• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • r ranson
stewards:
  • Mike Haasl
  • paul wheaton
  • Dave Burton
master gardeners:
  • John F Dean
  • jordan barton
  • Carla Burke
  • Leigh Tate
gardeners:
  • Steve Thorn
  • Greg Martin
  • Jay Angler

yurts in a cold climate

 
Posts: 7
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Anyone every stay or live in a yurt in a cold climate? I know the climate where it originates can be pretty rough, but I wanna hear some first hands from people in a usda zone 5 or lower, maybe some midwest type climates. I really liking the idea of a natural yurt (felt and canvas).
 
Posts: 1551
Location: Fennville MI
62
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think William Coperthwaite, author of A Handmade Life, lived in a yurt in Maine. I have not yet got around to locating and reading the book, but have heard a number of people saying very positive things about both the book and the man.
 
Posts: 2413
46
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
He Bryan,

Peter just gave a perfect example, and I must add that one must really understand this is a subjective view. I have lived in, built and own one (or share ownership of one) and it is the individuals comfort zones that must be considered...not the architecture...as most architecture can be made as warm and insulated as you would like.

I sleep outside year round...I live in vermont...last night it was well below zero without a windchill...It is all in what you are accustomed to and how you live that measure what you can tolerate and/or enjoy...
 
Posts: 13
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There are some yurt stories here that may help:

webpage
 
Bryan Usille
Posts: 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ill look for that book Peter, sounds good.

Care to elaborate more Jay? You using a hammock/tarp combo or what?

Thanks Paul for the site, looks like a lot of good info for me there.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
Posts: 2413
46
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Care to elaborate more Jay? You using a hammock/tarp combo or what?



Hi Bryan,

Well, I have slept "outside" almost my entire life...as did many of my family members. Living in the "bush" was a big part of growing up. Most of the time (not that I like to) I just sleep in a "bivy sack and bed roll." I do own and love my hammocks and hanging tents, but don't always use them. As of late I just sleep on blanket and bedroll on the back porch or out in the woods if not to wet...

Each person's comfort levels for thermal insulation is their own. So, with a Ger or Yurt, one must insulate accordingly.

Good luck with your research,

j
 
pollinator
Posts: 135
Location: Geraldton, Ontario -Zone 1b
30
hugelkultur forest garden foraging tiny house wood heat
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Bryan Usille wrote:Anyone every stay or live in a yurt in a cold climate?  I know the climate where it originates can be pretty rough,  but I wanna hear some first hands from people in a usda zone 5 or lower, maybe some midwest type climates.  I really liking the idea of a natural yurt (felt and canvas).


You posed this question about the time we embarked on our cold climate yurt adventure. We're in a 22ft Groovy Yurt (Mongolian style) with two layers of felt. Our winters get down into the -40s but we've never been cold unless I'm too sleepy to tend to the fire. Otherwise, with our wood cookstove going we easily maintain 20-25 degC and can accidentally get into the 30s C if we're trying to make pizza on a milder day. Annual firewood usage is 4.5 bush cords (4x4x8ft) of mostly spruce.  
 
master pollinator
Posts: 1232
Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
318
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Mike, if possible, some pictures would be really interesting.
 
Michael Helmersson
pollinator
Posts: 135
Location: Geraldton, Ontario -Zone 1b
30
hugelkultur forest garden foraging tiny house wood heat
  • Likes 8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There's a yurt in that snowbank, I promise.
IMG_0014.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_0014.JPG]
 
gardener
Posts: 610
Location: Ontario - Currently in Zone 4b
356
dog foraging trees tiny house books bike bee
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Mike, how is it for mice? I've always been interested in yurts, but memories of the mice making their annual fall trek into the loghouse I grew up in have always given me reservations. Very impressive that it stays warm to -40C!
 
Michael Helmersson
pollinator
Posts: 135
Location: Geraldton, Ontario -Zone 1b
30
hugelkultur forest garden foraging tiny house wood heat
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Catie George wrote:Mike, how is it for mice? I've always been interested in yurts, but memories of the mice making their annual fall trek into the loghouse I grew up in have always given me reservations. Very impressive that it stays warm to -40C!



