As TeeDee points out, effective insulation isn't free. I doubt that you will ever need to cope with a week of -20C and colder. But not to discourage you, do a little price research. Maybe you can rent one. Maybe as a showcase demonstration?

What I want to try is a winter month in a serious (10m diameter) pit house. Our First Nations winter villages in the interior of BC were pit houses, some 4-6' into the ground and 2' of the spoil used over the top as roofing insulation.
https://www.princegeorgecitizen.com...tional-pit-house-unveiled-near-unbc-1.1347534
 

Toddy

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A proper yurt will cost more than a car.

But, a canvas geodesic dome tent need not break the bank :) and you can fit a stove in one, put in a decent floor, make a box bed/sofa to stop the chill and give you a warm comfortable place to sleep.
Best of all it's weather robust and it'll let you stand up properly too.
You can also fit a hanging set of extra inner walls that will give a kind of insulated space if the temperatures really drop.
 

TeeDee

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Apologies for cross-posting but it seemed appropriate. I'm camping in a small backpacking tent on a farm at the moment. I have the option of staying here through winter... But it will be colder of course. So I'm thinking of something bigger and actually liveable but not permanent. I wonder what it's like in a yurt? I mean a proper, insulated yurt as opposed to the simple frame and canvas advertised as "glamping". I might be able to have a small wood stove in it. Has anyone tried it?

If its winter accommodation you need look at HelpX in your area. Many do over winter stays.

 
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Wayne

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0 -3 degrees is a miserable temperature for extended living In a Tent. Damp and mud are your constant foe.
I spend on average 180 -220 nights a year under canvas.
a 5m bell tent with a decent wood burner on a solid base would be fine for a winter in the West Country. A real wool yurt is designed for the Steppe with proper cold but relatively dry. Most yurts up permanently here end up stinking fairly quickly.
You will become obsessed with fire wood. It will be your all consuming passion. Sourcing enough for heat and cooking.
 

TLM

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Nov 16, 2019
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An Asian yurt is insulated by thick felt layer(s) in winter and Wayne said they like dry weather. But nothing prevents one covering a yurt frame with canvas for warmer wetter climate, of course a Amerind teepee or Sami kota work much the same. They have one thing in common, heat retention is very poor so the stove needs to burn whenever heat is wanted.
 

Erbswurst

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Mar 5, 2018
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With a real yurt you can get a moths problem too!

A little construction trailer with workshop oven in the corner next to the door is the better and cheaper option. It can be pulled by a traktor if you find a cheap one in your area.

Simple single wall garden houses they throw behind you every corner and with a cheap work shop oven you easily can heat them up like a sauna.

That are the both realistic options that allow you to live comfortably in moderate winter conditions. You need only approximately 2 cubic metres good dry firewood or wood briketts.

I lived in such a simple garden house down to -25°C and in the construction trailer down to -15°C. It works without any problems.

If both are whyever no option I recommend to buy a cotton Kota and no cotton yurt!
The cotton Kota is simply more comfortable around the freezing point.
You can get a cotton Kota in 3 different sizes, made by Tortuga or Tschum.

I wouldn't heat it with a tent stove. I would heat it in the morning and evening with an open fire in the middle of the tent, because that is more comfortable. And would depend during the night, apart from remaining embers, on the sleeping bag.

I would use a very good sleeping bag system over night like the Snugpak Special Forces System or Carinthia Tropen +Defence 4 and cover that in a US army cotton sleeping bag case M 1945 against sparks from the fire and use one or perhaps two British army closed cell foam mats underneath. No airmat of course.
As ground sheet an olive green original German army poncho because it's robust and a bit fire retardant and cheap.

I did spend hundreds of evenings and a couple of nights in cotton yurts and surely more than thousand nights in cotton Kotas, most of them around the freezing point, so I talk to you out of experience.

But I also lived more than 10 years in the simple garden house and currently since more than a year in the construction trailer. I know what I'm talking about here.

And I tell you:
Option No1 is a little wooden garden house.
Option No2 a construction trailer.
Option No3 the cotton Kota.
A cotton yurt is no good option.


That's here what I own. (I own a similar yurt as well, by the way.)

Small size:


Large size:


I also did spend one evening and one night in the Tschum 4P.


For your purpose I would choose the Tschum 4 P or the large size Kota by Tortuga in the video above. They cost approximately the same, so around 1000€. (The small Tortuga Kota is a bit cheaper.)


There are several versions of the Tortuga Kotas. Should you want to buy one I will tell you which model you should choose exactly.
 

henchy3rd

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Apr 16, 2012
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If you are serious about a yurt, they cost between £4,000 for a one person one & £27,000 for a classic large family one.
There’s also traditional ones which are quite a lot more costly( can’t remember how much though)
I lived in a commune in Devon, we had a few & the dwellers always seemed happy with them..but they will leak with persistent rain & the stove will be constantly on if you are nesh(at least chopping wood will keep you warm.
A simple raised wood floor works wonders with core matting for warmth.
If you are near or under trees it will go mouldy quickly, hence why we moved it after one month.

