Yurts in winter?

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Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
9,387
2,161
McBride, BC
I live at 53N, 120W. Quite short days and even worse because of the nearby mountain ranges put us in shade (1:52PM on the winter solstice). Cuts about an hour of potential sunlight off my house both morning and night.

Your damp and the molds mean you have to keep dry first and find some inert insulation.

Using the mess of round wood and feeding a BIG stove, it would take 5 honest cords of dry pine for a winter. The pellet stove normally eats 10,000lbs per winter.
My oil-fired central heating furnace costs the most, I can afford it and for physical challenges, I don't have a whole lot of choice any more. I really want to see 21C in the kitchen.

Look at the wood that I'm leaning on in my avatar. That's behind the furniture shop. They smoked all that off in 6 weeks and it wasn't even cold yet.

Wood carving has been a real blessing, put my head down and work at it. Look up and it's spring again!
 

Toddy

Mod
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Jan 21, 2005
36,788
2,695
S. Lanarkshire
Sorry to de-rail the thread a bit; but @Robson Valley
Why don't North Americans do more of the European stove type heating ?
It's comparatively very much less fuel and it acts like a giant passive storage heater that keeps living quarters at a comfortable temperature ?

There's a new-ish thing where they use the same principle and heat up an oil barrel full of water and it acts like a giant radiator, but again, the fuel gases and heat aren't wasted straight up a stove pipe but heat up brick and clay benches and the like.

Like these.....thousands of varieties out there though.

The ones with the oil drum thingie are rocket mass heaters.

M
 

Billy-o

Native
Apr 19, 2018
1,817
844
Canada
Interestingly, two years ago I noticed that MEC - which is Canada's sort of equivalent to REI (and a sort of bellweather) started stocking quite a range of wood stoves. The coop then got bought out .. or something ... and is now a much more regular looking store in all ways. No woodburners. But it is still September, so maybe a stock change is due. They just had their sale. We'll see. I think parts of Canada's outdoorsy types are much more open to other ways of doing things. I rather fancy a winter trip up some part of the Chilliwack or towards Lilloet with a big old stove and tent hanging off the back of the 4WD. But, there's so many firepits and picnic tables in situ, it is hard to imagine it as anything other than a pleasant bit of role-playing.

There's also those big propane heater/stoves are cheap and easy to get, with lots of variations. And, if you have a car ... which you possibly will - you can haul a little 8-10lb propane bottle along

These are great. Somehow mine didn't make it from Chicago. https://www.basspro.com/shop/en/mr-heater-mh15c-propane-heater-cooker
 
Last edited:

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
9,387
2,161
McBride, BC
In cities where natural gas (methane) is distributed, the central heating furnaces are so efficient now that the exhaust exits the house through a _plastic_ pipe out a side wall. Metal chimneys are a thing of the past. Combustion water and winter freezing in the "chimney" is the issue now!

Running my wood pellet stove, the actual fire is about 5" wide by 3" front-to-back and possibly 2" deep. It runs in the manner of a blacksmith's forge. Takes the better part of an hour to get it warmed up it's such a massive pile of steel.
The heat exchanger is actively fan-driven such that you can't boil a pan of water sitting on the stove. I can't even get it steaming.

In economics, the wood pellet stove costs almost exactly half the cost of fuel for the central heating furnace. I can't lift the pellet bags so that stove is long gone after about 12 years.

What I see here is poor people trying to heat their homes as cheaply as possible. Very hard to convince them that a BIG new capital cost and a different fuel will really save them visible money. It's mid September and cooling down fast. Lots of people asking for firewood sources.

I can see running a wood pellet stove in a big yurt. Certainly would keep it dry.
I have no idea what that would look like for costs other than at least $3,500 for the new stove. The whole idea of living in a moldy woolen house gives me the creeps.
 
