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Pacific Yurts/Inexpensive Options

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Old 09-12-2016, 01:17 PM   #1
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Question Pacific Yurts/Inexpensive options

Hi Everyone!


I hope I'm asking this question in the right place.



I'm planning on moving out of my parents' house within the next year (I'm 19), and I would love to live in a yurt instead of an apartment or regular house. Eventually I would love to buy a 24' yurt from

Pacific Yurts

, but I have a VERY limited income at the moment so it's going to take awhile for me to save up enough for that. I live in Minnesota so I would need a yurt that is insulated and fully equipped to handle MN winters. So my first question is, what are your experiences with

Pacific Yurts

? Are there better or less expensive options that you would recommend?



While I'm saving up for a real yurt, I'm looking for a much less expensive option to live in (I'm thinking less than $5k). I'm guessing this won't work, but I'm going to throw the idea out there anyway. Is there any reason I shouldn't cover an open air car port in canvas,

insulation

, and felt layers (like those covering a yurt) as a sort of tiny home until I save up the $15k for a real yurt? I would put it on a pallet platform of some sort.
I would love to hear any advice you guys can offer me

Thanks in advance!

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Old 09-12-2016, 03:47 PM   #2
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Default Re: Pacific Yurts/Inexpensive options

I like your thinking Eruvanda. There are two details that I'd consider very important, and a slew of other minor things.

First, how long do you think it will take you to save up? The area where I live (two mid-size college towns) is a very rural/agricultural region with housing costs driven up by the large student population--a bedroom in an apartment goes for ~$3.6k+/year (ie $300+/month). If you think you could save up for your big yurt within a year, it may be easier to rent an apartment for that time (depends on costs, etc).

However, in an apartment you won't get a chance to start experimenting with the many basic yurt living systems--water source, water disposal,

heating

[space & water], cooling [if needed], lighting, cooking, storage, toilets, garbage, etc. This is not something you want to just jump into blind--standard practices don't directly transfer to yurts very well. Winter is not the time to figure out you need more insulation/heating so your water doesn't freeze overnight, creating a plumbing leak that in the morning thaws & shorts your nearby electrical cords and starts a fire (really bad hypothetical situation).

The next big question is do you have a place to setup your yurt or pre-yurt? Once I decided I wanted a yurt, it took me several years to find a location (and even then I can't live undisturbed in the same spot for more than 6 months due to county code). Having a place where you can rent a room plus setup the yurt would be ideal--you can work on your platform while saving up for the yurt, then move into the yurt in the spring/summer but still have an emergency backup living plan while you get hands-on experience with the slew of yurt living systems before winter comes.

For your other question, there are wall tents, some traditional yurts,

camping yurts

, cargo containers, RV/camper trailers and many other things that could fit the bill of a cheap dwelling (<$5k) while saving for a nice modern yurt. My ~20 ft yurt cost me ~$3k with shipping from Budapest to Seattle (no insulation). Smaller spaces loose less heat, but

insulation

cuts the heat loss; drafts steal a lot of heat. Of course you'll want to figure out the snow loads for your location and how any dwelling would handle it.

Hope that helps!
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Old 09-12-2016, 06:01 PM   #3
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Default Re: Pacific Yurts/Inexpensive options

Thank you hierony, your answer was very helpful.

I'm unemployed right now but providing I get a good job soon I should be able to save up in a year. I've thought about going the apartment route until I can get a yurt but all the apartments I've looked at so far are really expensive. Plus I really like the idea of experimenting some before I'm completely committed to living in a yurt full time. I wouldn't want to have one of those "hypothetical bad" situations you mentioned. One thing I'm really thankful for though is that my parents burn wood to heat our house so I'm very comfortable with working a woodstove.

I don't have a place to put my yurt or pre-yurt yet. I'm just starting this whole process and there are some properties I've seen on landwatch.com that look like they could be an option. I hadn't realized county code could make you have to move every 6 months though... I'll have to look into the rules for my area.

Can you live comfortably in a 20' yurt? I wanted to go with a 24' or 30' per someone else's recommendation but it makes sense that the smaller you go the easier it is to heat.
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Old 09-12-2016, 10:40 PM   #4
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Default Re: Pacific Yurts/Inexpensive options

A 20 ft yurt is quite livable--especially if you are young and haven't accumulated a hoard or family. I don't have a washer/dryer, the bathroom's pretty tight (a curtain around a composting toilet; a modified blue drum for a shower; a nightstand for the toiletries, etc), and I put the bed up ~4 ft to get storage space underneath. There's not really a 'living room', but there's a dining table, a kitchen, an entrance area, the aforementioned 'bathroom', the bed area, plus the center (cookstove & heater), and a shelving area for assorted things (pets, papers, blankets, etc). The 'rooms' are more conceptual than physical. It works for me, my girlfriend, giant dog, two cats, and hedgehog.

I knew a girl that lived in just a 16 ft camping yurt for a few years. No toilet (the great outdoors...) or showering facilities (work/school/community showers or the river?). Not severe/harsh winters but certainly below freezing with snow on occasion.

When I first started thinking about my own housing, I checked out THOWs (Tiny Houses on Wheels), but they seemed too expensive to buy, too complicated to build well, too compact to be adaptable/flexible, and just plain too small. The yurt provides a shell around ~300 sq ft, is mobile, and I can make/put whatever I want in it while changing as necessary.

With a smaller yurt, there's less surface area to loose heat plus less volume to initially get hot. Mongolians are short and use ~5.5 ft walls--a 20 ft yurt is their 'family size' from what I've read; I like my 6 ft walls. Some modern yurts use 7 ft or so walls, putting a lot of volume up high--useful for a full loft, but increases air stratification/heating problems (albeit potentially useful during summer).
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Old 09-13-2016, 10:03 AM   #5
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Default Re: Pacific Yurts/Inexpensive options

20' sounds very comfortable to me, and it makes a lot of sense to have shorter walls. I'm 5'3 so 5.5' walls should be just fine.

I've looked into a lot of different prefab tiny houses, but I always end up coming back to yurts, for all the same reasons you mentioned.
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