Yurts have been around for at least 3000 years. The Greek historian Herodotus (c 484 BC- 425 BC) was the first westerner to write a description of what a yurt looked like. A yurt is a portable, round tent that is still used today by nomads in Mongolia. It is traditionally made with a circular wooden lattice work frame draped with canvas.
Modern yurts frames come in a lot of different materials including wood, aluminum, and steel. In general, yurts are set-up as a permanent setting due to the total weight of the yurt. Not only are they being used as homes, but as art studios, yoga studios, guest quarters, backyard ‘she-shed’, even a tent choice for "glamping".
What Is Essential For a Yurt?
The five essentials that you should have if you’re setting up your own yurt are a wooden deck for flooring, a wood burning stove, lights (and extension cords), bedding, and a CO2/Fire Alarm monitor.
These are essentials for both backyard yurt uses and for glamping. Each application is going to have different uses and functions, but these five things are universal for all uses of yurts.
Why a Wood Floor?
A wood floor will not only give you a solid floor and a barrier between you and the ground, it will also help as an insulator as well. Plus, a yurt should be built on a sturdy foundation to ensure proper set-up.
A circular wooden platform is the first step in constructing your deck. It should be the same diameter as the yurt and at least 5” of the ground.
If you plan on having electricity and/or plumbing in your yurt then having the platform 18” to 24” off the ground for room to run those amenities. This will also give you some additional storage space.
Concrete is also a viable option. If you do go this route, you will need to ensure that a wood or composite ring, also known as a “sill plate” is placed around the circumference of the platform to allow the yurt to be anchored properly.
Below is a list of materials that work great for the actual flooring: Reclaimed Wood, Tile, Linoleum, Hardwood, Bamboo, Laminate or luxury vinyl planking, Carpet. Basically, any type of flooring that can be put in a home can be used in the same application in a yurt.
Why a Wood Burning Stove?
Because of the durability of yurts and the fact that they can be left up year-round, that means there is no need to take them down once the cold winds of winter start blowing in.
If you are using your yurt as a cabin in the woods, then there is no reason to not visit it in the winter as well. A wood burning stove will provide heat for the entire yurt as well as providing a way to heat up or cook meals.
It is critical that any kind of fireplace be put on top of a fireproof base and installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid damage or injury not only to the yurt but also to yourself.
A stovepipe must be installed to carry the smoke out of the yurt, and it is strongly advised to go through a wall rather than through the ceiling. This will make it easy to clean the chimney regularly, and minimizes soot or ash falling on the roof.
Lights For a Tent?
Lighting is one of those areas where you can do just enough to provide light, like in a side table lamp, or go all out for a more cozy and personal experience.
Glamping is all about making the most fun and comfortable experience possible while camping and bringing Christmas lights to string across the interior and exterior is a fun way to personalize your yurt.
If you’ve chosen to use your yurt in a backyard setting as a studio or a spare guest room, then most likely you plan on being out in it at all hours of the day. Lighting is a great way to make any place feel cozy and inviting.
An extension cord is a must if you don’t have dedicated power in your yurt. Most glamping sites offer electricity, so this is applicable even when camping!
What Kind Of Bedding?
The type of bedding you want to take depends on the outside temperatures when you go, and on personal style.
If taking young children, they won’t care if they’re traditional camping or glamping, they seem to always want to use sleeping bags.
There are different levels of warmth when it comes to sleeping bags, so again weather and temperatures will play a factor in what type of sleeping bag to get.
An 80-degree sleeping bag will not keep you warm when temperatures reach 50 degrees and below.
You can even take your own bedding with you for an even more personable experience. With your own sheets, blankets, comforters, and pillows it’s almost like taking the bed with you when you go camping. There is nothing better than sleeping on your own bedding while camping!
Is a CO2/Fire Alarm Monitor Really An Essential?
Safety should always be on the mind, especially while using your yurt. By putting any kind of heating device in a yurt, the risk for CO2 poisoning and fires increases.
This is especially true, as most people enjoy sleeping with the fire going for extra warmth. An alarm monitor will alert you if there is any danger, giving you time to get to safety.
The key enjoying your yurt experience, is to take every available precaution to avoid injury or harm to yourself or family members.
The Bottom Line
Whether your yurt is a permanent fixture in the backyard or your "glamping" tent in the woods for those weekend getaways, having the five essentials listed above make your yurt experiences comfortable, enjoyable and safe!