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Ryn 04-08-2016 05:14 PM

Beginner considering Yurt living
I've been researching living in a tiny home for years and have done a bit of it. I had a roughly 400 sq. ft. apartment with two of my sisters for years which we lived in comfortably until recently. I'm just now considering a yurt though. I've always been a believer of simplicity and I believe a yurt would give me advantages with my lifestyle. It's been a toss-up for the last couple of years between a camper and tiny house on a trailer but I'm not sure that is what I want after starting researching yurts with my older sister. She was looking for a yurt for short term and warm weather.

I'm still doing a lot of research and saving up for what I want but I'm having trouble finding the resources I need to learn things. I'm not sure the best way I can outfit my home for the weather of the midwest. There aren't a lot of things that I have found to tell me what would be the best way to approach the ideas I have or how to do the proper research for year-round living in a yurt.

Jafo 04-08-2016 07:30 PM

Re: Beginner considering Yurt living
Good luck in your search. Let us know if you have any questions. :)

Bob Rowlands 04-08-2016 08:48 PM

Re: Beginner considering Yurt living
The only way you will really learn what a yurt is like is to buy a yurt. Doing something is the real way to understanding.

There are very affordable yurts from the manufacturers on this site. If you have lived in a 400 sq. ft. home with others, then you know how to handle a small space. I myself lived in a 20x20 apartment as a young unmarried man and it was small, but nice. Bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, and LR. A yurt in that size range, say a 24' yurt, is affordable and doable, and can be set up with basic amenities. I highly suggest you talk this out with one of the manufacturers here. Good luck.

Ryn 04-09-2016 11:31 AM

Re: Beginner considering Yurt living
Thanks to you both. I started pricing yurts last night while I was looking at options and figuring out square footage needs. Two of my sisters have offered to let me set up on their land first and I'm hoping to find a small cheap yurt I can test drive living in for the summer. I know my own financial situation won't allow for me to get the yurt I like for permanent living right now but I'm searching and planning. My biggest problems at the moment are determining the logistics of adding water and basic power to charge my laptop and phone.

Jafo 04-09-2016 12:10 PM

Re: Beginner considering Yurt living
Also, don't forget our classifieds section. Lots of used yurts there. :)

hierony 04-09-2016 01:02 PM

Re: Beginner considering Yurt living
I'm working on setting up my yurt for full time living. I've a fair number of ideas & designs, some untested, some untrustworthy, and some rather clever. Disclaimer: you will have to decide which ones are within your capabilities and comfort for DIY applications.

For ease of my initial setup, I'll be using an extension cord from the utility pole. This limits my distance from the utility pole to 50-100 ft. For just lighting and laptop charging, you won't need the really large gauges rated for 15+ amps (very different story IF you're heating space or food or water). Mind you, avoid incandescent blubs. You can get $10 (at walmart) LED 100-watt equivalent bulbs that only pull 0.14 amps--about 8-10 of these would be enough to light up a 20 ft yurt thoroughly. I went to the hardware store and got lamp wire plus some nifty two-piece bases/moguls to make my own cords. You could also just use a number of lamps.

Water is a little more challenging. I think in general you will have to accept that it will be different from standard indoor plumbing. There's also several parts to it--kitchen water for washing dishes & food (potentially doubling as a bathroom sink); bathroom water for bathing; hopefully not water for toilet flushing; water treatment (if not from the house); greywater disposal; there's also washing machine & dishwasher water (which I'll neglect for simplicity).

There's 'walking' water, or the 5 gallon bucket method. I think this works reasonably well for kitchen/bathroom sink water.

For bathing, you can use just a bucket & a tub (just try filling a bucket in the bathtub then washing out of it), but I haven't found it as effective as a good shower. You've likely seen the camp showers, which are about as effective as the bucket baths. There's also heating water on the stove, putting it in a (new, unused) weed sprayer hooked up to a low-flow shower head--supposedly effective. There's also things like Big Kahuna Portable Showers.

Greywater disposal could be as simple as carrying a 5 gal bucket and water some tree or shrub or a mulch basin. Making sure your soaps and other things in the water won't hurt the plants is important. Also depending on your locality, the definition of 'greywater' may or may not include bathing & kitchen water (mainly just so you're vaguely aware of it).

There's lots of info around the internet about these and other ideas. I find searching 'tiny house' or 'rv boondocking' and whatever I'm looking for useful. Pinterest is also useful for photo ideas (albeit a bit too picturesque).

Hope that helps!

Ryn 04-09-2016 06:01 PM

Re: Beginner considering Yurt living
I'm considering a gravity fed shower so my main issue has been figuring out kitchen water sources. I never thought of running a line for electricity from the pole so thank you for that. Thia was really helpful.

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Jafo 04-10-2016 06:22 AM

Re: Beginner considering Yurt living
If you do decide to use battery+solar power, consider 12v water pumps. I have two of these at my yurt camp. One to fill the tub, the other to do dishes with in the camp:

Amazon.com: Eccotemp 03526-14A Flojet 2.9 GPM 50 PSI Water Pump: Automotive

That pump works great and gives plenty of PSI. I also heat water with a couple of these:

Eccotemp L5 Portable Tankless Water Heater and Outdoor Shower - Portable Hot Water Heater - Amazon.com

I have a stream near my yurt where I can use a sump pump and fill up a couple of 400 gallon water tanks which we use for showers/baths. I have a 50 gallon rain barrel outside my main yurt that we use for dishwater.

The next time I am up at camp, I will try to remember to take pics of the setup.

Ryn 04-10-2016 09:47 AM

Re: Beginner considering Yurt living
I showed the shower to my dad and he liked that idea a lot. These are great and thank you. I hadn't thought to look for a portable shower yet but knowing which one to look for is a big weight off.

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Zelig 04-18-2016 12:19 PM

Re: Beginner considering Yurt living
When we researched yurt living and the challenges involved, the biggest thing that seemed to come up was the problem of condensation. There were lots of stories of indoor glaciers forming and causing grief. We chose a traditional Mongolian ger/yurt from Groovy Yurts because it provided breathability to let excess humidity find its way out through nearly the whole surface area of the yurt without having to open doors, windows or toono. This preserves your precious heat as much as possible and greatly simplifies things. We are in a quite cold climate, so we discovered this winter that there is a boundary, temperature-wise, where the escaping vapour can't get out before condensing and freezing. This seems to be in the -15 to -20degC range. Any warmer and things worked fine, but below that we began 'warehousing' our humidity in the felt insulation which waited until warmer weather returned to slowly drip back into the yurt. We have only a gravity/bucket fed kitchen sink for plumbing inside and keep all our bathing, etc confined to our sauna but I had been stacking about 15 cubic feet of firewood inside the yurt and realized that this wood was giving off as much as one gallon per day of vapour. Once I stopped doing this our problems seemed to end. Most importantly though, we love our yurt, especially when it's bitterly cold outside, the snow is blowing horizontally, and when you step inside it's toasty warm.

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