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Toddy

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Jan 21, 2005
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S. Lanarkshire
Thing is though, the rocket mass heater is built on the principle of the old European (and Chinese I believe) type stoves, and it can be built from scrap materials. Build the framework from old bricks/slabs and pack with clay. The ducting can be made from bent corrugated iron if necessary....and the oil drum radiator bit is just what it is.
So, really it could be built from scrap, would provide a warm seating and sleeping platform and radiant heat too.
No worries about CO either because it's vented outside.

I think if I were giving serious thought to living outdoors, I'd be giving serious thought to building one of these.

1631565956755.png
 

Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
3,129
1,236
Berlin
Well, but he asked in a bushcraft forum about a traditional heated tent, isn't it?
 

Toddy

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Jan 21, 2005
36,788
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S. Lanarkshire
No reason I can see that he couldn't have his 'tent' built around that :)
Not unreasonable if the tent is his sole living quarters all Winter through.....and a wet damp chilly Autumn and Spring too.
 
I like the rocket mass heaters. Seen a few videos of them. Not to complicate things too much but... We salvaged a huge amount of 7' x 2' weather-proofed ply two days ago. It was used as flooring for large teepees at a festival. My friend, who has built several wooden-framed houses, is thinking of a design for a tiny house made of wood. That makes using a tiny wood-burner one option. Or perhaps the rocket stove.
 
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Billy-o

Native
Apr 19, 2018
1,817
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Canada
And you can get some of this huge amount of ply? :)

I have an acquaintance who built a tiny house on unused CPR land here. But he had this huge malamute dog. Place ponged like dog. Don't get a dog.
 

Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
3,129
1,236
Berlin
I looked up the cheapest Kota version that really can be recommended. It is the smaller tent in the first video that I showed above. The video where the guy tries to speak English, that's the seller in the link below.

That is the tent that most German boy scouts use in exactly this variation.

It costs 520 € in Germany.
That means 4 tent sheets.


2 short ropes you get in the next hardware shop, poles and tent stakes you cut in the forest. Dead standing young pine trees are perfect as poles. You need a hatchet to clean the twigs away and to hit in the tent stakes. Fiskars X7 for example.

If all the Brits here write about wooden floor boards they are probably right.

If you make a wooden floor I also would make a 50 cm high wall and set the tent as a roof over it. Like that you gain the additional height that was the main reason why I first recommended the larger version.

I recommend to put an olive green German army poncho over the smoke hole if you leave the tent alone and have no fire going in it. It costs approximately 25 € used in good condition.

But you also can leave the smoke hole open if you put your stuff a bit away.

I would dig a little drainage canal from the fireplace downhill. It will also cause a better ventilation of the fire.

If you have enough dry firewood it's no problem to live in this tent all year round if you have a good sleeping bag.
You don't need an oven. You just make a fire right in the middle of the tent. Of course you need to protect your floorboards with a few bricks. The more bricks and stones the better, because they retain the heat.
 
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Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
5,247
4,587
Mid Wales
Ah, what you need is a shepherd's hut ;) (only kidding) - I reckon a traditional one of those in winter was pretty miserable.
 

Tengu

Full Member
Jan 10, 2006
11,539
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Wiltshire
I saw a couple of those on the motorway the other day.

(Yes, they were on lorries...)

Staying in a tent overwinter in our damp climate cant be healthy.
 

Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
36,788
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S. Lanarkshire
I think it needs care. I think it can be made comfortable and healthy, but it needs work, it needs thought and it needs diligence and awareness, constantly, of the state of the site/materials/kit/repair, etc.,
I don't think it's an easy option and I think it could be overwhelmingly a lot of effort and stress unless it's someone of the right mindset and physical ability.

My Dad managed it even when floored with episodes of fever, etc., .....he built boats afterwards :) and the tent became the awning over the spar of the mast instead :)
When we were little he bought a big Niger tent. Heavy canvas thing, and again it needed care, but we could stand up in it, we could have a table and seats inside too. Very simple, but very workable.
We used the Tilleys for heat and light. I think he'd have loved one of the modern small tent stove things :) Pretty sure about that.
 

Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
3,129
1,236
Berlin
No, @Broch , you are wrong!

An experienced person can live comfortably in such a thing.

My construction trailer is 340 x 220 and 195 to 240 cm high. It's fitted out with a cheap work shop oven in the corner next to the door, a open (!) wardrobe case in the other corner at the door, diagonal from the oven the sofa / bed box 200x65 and 45 cm high, self inflating Therm-a-Rest on it, because it can't get damp if I don't use the trailer, from the pillow I can see what's going on with the stove and have the maximal possible distance to it.
In the other short wall, opposite to the door, is a window that I rarely close totally, under it a 120x40 table, 77 high that serves as writing desk, eating and night table.
All around the walls hooks to hang stuff and dry clothing. Additional washing line in the highest point of the roof for socks. Washing line over the bed to air the sleeping bag. Like this I can dry a full load of a usual washing machine, or if I got whet outside.

I insulated a bit the walls and did put wooden boards inside because I have a metal trailer. But I even didn't insulate the roof, because I was afraid about condensation problems. The metal walls are open to outside at the lower end that water can drop down and the space there can dry.

Behind the oven I attached steel plates with 5 cm air space to the wooden wall in order to protect it, that it doesn't catch fire.

I have one wooden chair that serves as additional drying stand too and a box for firewood.

Relatively near to the stove hangs a hook from the ceiling to dry the boots or really whet trousers. I just put the laces together and hang the boots nose high. Next morning they are dry.

As you see, I build a drying room to live in. And that's why it doesn't get damp in any way. I make my clothing bone dry before I lock it into drybags in my bed box. The shepherd's surely had less clothing and like this the storing problem didn't exist.
In such a trailer the secret is really:
Less is more!
The less stuff you have, the easier you live in such a thing. I am currently sorting out not needed clothing and other stuff and get rid of it. One can of course have a bit more than a 120 litres winter trekking equipment, but let's say 300 litres belongings are surely the maximum that's sensible here. I guess 240 litres trekking equipment is ideal. I will try that out now.


My only problem is, that my cheap stove is constructed to heat a larger room.
It doesn't become too cold and damp here during the winter, my problem is, that it sometimes becomes too hot if I did put too much wood into the oven.

My set up is made for - 25*C, the lowest temperature that I have to count in around Berlin. Around the freezing point I easily overheat it if I don't pay attention and than can't close the door if I want to sleep.

The most comfortable it's here if I don't need to heat over night or between -5°C and -10°C.

But that's of course a question of experience with this oven, and in the old times they offered better fitting smaller ovens.

I fitted out the construction trailer pretty fast, as I got stuck here due to the pandemia. I didn't search for smaller ovens in the internet and just bought what was offered in the next hardware shop. I guess one can find smaller ovens too.

My garden house in Berlin is 4 x 3 metres and the ceiling is higher. It's fitted out pretty similar.
My construction trailer is more comfortable than the garden house, although the garden house has a very expensive strong oven.

The smaller thing is easier to heat up if I come home. You wait less long until it becomes comfortable.

I did showel the snow from the ways in half the garden colony by hand, every evening 50 metres, mainly because I didn't want to sit in the room and wait until it becomes warm. Such problems I don't have in the construction trailer.
It heats up immediately.
 

Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
3,129
1,236
Berlin
No, Ladies and Gentlemen.
A Kota with open fire in the middle isn't cold and damp inside, it's warm and dry. And it is very comfortable if you know how to live in it.

Guess why nearly every German boy scout group owns one!
 

TeeDee

Full Member
Nov 6, 2008
7,937
1,793
47
Exeter
No, @Broch , you are wrong!

An experienced person can live comfortably in such a thing.