Have you thought about making one out of willow & ash with a calico covering which you can waterproof or paint?
 
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TLM

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Erbs has a point with rain (in running form) yurts are no good in those conditions, the conical kota handles it much better. With longer time occupation a raised flooring of some kind makes it for more comfortable living. I would prefer a stove because ease of boiling water and no sparking.
 

Erbswurst

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I simply hang a chain with open hook from the tip of the Kota. Over a well sized fire my water boils immediately.

Whyever, the Kota is also warmed up easier than a similar made yurt.

I guess it's simply the smaller volume.
 

Erbswurst

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I am usure if a usual lean to shelter really reflects the heat to the body if you sit under it by the fire. Perhaps it just traps in the warmth.

A classical Kota is approximately a round lean to shelter. So, perhaps the fabric reflects the heat.

I have no idea, what's going on exactly.
 

TLM

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Nov 16, 2019
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Vantaa, Finland
I am usure if a usual lean to shelter really reflects the heat to the body if you sit under it by the fire. Perhaps it just traps in the warmth.
I haven't measured it but my feeling is that it reflects (or reradiates) some, in some cases (depending on the material) so much that one can feel it on the skin.
 
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Erbswurst

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And that's my impression too.

In the yurt you don't have this effect. The walls are too far away from the fire and they don't have the right angle.

You sit in a heated room but you get a hot front side and a cold back, unless you wear an open coat.
 

Billy-o

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Apr 19, 2018
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You might like to think of a kind of superstructural tarp ... a big one angled to shed most of the rain like a roof or gazebo, and erect a large tent underneath it. It'll also provide a drier perimeter to the tent itself; allowing you space to organize yourself more freely, too. But, atmospheric damp is going to remain a potential issue in the longer term if you are going canvas and it remains unheated for any time.
 
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Toddy

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Thanks for the info. I should clarify I'm in UK in the West Country - we don't get much colder than 0C most winters. And this is an experiment so I don't want to spend more than a few hundred pounds ideally.

None of the options given will be within that price range....unless, you have access to resources and you can use tools.

In our constantly damp climate, it's not just water from above and around but underfoot that is an issue.
Damp accomodation of any airt is not healthy or comfortable, so you need some form of heat, some form of insulation from the ground, and you need some kind of airflow.

I have friends who live in bender type structures.
These vary from ones made like greenhouses (wonderful soaring curved designs from stuff wombled from all over the country) to simple tarp covered tied hazel rods.
They're all comfortable, out of the weather and peaceful places to sleep.

They all have used pallets for their flooring.
They're available, they're sturdy, they will all keep you out of the mud, give you a base for your living quarters.
They can also be insulated, covered in boards, etc., but you need to then think about just what you are going to use for heat...and how you're going to vent it and still have decent air quality. If your budget is tight you'll not be able to buy a tent stove/pipe/jack and bodging needs care.

Benders can be very comfortable, but you need to think about what you're making, about what resources you can find and use, and about the weather. You really need to think hard about the weather. Wind and rain can shatter your best attempts in no time.

My Dad lived 'wild' on Rannoch Moor in the 1930's. He did so in a army pup tent with a down bag, a bit of oilcloth on the floor, a Tilley lamp and a Tilley stove.
So, it doesn't need to be complicated. He said that long wet days, one after the other after the other after the other, were the very, very worst. Otherwise he was was warm enough, but given the choice (hungry 30's, he was recovering from illness, no NHS, no Social Security) and since money was tight, there wasn't, he'd have gone for a tent big enough to stand up inside, have a chair inside too.
Old folks built box beds from wood or stone and filled them with heather. It's springy, it traps air underneath you too and doesn't invite mould in the damp the way that straw does.

Mind in the depths of Winter we have near 16 hours of dark. That's a long time to try to sleep in the damp and cold, so think too on what else you'll do in the dark.

Honestly, best of luck with it. Interested to hear how you get on with it :)

M
 

Nice65

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Apr 16, 2009
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I’m with Wayne on mud and damp being a problem over time, and his recommendation of a 5m bell (heavy canvas preferably) is a good one.

I nearly suggested a bender earlier when I was reading this, but I didn’t really know if anyone would know what I was on about. Toddy is right, with a pallet base, a waterproof layer, and some old carpet they can be pretty good accommodation. Unfortunately the days of being able to get hold of old lorry tarps are gone. My old Hazel stick bender was covered with one that I found in the road, fell off the back of a lorry quite literally. :)

As a younger bloke I’d have lived in it quite happily for a while, but with the wet and muddy winters I’d want a caravan.
 

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