Last summer was terrible. I did resolve the issue though, by stapling a band of hardware cloth all the way around the yurt where the mice were squeezing between the plywood skirt and the felt. We have the yurt sitting on 8 inches of styrofoam with two layers of 1/2" plywood as our flooring, all of which is encompassed by the 12" high plywood skirt. The first evening after installing the hardware cloth I could hear the mice freaking out, running all around the yurt, climbing onto the roof and scratching at the chimney. They seemed really angry but gave up after two nights of trying. Last year was a weird season for mice and voles for some reason.
 
Catie George
gardener
Posts: 610
Location: Ontario - Currently in Zone 4b
356
dog foraging trees tiny house books bike bee
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks! Good to know about the hardware cloth, that's a good idea. I had wondered about them chewing through the yurt fabric itself.
 
Michael Helmersson
pollinator
Posts: 135
Location: Geraldton, Ontario -Zone 1b
30
hugelkultur forest garden foraging tiny house wood heat
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Catie George wrote:Thanks! Good to know about the hardware cloth, that's a good idea. I had wondered about them chewing through the yurt fabric itself.


No, the fabric seems to be a deterrent  for all the critters around here. We've had bears clawing at the walls and there's little evidence of it after the rain washes the paw prints away. Most of the concerns we had before deciding to buy a yurt proved unwarranted. Yves Ballenegger, the guy that started Groovy Yurts is a fantastic guy and listened to all our initial concerns patiently and politely without trying to sell us on anything. We're in our 6th winter full time in the yurt and can't imagine being in  a house ever again.
 
Posts: 44
Location: Ontario - Someday Nova Scotia
11
forest garden fungi foraging tiny house food preservation composting toilet homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
More pictures please!!! Did you pile the snow for warmth?

I'm also in Canada, and expect to buy a Groovy Yurt. I'll be assembling in Nova Scotia. Tell me all your stories. No seriously. ALL OF THEM. Pros, cons. Things you would have done differently. I need all the info LOL.

Michael Helmersson wrote:There's a yurt in that snowbank, I promise.

 
Michael Helmersson
pollinator
Posts: 135
Location: Geraldton, Ontario -Zone 1b
30
hugelkultur forest garden foraging tiny house wood heat
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Tonya Hunte wrote:More pictures please!!! Did you pile the snow for warmth?

I'm also in Canada, and expect to buy a Groovy Yurt. I'll be assembling in Nova Scotia. Tell me all your stories. No seriously. ALL OF THEM. Pros, cons. Things you would have done differently. I need all the info LOL.



Yes, the snow really makes a difference in terms of heating. We don't purposely pile snow against the walls though, it's mostly just what we rake off of the roof. Our first winter, I was worried about the big berm of snow melting in the spring so I shoveled it away once I thought spring had arrived. But then winter returned and I really regretted it. Now I just leave it and it has never caused any trouble during the melt, probably because our floor is circular and the water can just run down the wall to soil. Some people build a square deck for their floor because it is easier but I really recommend against that.
If you've talked to Groovy Yurts already, you've probably encountered Yves, the owner. He is awesome. He visits us regularly on his delivery trips and he is super down to earth and genuine. Before we bought ours' I bombarded him with questions and he never tried to sell me on his yurts, he just kept answering my questions and politely hearing out my concerns. I thought our climate might be too cold for this but he just kept telling me that it should be fine. We're far more comfy in our yurt than we ever were in our house. We can enjoyably work and play outside in the cold knowing that we have warmth awaiting inside.
We try to avoid generating humidity indoors during the winter. This is the most common yurt problem that I read in my research. This is why we built a separate sauna for showering in and doing laundry. The advantage of the Groovy Yurt is that it can breathe through the walls as opposed to the modern vinyl yurts that need to be ventilated. Unfortunately, the humid air only breathes when it's warmer than -20C, so when it's cold the humidity gets trapped in the felt (always in the ceiling near the walls) and freezes. This continues until warm, sunny weather when it starts to drip inside. We have gotten used to this and it's a routine to put out containers to catch the drips or to hang tea towels between the rafters to catch them. The drips rarely amount to much but it may be an issue to some people.
The walls don't stop sound. This can be good if you're in nature or bad if you have neighbours. We are often woken up by bees outside, but this is not something we complain about. We get bears visiting, usually at night and their footsteps can be heard in the gravel outside. We've had bears try to scratch their way through the canvas many times but they always leave if we get our dogs to bark. If the dogs are too asleep to bark then we have to. I think if your yurt was unoccupied a bear could probably do damage but we've never had anything worse than muddy pawprints on the canvas. This might also be because we don't eat meat, so there is less of an appealing food smell here.