My construction trailer is 340 x 220 and 195 to 240 cm high. It's fitted out with a cheap work shop oven in the corner next to the door, a open (!) wardrobe case in the other corner at the door, diagonal from the oven the sofa / bed box 200x65 and 45 cm high, self inflating Therm-a-Rest on it, because it can't get damp if I don't use the trailer, from the pillow I can see what's going on with the stove and have the maximal possible distance to it.
In the other short wall, opposite to the door, is a window that I rarely close totally, under it a 120x40 table, 77 high that serves as writing desk, eating and night table.
All around the walls hooks to hang stuff and dry clothing. Additional washing line in the highest point of the roof for socks. Washing line over the bed to air the sleeping bag. Like this I can dry a full load of a usual washing machine, or if I got whet outside.

I insulated a bit the walls and did put wooden boards inside because I have a metal trailer. But I even didn't insulate the roof, because I was afraid about condensation problems. The metal walls are open to outside at the lower end that water can drop down and the space there can dry.

Behind the oven I attached steel plates with 5 cm air space to the wooden wall in order to protect it, that it doesn't catch fire.

I have one wooden chair that serves as additional drying stand too and a box for firewood.

Relatively near to the stove hangs a hook from the ceiling to dry the boots or really whet trousers. I just put the laces together and hang the boots nose high. Next morning they are dry.

As you see, I build a drying room to live in. And that's why it doesn't get damp in any way. I make my clothing bone dry before I lock it into drybags in my bed box. The shepherd's surely had less clothing and like this the storing problem didn't exist.
In such a trailer the secret is really:
Less is more!
The less stuff you have, the easier you live in such a thing. I am currently sorting out not needed clothing and other stuff and get rid of it. One can of course have a bit more than a 120 litres winter trekking equipment, but let's say 300 litres belongings are surely the maximum that's sensible here. I guess 240 litres trekking equipment is ideal. I will try that out now.


My only problem is, that my cheap stove is constructed to heat a larger room.
It doesn't become too cold and damp here during the winter, my problem is, that it sometimes becomes too hot if I did put too much wood into the oven.

My set up is made for - 25*C, the lowest temperature that I have to count in around Berlin. Around the freezing point I easily overheat it if I don't pay attention and than can't close the door if I want to sleep.

The most comfortable it's here if I don't need to heat over night or between -5°C and -10°C.

But that's of course a question of experience with this oven, and in the old times they offered better fitting smaller ovens.

I fitted out the construction trailer pretty fast, as I got stuck here due to the pandemia. I didn't search for smaller ovens in the internet and just bought what was offered in the next hardware shop. I guess one can find smaller ovens too.

My garden house in Berlin is 4 x 3 metres and the ceiling is higher. It's fitted out pretty similar.
My construction trailer is more comfortable than the garden house, although the garden house has a very expensive strong oven.

The smaller thing is easier to heat up if I come home. You wait less long until it becomes comfortable.

I did showel the snow from the ways in half the garden colony by hand, every evening 50 metres, mainly because I didn't want to sit in the room and wait until it becomes warm. Such problems I don't have in the construction trailer.
It heats up immediately.

That sounds positively palatial - any chance of a photo. I've got a genuine interest in Shipping Container / Small unit living. Thanks.
 
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TLM

Native
Nov 16, 2019
1,967
918
Vantaa, Finland
How’s about a military heavy duty canvas tent, surly they will do the job at hand.. just a thought?
A fairly good idea I think, just that getting one might not be easy and mostly they are too big.

I've got a genuine interest in Shipping Container
Just spray it with 100mm of urethane foam and then spray some solid PU on top of that. Paint any colour you want, chose your heating system and install ...
 

TeeDee

Full Member
Nov 6, 2008
7,937
1,793
47
Exeter
A fairly good idea I think, just that getting one might not be easy and mostly they are too big.


Just spray it with 100mm of urethane foam and then spray some solid PU on top of that. Paint any colour you want, chose your heating system and install ...


Er.... thanks?!?
 

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