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The yurt frame is an ingenious assembly of well made wooden components, as quick to erect as any tent; but once up more like a timber–framed building.
The yurt is a self-supporting structure; the frame holds its shape with no help from guy ropes or a stretched cover. In all but the strongest winds the yurt will stand with nothing but gravity attaching it to the ground. This rigidity is maintained by opposing forces exerted by different parts of the frame. The walls are firmly tied to the doorframe to form a complete circle. The conical or domed roof, with its heavy crown exerts a force on top of the walls. This force is kept in check and put to advantage by strong bands tied tightly around top of the wall. These opposing forces give the frame great rigidity, which is further reinforced with the addition of downward pressure from a heavy roof cover and the inward pressure from tight wall covers.

Opposing pressures which give the yurts its inherent rigidity
Opposing pressures which give the yurts its inherent rigidity © Paul King 2001

The yurt has an aerodynamic shape, the wind slips over the structure with minimal resistance. There are no flat or concave surfaces to catch the wind. The yurt will not blow down like an ordinary tent but can, in exceptional circumstances, be lifted by a strong gust of wind through the door. So always peg the yurt down.

Airflow over the Mongolian yurt
Airflow over the Mongolian yurt © Paul King 2001

The shape of the yurt is very thermally efficient. A large yurt can be easily kept warm using a small wood burning stove down to -5°C without any additional insulation. In Central Asia layers of thick felt keep the yurt warm as the outside temperature drops well below -40°C.

In hot weather the sides can be lifted: warm air rises and exits through the open tono drawing cool air in at the bottom.

Airflow inside the yurt during hot weather
Airflow inside the yurt during hot weather © Paul King 2001

The Practical Yurt
The yurt is probably the most practical temporary dwelling available, being:
Portable, a nine foot yurt will fit in the back of the smallest car, and can be carried in a wheelbarrow. A sixteen footer will fit in an average car with the uni on a roof-rack.
Secure, the yurt can be fitted with a lockable wooden door. Entry cannot be gained even if the canvas is cut.
Weather proof, the yurt has proven itself in the harsh climate of central Asia for centuries.
Warm in winter, being circular, with a relatively low roof it is easy to heat. Insulating layers can be sandwiched between the frame and the cover.
Cool in summer, the sides can be rolled up, or removed to admit a cooling breeze. Hot air rises out through the open tono, and cool air is drawn in.
Inconspicuous, despite having ample headroom, the overall height of the structure is low, allowing it to be easily screened from unwanted attention.
Easy to erect, with a little practice the yurt can be erected or taken down in less than thirty minutes, even by one person.
Easy to move, if you have pitched your ger in the wrong place, you can, with the help of a few friends, pick up the entire yurt and move it without any need to take it down and re-erect it.
Environmentally friendly, coppicing of hazel, ash and willow, to provide poles is good for the tree and woodland wildlife. All timber is from the local community forest. The yurt is a low impact dwelling, causing no permanent damage to the land on which it is pitched. It can even be moved every few days to prevent the grass from being killed.
Long lasting, the yurt can stand outside for several years without harm, if used occasionally it should last indefinitely. In Mongolia the frame is expected to last a lifetime.
Fun!, for children and adults alike yurt camping is a real break from the usual holiday accommodation.




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