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 © 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 © 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
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 © Paul
The Practical Yurt
The yurt is probably the most practical temporary dwelling
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