Living In a Yurt (How To Do It)

living in a yurt

If you’re interested in living in a yurt and what it’s like, then I’m here to give some advice.

Personally, I first became fascinated with this lifestyle when backpacking in Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia.

In those two countries (as well as others) the yurt tent (called a ‘ger’ in Mongolia) is the traditional abode of the nomadic people there.

It’s a fascinating way of traditional living going back millennia and if you’re thinking of planning to live off-the-grid, then it makes an excellent option for a place to stay.

Getting back to a traditional way of life and an eco-friendly living solution.


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Living in a Yurt

living in a yurt in Kyrgyzstan
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A woman welcomes me to her yurt home.

OK a disclaimer straight away at the start: I am not an expert about living in a yurt or living off-the-grid.

But I do have a huge passion for the subject, have traveled to countries like mentioned (Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia) and have stayed with the nomads that still live their way of life in yurts, and also stayed with people and friends that live off-the-grid.

I have spent a lot of time researching how to live in a yurt as it’s something I have thought about doing, and how to get more off-the-grid.

With nomads in Kyrgyzstan living their traditional way of life in a yurt.

yurts in kyrgyzstan
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With traditional nomads in Kyrgyzstan.

How To Build A Yurt

First up if you plan on living in a yurt is knowing how to build a yurt!

Building a yurt is definitely best of as a team as there are a few different stages that can be tricky.

There will be the mainframe and then the canvas covering for that.

Of course, it will be slightly different yurts you get in countries that don’t traditionally use them, but the principle is the same.

You can either build one from scratch yourself or buy a kit.

Naturally one of the most important things, in the beginning, is choosing the right ground for it.

In the nomadic countries, the ‘base’ of the yurt is just some simple canvas with maybe a few rugs over the top, keeping it simple for moving around.

In other countries though where you may want to permanently have a yurt and not move around then you can go about building a wooden base and porch to make it more homely.

One thing to note is that as most nomads move with the seasons from place to place they are generally free to camp in many places with no problem.

In other countries though (like the US) there will be a lot of private lands so make sure where you choose to set up camp you can do so legally.

After you’ve figured out the base of where you want to build your yurt you then get the basic structure together.

In traditionally nomadic countries this is normally strips of wood tangled/hammered together, but in other countries, it can be a full wooden wall.

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Getting the yurt wooden structure together in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan.

After the wooden structure is set up the nomads start preparing the thick canvas cover which essentially gets put all around and over the yurt.

yurt building Kyrgyzstan
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Preparing the canvas cover to put over the yurt wooden structure.

And that’s it!

A simple home that does the job fine for a nomadic family.

It keeps you warm and homely and has ventilation allowing you to cook inside.

If I was ever going to build a yurt I would love to just do it the traditional nomadic way that has survived centuries. A well-proven method.

And it makes it a lot easier to just break it down and move to a new spot if wanting to.

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The roof of the yurt from inside when finished.
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A welcoming cup of tea from a friendly Kyrgyz nomad living in the yurt.

The yurts make an impressive sight when seen in their traditional places like Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia.

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The finished yurts at Song Kul Lake in Kyrgyzstan.

That gives you a rough idea about how to build a yurt.

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Living In a Yurt Yourself

These are curated links and videos about yurt living I have read and watched myself.

So instead of having to search around the internet for advice on the subject, you can find some of the best here, with links to useful books as well.

This is a good interview with someone who helps arrange for people interested in living in a yurt.

Here are some good videos to watch for off-the-grid living in a yurt:

Qualityunearthed has a great article on how to go about living in a yurt.

These are books that can help you understand a lot more about living in a yurt for yourself.

The Complete Yurt Handbook

A Year in a Yurt: An Adventurous Memoir of Off-Grid Living Full of Practical Advice

Practical Yurts: Building and Living in a Low-Cost Alternative Structure

My article about staying with nomads in Mongolia in the Gobi Desert.

And Kyrgyzstan where I horse trekked into the mountains and visited the nomads in their yurt tents to get a feel for the traditional way of life.

Enjoy your yurt life and getting off-the-grid!

If you liked this article about living in a yurt a share would be appreciated! 

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1 thought on “Living In a Yurt (How To Do It)”

  1. Pingback: 5 Alternatives To Toilet Paper (Travel Ass Wiping Advice)

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