I'll leave you with this for now but please don't hesitate to ask questions. I'll see what photos we have to share.

Mike



 
Tonya Hunte
Posts: 44
Location: Ontario - Someday Nova Scotia
11
forest garden fungi foraging tiny house food preservation composting toilet homestead ungarbage
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Michael Helmersson wrote:

I'll leave you with this for now but please don't hesitate to ask questions. I'll see what photos we have to share.

Mike





What started you on your yurt journey? Why did you decide on a yurt over other housing? How did you deal with friends and family when you told them you'd be living in a yurt? What's your permaculture setup like, besides the whole living-in-a-yurt thing? What's your favourite thing about living in a yurt?

Expect more questions
 
Michael Helmersson
pollinator
Posts: 135
Location: Geraldton, Ontario -Zone 1b
30
hugelkultur forest garden foraging tiny house wood heat
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Tonya Hunte wrote:

Michael Helmersson wrote:

I'll leave you with this for now but please don't hesitate to ask questions. I'll see what photos we have to share.

Mike





What started you on your yurt journey? Why did you decide on a yurt over other housing? How did you deal with friends and family when you told them you'd be living in a yurt? What's your permaculture setup like, besides the whole living-in-a-yurt thing? What's your favourite thing about living in a yurt?

Expect more questions



We had a house that was not at all large but still seemed unnecessarily big for our needs. We had spent a few weeks over a few summers living aboard our little sailboat and got quite used to the spartan lifestyle. Everything we needed we had and nothing more. When the summer was over and we returned to our house we felt out of place and not "at home". Our house was a "fixer upper", so it was perpetually under construction and we had come to realize that we were not going to live there forever. That meant that any renovations or painting, etc was to be kept "neutral", meaning that we were fixing up and painting our house for its next owners, not for ourselves.
Heating and powering the house were pricey (by our standards) and the sewer and water bills were outrageous. These regular bills plus the anticipated regular maintenance (shingles, flooring, etc) seemed unsustainable, in permaculture terms.
During this time we were becoming awake to our diets and the problems with store bought foods. We went vegan and began planning to grow our own food. We bought land close to town and realized that building the home we wanted (earth-bermed) was going to be a long term project. We chose a yurt as the quickest, easiest way to be living on our land asap. It's been 5+ years now and we still haven't started building our earth-bermed/underground home. Instead, we've focused on increasing our growing areas and propagating more perennial trees and shrubs.
In 2019 we finished building a circular earthbag root cellar and moved the yurt on top of it. Now we have plenty of storage for food and it acts as our fridge. Access is through a trapdoor.
Friends and family were not really worried about us moving into the yurt. Every time we have a cold spell though, people tell us that they were thinking about us and wondering if we were okay and staying warm. It's hard to convince people that we're actually very comfortable until they come and visit us during the cold weather. Also, at first people thought we were going to be attacked and eaten by bears. Every one of our neighbours told us we were going to need a gun. Nope. They have had bear problems but we haven't.
I'm reluctant to consider ourselves permaculturalists because we don't have clear plans for much of what we do. We have lots of experiments going and have made lots of mistakes so we're more along the lines of permie wannabes.
My favourite thing about living in a yurt is the connection to nature. That sounds cheesy and cliché but I really do feel it. We are sheltered from the elements but we are totally aware of them. Right now we are having a very windy day and I can hear the wind hitting each tree around us, individually. When it rains or snows we sometimes can't hear the radio or a video we may be watching. This is reality to us, not an inconvenience. I still want to build the earth-sheltered home but I don't like the idea of losing this connectedness.

   
 
Michael Helmersson
pollinator
Posts: 135
Location: Geraldton, Ontario -Zone 1b
30
hugelkultur forest garden foraging tiny house wood heat
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here's a photo showing our door carelessly left open for a bear to walk through. The cookstove is a Waterford Stanley, about 6-700lbs.
3.jpg
[Thumbnail for 3.jpg]
 
Alas, poor Yorick, he knew this tiny ad:
Boost Egg Nutrition With This Organic Algae Poultry Supplement
https://permies.com/t/153700/Organic-Astaxanthin-Algae-Poultry-Supplement
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic